ADVANCED TORTS

LAW 768, § 1  --  Spring 2009  --  3 Credits
Mon. 6:00-7:25 p.m. & Wed. 8:00-9:25 p.m.
201 Library Building, HARRISBURG



WILLIAM MARTIN SLOANE, Adjunct Professor of Law

[email protected] - (717) 249-1069 - [email protected]


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BOOK:  Dan B. Dobbs and Ellen M. Bublick, Cases and Materials on Advanced Torts:  Economic and Dignitary Torts—Business, Commercial and Intangible Harms (Thomson/West, 2006).


READING ASSIGNMENTS

CLASS #:
DATE (2009)
CASEBOOK
PAGES
TOPICS
#1:
Mon. 12 January
v-vi & 1-27 Intangible Harms Primarily to Dignitary or Personal Interests
#2:
Wed. 14 January
27-53 The Prima Facie Case for Defamation:  Common Law and Statutes
NO CLASS:
Mon. 19 January
. . . . . .
#3:
Wed. 21 January
53-81 Truth and Privilege Under Common Law and Statutes
#4:
Mon. 26 January
81-105 Free Speech:  Discussing Public Persons and Issues
#5:
Wed. 28 January
105-131 Free Speech:  Absolute Protections for Opinions and Truthful Speech
#6:
Mon. 2 February
132-158
#7:
Wed. 4 February
159-187 Extending Speech Protections and Reforming Defamation
#8:
Mon. 9 February
187-213 The Procedural and Remedial Side of Defamation
#9:
Wed. 11 February
214-239 Invasion of Privacy
#10:
Mon. 16 February
239-268
#11:
Wed. 18 February
268-293 Tortious Litigation and Tactics
#12:
Mon. 23 February
293-318
#13
Wed. 25 February
319-347 Interference with Family Relationships
NO CLASS:
Mon. 2 March
. . . . . .
NO CLASS:
Wed. 4 March
. . . . . .
#14:
Mon. 9 March
347-373 Intangible Harms Primarily to Economic Interests
#15:
Wed. 11 March
374-400 Some Nominate Torts—Disparagement, Bad Faith, Fiduciary Breach and Conversion of Intangibles
#16:
Mon. 16 March
400-426 Intended Interference with Contracts and Economic Opportunities
#17:
Wed. 18 March
426-453 Unintended Interference with Economic Interests
#18:
Mon. 23 March
453-478
#19:
Wed. 25 March
478-504 Intellectual Property and Unfair Competition
#20:
Mon. 30 March
504-531
NO CLASS:
Wed. 1 April
. . . . . .
#21:
Mon. 6 April
531-560
#22:
Wed. 8 April
561-582 Misrepresentation and Related Torts:  Adversarial and Quasi-Adversarial Bargainers
#23:
Mon. 13 April
582-608
#24:
Wed. 15 April
608-637
#25:
Mon. 20 April
637-663 Statutory Protection against Misrepresentation and Deceptive Practices
#26:
Wed. 22 April
663-689
#27:
Mon. 27 April
689-717 The Special Case of Lawyer Malpractice
#28:
Wed. 29 April
718-738
Thu.
7 May
6:00 p.m. FINAL EXAMINATION





DESCRIPTION:  This course covers economic and dignitary torts—those not associated with physical harm to person or property.  Major emphasis is placed on the torts of defamation and invasion of privacy (appropriation, false light, intrusion, private facts, and right of publicity), intellectual property and unfair competition, lawyer malpractice, and the applicability of the First Amendment to each of the topics covered in the course.

REQUIREMENTS:  (1)  Students should read the casebook according to the above schedule and be prepared to recite oral briefs and answer questions in class.  (2)  Students should register on the course TWEN page and check it periodically for announcements and other information posted by the instructor or by other students.  (3)  Students will take a traditional, in-class, closed-book final examination consisting of four essay questions, each weighted equally.  The questions will be based on issues raised in the casebook and/or supplement and/or class discussion.

ATTENDANCE:  The ABA and Widener University policy is that students must attend at least 80% of all classes without exception.  No excuses can be accepted for failing to meet this residency requirement.  This means that every student must attend a minimum of 22.0 classes.  Any student who is absent for 6.1 or more classes will receive a course grade of "W" (Withdrawal); the instructor will endeavor, but does not guarantee, to notify students who are approaching this limit.  Arriving late or leaving early is counted as a partial absence.  A student who misses the roll call at the beginning of class is irrebuttably presumed to be absent unless he/she makes his/her presence known to the instructor immediately after class.

COMMUNICATION:  Students are encouraged to contact the instructor at any time, either privately via email or phone, or publicly via the TWEN bulletin board for the course.  Individual meetings can be arranged at a mutually convenient time and place.

GRADING:  The course grade will be determined by the grade received on the final examination, which may be raised or lowered by one grade (e.g., from B+ to A-, or from C to C-) on the basis of the student's class participation.  The instructor will be available over the summer to review the final exams with any student who is interested and to suggest means for improvement in writing successful essay answers.





MINIMUM FAULT STANDARD FOR EACH LIBEL ELEMENT

At
Common
Law

After New York Times Co. v. Sullivan (1964)

After Gertz v. Robert Welch, Inc. (1974)

After Dun & Bradstreet v. Greenmoss Builders (1985)

After Philadelphia Newspapers v. Hepps (1986)

Publication

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

At least negligence

Identification

Strict liability

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Strict liability, but must actually identify

Defamation

Strict liability

Strict liability

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Strict liability, but P who cannot prove actual malice (as to falsity) must prove actual injury

Falsity

Strict liability, with burden on D to prove truth

Strict liability, with burden on D to prove truth; but if P is a public official being criticized for performance of official duties, then P must prove actual malice

(Topic is of public concern):  At least negligence, with burden on D to prove truth; if P is seeking presumed or punitive damages, or if P is a public figure seeking ANY damages, then P must prove actual malice

(Topic is of private concern):  Same as before, but as long as P is a private figure, then negligence is sufficient to receive presumed or punitive damages

If there is a media D and the topic is of public concern, then P (public or private figure) must prove falsity

 

 

© 1992 by
Wm. Martin Sloane