Muskopf v. Corning Hospital District
A tort is an act of wrongdoing which violates the laws as they apply to all persons--as opposed to the rules that govern the signers of a contract--and for which damages may be claimed. Torts are identified either as intentional, or as arising from negligence. When someone seeks damages from another party on the basis of a tort, this is called a tort action, and tort liability relates to the exposure of a given party to a tort action.
As the frequency of tort actions has risen, beginning in the 1970s, so has the prevalence of concern over tort liability. This has had effects both beneficial and detrimental to the health of American society. On the one hand, individuals and corporations are much more circumspect regarding the kind of careless behavior that could lead to a tort action on the basis of negligence. Thus for instance a manager of a fast-food restaurant might tell an employee to mop up a spill before any customers slip on the floor, because the wet floor is "a lawsuit waiting to happen." On the other hand, people have been prone to take advantage of the comfortable financial positions of corporations by taking them to court for any wrongdoing.
Law Library - American Law and Legal InformationNotable Trials and Court Cases - 1954 to 1962Muskopf v. Corning Hospital District - Torts And Liability, Sovereign Immunity, The Narrowing Of Immunity, Tort Liability