Torts Presentation

Pop Quiz:
A tort is which of the following:
Surfer slang for “tortilla”
A really old French word
Short for torture
Having to do with Civil or implied Rights
An act or omission which unlawfully violates
a person’s right created by law and for which
the appropriate remedy is a common law
action for damage by the injured person.
(Ambulance Chasers and Playground
•From French
•Civil law (civil rights)
•On purpose
•Damages / Compensation
A tort is different from a crime and emanated
from a separate and distinct body of law.
Exemplary or Punitive Damages
Damages requested and/or awarded in a
lawsuit when the defendant's willful acts were
malicious, violent, oppressive, fraudulent,
wanton or grossly reckless. (
cause harm
Intentional or unintentionally
Intentionally doing something malicious, and
expressly knowing that it is not in someone’s
best interest.
An ex-husband trashes his former wife's auto
and threatens further property damage.
Neither expected, nor intended but a
reasonable person could have expected or
intended the harmful results. (645)
Preventable accident
Failure to exercise an appropriate standard of
Causal connection between the act and the injury
Reasonable Person
Breach of Duty
Failure to satisfy ethical, legal, or moral
obligations, specially where someone has a
corresponding right to demand the
Focusing somewhere else
Standard of Care
A legally recognized duty requires the actor to
conform to a certain standard to conduct or
Different for adults vs. children
The standard of care of the woodshop
teacher is greater that that of the librarian.
Quiz Section:
Who can end up in court and why?
Who are the potential defendants?
Who are the potential plaintiffs?
What would the plaintiff try to show?
What would the courts look at?
Which is an example of a Tort?
Speeding ticket
An Injury
Being pushed
Tripping over an extension cord
Click me!
Spears v. Jefferson Parish
School Board
In this case, a PE teacher
played a practical joke on a
kindergarten student by
pretending to have killed two
of his classmates for
misbehaving. The district
was found liable for tort
damages for emotional
Fallon v. Indiana Trail School
In this case, a sixth grade student suffered a spinal injury
incurred on a trampoline during P.E. The student had
been adequately spotted and supervised. The parents
decided to sue the district saying that the trampoline was
inherently dangerous and therefore subject to the strict
liability standard of tort. The courts found for the school
district, saying that the trampoline was not abnormally
Brown v. Tesack
In this case, two teenage boys found partially
filled cans of an extremely flammable liquid in
a school’s dumpster during summer recess
and used them to start fires in their housing
project. One of their neighbors was injured,
taking a fireball to the chest. The school
district was found liable of neglect for breach
of duty and reasonable care in disposing of
the fluid.
Brownell v. Los Angeles Unified School
In this case, a student was shot and
wounded by gang members after
school hours and on a street
adjacent to school property. The
district was found not guilty of
negligence because it was found
that there was no way the incident
could have been foreseen, thus
prevented, and fulfilled its duty of
reasonable care.
Johnson v. School District of Millard
In this case, a first grader endured a cut requiring 50
stitches after being thrown into a bookcase while playing
London Bridge is Falling Down in music class. The teacher
was not watching the children when the accident happened
and was in fact writing on the blackboard. The court found
that the teacher was guilty of negligent supervision and a
reasonably prudent teacher could have foreseen injury.
Richard v. Corvallis Public School District No. 1
In this case, a parent walked her son into school to
excuse his tardiness. On the way back to her car (taking
the same path as before), she slipped and fell on the
snowy path and sustained injuries. The court held that
the school did not breach its duty to maintain premises in
reasonably safe condition and could not have anticipated
the injury. There were no hidden or lurking dangers.
Stein v. Asheville City Board of Education
In this case, a bus driver failed to notify principal about a
student’s conversation regarding robbery and murder
overheard on the school bus. The next day, the two
students robbed and shot Stein in the head causing
substantial injuries. The court held that no legal duty
existed due to the ability to control the students after
school hours when the shooting occurred and that the
attack was unforseeable.
Walmuth v. Rapides Parish School Board
In this case, a school district was
found not liable for a student injured in
a locker room fight. The court held
that the event was unforeseeable and
that the coach and Board had not
acted unreasonably by failing to
constantly supervise the students in
the back of the locker room.
Stevens v. Chesteen
In this case, a student excused from P.E. due to a preexisting knee injury, was injured on the sidelines of a
game of touch football. The teacher was not present
and was in a storage shed, on the visitor side of the
field and not present at the time the injury occurred.
The courts found that the teacher had not neglected
his duty and a brief absence from class does not
constitute a breach of duty of reasonable supervision.
Funston v. School Town of Munster
In this case, a spectator was injured when he fell from a
set of bleachers after leaning back (the bleachers had no
back and were not pushed against a wall). The court
found that the spectator’s conduct fell below the standard
to which he should conform for his own protection and
safety and was therefore, contributorily negligent and
such negligence was a proximate cause of his injuries.
Hutchison v. Toews
In this case, a fifteen year old student was
injured while using an explosive built with
materials taken from school. The court
found him to be contributorily negligent
because he had knowledge of the risk.
Aaris v. Las Virgenes Unified School District
In this case, a cheerleader injured her knee performing a
gymnastic stunt (cradle) at cheer practice. She had
received adequate training in safety and knew the risk.
The court held that under the doctrine of primary
assumption of risk a cheerleader is barred from recovery
for damages in negligent action.
Hammond v. Board of Education of Carroll
In this case, a female football player who
was injured claimed that the school district
was liable because it failed to warn her of
the inherent risks of playing. The courts
found that she assumed the normal,
obvious risks of injury in choosing to play
tackle football.
Wagenblast v. Odessa School District No. 105-157-166
This case found that school districts cannot exculpate
themselves from liability for negligence by requiring parents
to sign a release. The act is invalid and violative of public
policy. The only time it would be valid is if it meets the “6”:
the agreement concerns an endeavor of a type suitable for
public regulation, the organization is performing a great act of
service, the party will perform the service for any member of
the public, the party possesses a decisive advantage of
bargaining strength, the party confronts the public with a
standardized adhesion contract and the public seeking
services must be placed under the control of the furnisher of
the services.
Donohue v. Copiague Union Free School
In this case, the plaintiff states that even though he
received a certificate of graduation, he lacks even
rudimentary skills to fill out job applications and charged
the district with educational malpractice. The court held
that educational malpractice is not a cognizable cause of
action in tort law and that the plaintiff should have taken
advantage of the administrative processes available.