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Intentional Torts

The intentional torts that appear most frequently in contemporary tort litigation include battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress and conversion.

In general, liability attaches where the defendant’s intentional conduct invades an interest to which the law affords protection, provided that countervailing legal interests do not preclude liability. These countervailing interests are expressed as defenses or privileges, and generally reflect society’s judgment that a given invasion of a legally protected interest may be justifiable under certain circumstances.

Elements of Plaintiff’s Cause of Action

  • Battery – To state a cause of action for battery, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) intentional conduct on the part of the defendant which causes (2) harmful or offensive contact to the plaintiff (3) without the plaintiff’s consent, under circumstances in which (4) a reasonable person would be harmed or offended by the contact.
  • False Imprisonment – To state a cause of action for false imprisonment, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) conduct on the part of the defendant which is intended to confine the plaintiff within boundaries fixed by the defendant which (2) results in actual confinement of the plaintiff under circumstances in which the plaintiff is (3) aware of the confinement and (4) does not consent thereto.
  • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress – To state a cause of action for intentional infliction of emotional distress, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) extreme or outrageous conduct on the part of the defendant which is (2) intended to cause and does in fact cause severe emotional distress.
  • Conversion – To state a cause of action for conversion, the plaintiff must plead and prove (1) intentional conduct on the part of the defendant resulting in an (2) exercise of dominion or control over a chattel (3) without the plaintiff’s consent, which is (4) so serious that the actor may justly be required to pay the full value of the chattel.
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