The statutory elements of tort law in the state of California are found in the California Civil Code. Section 1708 of the civil code reads that "[e]very person is bound, without contract, to abstain from injuring the person or property of another, or infringing upon any of his or her rights."
Other tort-related causes of action are found elsewhere in the California Civil Code or may arise in other statutory titles or under the common law.
Looking for cases
Tort law is an area of law that was historically very case-driven. Only relatively recently have legislatures created statutory causes of action for torts.
Finding Cases Electronically
You may use Westlaw or Lexis to locate relevant cases dealing with tort law:
What do these symbols mean?
- Westlaw Advantage: KeyCite Symbols This page gives you a brief explanation of the various symbols used in Westlaw to denote whether a case has been overturned, a statute has been amended/superseded/held unconstitutional, or has negative history.
- Lexis Shepard's Symbols This symbols are much like what exists in Westlaw. It indicates whether a case or statute has negative history or has been modified/overruled or determined to be unconstitutional.
Federal Torts Claim Act
The Federal Tort Claims Act enables private parties to sue the federal government for torts committed by persons acting on behalf of the United States. This act constitutes a limited waiver of sovereign immunity.
42 U.S.C. § 1983
Section 1983 made relief, in the form of money damages, available to those whose constitutional rights had been violated by an actor acting under State authority.
Federal Legislative Documents
Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co.: Corporate Liability and Extraterritoriality Under the Alien Tort Statute
Surveys background of the Alien Tort Statute (ATS), which provides district courts with jurisdiction over any civil action by an alien for a tort only, committed in violation of the law of nations or a treaty of the U.S. Addresses Second Circuit decision in Kiobel v. Royal Dutch Petroleum Co. regarding whether corporations can be held accountable for human rights violations under the ATS; and examine its rationale for denying ATS jurisdiction over tort actions against corporations under the law of nations. Covers rulings from other circuit courts which have reached the opposite conclusion. Presents pro/con arguments for permitting extraterritorial application of ATS, and considers possible Congressional responses to both the corporate liability and extraterritoriality question.
The Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act: An Overview of Limiting Tort Liability of Gun Manufacturers
Examines P.L. 109-92, the Protection of Lawful Commerce in Arms Act of 2005, to prohibit certain civil liability actions against licensed firearms and ammunition manufacturers, sellers, and trade associations for damages resulting from the criminal or unlawful third party use of a firearm or ammunition product, in order to discourage allegedly frivolous lawsuits against the firearms industry.
Tort Suits Against Federal Contractors: An Overview of the Legal Issues
Provides overview of key legal issues in recent tort suits against Federal contractors. Explains basics of tort liability, personal jurisdiction, subject matter jurisdiction, and potential indemnification of contractor liability.
Medical Malpractice Liability Reform: Legal Issues and 50-State Surveys on Tort Reform Proposals
Describes and analyzes pros and cons of medical malpractice liability reform proposals. Covers caps on noneconomic and punitive damages awarded to plaintiffs, processes for periodic repayment of damages in medical malpractice suits, limitation of joint and several liability in health care lawsuits, abolition of the collateral source rule, limitations on lawyers' contingent fees, and creation of a Federal statute of limitations. Summarizes State definitions of medical malpractice or health care lawsuit, State caps on punitive and noneconomic damages in medical malpractice suits, State provisions on joint and several liability and periodic payment of damages, State limits on attorney contingency fees, and statute of limitations for medical malpractice and product liability actions.
Heafey Law Library Research Team