On this day in 1994 a verdict was reached in the McDonalds coffee case

Word of the Day – Thursday, August 18th



Word of the Day


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TORT (tort)

A civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong, that is recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit.
Common clues:
Civil wrong; Wrongful act; Legal wrong; Suit material?; Lawsuit basis; Libel, e.g.; Civil suit cause; Assault or battery
Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year
Frequency in English language: 12611 / 86800
Tort liabilities in the Incredibles

A golfer hooked his tee shot over a hill and onto the next fairway. Walking toward his ball, he found another golfer lying on the ground, groaning with pain.

"I'm an attorney," the injured man said, "and this is going to cost you at least $5000."

"I'm sorry, I'm really sorry," the concerned golfer replied. "But I did yell 'fore'."

"I'll take it!" the attorney exclaimed.

Tort is a legal term that means a civil wrong, as opposed to a criminal wrong, that is recognized by law as grounds for a lawsuit. Unlike voluntarily assumed obligations on the parties created through a contract, the duties imposed under tort law are mandatory for all citizens in that jurisdiction. Somebody behaves 'tortiously' when they harm other people's bodies, property, or legal rights, or breach a duty owed under statutory law.

The dominant action in tort is negligence, which is used to protect people's bodies and property, including non tangible economic interests. There are certain torts that specially protect land, such as nuisance, which is strict liability for neighbours who interfere with another's enjoyment of their property. Trespass allows owners to sue for intentional incursions by people on their land. There is a tort for false imprisonment, and a tort for defamation, where someone makes an unsupportable allegation represented to be factual which damages the reputation of another. There are statutory torts, creating product liability and sanctions against anti-competitive companies. The foundation of labour law in the modern welfare state also begins with tort, as a means to mitigate conflictual relations between unions and employers. And now the scope of tort law's application spreads every day. As Lord MacMillan said, in tort's most famous case, "the categories of negligence are never closed".

A decomposed snail in Scotland was the humble beginning of the modern law of negligence

Negligence is a tort which targets a breach of duty by one person to another. One well-known case is Donoghue v. Stevenson where Mrs. Donoghue consumed part of a drink containing a decomposed snail while in a public bar in Paisley, United Kingdom. The snail was not visible, as the bottle of ginger beer in which it was contained was opaque. As such neither her friend, who bought it for her, nor the shopkeeper who sold it were aware of its presence. The manufacturer was Mr. Stevenson, whose ginger beer business Mrs. Donoghue sued for her consequent illness. The members of the House of Lords agreed that Mrs. Donoghue had a valid claim, but disagreed as to why such a claim should exist. Lord MacMillan, as above, thought this should be treated as a new product liability case. Lord Atkin argued that the law should recognise a unifying principle that we owe a duty of reasonable care to our neighbour. He quoted the Bible in support of his argument, specifically the general principle that "thou shalt love thy neighbour." Thus, in the world of law, he created the doctrine that we should not harm our neighbours.

This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Tort"