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The news is filled with stories of individuals who have sued for reasons that most rational people would consider “frivolous.” A “tort” is a civil wrong, not a criminal wrong. This means that the individual who is the subject of the tort did not break a law. If someone attacks you with a chainsaw and begins, but fails, to cut off one of your limbs, then that action (not surprisingly) is against the law. That is a criminal violation and the individual would be charged with “aggravated malicious wounding” in the Commonwealth of Virginia and would face a minimum of 20 years in prison. However, (and this is a real case by the way) if you were at a haunted house and there was a man in a hockey mask with a chainsaw there to scare you (without the cutting chain on the saw, but with the engine still running so he could “rev” the engine and really make it seem real)… well, that is par for the course with haunted houses. That is what you would expect to happen since the whole point of a haunted house is to scare you (and you paid to be scared). However, if when you saw that same, chainsaw-wielding, man while in the haunted house you became terrified and began running away back to your car. He should leave it at that and consider his work done. But if he followed you, chainsaw in hand, revving the engine, as you ran screaming back to your car, that may be an issue. But what if, when running away screaming in terror with him chasing you, he continued to follow you to your car… and then after you fell and injured yourself in the parking lot near your car, he stood over you (in the parking lot, near your car, now a hundred yards away from the haunted house) continuing to terrorize you while you screamed in pain (from your injury) and terror (from him). Well… that is different. He is certainly a dedicated employee, but may be causing actual harm, despite his actions not being (technically speaking) illegal. That is where torts come into the picture. In order to bring a civil suit, there must be four things must be present. These are: There must be a legal duty or obligation present There must be a violation of that duty There must be an injury or damage The damage must be the proximal cause of the harm If the four aspects are present, a judge or jury may assign two types of damages: compensatory and punitive. Compensatory damages are designed to “make the defendant whole again” as take into account pain, suffering, medical bills, lost wages, etc.. punitive damages are designed to punish the accused (these are not allowed in every state, but for our purposes, assume they are). Watch the following video about the famous Liebeck v. McDonald’s Corporation lawsuit (AKA “the burning hot spilled coffee” lawsuit). Watch Media Name: Adam Ruins Everything – The Truth About the McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit (05:33) Duration: 05:33 Please review the facts of the case Liebeck v. McDonald’s lawsuit). Watch Media Name: Adam Ruins Everything – The Truth About the McDonald’s Coffee Lawsuit (05:33) Duration: 05:33 Please review the facts of the case Liebeck v. McDonald’s Corporation.