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Tort Law

Tort Law. Jody Blanke Professor of Computer Information Systems and Law. Torts. Strict Liability Intentional Torts Negligence. Strict Liability. Liability without fault neither intent nor negligence need be shown Ultrahazardous activities e.g., dynamite blasting

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Tort Law

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  1. Tort Law Jody Blanke Professor of Computer Information Systems and Law

  2. Torts • Strict Liability • Intentional Torts • Negligence

  3. Strict Liability • Liability without fault • neither intent nor negligence need be shown • Ultrahazardous activities • e.g., dynamite blasting • e.g., ownership of wild animals • lions and tigers and bears …

  4. Intentional Torts • Battery • Assault • False Imprisonment • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress

  5. Fraud • 1. An intentional misrepresentation • 2. Of a material fact • 3. Made in order to induce some action by the defendant • 4. With justifiable reliance on the misstatement • 5. And damage as a result of such reliance

  6. Tortious Interference with Contractual Relations • $10.5B award against Texaco for interfering with Penzoil’s contract to buy Getty (later settled for $3B) • “Ditch the dish”

  7. Defamation • Libel and slander • Truth is a defense • For media defendants, public officials and public figures must show “actual malice” • e.g., Richard Jewell - Wikipedia, CourtTV

  8. Invasion of Privacy • Appropriation of name or likeness • e.g., Michael Jordan Wine • Intrusion upon seclusion • e.g., Jackie O, Holiday Inn, Mazzio’s Pizza, Sean Penn, Bill Gates, Bob Dylan, Katz, Kyllo • False light • e.g., Parade Magazine Teenage Prostitution • Publication of private embarrassing facts • e.g., “Joe Hero” Silvia Leyva at Café Intermezzo

  9. Trespass • Trespass to land • Conversion • Trespass to personal property (trespass to chattels)

  10. Negligence • Duty • Breach of Duty • Causation • Injury

  11. Duty of Care • Reasonable person standard • Is there a legal duty? • e.g.,Lady Di, Seinfeld finale, Good Samaritan laws

  12. Breach of Duty • What would the reasonable person do in similar circumstances? • Professional standard – malpractice • Negligence per se • Res ipsa loquitur • burden of proof shifting doctrine

  13. Causation • Actual cause (causation in fact) • “but for” analysis • e.g.,Rube Goldberg cartoons, Mouse Trap

  14. Causation • Proximate cause (legal cause) • foreseeabilty • e.g.,Palsgraf v. Long Island Railroad • e.g., Crankshaw v. Piedmont Driving Club

  15. Injury • Plaintiff must prove injury • Injury need not be personal injury

  16. Defenses to Negligence • Assumption of Risk • Fellow-Servant Rule • Contributory Negligence • e.g., the “rolling stop” • Comparative Negligence • pure comparative negligence • modified comparative negligence (50% rule) (majority rule today – Georgia law)

  17. Product Liability • Warranty (contract) law • Negligence • Strict liability

  18. Rationale • Stream of commerce theory • manufacturer hopes to profit; must pay price • Last best chance • manufacturer in best position to prevent injury • Economic theory • dangerous products will price themselves out of market

  19. Lawn Darts

  20. Early Cases • MacPherson v. BuickMotor Co. (1916) • eliminated privity of contract requirement • consumer can sue manufacturer • Greenman v. Yuba Power Products (1963) • applied strict liability in tort • Manufacturer responsible for product it places in the market

  21. Restatement (Second) of Torts • § 402A provides • 1. One who sells any product in a defective condition unreasonably dangerous to the user or consumer or to his property is subject to liability for physical harm thereby caused to the ultimate user or consumer, or to his property, if • (a) the seller is engaged in the business of selling such a product, and • (b) it is expected to and does reach the user or consumer without substantial change in the condition in which it is sold. • 2. The rule stated in Subsection (1) applies although • (a) the seller has exercised all possible care in the preparation and sale of his product, and • (b) the user or consumer has not bought the product from or entered into any contractual relation with the seller.

  22. Restatement (Third) of Torts • Defines “defect” • A product is defective when, at the time of sale or distribution, contains a manufacturing defect, is defective in design, or is defective because of inadequate instructions or warnings

  23. Manufacturing Defect • Failure to meet design specifications • e.g., Inspected by 17

  24. Design Defect • Faulty design • e.g., Ford Pinto

  25. Inadequate Warning • Failure to warn • e.g., guns and peanut butter

  26. Defenses • Assumption of Risk • Comparative Fault • Misuse

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