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• LO8-1: How do we classify torts?
• LO8-2: What are some of the most common
intentonal torts and the elements needed to
• LO8-3: What types of damages are available in
Chapter 8 Hypothetical Case 1
• Bob Swaby, owner of Fire and Ice Heatng and Air Conditoning, and Ben Christanson, owner of
Thermostat Dreams HVAC, are bitter compettors. Both are determined to meet the heatng and
cooling needs of the small town of Valdese, North Carolina. For years, each business owner has
sought to outdo the other through price undercutting and other business practces, and tensions
between the two have grown.
Christanson's wife and children go on vacaton to Myrtle Beach, South Carolina while he stays
behind. During this tme, Swaby concocts a devious scheme. One night he calls Christanson,
disguising his voice and identfying himself as the head administrator at the Horry County, South
Carolina Coroner's Office. Swaby tells Christanson that his family has been murdered, and that he
must come to South Carolina to identfy the bodies and partcipate in the investgaton of their
deaths. Shocked and distraught, Christanson drives the six hours to Horry County, South Carolina.
There, Christanson discovers he has been the victm of a very twisted joke.
When he returns home, Christanson does not feel quite right. He has trouble sleeping, has
difficulty concentratng on his job, experiences bouts of anxiety, and often feels despondent. He
consults a psychiatrist, who diagnoses Christanson with a form of post-traumatc stress disorder.
• Assuming Christanson discovers that Swaby is the perpetrator of the prank, does Christanson
have an actonable civil claim against Swaby? If so, on what legal theory should the acton be
based, and what is the appropriate amount of monetary damages?
Chapter 8 Hypothetical Case 2
• When Sylvia Wood talks, people listen. As a talk-show host with her own natonally syndicated
television program, "The Sylvia Show," Wood reaches approximately thirty million viewers each
week. Her dedicated viewers are collectvely referred to as "Sylvia's Milita," and most wait
breathlessly for Wood's on-air blessings of products, people, and books.
One of her recent programs has Wood in hot water. Wood devoted her September 30 episode to a
food-borne illness commonly referred to as "crazy chicken" disease. During the past two years,
approximately fifty people in the United States have developed physical symptoms after eatng
undercooked, diseased chicken. Apparently, chickens have developed the disease after eatng
substandard feed, and consumers have been affected down the food chain. Common symptoms
include muscle contractons, nausea, and diarrhea.
During the September 30 episode of "The Sylvia Show," Wood interviewed a medical doctor, Dr.
Tyson Fowler, who said that in his opinion, chicken was not safe for human consumpton. In
response, Wood had said "Dr. Fowler, if that is the case, I will never eat chicken again."
Hearing of this episode, the United Poultry Growers Associaton sued Wood and "The Sylvia Show,"
claiming commercial disparagement (the commercial equivalent of defamaton.)
• Are the defendants Wood and "The Sylvia Show" liable for commercial disparagement?
• A wrong or injury to another, other than a
breach of contract
Purposes of Tort Law
• Compensate innocent injured persons
• Prevent private retaliaton by injured
• Reinforce vision of a just society
• Deter future wrongs
Classification of Torts
• Intentonal torts: Occur when defendant takes
acton intending certain consequences or
knowing they are likely to result
• Negligent torts: Occur when defendant acts in a
way that subjects other people to unreasonable
risk of harm
• Strict liability torts: Occur when defendant takes
acton that is inherently dangerous and cannot
ever be undertaken safely.
Common Intentional Torts
• Defamaton (published, libel; spoken, slander)
• Invasion of privacy (false light, public disclosure
of private facts, appropriaton for commercial
gain, and intrusion on an individual's affairs or
• False imprisonment
• Intentonal inflicton of emotonal distress
• Misuse of legal procedure
Common Intentional Torts
• Trespass to realty
• Private nuisance
• Trespass to personal property
Common Intentional Torts
Against Economic Interests
• Intentonal interference with contract
• Unfair competton
• Fraudulent misrepresentaton
Damages Available in Tort Cases
• Compensatory damages: An award that makes
plaintff whole (puts plaintff in same positon
he/she would have been in had tort not
• Nominal damages: A minimal amount that
signifies defendant's behavior was wrongful,
but caused no harm
• Punitve damages: Damages that punish
defendant and seek to deter such conduct in
Chapter 8 Hypothetical Case 3
• Officers Jones and Henderson are well-respected police officers in the town of Woodlawn.
They have been recognized, both within the police department and by the community, for
their outstanding service. While on patrol in downtown Woodlawn late one evening, they
observe a person sleeping on a park bench in the town square. The person is Fred Ames, a
homeless man known in the community for his trouble with alcohol and illicit substances.
Ames has a long history of bad choices and bad luck, and most in Woodlawn know him
well. Woodlawn does not have a law against vagrancy or homelessness.
Determined to clean up the downtown area, the officers demand that Ames get in the
back of the squad car. Reluctantly, and without the use of force on the part of Jones or
Henderson, Ames complies. Officers Jones and Henderson transport Ames to a rural area,
where they release him on a dark country road and warn him not to return to Woodlawn
untl he "cleans up his act once and for all."
• Have Jones and Henderson committed a tort against Ames? Are the officers within the
privilege of their authority in removing Ames from the downtown area? Did the officers
act unethically? Should Woodlawn implement a law against vagrancy/homelessness?
Chapter 8 Hypothetical Case 4
• Regina Farrow had worked for Door Chime Industries for 35 years, and her
colleagues decided to throw a party in her honor. Farrow had long been the person
in her office who was the first to celebrate and acknowledge her colleagues'
birthdays, anniversaries, engagements, and new babies, so they wanted to make
the party a surprise—a party that, for once, she didn't have to plan.
All the planning went off without a hitch, and Farrow didn't suspect a thing. When
she was called into the office on a Saturday afternoon unexpectedly, she became
worried that something was very wrong. As she opened the door, her colleagues
jumped out and yelled, "Surprise!" Just like that, Farrow dropped dead of a heart
• Farrow's family is devastated and plans a lawsuit against the company and the
individuals who planned the party. Is this situaton an intentonal tort? Why or why