Explanation for Torts


Snyder v. Phelps, 131 S. Ct. 1207 (2011)
Link to Supporting Resource

S. CT, 2010. Westboro Baptist Church has picketed military funerals to communicate its belief that God hated the United States for its tolerance of homosexuality, particularly in America’s military. The founder and his daughters were sued by Snyder on the grounds of emotional distress, intrusion upon seclusion, and civil conspiracy following Phelps' picket at Snyder’s son’s funeral who was killed in Iraq.  The protest took place approximately 1,000 feet from where the funerals were held, and although the signs were extremely obscene, the protest was otherwise peaceful. The father did not know what the protest was about until watching the news later that night. A jury found Westboro liable for millions of dollars in punitive and compensatory damages. Westboro challenged the verdict in District Court, and they kept the judgment in tact but reduced the punitive damages award. The Supreme Court found that speech  on a matter of public concern on public space was protected under the First Amendment against tort suits, including intentional infliction of emotional distress.  Hurtful speech on PUBLIC issues is shielded to ensure that public debate is not stifled.  In dissent, Justice Alito found that the speech was not on a matter of public concern. 

Created by Andrea Swanson on January 20, 2016 2 2625


Created by Kimball Parker on January 15, 2016 0 923

Standard for Physical Disability:
A physically disabled person is held to the standard of a reasonable person with a similar disability. For example, if a blind person knocks into and injures a pedestrian on the street, her conduct will be evaluated using the standard of a reasonable person with the same visual incapacity as the defendant. The physically impaired person does not escape liability. For this reason, the "reasonable person with a physical disability" standard may require that a physically disabled person exercise greater care than would be required for a physically able person in a similar situation. 

Created by Nadine Ravani on February 02, 2016 0 787

Medical Malpractice Expert Testimony: 
In medical malpractice cases relevant expert testimony can be used in practice that is:
(1) of the same or similar locality
(2) in the same state 
(3) maintained in throughout a national standard 

Various Sources can be drawn upon during Expert Testimony such as:
(1) professional association standards
(2) professional literature - scientific articles, textbooks, etc. 
(3) experts can draw upon personal experience
(4) centers for medicare/medicaid - government sources
(5) pamphlets from other respectable organizations 



Created by Nadine Ravani on February 12, 2016 0 782

Medical Malpractice Expert Testimony (cont'):
Customs set the standard of care for professionals such as doctors, lawyers, accountants, etc. Deviation from such customs is what constitutes breach of duty. Custom evidence is conclusive in establishing the standard of due care. Why allow medical professionals to set their own customs? 

Pros for Setting Own Customs: 
expertise, relationship, to prevent individual liability/mistake, standard of protocol will lead to better heath care for the public, inherently dangerous field of work therefore hindsight concerns, helps check/balance other doctors. 

Cons for Setting Own Customs:

standards might not protect the safety of patients, but protect the doctors themselves, inhibits change and penalizes those that want to innovate, conspiracy of silence, punishes doctors that use minority practices. 

Created by Nadine Ravani on February 12, 2016 0 786