Ch.9 Torts (Business Law)

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What does the law of torts permit?
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It permits individuals and companies to recover from other individuals and companies for wrongs committed against them.
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What does the law of tort provide?
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Tort law provides rights and remedies for conduct that meets the elements required to establish that a wrong has occurred.
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What types of wrongs are governed by tort law?
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Civil, or noncriminal wrongs, that are not breaches of contract.
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What Latin word does tort come from? And what does it mean?
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Tort comes from the Latin word ‘tortus’, which means “crooked, dubious, and twisted,”
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What is a tort?
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A tort is an interference with someone’s person or property.
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Examples of tort?
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Entering someone’s house without his or her permission is an interference and constitutes the tort of trespass. Causing someone’s character to be questioned is a wrong against the person and it is the tort of defamation.
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What is the difference between a crime and a tort?
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A crime is a wrong that arises from violation of a public duty whereas a tort is a wrong that arises from a violation of private duty.
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For the person who experiences the direct harm?
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The act is called a tort.
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For the government, the same act is called?
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A crime.
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What happens if the act is both a crime and a tort?
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The government might prosecute the wrongdoer for a violation of criminal law, and the individual who experiences direct harm may recover damages.
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The law provides protection against these harms,
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In the form of remedies awarded after the wrongs are committed.
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What are the three types of torts?
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Intentional tort, negligence and strict liability.
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Intentional Tort
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Intentional torts are those that occur when wrongdoers engage in intentional conduct.
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An example of intentional tort
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Striking another person in a fight is an intentional act and would be the tort of battery and possibly also the crime of battery.
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Tort of negligence
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Careless actions, or actions taken without thinking through their consequences.
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An example of negligence
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Running a red light and hitting another car causing the driver to spin out of control and hit a streetlight. The driver who spun out of control can charge the person who ran the red light on person.
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In transmission of disease cases, depending on the facts,
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Both intentional torts and negligence theories may apply.
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Strict liability
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Is another type of tort that imposes liability without regard to whether there was any intent to harm or any negligence occurred. Strict liability is imposed without regard to fault.
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Why is strict or absolute liability imposed?
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It is imposed because the activity involved is so dangerous that there must be full accountability.
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An example of strict liability
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When a construction team is using explosives or dynamite to take down a building or a bridge. They are held with full accountability for the person, or persons or properties that get damaged in the process.
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Assault
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Is intentional conduct that threatens a person with a well-founded fear of imminent harm coupled with the present ability to carry out the threat of harm.
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Example of assault
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The angry assertion “I’m going to kick your butt” along with aggressive movement in the direction of the victim with the intent to carry out the threat is an assault, even though a third person intervenes to stop the intended action.
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Battery
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Is the intentional, wrongful touching of another person without that person’s consent. Thus the threat to use force is an assault and the actual use of force is battery.
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Example of battery
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When someone puts hands on you.
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Thus, a threat to use force is an______, and the actual use of force is the______.
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1) assault 2) battery
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True/False. The single action of striking an individual can be both a crime and a tort.
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True.
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False Imprisonment
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Is the intentional detention of a person without that person’s consent. The detention need not be for any specified period of time, for any detention against one’s will is false imprisonment.
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What is false imprisonment often called?
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It is often called the shopkeepers tort because so much liability has been imposed on store owners for their unreasonable detention of customers suspected of shoplifting.
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Shopkeepers privilege
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Permits the store owner to detain a suspected shoplifter based on reasonable suspicion for a reasonable time without resulting liability for false imprisonment to the accused customer.
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Intentional infliction of emotional distress (IIED)
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A tort involving conduct that goes beyond all bounds of decency and produces mental anguish in the harmed individual. This tort requires proof of outrageous conduct and resulting emotional distress in the victim.
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The right of privacy
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Tort of intentional intrusion into the private affairs of another.
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Invasion of privacy
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This actually consists of three different torts: (1) Intrusion into the plaintiffs private affairs. (2)Public disclosure of private facts. (3)appropriation of another’s name, likeness, or image for commercial advantage.
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Right of publicity
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The third tort from invasion of privacy.
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What are the elements for the right of publicity tort?
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The elements are: (1) appropriation of the plaintiffs name or likeness for the value associated with it, and not in an incidental manner or for a newsworthy purpose. (2) identification of the plaintiff in the publication. (3) an advantage or benefit to the defendant.
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Why was the right to publicity designed?
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It was designed to protect the commercial interest of celebrities in their identities.
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Commercial misappropriation of a name or likeness
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Some states refer to the right of publicity as this. They also provide two vehicles a plaintiff can use to protect the economic value of one’s name: a common law action or a statutory remedy.
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Defamation
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An untrue statement by one party about another to a third party.
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The elements for defamation
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The elements for defamation are: (1) a statement about a person’s reputation, honesty, or integrity that is untrue. (2) publication (accomplished when a third party hears or reads the defamatory statement); (3) a statement directed at a particular person; (4) damages that result from the statement.
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What element is required if the victim is a public figure?
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The element of malice, which means that what was said or written was done with the knowledge that the information was false or with reckless disregard for whether it was true or not.
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What is the defense to defamation?
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It’s the truth.
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True/False. If the statement is true, even if it is harmful to the victim, it is the tort of defamation.
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False. It would not be the tort of defamation.
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Slander
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An oral or spoken defamation.
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Libel
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Written (and in some cases broadcast) defamation.
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Absolute privilege
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Complete defense against the tort of defamation, as in the speeches of members of congress on the floor and witnesses in a trial.
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Some statements are privileged
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And this privilege provides a full or partial defense to the tort of defamation.
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An example of absolute privilege
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Members of congress enjoy an absolute privilege when they are speaking on the floor of the Senate or the House because public policy requires a free dialogue on the issues pending in a legislative body. The same applies to a witness in court proceedings who has information to come forward and testify.
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Where a witness is granted immunity from prosecution testifies before a governmental agency,
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the witness is entitled to immunity from defamation cases.
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Qualified privilege
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Media privilege to print inaccurate information without liability for defamation, so long as a retraction is printed and there was no malice.
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Qualified privilege in the workplace
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A qualified privilege to make a defamatory statement in the workplace exists when the statement is made to protect the interests of the private employer on a work related matter, especially when reporting actual or suspected wrongdoings.
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Slander of title
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Malicious making of false statements as to a seller’s title.
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Trade libel
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Written defamation about a product of service.
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Product disparagement
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Slander of title and trade libel are known as product disparagement which occurs when someone makes false statements about another business, is products or it’s ability.
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The elements of product disparagement are:
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(1) a false statement about a particular business product or about its service in terms of honesty, reputation, ability, or integrity; (2) communication of the statement to a third party; and (3) damages.
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Contract interference
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Or (the tortious inference with contracts). Tort in which a third party interferes with other’s freedom to contract.
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While the elements required to establish the tort of contract interference is complex, a basic definition is:
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That the law affords a remedy when a third party intentional causes another to break a contract already in existence.
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Trespass
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unauthorized action with respect to land or personal property.
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Trespass to land
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Any unpermitted entry below, on, across, or above the land of another.
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Trespass to personal property
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The invasion of personal property without permission from the owner.
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The first element of negligence is:
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Duty.
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What is duty?
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There is a general duty of care imposed to act as a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances.
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Malpractice
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When services are not properly rendered in accordance with commonly accepted standards; negligence by a professional in performing his or her skill.
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To avoid liability for malpractice
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A professional must perform his or her skill in the same manner, as, and at the level of, other professionals in the same field.
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The second element of negligence:
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Breach of duty.
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Breach of duty
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Was imposed by statute or by the application of the reasonable person standard.
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The third element in negligence:
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Causation.
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Contributory negligence
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Negligence of the plaintiff that contributes to injury and at common law bars from the defendant although the defendant may have been more negligent than the plaintiff.
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Joint and several liability
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Each defendant may be held liable to pay the entire judgement.
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Concerning torts and crimes, choose the correct statement: a) every tort is a crime. b) every crime is a tort. c) no crime is a tort. d) a crime may also be a tort.
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d) a crime may also be a tort
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John owed Barney money. Barney called John’s home several times per day for five weeks asking for repayment, with some of the calls coming after midnight. Barney might be liable for: a) defamation. b) wrongful interference with a contract. c) intentional inflection of emotional distress. d)trespass.
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c) intentional inflection of emotional distress.
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Which of the following is a defense to defamation? a) slander b) libel c) truth d) none of the above
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c) truth
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True/False. Some individuals are not subject to tort liability for defamation.
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True. Some statements are privileged; that, is there is a full or partial defense to defamation. Members of Congress, for example, when speaking on the House floor are absolutely immune from defamation so that there can be a free flow in ideas and information.
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True/False. Negligence can be proven without showing actual damage.
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False. For a plaintiff to prevail in negligence, she must prove that she or her property was actually damaged.
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True/False. Truth is generally an absolute defense to defamation.
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True. Truth is generally an absolute defense to defamation because the tort of defamation requires an “untrue” statement as one of the elements of the tort.
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True/False. Strict liability commonly arises in situations in which a statutory duty is imposed or in product liability.
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True. Strict liability arises in a number of different circumstances, but the most common are in those situations in which a statutory duty is imposed and in product liability.
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True/False. A store owner or employee may detain a customer for a reasonable time even if the customer has not shoplifted.
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True. The shopkeeper’s privilege gives a store owner the right to detain a suspected shoplifter for a reasonable time if there is reasonable cause, regardless if the customer has taken anything.
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Slander of title and trade libel are collectively known as product __________.
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Disparagement.
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In a claim for negligence, the plaintiff must show the defendant breached a reasonable duty of care, which is:
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A reasonably prudent person, not any person.
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Generally, torts arise from a violation of a ________ duty.
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Private. A tort arises from the violation of a private duty to our neighbor. For example, we have the private duty to tell the truth about our neighbor. Violation of that duty may give rise to the tort of defamation.
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Torts can be classified as:
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Intentional, negligence, and strict liability. Examples include the intentional tort of defamation, negligence tort of malpractice, and the strict liability tort of product liability.
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To successfully defend a claim of false imprisonment, a merchant must show:
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The merchant acted based on reasonable suspicion.
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An absolute privilege is available as a defense to slander liability when:
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A witness testifies in a court proceeding.
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Comparative negligence:
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Allows a comparison of negligence between plaintiff and defendant.
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A shopkeeper may lose the shopkeeper’s privilege if:
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The customer is kept an unreasonable amount of time.

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