Intentional Torts Vs Negligence – Difference

1.   What is the primary difference between an intentional tort and negligence?   Which one is more likely to support an award of punitive damages?   What is the purpose of punitive damages?   Some people argue that punitive damages constitute a windfall award to a plaintiff who is not personally deserving of the award.    What do you think is the best argument in favor of punitive damages?    Might they serve a social purpose?   What is the best argument against punitive damages?


2.  Brie was walking to her car in the University parking lot when a boyfriend she had just broken up with approached her, shouting and waving his arms wildly. He grabbed her, dragged her to his car, hit the automatic door locks, and, taking out a large pair of scissors, cut off her hair.

a.  Identify and discuss thoroughly all the torts committed by the former boyfriend.

b.  Would punitive damages be available in these circumstances? Explain.

c.  Might criminal charges be brought against the boyfriend?  If so, explain how the burden of proof would differ in the criminal case as compared to the civil lawsuit.


PART TWO  –  Negligence

1.  What are the elements that a plaintiff must prove in order to win in a negligence case?   Explain the concept of proximate cause and how a defendant might use this concept to argue that the damages in the case are too remote for him to be held legally liable.   Make up a fact scenario that illustrates the concept of proximate cause and the argument that the defendant would make.

2.  Ben and Jerry were skiing at Big Slope Resort when a sudden winter storm came up.   It was Big Slope’s policy to shut down the lift when the winds reached a certain velocity, after having an employee visually inspect each lift chair to make certain all skiers had left. Big Slope failed to do this, and Ben and Jerry were stranded for ten hours on the lift in a raging storm.  They were suffering from frostbite and other ailments when they were finally rescued. What are the four elements of negligence that Ben and Jerry will have to prove in a negligence suit against Big Slope?   In your answer, identify the facts from this incident that would satisfy each element.



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