Torts: Intent

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memoryl0ss
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Torts: Intent

Postby memoryl0ss » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:15 pm

Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance

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swc65
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby swc65 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:18 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance



Hmm. I am going to give this a shot. But, FYI, I have drank away most of my first year classes (intentionally) over the summer.

Intent can be intend the consequence or acting and knowing the consequence is substantially certain. (I might also be mixing up crim and torts). So TTFWIW.

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Iceman389
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby Iceman389 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:20 pm

Assuming talking about torts, from the restatement: person acts with the intent to produce a consequence if: (a) the person acts with the purpose of producing that consequence, or (b) the person acts knowing that the consequence is substantially certain to result."

One could atleast make a strong argument for the intent requirement being fulfilled in the case of your hypo

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Naked Dude
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby Naked Dude » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:20 pm

--ImageRemoved--

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TTH
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby TTH » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:20 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


It's not battery. I don't know if I'm about to correctly state all the elements of battery because I'm too lazy to pull up my old torts outline, so if I recall correctly, it's something like

an act intending to cause contact or an apprehension of harmful or offensive contact and contact actually occurring directly or indirectly as a result of the act.

In your second hypo, you still don't have the intent element. Your standard of care for negligence might go up since the park is crowded, but you're not at negligence yet. So don't worry about it.

intent is different than intent in the criminal world. "Knowingly" is not a concept in intentional torts. Checked my outline. Knowing to a substantial certainty counts for intent. I was wrong. I still wouldn't say your hypo is battery tho

CanuckObserver
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby CanuckObserver » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:43 pm

:roll:

Another example of the blind being willing to be led by the other blind.

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ilovesf
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby ilovesf » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:48 pm

Fellow 1L here, I probably don't have a great answer but I like torts a lot so far so I'll take a shot. We just covered battery in my class last week so I'm a bit fresh on the subject. In Wagner v. State the court decides that battery does not require intention to commit a harmful or offensive contact, it merely requires the intent to commit an act, and that the act then resulted in something deemed harmful or offensive. In your second case, you could reasonably argue that it is a battery because he intended to throw the ball, and even if he did not intend to hit someone, the act of the throw still resulted in something harmful or offensive. We can also refer to case Nelson v. Carroll and case Norman v. Insurance Co. of North America, in the latter someone shot the ground, and the bullet ricocheted off the ground and hit someone. He was still liable because there were people in the room and so there should have been a reasonable expectation that someone would get hit with a bullet when shooting a gun. You could stretch a parallel and say if you're throwing a ball in a park completely packed with people, there could be a reasonable expectation that someone might get hit. So I guess ultimately it depends what definition of the term battery you choose. One where you need to intend harmful/offensive contact, or one where you just need to intend a contact, and that contact then is harmful/offensive. I think you can make a case for either but you just have to make sure to state your definition first. The real answer though is probably something like "it depends... that is for the jury to decide." (I'm really tired of hearing that by now)

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Iceman389
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby Iceman389 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:57 pm

memoryl0ss wrote: I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.


Disclaimer: 1L 3 weeks of Torts done but finished with Intentional Torts so take this with a grain of salt

I don't think you could make the argument that the elements of battery have not been fulfilled since you have
1) Act (you threw the ball)
2) Intent (Substantial certainty it would occur since a lot of people were walking around that corner)
3) Harmful or Offensive contact (Getting hit with a tennis ball would most likely qualify in my opinion)

As for defenses, you could perhaps make the argument that the person that got hit consented to it and therefore no battery because of the "implied license" of the park a la Vosburg and the implied license of the playground part of the opinion but thats just dicta from a case at the end of the 19th century so not sure how much weight it could hold

target
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby target » Tue Aug 30, 2011 8:58 pm

Iceman389 wrote:Assuming talking about torts, from the restatement: person acts with the intent to produce a consequence if: (a) the person acts with the purpose of producing that consequence, or (b) the person acts knowing that the consequence is substantially certain to result."

One could atleast make a strong argument for the intent requirement being fulfilled in the case of your hypo


+1

Someone can argue your second case is a battery case. Someone can even argue your first case is a battery case if it is commonly known (according to jury) that people usually walk around the wall that you throw a ball at.

target
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby target » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:01 pm

Iceman389 wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote: I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.


Disclaimer: 1L 3 weeks of Torts done but finished with Intentional Torts so take this with a grain of salt

I don't think you could make the argument that the elements of battery have not been fulfilled since you have
1) Act (you threw the ball)
2) Intent (Substantial certainty it would occur since a lot of people were walking around that corner)
3) Harmful or Offensive contact (Getting hit with a tennis ball would most likely qualify in my opinion)

As for defenses, you could perhaps make the argument that the person that got hit consented to it and therefore no battery because of the "implied license" of the park a la Vosburg and the implied license of the playground part of the opinion but thats just dicta from a case at the end of the 19th century so not sure how much weight it could hold


Then, there is a question whether the park in this case is similar to a school's playground.

ceereeus420
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby ceereeus420 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:21 pm

I believe it is battery, and the intent element is fulfilled by the "knowledge with substantial certainty" rule.

However, you would have a stronger argument if in a dual intent jurisdiction, where the plaintiff would have to prove your intent was to harm or offend. In a single intent jurisdiction, the intent only has to be an intent to contact, and what resulted was deemed harmful or offensive.

Also a 1L here with a week and a half of Torts in the book.

kaiser
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby kaiser » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:26 pm

memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.

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Iceman389
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby Iceman389 » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:36 pm

kaiser wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.


You. I like you. Thank you for that observation.

kaiser
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby kaiser » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:44 pm

Iceman389 wrote:
kaiser wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.


You. I like you. Thank you for that observation.


Np. Torts is all about specific wording and then breaking down ambiguous wording. Here, a specific threshold must be met and it clearly is not. This would only warrant a quick sentence or 2 of discussion to show your observation that "likely" isn't enough. Remember that, on an exam, saying that something need not be discussed is a skill that only the very best exam-takers possess. Far too many students read in details or sort of explicitly overlook certain details in order to do a "what if" analysis. Only do whatis necessary. If you come to a hypo like this on the exam, you need only explain why it is NOT a battery, and then move on knowing full well you need not delve into it further.

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Naked Dude
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby Naked Dude » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:45 pm

kaiser wrote:
Iceman389 wrote:
kaiser wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.


You. I like you. Thank you for that observation.


Np. Torts is all about specific wording and then breaking down ambiguous wording. Here, a specific threshold must be met and it clearly is not. This would only warrant a quick sentence or 2 of discussion to show your observation that "likely" isn't enough. Remember that, on an exam, saying that something need not be discussed is a skill that only the very best exam-takers possess. Far too many students read in details or sort of explicitly overlook certain details in order to do a "what if" analysis. Only do whatis necessary. If you come to a hypo like this on the exam, you need only explain why it is NOT a battery, and then move on knowing full well you need not delve into it further.


So in general when you're unsure you should bake in a discussion of ambiguities instead of making assumptions?

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D'Angelo
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby D'Angelo » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:47 pm

now I feel prepared for torts!...next semester...

kaiser
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby kaiser » Tue Aug 30, 2011 9:55 pm

@NakedDude - Noting the ambiguities is the first step and the most important step. That is where you cull through the details actually presented and note the paths you could take with it. I'm not saying you can't or shouldn't make assumptions about certain factors in order to continue on with an ambiguous analysis. If your reach some fork in the road and there is some ambiguity that allows it to go either way, you can certainly assume it will go one way or the other for X reason, and then move on. What I'm saying is that you shouldn't read in details or wording unless it is absolutely necessary to carry on with the analysis (something that would be completely unnecessary in OP's hypo). You don't turn "likely" into "knowledge of a substantial certainty", but you could perhaps delve into the possible intent of an action if the context is completely ambiguous (i.e. if all you know was that someone was throwing a punch, perhaps he was blindsiding someone at a bar, or maybe he was in a boxing match. Absent any detail about the circumstances, you would obviously have to read some details in to show you understand what would cause the punch to go down each "path", one being a battery, and the other not a battery).

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romothesavior
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby romothesavior » Tue Aug 30, 2011 10:18 pm

kaiser wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.

This. (Also a 2L who did well in torts)

random5483
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Re: Torts: Intent

Postby random5483 » Wed Aug 31, 2011 4:21 am

betasteve wrote:
romothesavior wrote:
kaiser wrote:
memoryl0ss wrote:Question about intent. Say I am throwing a tennis ball against a wall. The park is usually empty. Someone walks around the corner and I hit them with the ball. Intent is not satisfied for I did not intend to cause contact or apprehension of a contact. I believe that is correct.

My question pertains to this. Same situation as above but the park is packed. It is likely someone will walk around the corner and I will hit them. I know this. I continue to do it anyway and hit someone. Would intent be satisified in that case? Not on negligence yet. So if that would be the cause of action, I may need a bit of an explation on why not a battery.

Thank you all in advance


Disclaimer: 2L who received A in torts

You guys have missed the key words that most certainly preclude this from being a battery. Thinking that something is "likely" and having "knowledge of a substantial certainty" is NOT the same thing, and I remember my professor pulling this trick on the exam and then watching students incorrectly equate the two. One is a much higher degree than the other. Obviously there is no intent to harm, and unless there is knowledge of a substantial certainty that harm will occur (or that contact will occur if you want to split hairs about single vs. dual intent) then this cannot be a battery. There is nothing else to say given the specific wording of the hypothetical provided.

This. (Also a 2L who did well in torts)

Betasteve, J., concurring.



+1

Acting with purpose (or desire) for the consequence is one prong and substantial certainty is another. Substantial certainty requires something more than just a mere chance or likelihood of something happening. If your hypo was based on a multiple choice fact pattern, I would find a lack of intent. In an essay question, the substantial certainty prong is worth addressing (and dismissing).


Disclaimer: I booked my Torts class but I learnt this material a year back. I have a nasty habit of forgetting a lot of the details on topics after finals.




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