Essay: Tort Law Vicarious Liability

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Tort Law -- Vicarious Liability

The legal concept of Tort -- the basic bottom line idea -- is a wrongful act, an illegal act, according to FindLaw.com. It is a "wrongful act other than a breach of contract that injures another" and it is an act for which the law enforces a "civil liability" (FindLaw.com). Another aspect of tort is that it is a clear violation of one's "duty" -- which differentiates it from a breach of contract. The Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy (SEP) relates that there are several branches of private law and tort is but one of them. The other branches of private law are contract law, property law, and restitution (also known as "unjust enrichment").

What's important to know about tort law is the judgment does not result in punishment through incarceration; but rather, when a victim of a scam sues the individual who perpetrated the scam through tort law -- and the plaintiff wins the suit -- the scammer may be obliged to pay "compensatory damages" (SEP). In some cases the plaintiff can be awarded "punitive damages" as well (in excess of compensatory relief).

Is there sufficient evidence to suggest this was an intentional tort? Yes there is an enormous amount of evidence in the Robert Courtney case to prove intentional tort on his part. In a case of intentional tort, the perpetrator fully intends to bring about a very specific result. In this case the intentional diluting of cancer-fighting drugs was done to bring about an obvious result and consequence: Courtney profited handsomely resulting from his intentional tampering and adulterating the chemotherapy drugs. It is possible to argue that Courtney did not commit intentional tort because in the strictest definition of the term it means that someone has intentionally physically injured a person or interfered with a person's property. But that is splitting hairs in this case.

Intentional interference with a person suggests that the perpetrator has committed an offence (brought harm to a person) that was intended, not just reckless or careless. "The classic intentional tort in medical practice is forcing unwanted medical care on a patient," according to the Louisiana State University Law Center. In this particular instance the patients of Courtney were receiving (unbeknownst to them) "unwanted" medical care. They wanted honest, medically sound care and they were expecting to get what they paid for -- the full dose of very expensive medicines. But because they were tricked, they were not getting what they wanted (or needed).

A desperate defense attorney in a case like Courtney's could make an argument that Courtney did not "force" the medication on the patients, that they willingly ordered the medications, paid for them in good faith, and used them. But a sharp prosecutor could shoot down that point. In fact asking people to accept something that is fraudulent -- under the false impression that it is genuine -- is forcing it on them. The Encarta World English Dictionary defines "force": "to use superior strength, violence, or any… [END OF PREVIEW]

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"Tort Law Vicarious Liability."  Essaytown.com.  August 7, 2011.  Accessed November 20, 2019.
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