Business Law and Ethics Chapter 6: Torts and Strict Liability

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Tort
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a wrong
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Three types of torts
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1. intentional torts 2. unintentional torts 3. strict liability
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Intentional Torts
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requires that the defendant possessed the intent to do the act that caused the plaintiff’s injuries
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Assault
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(1) the threat of immediate harm or offensive contact (2) any action that arouses reasonable apprehension of imminent harm. Actual physical contact is unnecessary
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Battery
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: unauthorized and harmful or offensive direct or indirect physical contact with another person that causes injury.
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False Imprisonment
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: the intentional confinement or restraint of another person without authority or justification and without that persons consent
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Merchant protection statutes (shopkeeper’s privilege)
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: allow merchants to stop, detain, and investigate suspected shoplifters without being held liable for false imprisonment if (1) there are reasonable grounds for the suspicion (2) suspects are detained for only a reasonable time (3) investigations are conducted in a reasonable manner
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Misappropriation of the right to publicity (tort of appreciation)
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: an attempt by another person to appropriate a living person’s name or identity for commercial purposes without their consent.
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Invasion of the Right to Privacy
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: the unwarranted and undesired publicity of a private fact about a person. The fact does not have to be untrue.
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Defamation of character
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: False statement(s) by one person about another. In court, the plaintiff must prove that (1) the defendant made an untrue statement of fact about the plaintiff and (2) the statement was intentionally or accidentally published to a third party.
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Libel
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: a false statement that appears in a newspaper, letter, magazine, book, photo, movie, video, and so on.
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Slander
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: oral defamation of character
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Disparagement
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false statements about a character’s products, services, property, or business reputation
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Intentional misrepresentation (fraud or deceit)
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: the intentional defrauding of a person out of money, property, or something else of value
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Intentional infliction of emotional distress (tort of outrage)
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: a person whose extreme and outrageous conduct intentionally or recklessly causes sever emotional distress to another person is liable for that emotional distress.
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Malicious prosecution
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: a lawsuit in which the original defendant sues the original plaintiff. In the second lawsuit, the defendant becomes the plaintiff and vice versa
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Unintentional Torts (Negligence)
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: a person is liable for harm that is the forseeable consequence of his or her actions.
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Duty of Care
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: the obligation people owe each other not to cause any unreasonable harm or risk of harm
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Reasonable person standard
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: a test used to determine whether a defendant owes a duty of care. This test measures the defendants conduct against how an objective, careful and conscientious person would have acted in the same circumstances
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Reasonable professional standard
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: applies to defendants with a particular expertise
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Breach of the Duty of Care
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: a failure to exercise care or to act as a reasonable person would act
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Injury to Plaintiff
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: a plaintiff’s personal injury or damage to his or her property that enables him or her to recover monetary damages for the defendant’s negligence
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Actual Cause (Causation in fact)
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: The actual cause of negligence. Actual cause must be proven.
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Proximate Cause (Legal cause)
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: a point along a chain of events caused by a negligent party after which this party is no longer legally responsible for the consequences of his or her actions.
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Special Negligence Doctrines
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Professional Malpractice
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: professional who breaches their duty of ordinary care
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Negligent Infliction of emotional distress
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: permits a person to recover for emotional distress caused by the defendant’s negligent conduct
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Negligence per se
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: the violation of a statute or an ordinance constitutes the breach of the duty of care
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Res Ipsa Loquitur
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: the presumption of negligence arises because (1) the defendant was in exclusive control of the situation (2) the plaintiff would not have suffered injury but for someone’s negligence. The burden switches to the defendant to prove hat they were not negligent.
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Gross Negligence
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: says a person is liable for harm that is caused by his or her willful misconduct or reckless behavior. Punitive damages may be assessed.
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Attractive Nuisance Doctrine:
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imposes liability on a landowner to children who have been attracted onto the landowner’s property by an attractive nuisance and who are killed or injured on the property.
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Good Samaritan Law
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: relieves medical professionals from liability for ordinary negligence when they stop and render aid to victims in emergency situations.
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Defenses Against Negligence
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Assumption of the risk
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: defense that a defendant can use against a plaintiff who knowingly and voluntarily enters into or participates in a risky activity that results in injury.
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Contributory Negligence
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: says that a plaintiff who is particularly at fault for his or her own injury cannot recover against the negligent defendant.
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Comparative Negligence
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: damages are apportioned according to fault.
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Strict Liability and Product Liability
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Product liability:
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Products liability refers to the liability of any or all parties along the chain of manufacture of any product for damage caused by that product.
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Strict liability
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: makes those in the chain of distribution of a defective product liable for the damages caused by the defect.
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Chain of distribution
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: all manufacturers, distributors, wholesalers, retailers, lessors, and subcomponent manufacturers involved in a transaction
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Punitive damages
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: monetary damages that are awarded to punish a defendant who either intentionally or recklessly injured the plaintiff.
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Defect in manufacture
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: defect that occurs when a manufacturer fails to (1) assemble a product properly, (2) test a product properly (3) check the quality of the product adequately
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Defect in design
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: defect that occurs when a product is designed improperly
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Failure to Warn
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: defect that occurs when the manufacturer does not place a warning on the packaging of products that could cause injury if the danger is unknown
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Defect in Packaging:
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defect that occurs when a product has been placed in packaging that is insufficiently tamperproof
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The 4 Defenses to Product Liability
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1. Generally known dangers
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: a defense that acknowledges that certain products are inherently dangerous and are known to the general population to be so
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2. Abnormal misuse of a product
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: relieves a seller of product liability if the user misused a product abnormally
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3. Supervening event:
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alteration or a modification of a product by a party in the chain of distribution that absolves all prior sellers from strict liability
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4. Statute of Repose:
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limits the seller’s liability to a certain number of years from the date when the product was first sold.

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