Title: West Virginia Law School 1L Study Guide for Torts
- Introduction to Torts
Torts are civil wrongs recognized by law as a reason for a lawsuit. They lead to injury or harm, which constitutes the basis for a claim by the injured party. It encompasses negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and damage to property.
Intentional torts are civil wrongs resulting from intentional actions. The person committing the tort must intend the consequences of his or her action or knew with substantial certainty that certain outcomes would result.
Battery: Intent and completion of harmful or offensive contact.
Case: White v. University of Idaho – In this case, it was held that for battery, the contact must be harmful or offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity.
Assault: The intentional causing of the apprehension of harmful or offensive contact.
Case: Western Union Telegraph Co. v. Hill – The court held that an act causing apprehension of harmful or offensive contact constitutes an assault, even if there was no intention of carrying out the threat.
Negligence is a failure to behave with the level of care that someone of ordinary prudence would have exercised under the same circumstances.
Duty: A legal obligation the defendant owes to the plaintiff.
Case: Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad Co. – In this case, the court held that a defendant owes a duty of care only to those who are in the reasonably foreseeable zone of danger.
Breach of Duty: The defendant fails to meet the standard of care.
Case: Helling v. Carey – The court held that if a reasonable person would have taken precautions, the defendant’s failure to do so constitutes a breach of duty.
Causation: The plaintiff’s harm must be a direct result of the defendant’s action.
Case: Union Pump Co. v. Allbritton – The court held that the defendant’s actions must have actually caused the plaintiff’s injury.
Damages: The plaintiff must have actually suffered harm that can be remedied by money damages.
Case: McCoy v. American Suzuki Motor Corp. – In this case, the court held that the plaintiff must have suffered some harm that a monetary award can compensate.
Strict liability is the imposition of liability on a party without a finding of fault. The claimant needs to prove only that the tort occurred and that the defendant was responsible.
Case: Shaffer v. Acme Limestone Co. – The court applied strict liability to the blasting operation that caused damage to surrounding properties.
In torts, product liability is the area of law in which manufacturers, distributors, suppliers, and others who make products available to the public are held responsible for injuries those products cause.
Case: Morningstar v. Black & Decker Mfg. Co. – The court held that a product may be found defective if it does not perform as safely as an ordinary consumer would expect when used in an intended or reasonably foreseeable manner.
Defamation is the act of making false statements about another which causes harm.
Case: Crum v. Ward – The court held that truth is an absolute defense to defamation claims.
Invasion of Privacy
Invasion of privacy is the intrusion into the personal life of another, without just cause, which can give the person whose privacy has been invaded a right to bring a lawsuit for damages against the person or entity that intruded.
Case: Criswell v. Harrodsburg Herald – The court held that an individual has a right to privacy that is protected from intrusion in an offensive manner.
This guide provides an overview of the key concepts and cases in tort law. It is recommended to dive deeper into each concept and case to grasp a full understanding and to prepare for potential exam questions.