Tort Law | Table O Contents

A tort is a civil wrong arising from the Anglo-American common law without any reference to contract …

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First Subtitle

Hint. Tort cases are heard in the Court of Civil Wrongs and may include a jury and a judge, or no jury and simply the judge.

More to come …

Standard of Proof

A simple Preponderance of The Evidence will suffice in a Tort trial, as opposed to the standard Beyond Any Reasonable Doubt that commonly prevails in a criminal trial.

Note. Tort law offers the civil remedies of restitution and compensation, NOT the criminal remedy of punishment.


We are not here to extract revenge from the perpetrator of a tort in Civil Court, but rather …

We wish to extract restitution and compensation for the perpetrator’s acts and the plaintiff’s damages via the defendant’s wallet ( if they still have a wallet ) …!

A good maxim for Civil Court, is …

“Don’t get mad, just get even.”

And, by the word “even”, such esoteric and rather subjective remedies as the ethereal Loss of Consortium may be invoked in Civil Court in addition to the objective “real” damages of cost.

An example of a “real” cost is a petition to “cover the cost of fixing my guitar that YOU stomped on” …!

Whereas, an example of a “subjective” remedy is “I was not able to play my guitar during the entire timeframe of disrepair” …!

Rarely, if ever, an award for Punitive Damages is awarded, and rarer still is a lower court ruling that includes punitive damages that survives the appeal process intact.

So, think “even”, not “revenge” when addressing a potential Tort case.

That concept of “even” may include an allotment for Punitive Damages if the wrong perpetrated by the Tortfeasor is a “social” wrong that has or may risk the lives and betterment of an entire actual or potential set of additional plaintiffs.

The Settlement

Every successful Tort claim is commonly resolved by a special contract called The Settlement.

Most Tort cases, if not all, use this form of contract to discharge the underlying tort obligation.

A sort of pervasive, social-regulatory mechanism … Do NOT be afraid to settle ANY perceived tort obligation.

Getting There

Issue. Is the legal cost of drilling the well equal to the present worth of the number of barrels expected to be extracted from the process?

Rule. The administrative costs of initiating and winning a Tort case ( including the cost of retaining an attorney ) will equal between 50 cents and 70 cents for every ( $1 USD ) one-dollar of gain transferred from defendant to plaintiff.

Analysis. If you expect to receive a $66,000 settlement, for example, you may also expect to see over 1/2 ( one-half ) of the judgment deducted as administration costs, including the cost of retaining an attorney throughout the entire affair.

Conclusion. Given the now diminished value of the dollars expected, to outlay legal expense today in order to extract those same dollars tomorrow does not square.

Last Subtitle

More to come …

Note. The above synopsis was derived from an article written by John Fabian Witt [2].

  1. Torts: Cases, Principles, and Institutions by John Fabian Witt.


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