Intentional Torts – Explained

Cite this article as: Jason Mance Gordon, "Intentional Torts – Explained," in The Business Professor, updated January 9, 2015, last accessed April 8, 2020, https://thebusinessprofessor.com/knowledge-base/intentional-torts/.
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Intentional Torts
This video explains what is an intentional tort.

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INTENTIONAL TORTS

There are many intentional statutory and common law torts. The essence of an intentional tort is the intent to undertake an action that has a highly probability of causing a harmful result. That is, the result of an intentional action is some form of harm (physical, mental, or financial) to another person or property. It does not matter whether the individual committing the tort (the tortfeasor) fully understands the nature of extent of the harm that may result. The individual simply needs to undertake an action that has some likelihood of resulting in a potentially harmful result.

  • Example: Mark throws a pine cone at Walt, who is not looking. Mark throws the pine with the understanding that it will contact Walt. This is an intentional action that could result in a harm to Walt. If the pine cone hits Walt in the eye and causes a loss of vision, this is an intentional tort. It doesn’t matter if Mark did not expect the damage to be so severe. The results of throwing a hard object are readily foreseeable.
  • Note: Some of the more common intentional torts are also crimes.
Academic Research

Geistfeld, Mark, Conceptualizing the Intentional Torts (September 1, 2017). 10 J. Tort Law (Forthcoming 2017); NYU School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-31; NYU Law and Economics Research Paper No. 17-33. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3034522

Moore, Nancy J., Restating Intentional Torts: Problems of Process and Substance in the ALI’s Third Restatement of Torts (October 13, 2017). 10 J. Tort Law ____ (2017); Boston Univ. School of Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 17-44. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3059046

Calnan, Alan, Anomalies in Intentional Tort Law. Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 1, p. 187, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=724864

Simons, Kenneth W. and Cardi, W. Jonathan, Restating the Intentional Torts to Persons: Seeing the Forest and the Trees (June 11, 2018). Journal of Tort Law, Vol. 10, No. 2, 2017; UC Irvine School of Law Research Paper No. 2018-49; Wake Forest Univ. Legal Studies Paper. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=3194108

Simons, Kenneth W., A Restatement Third of Intentional Torts?. Arizona Law Review, Vol. 48, 2006; Boston Univ. School of Law Working Paper No. 06-18. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=920602

Calnan, Alan, Anomalies in Intentional Tort Law. Tennessee Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 1, p. 187, 2005. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=724864

Priel, Dan, A Public Role for the Intentional Torts (September 3, 2010). King’s Law Journal, vol. 22, no. 1. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1671546

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