Tort Reform

Torts Questions and Answers


Torts are civil wrongs that interfere with someone’s person or property such that injury results. TRUE. [This is the standard definition of “torts”. See page 285.]

The article about Oprah below, if untrue, constitutes defamation as long as it is published with malice or with reckless disregard for the truth. TRUE. [Malice or reckless disregard for the truth must be proven in defamation actions brought by public figures ONLY, such as Oprah Winfrey.   See pages 286-288.]


Intentional torts are more than accidental wrongs.   TRUE. [These torts result from intentional acts.   See page 285.]

Truth is a complete defense to defamation. TRUE [See page 288.]

Opinion commentary is not defamation.   TRUE. [In Wilkow v.   Forbes, Inc., an opinion piece questioning the ethics of a real estate developer, the magazine was not liable for defamation. Defamatory statements are false and malicious; however, opinions are not statements of fact, so they can not be the basis for a defamation action.   The case is discussed on page 288.]

In Burnett v. National Enquirer, Inc., the story in the Enquirer depicting Ms. Burnett as drunk was libel, even though a retraction was printed.   The standard of malice was applied, and the evidence clearly established that the article was published with knowledge that part or all of it was not true.   TRUE. [This is a good summary of the case.   The case begins on page 289.]

False imprisonment occurs when a person is detained for any period of time against his or her will. TRUE. [This tort occurs when a person’s ability to move about freely is restricted.   See page 292.]

Physical damages are not required for liability for false imprisonment.   TRUE. [The only injury that is required is an interference with the plaintiff’s freedom to move about freely.]

Intentional infliction of emotional distress imposes liability for conduct that exceeds all bounds of decency.   TRUE. [This is the...