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This tort, which varies widely by state, prohibits the intentional interference with a valid and enforceable contract. If the defendant knew of the contract and then intentionally caused a party to break the contract, then the defendant may be liable. In oil giant Pennzoil made a bid for a smaller oil rival, Getty Oil. A competitor to Pennzoil, Texaco, found out about the deal and approached Getty with another bid for a higher amount, which Getty then accepted.


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Assault is any intentional act that creates in another person a reasonable fear or apprehension of harmful or offensive contact. A battery is a completed assault, when the harmful or offensive contact occurs. The intentional infliction of emotional distress IIED is extreme and outrageous conduct that intentionally causes severe emotional distress to another person. In some states, IIED requires a demonstration of physical harm such as sleeplessness or depression. This is a difficult tort to win because of its inherent clash with values embodied by the First Amendment. Fraudulent misrepresentation is any intentional lie involving facts.

Tortious interference is the intentional act of causing someone to break a valid and enforceable contract. When it happens, and it turns out that the reason was carelessness or a failure to act reasonably, then the tort of negligence The breach of the duty of all persons, as established by state tort law, to act reasonably and to exercise a reasonable amount of care in their dealings and interactions with others. All persons, as established by state tort law, have the duty to act reasonably and to exercise a reasonable amount of care in their dealings and interactions with others.

Breach of that duty, which causes injury, is negligence. Negligence is distinguished from intentional torts because there is a lack of intent to cause harm.

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If a pilot intentionally crashed an airplane and harmed others, for example, the tort committed may be assault or battery. When there is no intent to harm, then negligence may nonetheless apply and hold the pilot or the airline liable, for being careless or failure to exercise due care.


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Note that the definition of negligence is purposefully broad. Negligence is about breaching the duty we owe others, as determined by state tort law. This duty is often broader than the duties imposed by law. Colgan Air, for example, may have been fully compliant with applicable laws passed by Congress while still being negligent. In a way, the law of negligence is an expression of democracy at the community and local level, because ultimately, citizen juries as opposed to legislatures decide what conduct leads to liability.

To prove negligence, plaintiffs have to demonstrate four elements are present. First, they have to establish that the defendant owed a duty to the plaintiff. Second, the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty. Finally, the plaintiff has to demonstrate legally recognizable injuries.

First, the plaintiff has to demonstrate that the defendant owed it a duty of care. On the other hand, if you ran a stop sign, which then caused the other driver to drive into a ditch, you would owe that driver a duty of care. Another way to look at duty is to consider whether or not the plaintiff is a foreseeable plaintiff. In other words, if the risk of harm is foreseeable, then the duty exists.

Take, for instance, the act of littering with a banana peel. If you carelessly throw away a banana peel, then it is foreseeable that someone walking along may slip on it and fall, causing injuries.

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Under tort law, by throwing away the banana peel you now owe a duty to anyone who may be walking nearby who might walk on that banana peel, because any of those persons might foreseeably step on the peel and slip. An emerging area in tort law is whether or not businesses have a duty to warn or protect customers for random crimes committed by other customers. By definition, crimes are random and therefore not foreseeable. However, some cases have determined that if a business knows about, or should know about, a high likelihood of crime occurring, then that business must warn or take steps to protect its customers.

For example, in one case a state supreme court held that when a worker at Burger King ignored a group of boisterous and loud teenagers, Burger King was liable when those teenagers then assaulted other customers. Iannelli v. Burger King Corp. In another case, the Las Vegas Hilton was held liable for sexual assault committed by a group of naval aviators because evidence at trial revealed that the hotel was aware of a history of sexual misconduct by the group involved. The concept of duty is broad and extends beyond those in immediate physical proximity. In a famous case from California, for example, a radio station with a large teenage audience held a contest with a mobile DJ announcing clues to his locations as he moved around the city.

The first listener to figure out his location and reach him earned a cash prize. One particular listener, a minor, was rushing toward the DJ when the listener negligently caused a car accident, killing the other driver. During a negligence trial, the radio station argued that hindsight is not foreseeability and that the station therefore did not owe the dead driver a duty of care. The California Supreme Court held that when the radio station started the contest, it was foreseeable that a young and inexperienced driver may drive negligently to claim the prize and that therefore a duty of care existed.

Weirum v. RKO General , 15 Cal. Radio stations should therefore be very careful when running promotional contests to ensure that foreseeable deaths or injuries are prevented. The general rules surrounding when a duty exists can be modified in special situations. For example, landowners owe a duty to exercise reasonable care to protect persons on their property from foreseeable harm, even if those persons are trespassers.

If you are aware of a weak step or a faucet that dispenses only scalding hot water, for example, you must take steps to warn guests about those known dangers.

What is fraudulent misrepresentation?

Businesses owe a duty to exercise a reasonable degree of care to protect the public from foreseeable risks that the owner knew or should have known about. There are many foreseeable ways for customers to be injured in retail stores, from falling objects improperly placed on high shelves, to light fixtures exploding or falling due to improper installation, to customers being injured by forklifts in so-called warehouse stores.

One particular area of concern for businesses is liquid on walking surfaces, which can be very dangerous. Spilled product milk, orange juice, wine, etc. Business professionals such as doctors, accountants, dentists, architects, and lawyers owe a special duty to act as a reasonable person in their profession. Professional negligence by these professionals is known as malpractice Negligence committed by certain professionals.

The government estimates that between forty-four thousand and ninety-eight thousand people die each year in hospitals due to medical mistakes, the vast majority of them preventable. Once duty has been established, negligence plaintiffs have to demonstrate that the defendant breached that duty. A breach is demonstrated by showing the defendant failed to act reasonably, when compared with a reasonable person.

This reasonable person is never tired, sleepy, angry, or intoxicated. He or she is reasonably careful—not taking every single precaution to prevent accidents but considering his or her actions and consequences carefully before proceeding. The third element of negligence is causation. In deciding whether there is causation, courts have to consider two questions. First, courts query as to whether there is causation in fact, also known as but-for causation.

This form of causation is fairly easy to prove. If yes, then but-for causation is proven. The second question is tougher to establish. In asking this question, courts are expressing a concern that causation-in-fact can be taken to a logical but extreme conclusion. It would not be fair, however, to hold the truck driver liable for all the missed appointments and meetings caused by a subsequent traffic jam after the crash. At some point, the law has to break the chain of causation. The truck driver may be liable for injuries caused in the crash, but not beyond the crash.

This is proximate causation An act from which an injury results as a natural and direct consequence. In determining whether proximate cause exists, we once again use the foreseeability test, already used for determining whether duty exists. If an injury is foreseeable, then proximate cause exists.

If it is unforeseeable, then it does not. In some cases it can be difficult to pinpoint a particular source for a product, which then makes proving causation difficult.

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This is particularly true in mass tort A civil tort involving numerous plaintiffs against one or few defendants. For example, assume that you have been taking a vitamin supplement for a number of years, buying the supplement from different companies that sell it. After a while the government announces that this supplement can be harmful to health and orders sales to stop.

You find out that your health has been affected by this supplement and decide to file a tort lawsuit. Under the doctrine of joint and several liability A doctrine under which the plaintiff may pursue a claim against any party liable for the claim as if they were jointly liable, and defendants then sort out their respective proportions of liability.

You can simply sue one, two, or all manufacturers of the supplement, and any of the defendants are then liable for the entirety of your damages if they are found liable. This doctrine has been used in cases involving asbestos production and distribution. The final element in negligence is legally recognizable injuries. If someone has been injured, then damages may be awarded to compensate for those injuries. These damages take the form of money, as there is nothing tort law can do to bring back the dead or regrow lost limbs, and tort law does not allow for incarceration.

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The difference between criminal and civil fraud in Queensland

Money is therefore the only appropriate measure of damages, and it is left to the jury to decide how much money a plaintiff should be awarded. There are two types of award damages in tort law. The first, compensatory damages, seeks to compensate the plaintiff for his or her injuries.

Compensatory damages Compensation for actual injuries suffered by a plaintiff. They can also be awarded for past, present, and future losses.