Torts

Intentional Torts

BATTERY

(See, Restatement (Second) of Torts §§ 18, 21)

The essential elements of a claim for battery are:

1. Defendant intentionally did an act which resulted in a harmful or offensive contact with the plaintiff's person;

2. Plaintiff did not consent to the contact;

3. The harmful or offensive contact caused injury, damage, loss or harm to the plaintiff.

Offensive Contact--Defined

A contact with the plaintiff's person is offensive if it offends a reasonable sense of personal dignity. To be offensive, the contact must be of a character that would offend a person of ordinary sensitivity, and be unwarranted by the social usages prevalent at the time and place at which the contact is made.

Battery--Consent, Actual and Apparent

Consent is the actual or apparent willingness for conduct of another to occur.

Actual consent may be expressed in words or acts, or silence or inaction, when the circumstances or other evidence establish that the silence or inaction is intended to give consent; actual consent need not be communicated to the person making the contact.

Apparent consent exists when a person's acts or words, silence or inaction, would be understood by a reasonable person as intended to indicate consent, and are in fact so understood by the person doing the act resulting in contact. An honest but unreasonable belief that the other person is consenting to a contact does not constitute apparent consent.

Consent must be informed and freely given. Consent induced by fraud a substantial mistake, or duress is not freely given.

Self-defense--Defense Of Others

A person may use reasonable force to defend against harmful or offensive contact which he or she honestly and reasonably believes that another is about to inflict upon him or her. However, the person who acts in self defense may only use such force as reasonably appears necessary under the existing circumstances. If the person resisting a harmful or offensive contact uses excessive force, such person commits a battery as to such excessive force.

Words alone no matter how objectionable or insulting, do not give the offended person a right to use physical force against the person who uttered them.

FALSE IMPRISONMENT/ARREST-ESSENTIAL ELEMENTS

The essential elements of a claim for false imprisonment and false arrest are:

1. The defendant intentionally and unlawfully exercised force or the express or implied threat of force to restrain, detain or confine the plaintiff;

2. The restraint, detention or confinement compelled the plaintiff to stay or go somewhere for some appreciable time, however short;

3. The plaintiff did not consent to such restraint, detention or confinement;

It is not necessary to constitute false imprisonment that there be confinement in a jail or prison.

ABUSE OF PROCESS-DEFINED

An abuse of process is the misuse of the power of the court. It is an act done in the name of the court and under its authority by means of use of a legal process not proper in the conduct of a proceeding for the purpose of perpetrating an injustice.

The essential elements of such claim are:

1. That the defendant used a legal process in a wrongful manner, not proper in the regular conduct of a proceeding, to accomplish a purpose for which it was not designed;

2. That the defendant acted with an ulterior motive;

3. That a willful act or threat was committed by defendant, not authorized by the process and not proper in the regular conduct of the proceedings;

4. That the defendant's misuse of the legal process was a cause of injury, damage, loss or harm to the plaintiff.

Abuse Of Process - Mere Ill Will Is Not Improper Motive

Mere ill will against the adverse party in the proceeding in which the legal process was used does not constitute an ulterior or improper motive. Mere vexation or harassment are not sufficient objectives to constitute abuse of process.

INTERFERENCE WITH ADVANTAGEOUS RELATIONSHIPS

Inducing Breach Of Contract

The elements of inducing a breach of contract are:

1. A valid contract existed between plaintiff and a third party;

2. The defendant knew of the existence of this contract;

3. The defendant intentionally engaged in acts or conduct which induced the third party to breach the contract with plaintiff;

4. The defendant intended to induce a breach of such contract;

5. The contract was in fact breached;

6. The acts and conduct of the defendant which induced the breach caused damage to the plaintiff.

Negligent Interference With Prospective Economic Advantage

The essential elements of such a claim are:

1. An economic relationship existed between the plaintiff and a third party, containing a probable future economic benefit or advantage to plaintiff;

2. The defendant knew of the existence of the relationship and was aware or should have been aware that if he or she did not act with due care his or her actions would interfere with this relationship and cause plaintiff to lose in whole or in part the probable future economic benefit or advantage of the relationship;

3. The defendant was negligent, that is, failed to exercise due care; and

4. The negligence of the defendant caused plaintiff damage, namely, the relationship was actually interfered with or disrupted and plaintiff lost in whole or in part the economic benefits or advantage from the relationship.

Intentional Interference With Prospective Economic Advantages

The essential elements of such a claim are:

1. An economic relationship existed between the plaintiff and a third party, containing a probable future economic benefit or advantage to plaintiff;

2. The defendant knew of the existence of the relationship;

3. The defendant intentionally engaged in acts or conduct designed to interfere with or disrupt this relationship;

4. The economic relationship was actually interfered with or disrupted; and

5. The acts of the defendant which were designed to interfere with or disrupt this relationship caused damage to the plaintiff.

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