Street Law: A Course in Practical Law

Chapter 19: Intentional Torts

Cases and Resources

Types of Damages
Torts that Injure Persons
Torts that Harm Property
Defenses to Intentional Torts

Types of Damages
Overview of Tort Damages
Read through this review of tort law and the types of damages available. Explain the difference between compensatory and punitive damages. What other types of damages are available?

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Torts that Injure Persons
Vosburg v. Putney
Read Vosburg v. Putney (1891), a case in which a schoolboy committed a battery by kicking another boy in the shin. The kick caused a much greater injury than the first boy intended, and eventually the injured boy loss the use of his leg. The first boy was held liable for battery, and had to pay damages for the entire extent of the injury. Do you think this is a fair outcome?

Recovery for Emotional Distress in Massachusetts
Learn more about the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress by reading one state's approach to recovery of damages for this tort. What types of actions can lead to an intentional infliction of emotional distress in Massachusetts? Read some cases and decide whether you agree with the decisions in those cases.

Basic Elements of Defamation Law
What are the basic elements of defamation law? What is the difference between libel and slander? Learn how to determine what makes something defamatory and how a defendant can defend himself or herself when sued.

New York Times v. Sullivan
In this case mentioned in your text, the Supreme Court held that statements made about public figures must be made with "actual malice" in order to constitute defamation. Read the full opinion or a summary of the case. What does the Court mean by "actual malice"?

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Torts that Harm Property
Department of Justice Statistics
Browse the statistics provided by the Department of Justice on torts involving property.

Read this explanation of the tort of trespass. Did you know that in some states, if a trespasser stays on someone else's land long enough, it could become theirs? Read about adverse possession , and check your state's laws governing this practice.

Dangers to Children: Attractive Nuisances
Beware of attractive nuisances and the danger they pose to children. Read this definition of attractive nuisances , then read this article about two seventeen year old boys who were injured while climbing on a parked railroad car. Should the rules governing attractive nuisances extend to teenagers?

United States Patent and Trademark Office
This site is especially for young people to learn about patents and trademarks. You can play games and explore information about patents, trademarks, and copyrights. How are these three types of property different? Intellectual property can be a complicated area of law, so take the time to read about each type.

Eldred v. Ashcroft
Read this case, mentioned in your text, in which the Supreme Court upheld the Copyright Term Extension Act. This act lengthened the period of copyright protection by 20 years, so that copyrights now run from creation until 70 years after the creator's death. Read a summary or listen to audio files of the oral arguments and opinion announcement.

United States Copyright Office
Access the U.S. Copyright Office site to learn more about copyrights. Explore the site and learn the history of copyright in this country. What types of property rights does this office protect?

Copyright and Fair Use
Stanford University Libraries maintains an online library of information about fair use and copyright. Read through some articles and definitions. When does fair use allow someone to copy a protected work?

National Inventors Hall of Fame
Visit this site to learn more about inventions. Perhaps you will be inspired to use your imaginations to invent something on your own!

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Defenses to Intentional Torts
Defenses to Intentional Torts
Read through these definitions of intentional torts and defenses to intentional torts. Try to think of some situations in which each defense could be used.

Kobe Bryant and the Defense of Consent
Read this news article about the defense of consent in a criminal case. Can the victim in this case sue this famous basketball player for a tort? Will consent be a good defense in that civil trial?

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