Common Types of Torts
The torts most likely to be heard in magistrate or metropolitan court are the kinds that arise from intentional or negligent acts, or failures to act, that result in injury to people or damage to property. Common torts include:assault, battery, damage to personal property, conversion of personal property, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Injury to people may include emotional harm as well as physical harm.
Assault: Intentionally threatening a person with an immediate battery.
Battery: Intentional offensive touching of another person without the person’s consent.
Intentional or accidental damage to personal property: Property damage can occur in a number of ways, such as automobile accidents; breaking, marring or staining of valuables; or poor aim (such as baseballs or gunshots accidentally sent through windows). But any action to recover for property damage is limited to the jurisdiction of the court. For example, a magistrate can only decide a case involving a fire that burned down a building if the damages are ten thousand dollars or less. See Section 35-3-3A.
Intentional infliction of emotional distress: A claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress requires a plaintiff to show (1) that the defendant engaged in extreme and outrageous conduct that was done recklessly or with the intent to cause severe emotional distress and (2) the plaintiff experienced severe emotional distress as a result of the conduct. Extreme and outrageous conduct is that which goes beyond bounds of common decency and is atrocious and intolerable to the ordinary person. Severe emotional distress is distress of such an intensity and duration that no ordinary person would be expected to tolerate it. A plaintiff is not required to show that she has suffered a physical injury in order to recover damages for severe emotional distress.