BUL4310: Legal Environment Chapter 6: Tort Law and Cybertorts Tort Law Defined Tort - A private wrong that injures another person's physical well-being, emotional health, business, property, or reputation Tortfeasor - A person who commits a tort and has thus engaged in "twisted" behavior Tort Law versus Criminal Law One purpose of tort law is to compensate for the injured party's loss Another objective is to protect potential victims by deterring future tortious behavior Respondeat Superior Holds a business or organization liable for the torts of an employee whenever an employee commits a tort while working for that business or organization Also known as vicarious liability The Element of Duty Duty/- An obligation placed on individuals because of the law Intentional Torts Assault Occurs when the victim is placed in fear or apprehension of immediate bodily harm by a tortfeasor who has the present apparent ability to inflict that harm Battery - Involves an offensive or harmful, unprivileged touching False Imprisonment When one party prevents another party from moving about freely Defamation - Any false statement communicated to others that harms a person's good name or reputation Slander, libel Disparagement- involves any false statement communicated to others that somehow questions the quality of property or raises uncertainty as to who has legal ownership of that property Fraudulent misrepresentation Occurs when false statements or actions, or a combination thereof, are made by one party to rely on those misrepresentations and then suffers an injury or loss as a result. Civil Theft A lawsuit based on civil theft generally requires that the innocent victim demonstrate that the perpetrator intentionally took the victim's property in order to permanently or temporarily deprive the victim of that property Intentional Torts Intentional or reckless infliction of emotional distress Someone who intentionally or recklessly causes another individual to undergo emotional or mental suffering will be responsible, even without an accompanying physical injury
BUL4310: Legal Environment Chapter 6: Tort Law and Cybertorts The actions complained of must be extreme and outrageous and cause severe emotional suffering Misuse of legal procedure Occurs when one person brings a legal action with malice and without probable cause Wrongful civil proceedings Malicious prosecution Defenses to Negligence Contributory Negligence Involves the failure of the injured party to be careful enough to ensure his or her personal safety Comparative Negligence - Statutes that require courts to assign damages according to the degree of fault of each party Assumption of the risk - Involves the voluntary exposure of the victim to a known risk Strict Liability Grounds for strict liability Court will hold a tortfeasor liable for injuries to a victim even though the tortfeasor did not intend the harm and was not in any way negligent Generally applied when the harm results from an ultrahazardous or very dangerous activity Product liability Legal theory that imposes liability on the manufacturer and seller of a product produced and sold in a defective condition A product in defective condition is unreasonably dangerous to the user, to the consumer, or to property Cybertort Involves the invasion, distortion, theft, falsification, misuse, destruction, or exploitation of information stored in or related to electronic devices, including but not limited to desktop PCs, laptops, mobile phones, mainframe computers, phone cameras, tablets . and home computers that stand alone or are part of a computer network. Cyber-defamation - The communication of false and destructive information about an individual through the use of electronic devices Cyber-disparagement - Involves any false statement communicated to others on the Internet that in some way casts doubt on the quality if an item of property or a product offered for sale Cyber-invasion of privacy The unwelcome intrusion into private matters initiated or maintained by an electronic device Cyber-Invasion of Privacy: Privacy and Employees
BUL4310: Legal Environment Chapter 6: Tort Law and Cybertorts Employers should routinely remind their workers that all computer use is monitored by the information technology department Workers should use computers for work-related tasks only Cyber-Invasion of Privacy: Private Privacy and Public Privacy Private Information - Includes reports on personal matters, family relationships, sexual habits, employment records, medical data, and financial records There is concern over the publication of what is essentially public information or what has been termed public-privacy matters Cyber-Invasion of Privacy: Data Mining of Public Private Data The process of data mining takes place when a hacker: Links multiple strings of data together Develops a data package that the target considers a compilation of private information, despite the public sources from which the hacker composed the package Remedies for Torts Economic compensatory damages - Those that are directly quantifiable Noneconomic compensatory damages - Those that result from injuries that are intangible and, therefore, not directly quantifiable Punitive damages - Designed to punish the tortfeasor so that similar malicious actions are avoided by others Injunction A court order preventing someone from performing a particular act Survival Statutes Allow a lawsuit to eb brought even if both the plaintiff and the defendant are deceased Wrongful Death Statutes Preserve the right to bring a lawsuit only if the death is caused by the negligence or intentional conduct of the person who caused the death The Tort Reform Movement Statutes of repose establish a limit in years, usually but not necessarily 15 years, beyond which an injured party could not bring a lawsuit for an injury caused by a product Application of comparative negligence as an affirmative defense in some product liability cases A wrongful death action cannot be instituted by family members if the deceased recovered damages from the defendant in a prior lawsuit Cultural Paradigms and Balance in Tort Law
BUL4310: Legal Environment Chapter 6: Tort Law and Cybertorts A paradigm is an unchallenged world view that establishes the rules by which everyone in particular culture thinks, speaks, acts Reasons for preserving the current tort law paradigm The principle of collective sympathy The principle of apportioning the costs of an accident among the private actors in the drama that produced it Sovereign Immunity Ancient legal doctrine that holds that unless a nation-state grants its consent or waives its immunity, it cannot be sued Public duty doctrine - Public employees must be assured that they will not be sued if they make an error while on the job.