Term Definition
Actionable Capable of serving as the basis of a lawsuit.
Actual Malice The deliberate intent to cause harm, which exists when a person makes a statement either knowing that it is false or showing a reckless disregard for whether it is true.
Appropriation In tort law, the use by one person of another person’s name, likeness, or other identifying characteristic without permission and for the benefit of the user.
Assault Any word or action intended to make another person fearful of immediate physical harm.
Assumption of Risk A doctrine under which a plaintiff may not recover for injuries or damage suffered from risks he or she knows of and has voluntarily assumed.
Battery The unexcused, harmful or offensive, intentional touching of another.
Business Invitee A person, such as a customer or a client, who is invited onto business premises by the owner of those premises.
Business Tort Wrongful interference with another’s business rights.
Causation in Fact An act or omission without which an event would not have occurred.
Comparative Negligence A rule in tort law that reduces the plaintiff’s recovery in proportion to the plaintiff’s degree of fault, rather than barring recovery completely.
Compensatory Damages A monetary award equivalent to the actual value of injuries or damage sustained by the aggrieved party.
Contributory Negligence A rule in tort law that completely bars the plaintiff from recovering any damages if the damage suffered is partly the plaintiff’s own fault.
Conversion Wrongfully taking or retaining possession of an individual’s personal property and placing it in the service of another.
Cyber Tort A tort committed in cyberspace.
Damages Money sought as a remedy for a breach of contract or a tortious action.
Defamation Anything published or publicly spoken that causes injury to another’s good name, reputation, or character.
Disparagement of Property An economically injurious falsehood made about another’s product or property.
Dram Shop Act A state statute that imposes liability on the owners of bars and taverns for injuries resulting from accidents caused by intoxicated persons when they contributed to the intoxication.
Duty of Care The duty of all persons, as established by tort law, to exercise a reasonable amount of care in their dealings with others.
Fraudulent Misrepresentation Any misrepresentation, either by misstatement or by omission of a material fact, knowingly made with the intention of deceiving another and on which a reasonable person would and does rely to his or her detriment.
Good Samaritan Statute A state statute stipulating that persons who provide emergency services to someone in peril cannot be sued for negligence.
Intentional Tort A wrongful act that is knowingly committed.
Libel Defamation in writing or other form having the quality of permanence (such as a digital recording).
Malpractice Professional misconduct or the lack of the requisite degree of skill as a professional.
Market-Share Liability A theory under which liability is shared among all firms that manufactured and distributed a particular product during a certain period of time.
Negligence The failure to exercise the standard of care that a reasonable person would exercise in similar circumstances.
Negligence Per Se An action or failure to act in violation of a statutory requirement.
Privilege A legal right, exemption, or immunity granted to a person or a class of persons.
Product Liability The liability of manufacturers, sellers, and lessors of goods to consumers, users, and bystanders for injuries or damages that are caused by the goods.
Proximate Cause Legal cause, which exists when the connection between an act and an injury is strong enough to justify imposing liability.
Puffery A salesperson’s often exaggerated claims concerning the quality of property offered for sale.
Punitive Damages Monetary damages that may be awarded to a plaintiff to punish the defendant and deter similar conduct in the future.
Reasonable Person Standard The standard of behavior expected of a hypothetical “reasonable person.”
Res Ipsa Loquitur A doctrine under which negligence may be inferred simply because an event occurred, if it is the type of event that would not occur in the absence of negligence.
Slander Defamation in oral form.
Slander of Quality (Trade Libel) The publication of false information about another’s product, alleging that it is not what its seller claims.
Slander of Title The publication of a statement that denies or casts doubt on another’s legal ownership of any property, causing financial loss to that property’s owner.
Spam Bulk e-mails sent in large quantities without the consent of the recipients.
Strict Liability Liability regardless of fault.
Tort A civil wrong not arising from a breach of contract.
Tortfeasor One who commits a tort.
Trespass to Land The entry onto, above, or below the surface of land owned by another without the owner’s permission.
Trespass to Personal Property The unlawful taking or harming of another’s personal property or the interference with another’s right to the exclusive possession of his or her personal property.
Unreasonably Dangerous Product A product that is defective to the point of threatening a consumer’s health and safety.