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dynamic business law essentials 3e 2016 chapter 07

Chapter 7
Tort Law

© 2013 The McGraw-Hill Companies, Inc. All rights reserved.

Copyright © 2016 McGraw-Hill Education.  All rights reserved.

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Chapter 7 Case Hypothetical
Officers Jones and Henderson are well-respected police officers in the Woodlawn
community. 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, Jones and Henderson observe an individual sleeping on a park bench in
the town square. The individual is Fred Ames, a homeless person known in the
community for his trouble with alcohol and illicit substances. Ames has a twenty-year
history of bad choices and bad luck, and most in Woodlawn “know his story.” Woodlawn
does not have a law against vagrancy or homelessness.
Determined to “clean up” the downtown area, the officers demand that Ames seat himself
in the back of the squad car. Reluctantly, and without the use of force on the part of

Jones and 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 until he “cleans up his act once and for all.”
Have Officers 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?
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Chapter 7 Case Hypothetical
When Olivia P. Rae talks, people listen. As a talk show host on her nationally-syndicated television
program, “The ‘O’ Show,” Olivia reaches approximately thirty (30) million viewers each week. Her
dedicated viewers are collectively referred to as “Olivia’s Militia,” and most of her viewers wait for
Olivia’s on-air blessings before deciding what to read, how to vote, and more generally, how to think.
One of her recent programs has Olivia in “hot water.” Olivia devoted her September 30 episode to a
food-borne illness commonly referred to as “crazy chicken” disease. During the past two years,
approximately fifty (50) people in the United States had developed physical symptoms after eating
undercooked, diseased chicken. Apparently, chickens had developed the disease after eating
substandard feed, and consumers had been affected in the food chain. Common symptom included
muscle contractions, nausea and diarrhea, and less-than-caring individuals, many skeptical of the
disease’s legitimacy, referred to these symptoms as “The Chicken Dance.”
During the September 30 episode of “The ‘O’ Show,” Olivia interviewed a medical doctor. Dr. Tyson
Fowler, who said that in his opinion, chicken was not safe for human consumption. In response,
Olivia had said “Doctor Fowler, if that is the case, I will never eat chicken again.”
Hearing of this episode, the United Poultry Growers Association sued Olivia and “The ‘O’ Show,”
claiming commercial disparagement (the commercial equivalent of defamation.)
Are the defendants Olivia and “The ‘O’ Show” liable for commercial disparagement?

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Tort
Definition: A civil wrong or injury to
another, other than breach of contract,
giving the injured party the right to bring a


lawsuit against the wrongdoer to recover
compensation for economic and/or
physical damages

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Goals of Tort Law
•Provide compensation for injured parties
•Maintain order in society by discouraging
private retaliation by injured parties
•Give citizens a sense that they live in a
just society

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Classification of Torts
•Intentional Torts—Occur when defendant takes
action intending that certain consequences will
result, or knowing they are likely to result
•Negligent Torts—Occur when defendant acts in a
careless way that subjects other people to an
unreasonable risk of harm
•Strict Liability Torts—Occur when defendant
undertakes an “inherently dangerous” action (an
action that cannot be undertaken safely, no matter
what precautions the defendant takes)
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Intentional Torts (Against Persons)
•Assault
•Battery
•Defamation

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Assault
Definition: Situation when one
person places another in
fear/apprehension of immediate,
offensive bodily contact

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Battery
Definition: An intentional, unwanted,
offensive bodily contact

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Defenses Available to the Defendant
in a Battery Lawsuit
•Consent
•Self-Defense
•Defense of Others
•Defense of Property
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Defamation
Definition: The intentional
publication (communication to a third
party) of a false statement harmful to
an individual’s reputation

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Types of Defamation
•Libel

-Definition—Defamation published
in permanent form, such as in a
magazine or newspaper
•Slander

-Definition—Defamation made orally

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Intentional Torts (Against Property)
•Trespass to Realty
•Private Nuisance
•Trespass to Personal Property
•Conversion
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Trespass to Realty
Occurs when a person intentionally:
•Enters the land of another without permission;
•Causes an object to be placed on the land of
another without the landowner’s permission;
•Stays on the land of another when the owner
tells him/her to depart; or
•Refuses to remove something he/she placed
on the property that the landowner asked to be
removed
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Private Nuisance
Definition: A situation when a person
uses his/her property in an
unreasonable manner that harms a
neighbor’s use or enjoyment of his/her
property

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Trespass to Personal Property
Definition: A temporary exercise of
control over another’s personal
property, or interference with the true
owner’s right to use the property

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Conversion
Definition: A situation that occurs when
a person permanently removes
personal property from the owner’s
possession and control

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Intentional Torts (Against Economic
Interest)
•Disparagement
•Intentional Interference With Contract
•Unfair Competition
•Fraudulent Misrepresentation
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Disparagement
Definition: A false statement of
material fact resulting in damage to a
business’s or product’s reputation

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Intentional Interference With Contract
(Elements)
•A valid and enforceable contract between
two parties;
•Defendant knew of the existence of the
contract and its terms;
•Defendant intentionally undertook steps to
cause one of the parties to breach the
contract; and
•Plaintiff injured as a result of the breach of
contract
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Unfair Competition
Definition: A tort against economic
interests that occurs when the
defendant unreasonably interferes with
the plaintiff’s opportunity to earn a
profit

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Fraudulent Misrepresentation
(Elements)
•The defendant knowingly, or with reckless
disregard for the truth, misrepresented
material facts and conditions;
•The defendant intended to have another
party rely on the misrepresentation;
•The plaintiff reasonably relied on the
misrepresentation; and
•The plaintiff suffered damages because of
reliance on the misrepresentation
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Negligence
Definition: The failure to exercise
reasonable care to protect another’s
person or property, causing an
unreasonable risk of harm to others

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Elements of Negligence
•Duty
•Breach of Duty
•Causation (Actual and Proximate)
•Damages
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Res Ipsa Loquitur (“The Thing
Speaks For Itself”)
Elements:
•The event was a kind that ordinarily does not
occur in the absence of negligence;
•Other responsible causes, including the
conduct of third parties and the plaintiff, have
been sufficiently eliminated; and
•The indicated negligence is within the scope
of the defendant’s duty to the plaintiff
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