Tort Law Legal Terminology: Torts and the Legal System By: David Leonard
Tort Law Categories of Torts Tortsare denoted as civil violations (breaches of civil duty), that can injure a person, a group of people, and/or personal property in such a manner as to warrant a civil suit for recovery of damages1. A tort does not preclude criminal activity and thus a tort case may run parallel or in conjunction with a criminal outcome. The person who commits these types of civil infractions is referred to as a Tortfeasor. Intentional torts are deliberate acts that any reasonable person would foreseeably conclude to be harmful to an individual or personal property. Examples: Battery, Assault, False Imprisonment, Trespass to Land, Trespass to Chattels, and Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress.
Tort Law Categories of Torts Negligenceis a failure of an entity (person, business, etc.) to act with a level of care that an ordinarily prudence person would exercise under the same circumstances2. The standard is the same with regard to sensible action as it is to discreet inaction. This tort hinges on four basic element; Duty, Breach, Causation, and Damages. Strict And Absolute Liability exists when a wrongful act causes injury or jeopardy regardless of intent or negligence on the part of the Tortfeasor3. This tort is composed of two broad subcategories; abnormally dangerous activities and product liability.
Intentional Negative Taylor v. Johnson, 796 So.2d 11 Facts: Ginger Taylor entered a Walmart in Grant Parish, LA and tried to obtain a filled prescription that her doctor (Dr. Hollier), had recently called in. After filling the prescription the pharmacist became suspicious of the transaction and proceeded to call the police while the pharmacy clerk Ms. Janice Johnson stalled Ms. Taylor. State Troopers Timothy Ledet and Wayne Soileau arrived on the scene and took Ms. Taylor into custody. Later investigation showed that the prescription was authentic and Ms. Taylor was released. Case: Ms. Taylor sued the pharmacist Mr. Jim Hill, Ms. Janice Johnson Aymond, Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., Trooper Timothy Ledet, Trooper Wayne Soileau, who was Trooper Ledet's supervisor, and the State of Louisiana for false arrest and unlawful detention. Findings: The court originally found for Ms. Taylor, but the case was overturned on appeal due to the absolute privilege of the police and the conditional privilege of the store employees.
Negligence Negative Gladon v. Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth Facts: Mr. Gladon boarded (invitee) a Greater Cleveland Regional Transit Auth train and was assaulted after getting off at the wrong stop. Somehow during the altercation, Mr. Gladon found himself on the tracks and in the path of an oncoming train. The engineer was unsuccessful in his attempts to stop in time and struck Mr. Gladon causing him severe and permanent injuries. Case:Mr. Gladon sued claiming negligent security and negligent operation. Findings: The case was dismissed on appeal. The court stated that when Mr. Gladon entered the area of the tracks, he transitioned from invitee to trespasser or licensee and thus was no longer due the “high duty of care” standard.
Strict Liable Negative Merck & Co. v. Garza Facts: A licensed doctor prescribed the drug Vioxx (a Merc Product) for Mr. Garza who sought a diagnosis for pain and numbness in his arm pain. Mr. Garza developed blood clots and died after three weeks of treatment. Case:His family filed a wrongful death suit alleging defective design and marketing of the drug. Findings: The design defect claim was denied on appeal. For Strict Liability to apply in this type of case, the family had to prove both Direct and Proximate causation. There was no way to definitively prove that the drug caused Mr. Garza’s specific blood clots. Finis!