1 Assault: an act that arouses in another a reasonable fear of an
imminent unpermitted physical contact with his person. "Fear" doesn't necessarily
mean fright, but rather knowledge of the impending touch or contact.
2 Battery: an intentional and unpermitted physical contact with or
touching of the person of another. The assault is when you swung at the victim; here,
you hit him. An example of this would be performing a surgical procedure on a patient
without any consent.
3 Infliction of mental distress: extreme and outrageous conduct
that causes another to suffer a severe emotional response or great mental anguish.
As was noted, it is important to strive for good relationships with your patients; if they
are close to suing, don't push them over the edge. Again, repeatedly sending bills to a
deceased person is obviously going to get the surviving parent/spouse upset.
4 False imprisonment: the unlawful detention of the person of
another, for any length of time, whereby he is not free to move about at will.
5 Invasion of privacy: an intentional interference with another
person's interest in his privacy or his right to be "let alone. "An example might be
forcing a person to undergo a form of medical treatment to keep him alive, but which the
patient does not want. Such a situation may violate the patient's "right to die."
(b) Against property. In this class, we are focusing on negligence, as a
basis for liability under the Federal Tort Claims Act. We are not going to focus on torts
against property. Simply be aware that torts such as trespass and conversion (stealing)
b. The Tort of Negligence.
(1) Negligence defined. Negligence is the failure to use that degree of care
required under the circumstances to prevent harm to others. It can be a failure to act
(nonfeasance) or acting carelessly (malfeasance). It is conduct that creates an
unreasonable risk of harm to others. The negligent act must create this risk; the actor is
liable for the reasonably foreseeable results of that negligence. Negligence must take
into account the circumstances that confronted the actor. Think of it this way: If I am
driving down the street, doing the speed limit, and I run into your car, was I negligent? It
would appear so, but there are fact situations that might change the determination
completely. What if a child comes flying out from behind a parked car? Now, under
these facts, suppose I (the driver) have essentially two choices: (1) hit the child; or (2)
veer to avoid hitting him, which will cause me to run into your car? Now what--was I
negligent for having hit your car? The point is that we have to look at the
circumstances, since negligence does not exist in a vacuum.
(2) The standard of care. The applicable legal standard is one of
reasonableness, and is called "ordinary care" (sometimes called "due care" or
"reasonable care"). The legal determination to be made is whether the conduct in