Causation for Intentional Torts

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dakatz
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Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby dakatz » Tue Dec 14, 2010 8:29 pm

Hey guys, quick question came up while I was studying for torts. How do you analyze the causation element for battery/assault, etc? You don't break it down as you do in negligence (i.e. prox. and actual cause) do you? I thought that with intentional torts, you can be held liable even for the unforeseeable consequences of your actions, and thus prox. cause wouldn't even apply. So how do you tackle that causation element?

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Unitas
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby Unitas » Tue Dec 14, 2010 9:30 pm

Intentional Torts have:

Intent
Impact (Assault = Apprehension/Battery = Hamful or Offensive Impact/ False Imprisonment = Confinement/ IIED = Emotional Distress (Not transferred))
Harm

All but IIED can be transferred to any third party. Meaning, If I intend to cause you apprehension and instead cause a third party apprehension I assaulted them even though I had no intent to.

Elements of negligence aren't analyzed.

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GeePee
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby GeePee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:39 pm

I don't think the above is 100% correct. Let's say that you wind up to punch someone in the face, then you slip and fall into a bookcase, causing books to domino over and knocking a vase on someone's head. I think it would be pretty hard to say that was a battery.

I think causation in intentional torts is done from the viewpoint of substantial certainty. If there is substantial certainty that your specific action would cause harm once it occurred, then causation is satisfied.

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kswiss
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby kswiss » Tue Dec 14, 2010 10:51 pm

Don't get it mixed up. Causation in intentional torts just means that what you intended to do actually happened.

I can intend to batter you by swinging a baseball bat at the back of your head. Without that actual impact, there is no cause and no battery.

So intentional torts require both the intent (or substantial certainty) to create the harm, and the harm actually has to happen.

There aren't really complex causation issues in intentional torts like in negligence. So for an essay question, just mention that the intended harm occurred, so there is causation.

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Unitas
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby Unitas » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:08 pm

GeePee wrote:I don't think the above is 100% correct. Let's say that you wind up to punch someone in the face, then you slip and fall into a bookcase, causing books to domino over and knocking a vase on someone's head. I think it would be pretty hard to say that was a battery.

I think causation in intentional torts is done from the viewpoint of substantial certainty. If there is substantial certainty that your specific action would cause harm once it occurred, then causation is satisfied.


I'm sorry, I should have been more specifc it isn't a substantial certainty standard "substantially likely test is for when I start a chain of events and substantially certain is for the original intent, not transferred intent I believe - otherwise transferred intent would make no sense, I would never be substantially certain to hit someone I wasn't trying to hit," for transferred intent is when the action to transfer is an action of the same basic nature.

Another hypo: If you wind up to punch someone and he moves and I instead hit someone else on the head, it is likely to transfer my intent even though I was not substantially certain to hit him at all and is a battery.

Another where it crosses intentional from assault to battery, if I shoot at you intending to scare you even if privileged too, and the bullet hits you whereas my intent was only to scare you that intent now modifies battery. Brown v. Martinez. (This one changes the harm I wanted to do and I would not be substantially certain that I would shoot someone, the harm I intended was fear)

"I think we are all actually saying the same thing and like kswiss said intentional torts really are not that hard in practice. BTW, Hi GeePee. I hope all is going well."

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GeePee
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby GeePee » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:24 pm

Unitas wrote:
GeePee wrote:I don't think the above is 100% correct. Let's say that you wind up to punch someone in the face, then you slip and fall into a bookcase, causing books to domino over and knocking a vase on someone's head. I think it would be pretty hard to say that was a battery.

I think causation in intentional torts is done from the viewpoint of substantial certainty. If there is substantial certainty that your specific action would cause harm once it occurred, then causation is satisfied.


I'm sorry, I should have been more specifc it isn't a substantial certainty standard "substantially likely test is for when I start a chain of events and substantially certain is for the original intent, not transferred intent I believe - otherwise transferred intent would make no sense, I would never be substantially certain to hit someone I wasn't trying to hit," for transferred intent is when the action to transfer is an action of the same basic nature.

Another hypo: If you wind up to punch someone and he moves and I instead hit someone else on the head, it is likely to transfer my intent even though I was not substantially certain to hit him at all and is a battery.

Another where it crosses intentional from assault to battery, if I shoot at you intending to scare you even if privileged too, and the bullet hits you whereas my intent was only to scare you that intent now modifies battery. Brown v. Martinez. (This one changes the harm I wanted to do and I would not be substantially certain that I would shoot someone, the harm I intended was fear)

"I think we are all actually saying the same thing and like kswiss said intentional torts really are not that hard in practice. BTW, Hi GeePee. I hope all is going well."

Oh, hey. I don't think I'd ever realized that you'd changed names. Hope you're surviving finals.

dakatz
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby dakatz » Tue Dec 14, 2010 11:28 pm

Went and looked to the bigtime sources on the subject and it answered most of my questions, but thanks for your help guys. So the main conclusions I have are pretty much this:

--Defendant must still be the actual cause (but-for cause), but this will likely be easy to establish
--Proximate cause is a non-issue because liability extends to unforeseeable circumstances depending on the culpability of the act, and other factors in the discretion of the court.

Geist13
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby Geist13 » Wed Dec 15, 2010 12:14 am

its just cause in fact (but-for or substantial factor).

toolfan
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Re: Causation for Intentional Torts

Postby toolfan » Fri Dec 17, 2010 3:16 am

Geist13 wrote:its just cause in fact (but-for or substantial factor).


+1. it is but-for (more likely than not)

proximate cause only traces damages




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