Law School Discussion

What are the potential causes of action in tort here (dirty football player)?


Battery seems like an obvious one.  It may not be a harmful contact, but it's probably an offensive one -- presuming he made contact, which he might not have made.  I don't see her collecting too many damages, eggshell skull excepted, but the jury could be sympathetic and grant her something.  She could also attach assault to it and say that she was put in apprehension of fear, but the dance seemed wacky and intended to cause laughter, rather than fear.  The intent of the defendant is vital for assault cases, and I don't think she'll be able to overcome that hurdle.

False imprisonment probably won't work, because 3 walls do not a prison make.  (That's Yoda on Torts.)  However, if there is believed, rather than actual, imprisonment by the plaintiff, then she can still recover.  She could say that she thought she was imprisoned, but, again, the damages will be limited because the imprisonment was brief.

Probably the best claim is intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The sensitivity of the plaintiff makes a big difference.  Citing Muratore, she could say that he intentionally tried to freak her out, and that she is particular sensitive, unlike cases like Pemberton, in which you have thick-skinned plaintiffs.  However, the defendant is likely to argue that they had no previous relationship, and, without a special relationship, it's harder to prevail on an IIED claim.  The average member of the community will also argue that this is not outrageous.  He merely danced next to her.  In most situations, there is nothing outrageous about this dancing -- grinding is fairly common at most clubs.

I conclude that she probably has no tort legal claim.

<-- loves issue-spotting

Seems Rey has come a long way from his days of punching innocent people in the face and claiming he "owns the police."

http://articles.latimes.com/2005/nov/13/sports/sp-plaschke13

Battery seems like an obvious one.  It may not be a harmful contact, but it's probably an offensive one -- presuming he made contact, which he might not have made.  I don't see her collecting too many damages, eggshell skull excepted, but the jury could be sympathetic and grant her something.  She could also attach assault to it and say that she was put in apprehension of fear, but the dance seemed wacky and intended to cause laughter, rather than fear.  The intent of the defendant is vital for assault cases, and I don't think she'll be able to overcome that hurdle.

False imprisonment probably won't work, because 3 walls do not a prison make.  (That's Yoda on Torts.)  However, if there is believed, rather than actual, imprisonment by the plaintiff, then she can still recover.  She could say that she thought she was imprisoned, but, again, the damages will be limited because the imprisonment was brief.

Probably the best claim is intentional infliction of emotional distress.  The sensitivity of the plaintiff makes a big difference.  Citing Muratore, she could say that he intentionally tried to freak her out, and that she is particular sensitive, unlike cases like Pemberton, in which you have thick-skinned plaintiffs.  However, the defendant is likely to argue that they had no previous relationship, and, without a special relationship, it's harder to prevail on an IIED claim.  The average member of the community will also argue that this is not outrageous.  He merely danced next to her.  In most situations, there is nothing outrageous about this dancing -- grinding is fairly common at most clubs.

I conclude that she probably has no tort legal claim.

<-- loves issue-spotting

This is a great law school exam answer.

However, as for the battery claim, there would have to be touching, and I see no touching in this case. As for assault, it is hard to see wherein she have been put in imminent fear of a harmful or offensive contact in that she didn't know he was behind her. True, she found out right at the end. However, it would be more than a stretch to say that she experienced "fright." A classical case of assault is when someone throws a brick at you, you duck, and the brick shatters the window in front of which you were standing. I just don't think her intuition that he had just done something naughty would give her a reasonable basis for believing he was about to make an offensive contact.

I don't even see where false imprisonment would be an issue. That's what I don't like about law school exams: there is an incentive to make issues of things that really aren't issues. In that regard, issue-spotting becomes a proxy for summarizing the course.

I agree that IIED is the strongest CoA. The main problem, as you indicated, is that his conduct almost certainly wasn't sufficently outrageous to previal on such a claim. Remeber, it has to be sufficent to make an ordinary member of the community jump out of his chair, sping around in a circle like a young Michael Jackson, click his heels three times and shout "Outrageous, Charlie!" I don't see wherein Maualuga's coarse conduct meets this lofty standard.

All the same, your answer was great and I infer from it that you are a strong student. See you around.

Thanks.  You don't go to my school by any chance, do you?

I agree that you have to make non-issues important sometime.  But it's definitely better to show why false imprisonment isn't relevant, and notch up a few points.

I hope my first quarter showing went well.  I do try very hard to be a strong student, and this was great practice.  Thanks for posting.

Thanks.  You don't go to my school by any chance, do you?

I agree that you have to make non-issues important sometime.  But it's definitely better to show why false imprisonment isn't relevant, and notch up a few points.

I hope my first quarter showing went well.  I do try very hard to be a strong student, and this was great practice.  Thanks for posting.

Though by your prolific response I might have pegged you as a Harvard student, do you go to USC or something?. Ohio State law on this end.