Torts...Not Just a Tasty Pastry

  • The study of civil penalties for actions that inflict harm on individuals/groups. A tort is "[a] civil wrong other than a breach of contract. Tort usually refers to the causing of damage to property or to a person's reputation, or harm to a person's commercial interests." --The Internet.
    • Torts are almost as much fun as the pastry for which they are named.
  • Common Torts and their Definitions
    • Assault
      • The Lemon Flavored Intentional Tort.
      • Not to be confused with the Criminal "Assault and Battery." Essentially, if you feel like you could have been legitimately and imminently hurt, you have been assaulted. After which, you may utilize your knowledge of the Rules of ENG Procedure and sue the bejeebies off of your assailant.
        • Example: Bill Clinton comes at Barack Obama with a "Vote Hillary" pin. After raising his arm high in the air, poised to strike out at his political enemy, Bill gently pins Obama's lapel. In the moment that Barack saw Bill raise his arm, if he reasonably believed that he was going to be injured, he was assaulted.
          • Note: Barack is a Harvard Law School graduate...and a sissy if he was afraid of a pin...in the hands of a Clinton.
    • Battery
      • Strawberry Tort
      • The usual follow-up to an assault. It is essentially an unwarranted, offensive contact.
        • High-fivin' the guy next to you at the game? Could be a Battery.
        • Grabbin' your brother around the shoulders in order to "hug it out?" Battery.
        • Head butting your teacher after receiving your grade in torts? Battery (but you could argue Self Defense/Defense of Others)
    • Trespass to Land
      • Vanilla Tort.
      • If you intend to be where you are not supposed to be knowing that you're not supposed to be there, you are trespassing. Capiche?
        • Used to jump across ol' man Waylan's fence in order to get to school early and soak up the extra reading time? Trespass.
        • Were you one of those kids who skiid out of bounds at Alta, even when the signs told you not to in big red letters and pictures of skiers with lightning bolts around them? Trespasser.
        • Liked to nibble on the neighbor's grass and bed down for the night near the mouth of the canyon? Trespassing deer.
    • Trespass to Chattels
      • Chattel Flavored Tort.
        • Still couldn't really tell you what a "chattel" is beyond being personal property. It's a fun word, though, and makes law-trained people sound smarter than everyone else. Therefore, it is a good word. Chattel this, chattel that. "I'll have a bit of the chattel, thank you! Ha ha ha..." etc.
        • Sizzled the neighbor kid's ant farm with a magnifying glass? Trespass to chattels.
        • Hurt your brother's chattel? Trespass to chattels.
    • False Imprisonment
      • Chocolate Flavored Tort.
        • Like chocolate, this tort often gives the tortfeasor (real word!) a chemical high similar to love, but not really love. It's simply holding someone against their will where they have no reasonable option of escape.
        • Remember locking the car door on your "longtime" girlfriend after a smokin' first date at the planetarium and library? Even though you paid for the Arbys, went halv-sies on the star show tickets, and you really did deserve some action, this is still false imprisonment.
    • Defamation
      • Creme Brule Tort.
        • I didn't study this. You won't study this in law school. Just don't say mean things about other people that aren't true and may sully their reputation. Defamation=Mud Slinging.
        • This tort is only illegal outside of political campaigns, high school love triangles, and law school talent shows.
    • Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress
      • Pineapple Tort.
        • Never heard of a pineapple tort being made? I've never heard of IIED being successfully argued either. Next tort.
    • Negligence
      • Complicated Flavor Tort.
        • Simply ask "Did the defendant owe the plaintiff a duty? If so, was that duty breached? If there was a breach of that duty, was there causation of the harm alleged? Finally, if the breach of the duty caused the injury, did a real injury occur?"
          • Within each question are a hundred little questions that need to be answered as well. Because of its complicated nature, this is a tort best left to professionals or Siegfried & Jensen.
          • Easy example: You left your rollerblades out near the fridge. While perusing the fridge for something to drink, your older sister is faced with a moral dilemma: how to decide between Sunny D and Purple Stuff? In the midst of her conundrum, your sister sagely opts for the Purple Stuff. Stepping backwards with her prize, she plants her weight on her left foot just as it goes down onto one of the rollerblades. Flipping up through the air, your sister spills Purple Stuff all over herself, ruining her tie-dye shirt and slap bracelet in the process.
            • You are negligent, both for placing your rollerblades near the door and for even having Purple Stuff in the fridge as an option. That poor girl.
    • Fraud
      • Money Flavored Tort.
        • Essentially, lying to someone to get them to give you money.
          • Politicians, businessmen, salesmen, teachers, televangelists, scientists, and Girl Scouts are all guilty of this tort pretty much all the time. Thin Mints, no matter what they tell you, will NOT make you thin.
        • If I convinced you to pay me money for the education rendered through this blog post, I would be defrauding you.
          • I accept personal checks, VISA, MasterCard, and American Express.
    • Nuisance
      • Asbestos Flavored Tort.
        • Any presence, individual, or condition that inhibits your ability to enjoy your property, your life, or your liberty.
        • Examples:
          • Oprah.
          • Red Lights.
          • The Great Salt Lake Stink.
          • Taxes.
          • Yellow Lights.
          • Shaun Hannity.
          • The New England Patriots.
          • Orange Cheese Flavored Popcorn.
Well, there's Torts in a nutshell. Basically, don't talk to, touch, or otherwise interact with other people, and you'll be fine. Of course, this is your bread and butter if you intend to become an attorney, so go ahead! Encourage others to interact!!! Their humanity will pave your driveway with BMWs and Hummers. And just for the record, words, no matter their content, cannot constitute a battery. I claim immunity!


Sam said...

Thanks for the Torts Outline, you are a charitable soul.

Kari said...

Desperately impressive and really funny. I'm glad I'm reading this again. :)

Cotter said...

that is so funny but very sad at the same time!