Tort law – Negligence

A man put his gun at the head of another and said, ‘Be quiet or I blow your brain out’. No assault. If the person did what he is told nothing would happen. Contrast: READ v. CROKER (1853). Byrne (Canada) 1968 Canada Supreme Court A man went into a bank. Having a jacket over his hand, he said: I have a gun, give me the money or I shoot. No assault. He did not show the gun. Persuasive precedent. Janvier v. Sweeny 1919 Court of Appeal Private detectives tried to get information about a woman. They said to the maid that she should get some letters of her mistress and give them to the detectives.

If she did not do that they would tell the police that her boyfriend was a German (he was not, but he would be imprisoned nevertheless). She suffered a nervous shock. Intentional injury. Application of the WILKINSON v. DOWNTOWN (1897) principle. Compare: KHORASANDJIAN v. BUSH (1991) – nuisance case. R. v. St. George 1840 St. George had an argument with Mr Durant and took out a gun. Before he could shoot another person prevented him from shooting. Assault. The person was in fear that he would be shot by the gun. Compare: STEPHENS v. MYERS (1830) R. v. Wilson 1955.

A gamekeeper found some poachers, but they were stronger and knocked him down. The gamekeeper said, ‘Get out the knives’. Assault. Read v. Croker 1853 A man was told to leave. At that moment he became a trespasser because he did not leave. The other one said, ‘If you do not leave, we will break your neck’. Assault. Excessive threat. Contrast: BLAKE v. BARNARD (1840) Rozsa v. Samuels 1969 Rozsa threatened to punch Samuels with his fist. Samuels took out a knife and said, ‘I will cut you into pieces’. Assault. Excessive force (guns to guns, knife to knife, otherwise self-defence).

Smith v. Superintendent of Woking Police Station 1983 Smith wanted to frighten a woman who sat in her house through a window. Everything was closed. Assault. The woman was frightened. Stephens v. Myers 1830 Tuberville v. Savage 1669 They had an argument. T put his hand at his sword, holding it for self-defence (‘If there were no judges in town’). S drew his sword and hit him in the eyes. No assault. T’s words negated the intention. Chatterton v. Gerson 1980 The least touching of another in anger is a battery. Collins v. Wilcock 1984 A police officer thought that a woman was soliciting.

He wanted her to stay, but she went away. He took her arm, she scratched him. First, the woman was sentenced, but she appealed. Battery on part of the policeman. He should have said that he wanted to arrest the woman. For cops, compare: DONNELY v. JACKSON (1970) Donnely v. Jackson 1970 Jackman was a police officer who suspected that Donnely had committed an offence. Jackman tapped him on the shoulder and said, ‘I want to talk to you’. Donnely said, ‘Go away’. Jackman tapped him again. Donnely turned away and hit him so that he fell on the pavement. Jackman was correct in tapping Donnely on the shoulder.

CON The least touching in anger is a battery – COLE v. TURNER (1704) But this was part of his daily job. For cops, compare COLLINS v. WILCOCK (1984) For defences, compare LEIGH v. GLADSTONE (1909) Fowler v. Lanning 1959 Court of Appeal B shot A during a shooting party. A claimed in trespass, alleging only the fact of the shooting, and leaving it to B to justify the conduct (as by proof that it was an accident). No trespass to the person unless A could establish in B intention. Or negligence, for that tort. Change in law: trespass to the person restricted to intentional acts (later so clarified) in LETANG v.

COOPER (1965) Leigh v. Gladstone 1909 Leigh was imprisoned and went on hunger strike. She was forcibly fed by warders. She sued the prison staff for assault and battery. The defence of necessity was good. Had the prison staff not fed the plaintiff she would have died. For defences, compare: DONNELY v. JACKSON (1970) Letang v. Cooper 1965 Court of Appeal In a car park, a car drove over the woman’s legs. The woman came to court 3 years after the accident (negligence: 3 years limitation period; trespass: 6 years). Negligence or trespass to the person (battery)?

She lost for it was a negligence case. Lord Denning: where the damage is direct and intentional, it is a trespass, where it is unintentional and negligent, it is negligence. Per-se torts favour the plaintiff, because they henceforth have not to show damages. ‘He who brings the case has to show’ (the plaintiff has to show now). FOWLER v. LANNING (1959) confirmed. Out: STAINLEY v. POWEL (1891) Lewis v. Brookshaw 1970 A man was injured within a soccer game. L 4,500 in damages were awarded for battery. If injuries are outside the rules of the game they do not have to be taken. Re F. (?) 1990 House of Lords Obiter: judges doubted if the decision of WILSON v PRINGLE (1986) was right.

If you say there has to be hostility you do not save people enough from being touched. Judge Cardozo: you should not be touched by anyone if you do not consent. Sport: are you injured in the rules of the game or are you injured because someone wants you to? Stainley v. Powell 1891 P, a member of a shooting party, fired a shotgun and a pellet hit a tree and ricocheted into the eye of the beater, S, who was working with the shooting party. P was not liable to S for trespass (battery).

S had failed to establish that P had been negligent. This overruled WEAVER v. WARD (1616) Reversed again in FOWLER v. LANNING (1959); the latter confirmed in LETANG v. COOPER (1965) Weaver v. Ward 1616 A man made military exercises with loaded weapons. P shot D, saying that it had happened entirely without his fault and intention. No battery. For battery, D would have to show that it happened intentionally. Extended to negligence in STAINLEY v. POWELL (1891) ; but again restricted in FOWLER v. LANNING (1959) and LETANG v. COOPER (1965) Wilkinson v. Downtown 1897

A man (joking) told a woman that her husband had been badly injured and gave her strict instructions what to do. She got a nervous shock. No trespass to the person (indirect act). No tort of negligence (this category had not been developed before 1932). But tort of intentional injury (rule developed here). He could have foreseen that somebody can be injured by this joke. Therefore tort for intentional injury (kind of unclassified tort). This rule was applied in KHORASANDJIAN v. BUSH (1993) (nuisance) and in JANVIER v. SWEENY (1919) (assault) Wilson v.

Pringle 1986 Court of Appeal A boy went to school, having his bag over his shoulder. Boys came and told him that it was not allowed to take the bag over the shoulder and hit him on the floor. The question whether there is horse-play or hostile battery has to be decided by the situation that is given (open). Bird v. Jones 1845 The plaintiff wanted to go through a spectator area. The police told him that he was not allowed to go through that area, but he was allowed to go on the other side of the area. No false imprisonment. He was able to go on the other side of the street.

Harnett v. Bond 1925 When he showed up, the person in the office told him (wrongly) that he had to go back to the institution. When the doctor came, he had to go back. When the person told him to stay and wait, it was false imprisonment. Psychological force is enough. Herd v. Weardale Coal Co. 1915 A miner was in the pit. After a dispute had arisen, he demanded to be taken to the surface before his shift was due to end. The employers’ agents at first refused to grant him the use of the cage. Thus he was stranded, idle in the pit for some 20 minutes.

His claim for damages for his detention failed. He had entered the pit of his own accord. His employers were under no duty to convey him to the surface until the end of the shift. The action of false imprisonment helps to vindicate the constitutional right to personal freedom. Who is imprisoned, otherwise than by due process of law, may secure immediate release by means of the writ of habeas corpus. Herring v. Boyle 1834 A woman wanted to take her boy home, but the headmaster did not let him go because the parents had not paid the fees. No false imprisonment.

The boy was not aware that he was kept at the school (because his parents had not paid the fees). Back then, the defendant had to be aware of the imprisonment. Now, that’s different: See MEERING v. GRAHAM WHITE AVIATION (1919) Meering v. Graham White Aviation 1919 Court of Appeal Meering was held in a room and questioned, because his employer though him to be a thief. False imprisonment. He got more money because he knew he was being kept there. False imprisonment: – if they know that they are held they get more money as if they were unaware – they can sue even if they were drunk, unconscious, asleep.

Change in the law. Compare: HERRING v. BOYLE (1834) Murray v. Ministry of Defense 1988 House of Lords The House confirmed MEERING v. GRAHAM WHITE AVIATION (1919)and overruled HERRING v. BOYLE (1834) The defendant had a ticket office. They charged one penny when you entered the ferry. Solicitor R wanted to leave the ferry. He had already paid one penny but he was asked to pay again when he left in Balmain. No false imprisonment. Contract, the conditions were reasonable and known to the plaintiff. His freedom of action was not restricted to every side. Persuasive precedent. Sayers v.

Harlow 1958 Urban District Council A woman tried to escape out of a toilet, but when she tried to get out through the window, she fell down. No false imprisonment. The escape was dangerous, it was not intentional. Sunbolf v. Alford 1838 Customers refused to pay. The boss of the restaurant locked them, thus preventing them from leaving. Case of false imprisonment. You cannot lock someone up because of not-paying. Wright v. Wilson 1699 In the case of false imprisonment, if you have the reasonable chance to escape, you have to do that, even if you commit trespass to land then.