Torts Q

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jjamesChess
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Torts Q

Postby jjamesChess » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:30 pm

Curious as to responses to this short torts question:

Suppose that A and B have been working together for several years. Both A and B play practical jokes on each other while working. A knows that B is afraid of spiders. One day, A places a large fake spider in a drawer of B's desk. Before B gets back to his desk, C goes to B's desk looking for something, opens the desk drawer, and sees the fake spider. Upon seeing the spider, C jumps back at the sight of it, trips, and breaks her ankle.

Is A liable to C for battery?

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:34 pm

So C is rifling through B's personal property without consent?

Edit - also, you do know battery requires a touching of some sort, I hope.
Last edited by kalvano on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:41 pm, edited 1 time in total.

dakatz
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Re: Torts Q

Postby dakatz » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:39 pm

Battery? Absolutely not. If anything, this is a question of whether or not an assault occurred. But certainly not an issue of battery. And even on the assault issue, the case is very weak for a number of reasons. Go through the elements:

1. Act - Putting spider in drawer
2. Intent to cause apprehension of an imminent harmful or offensive bodily contact

Does opening a drawer and seeing something unappealing and gross create an apprehension of imminent contact from such a thing? I don't think so. Also, you mention that A knew B was particularly scared of spiders. But C is just a member of the general public. This particular sensitivity to spiders likely doesn't apply to him as well. For all we know, most people are not offended or scared by the sight of insects or spiders.

3. Causation - Sure, seeing the spider caused C to be scared and fall back
4. Results in reasonable apprehension of imminent harmful/offensive bodily contact

Again, was C reasonable in thinking that the spider was about to come into contact with him? If he opened the drawer and saw something unsavory in there, what makes it reasonable to believe that the spider was going to come into contact with him?
Last edited by dakatz on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:51 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Charles Barkley
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Re: Torts Q

Postby Charles Barkley » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:43 pm

I would say no. There was no contact, directly or indirectly.

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joobacca
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Re: Torts Q

Postby joobacca » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:44 pm

jjamesChess wrote:Curious as to responses to this short torts question:

Suppose that A and B have been working together for several years. Both A and B play practical jokes on each other while working. A knows that B is afraid of spiders. One day, A places a large fake spider in a drawer of B's desk. Before B gets back to his desk, C goes to B's desk looking for something, opens the desk drawer, and sees the fake spider. Upon seeing the spider, C jumps back at the sight of it, trips, and breaks her ankle.

Is A liable to C for battery?


I haven't taken torts since last year. I wasn't really good at it either.

Battery is bringing about an offensive/harmful contact or something. This is kind of like the person poisoning coffee thing.

Maybe it's arguable that it was not intended as a harmful/offensive contact. First, because there wasn't an intent to make a contact. And I'm not sure there was substantial certainty that a h/o contact would occur. Second, A and B play pranks on each other, so the harmful/offensive thing might be a bit weaker.

But maybe C might argue some transfer of intent (???) and eggshell crap. Although A somehow wanted to get B, A actually got C. I'm not too familiar with the transfer of intent rule. Maybe this is like the classic example of throwing a rock at X when X is in a huge crowd, and the rock hits Y. I'm pretty sure intent transfers there. So if A-B intent can be established then maybe C can argue that this situation is similar, which is also like the poison coffee thing. And then maybe there's substantial certainty that an eggshell like C might react this way.

I think battery is kinda weak. But I don't know...

I think you should disregard this though. I just drank a bunch of coffee and going over evidence, so I don't know what I'm doing here...

mbutterfly
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Re: Torts Q

Postby mbutterfly » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:49 pm

Likely not. Battery is an intent to cause harmful or offensive contact with a person and that harmful or offensive contact directly or indirectly occurs. Three elements must be met: intent, harmful/offensive, and contact.

Intent is established by a desire or substantial certainty that an event will occur. It is unlikely that B either desired or substantially knew that contact would occur. There is also a jurisdictional split on intent. Did he intend for contact or did he intend for a harmful, offensive contact? In both instances, it is unlikely he desired or substantially was certain that either would occur.

Second, although C's tripping and falling is definitely harmful, offensive since he suffered injury and bodily harm, it alone does not establish battery.

Third, there was no direct contact between A & C. However, one may argue there was an indirect contact between C &

If the law does find intent, then that intent may transfer (under both common law and restatements) as a cause of action for battery to C.

So the issue really rests upon intent. Did B desire or substantially certain that contact or a harmful/offensive contact would occur? Likely not.

However, had B special knowledge or some reason to know that C had access to the drawer and also had a phobia or an especial aversion to spiders, the law may hold B to a higher standard (like putting peanuts in food while aware that someone has a peanut allergy and is likely to be eating from the food).
Last edited by mbutterfly on Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:54 pm, edited 1 time in total.

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Charles Barkley
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Re: Torts Q

Postby Charles Barkley » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:51 pm

mbutterfly wrote:Likely not. Battery is an intent to cause harmful or offensive contact with a person and that harmful or offensive contact directly or indirectly occurs. Three elements must be met: intent, harmful/offensive, and contact.

Intent is established by a desire or substantial certainty that an event will occur. It is unlikely that B either desired or substantially knew that contact would occur. There is also a jurisdictional split on intent. Did he intend for contact or did he intend for a harmful, offensive contact? In both instances, it is unlikely he desired or substantially was certain that either would occur.

Second, although A's tripping and falling is definitely harmful, offensive since he suffered injury and bodily harm, it alone does not establish battery.

Third, there was no direct contact between A & B. However, one may argue there was an indirect contact between B & A.

So the issue really rests upon intent. Did B desire or substantially certain that contact or a harmful/offensive contact would occur? Likely not. Especially in light of the relationship and past history between the parties, it is difficult to establish intent.

However, had B special knowledge or some reason to know that A had a phobia or an especial aversion to spiders, the law may hold B to a higher standard.

I think you're missing the fact that C was the one who saw the spider, not B.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:52 pm

Also, even if intent transferred, there was no intent to make a contact at all.

If A and B have a history of playing practical jokes on each other, then there is some implied consent.

And C shouldn't have been at the desk anyway. That isn't something A could be "substantially certain" about.

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Charles Barkley
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Re: Torts Q

Postby Charles Barkley » Sat Oct 16, 2010 1:54 pm

kalvano wrote:Also, even if intent transferred, there was no intent to make a contact at all.

If A and B have a history of playing practical jokes on each other, then there is some implied consent.

And C shouldn't have been at the desk anyway. That isn't something A could be "substantially certain" about.

QFT.

jjamesChess
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Re: Torts Q

Postby jjamesChess » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:04 pm

A possible take?

A intended to cause immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact to B. (even if it was a joke, and thus arguably
not actionable because of past history, B would have likely experienced immanent apprehension)
Through transferred intent - (B to C), C experiences immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact.
Because of this immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact, C falls, breaks ankle.
(Transferred intent Assault to Battery) - as C has now experienced the effect of battery, and the intent element is satisfied with transferred intent

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APHill
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Re: Torts Q

Postby APHill » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:08 pm

Whether there was intent for a harmful or offensive contact is a question for the jury. Please keep in mind that intent includes:

- intent for the contact to occur or
-substantial certainty that the contact will occur

We can argue that P could have rummaged in his desk without looking and thus came in contact with the spider. This is substantial certainty that the contact will occur which takes care of intent element.

Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")

The second element takes care of transferred intent. E.g., you throw a stone at a dude, thinking he will dodge, but he did not... DEFINITELY BATTERY.

Another charge we can entertain will be intentional infliction of emotional distress. Two elements:

-outrageous act
-severe emotional distress

Pick the facts you have to either meet or not meet this two reqs for IIED.

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joobacca
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Re: Torts Q

Postby joobacca » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:10 pm

APHill wrote:Whether there was intent for a harmful or offensive contact is a question for the jury. Please keep in mind that intent includes:

- intent for the contact to occur or
-substantial certainty that the contact will occur

We can argue that P could have rummaged in his desk without looking and thus came in contact with the spider. This is substantial certainty that the contact will occur which takes care of intent element.

Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")

The second element takes care of transferred intent. E.g., you throw a stone at a dude, thinking he will dodge, but he did not... DEFINITELY BATTERY.

Another charge we can entertain will be intentional infliction of emotional distress. Two elements:

-outrageous act
-severe emotional distress

Pick the facts you have to either meet or not meet this two reqs for IIED.

i think this is good. i forgot that intent can go from one tort to another.

EDIT: i think IIED is pretty tough one to argue.

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APHill
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Re: Torts Q

Postby APHill » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:13 pm

joobacca wrote:
APHill wrote:Whether there was intent for a harmful or offensive contact is a question for the jury. Please keep in mind that intent includes:

- intent for the contact to occur or
-substantial certainty that the contact will occur

We can argue that P could have rummaged in his desk without looking and thus came in contact with the spider. This is substantial certainty that the contact will occur which takes care of intent element.

Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")

The second element takes care of transferred intent. E.g., you throw a stone at a dude, thinking he will dodge, but he did not... DEFINITELY BATTERY.

Another charge we can entertain will be intentional infliction of emotional distress. Two elements:

-outrageous act
-severe emotional distress

Pick the facts you have to either meet or not meet this two reqs for IIED.

i think this is good. i forgot that intent can go from one tort to another.

EDIT: i think IIED is pretty tough one to argue.


IIED - probably not - BUT DO NOT FORGET TO:

- discuss why it wont work in detail and follow the professor through your thinking process to get those sweet points.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:14 pm

jjamesChess wrote:A possible take?

1) A intended to cause immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact to B. (even if it was a joke, and thus arguably
not actionable because of past history, B would have likely experienced immanent apprehension)

2) Through transferred intent - (B to C), C experiences immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact.

3) Because of this immanent apprehension harmful/offensive contact, C falls, breaks ankle.

4) (Transferred intent Assault to Battery) - as C has now experienced the effect of battery, and the intent element is satisfied with transferred intent



1) That would be assault, not battery. Also, the history of practical jokes will likely be viewed by the court as "implied consent". And it's spelled "imminently".

2) "Transferred intent" would only apply A to C. But C was going through B's desk, a possibility A could not reasonable have foreseen given the facts we have. Intent requires substantial certainty.

3) No.

4) There was still no touching. An unwanted / unconesnted-to touching is the fundamental element of battery.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:16 pm

APHill wrote:Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")


The apprehension is assault, not battery.

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Charles Barkley
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Re: Torts Q

Postby Charles Barkley » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:18 pm

Some people have some studying to do. :o

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APHill
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Re: Torts Q

Postby APHill » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:19 pm

kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")


The apprehension is assault, not battery.


Both assault and battery have

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact

The only difference in restatement definition between the two is that assault leads to imminent apprehension and battery leads to contact.

No offense but open the restatements and read it and weep, buddy.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:27 pm

APHill wrote:
kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")


The apprehension is assault, not battery.


Both assault and battery have

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact

The only difference in restatement definition between the two is that assault leads to imminent apprehension and battery leads to contact.

No offense but open the restatements and read it and weep, buddy.


I misread it as you laying out the elements of battery, for which you would be missing the necessary touching. And there is no touching in this case. He specifically said "upon seeing the spider". He didn't say "upon rummaging through the desk drawer and pulling out the spider."

Read it and weep, asshole.

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Last edited by kalvano on Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:34 pm, edited 1 time in total.

Renzo
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Re: Torts Q

Postby Renzo » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:29 pm

Charles Barkley wrote:Some people have some studying to do. :o

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APHill
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Re: Torts Q

Postby APHill » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:33 pm

kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:
kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:Secondly, for battery intent may be to:

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact (my professor says restatement is wrong, it should be "apprehension of an imminent contact")


The apprehension is assault, not battery.


Both assault and battery have

- cause harmful or offensive contact or
- cause imminent apprehension of such contact

The only difference in restatement definition between the two is that assault leads to imminent apprehension and battery leads to contact.

No offense but open the restatements and read it and weep, buddy.


I misread it as you laying out the elements of battery, for which you would be missing the necessary touching. And there is no touching in this case.

Read it and weep, asshole.

--LinkRemoved--


Good luck on your exams!!! Tell your classmates I said they are some lucky bastards.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:35 pm

APHill wrote:Good luck on your exams!!! Tell your classmates I said they are some lucky bastards.



See edit above. He specifically said "upon seeing the spider, he jumped back at the sight of it", not "upon reaching in and rummaging through the desk."

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joobacca
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Re: Torts Q

Postby joobacca » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:41 pm

kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:Good luck on your exams!!! Tell your classmates I said they are some lucky bastards.



See edit above. He specifically said "upon seeing the spider, he jumped back at the sight of it", not "upon reaching in and rummaging through the desk."

again, i have to warn you all that it's been a year and i hated torts.

but the touching thing. i think you can set into motion some shit that leads to contact. it's like hitting a black guy's tray because you're a racist. or putting poison in a coffee for A to drink. maybe B ends up drinking it.

C sees the spider here. but there is H/O contact in the fall/injury. would it not be like seeing an old lady going sit down and yanking the chair? there's no "contact" in the sense of anything from the yanker to the old lady. but there's substantial certainty that the yanking will cause a H/O contact. perhaps putting a big ass spider in a certain location, and the surroundings of that location would be enough to establish sub cert to cause H/O contact. i'm just thinking out loud here.. i'm not saying this is a battery here, but to close it out without trying to explore bullshit arguments might cost you points.

kopper
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kopper » Sat Oct 16, 2010 2:59 pm

joobacca wrote:
kalvano wrote:
APHill wrote:Good luck on your exams!!! Tell your classmates I said they are some lucky bastards.



See edit above. He specifically said "upon seeing the spider, he jumped back at the sight of it", not "upon reaching in and rummaging through the desk."

again, i have to warn you all that it's been a year and i hated torts.

but the touching thing. i think you can set into motion some shit that leads to contact. it's like hitting a black guy's tray because you're a racist. or putting poison in a coffee for A to drink. maybe B ends up drinking it.

C sees the spider here. but there is H/O contact in the fall/injury. would it not be like seeing an old lady going sit down and yanking the chair? there's no "contact" in the sense of anything from the yanker to the old lady. but there's substantial certainty that the yanking will cause a H/O contact. perhaps putting a big ass spider in a certain location, and the surroundings of that location would be enough to establish sub cert to cause H/O contact. i'm just thinking out loud here.. i'm not saying this is a battery here, but to close it out without trying to explore bullshit arguments might cost you points.


I agree this is a transfer of intent case and I don't know that it qualifies as a battery however I think joobacca is on the right path. I was thinking of the same example of the kid removing the chair and the old lady falling down. Its not a definite case but as he warns there could be an argument made and likely a good one for battery. I would also question that "implied consent" is transferrable. If we were to remove C and the same thing happened but happened to B I think there is a case or argument for implied consent. However, I don't think there is any implied consent with C and I don't believe that it transfers as does intent.

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APHill
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Re: Torts Q

Postby APHill » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:13 pm

You guys know that the outcome of case is about 1% of your grade, right??? The remaining 99% is black letter law, spotting the issues and analysis.

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kalvano
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Re: Torts Q

Postby kalvano » Sat Oct 16, 2010 3:20 pm

You know this isn't an exam, right?




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