Any act that causes civil wrongs to a person might be considered as a tort which may either be negligible and intentional. Torts can be committed to any human being regardless of his age or gender. Following these research, various torts have been found to have been committed by Tom against Rob Jr. and his family. The final direction of the research highlights vicarious liability, being a liability to be incurred by the church and the defenses that the church as an employer of Tom is likely to take to reduce the risk of incurring a liability caused by his actions. Also a number of damages have been analyzed in this research. This analysis has been carried out based on the California Case laws and FIRAC approach and the procedures being to ascertain all the causes of action, that the defendant will take, the possible rulings likely to be awarded have been analyzed.
The Facts about the Case
Facts regarding the case are based on the conduct of Tom. It should be pointed out that Tom tricked Rob Jr. to attend youth meeting without either his consent or that of his parents. Based on the findings, Tom used threats and coercion to make the infant remain at the church and even ordered him to seek monthly expenses from his parents. The act being sued was committed by Tom in the church grounds while executing his assigned duties. The above facts have therefore given rise to a number of issues which have caused the violation of the torts law which can basically be called civil law. Referring to the case of Rob Jr. and the Church; various notable issues have been noted to have been committed against the victim.
Issues Raised From the Case
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These include; assault, nuisance, deceit, invasion of privacy and infliction of emotional distress that have violated the law of torts.
Assault, being the use of threats that usually brings fear to the victim has been caused to the plaintiff. When Tom told Rob Jr. that, "If you leave, you will be thrown into the eternal fires of Hell, and you will not be allowed back", the contents of the above speech were intentional used to threaten Rob Jr. in order to make him comply with Tom's plans and intends. Because of the untold fear inflicted to the victim, he was forced to remain at the church because of lack of ability to negotiate for a common agreement base. Though there is no physical injury caused to either the victim or his parents, there is mental disturbance that causes them a lot of untold pain.
Nuisance which could be anything that interferes with the enjoyment of one's life has been violated as per the case of Rob Jr. and the Church (Luntz, 2009). Being a junior who has not yet attained the age of majority, he is supposed to enjoy his freedom as an infant whether a lone or with his parents. Therefore when Tom decides to detain him at the church for matters which are not clearly defined, he directly commits the tort of nuisance on the plaintiff. It is quite detrimental for Church organizer to forcefully restrain the Child-Parental associations that exist between Rob and the parents. This detention took place without the consent the concerned parties and such would largely contribute to the success of plaintiff's legal proceedings.
Deceit which involves the false use of statements with the intention of harm has been caused to the plaintiff. Any human being who is rational can make sound decisions if not threatened or deceived by any other party. Tom who is of sound mind knowingly deceives an infant in this case; Rob Jr. that he will be sent to hell and never come back if does fail to comply with Tom's order. In reality no human being has the power over life and can never take one to hell. This deceitful information did not only cause a lot of fear to the victim but also mental disturbance that he had to give in. Deceit has also been used to solicit money from the parents of Rob Jr.
Invasion of Privacy as an element of tort which is limitation of freedom of a person to be left alone has been infringed. Every being has a right to be a lone and crisscrossing this freedom frustrates its fundamentality. Rob Jr. as a minor being has been given this freedom by the parents but Tom goes a head to interfere with it by limiting his movement. Every person needs to enjoy his private life as bestowed to him or her by Mighty Being and turns out to be opposite when the Church organizer decides to detain a minor without seeking either his own consent or his parents' approval. When legal proceedings are started against the church, then the success of such case is very high, that the church may be forced to pay for the damages or an injunction might be issued to either limit its operation or stop it completely for breaching the freedom of enjoyment of private life and all the related activities.
There is infliction of emotional distress to Rob Jr. This is intentionally or recklessly causing emotional or mental suffering to others. When Tom forcefully separates Rob Jr. from his parents, there is immense mental suffering for him. First he is forced to miss his parental love and care, and other rights. Also being a minor he is expected to attend his studies and when he is detained at the Church, he falls into a state of mental distress and humiliations. The parents to Rob Jr. too have an emotional distress because of the absence of their son robs them happiness resulting into emotional distress. When litigation is insinuated against the church, then with or without evidence, the church will lose while the plaintiff will win the case.
There is also intentional misrepresentation of facts by Tom the church organizer who uses hell to trick Rob Jr. to believe that indeed he could go to hell if decided to go back home. This statement was maliciously used by the defendant to ensure that the plaintiff does not leave the church. Though the defendant knew that the statement was false, he purposeful imposed it the minor who relied on it as a base of remaining at the church and even converting it into his new home. Any infant will only cease to have parental care after attaining the majority age which Rob Jr. had not acquired, and therefore was denied these privileges by the defendant. It is therefore absolutely evident that the plaintiff will seek for damages compensation from the defendant because of the pain and untold suffering he encountered as a result of Tom's actions.
Some of the torts committed to the parents of Rob Jr. are; breach of duty, consent, Infliction of emotional distress, duty of care, proximate cause and measurable damages.
The church is supposed to be an institution that perpetuates ones freedom to divine worship and spiritual growth. However from the ongoing scenario, the church breached the duty by failing to ensure maximum reasonable responsibility to act on behalf of the parents and decided to force the minor to remain at the church. If the parents and the church had consented to have meetings for the youth, with authority of taking care of the infants left with the church, then violating this agreement will result either financial damages being awarded to the parents or punitive damages being instilled upon the church. Tom who is the church organizer, has willful breached the duty by detaining an infant Rob Jr. who willful allowed to attend church meetings by his parents and later forced to make it his new home without the consent of his parents.
If an agreement is reached between two parties, then consent must be present. However, Rob Jr. who has not attained the majority age is coerced into accepting to stay at the church and this breaches his consent as a rational being. Because were not consently involved in reaching an agreement to force him to stay at the church by Tom, they will have to move to court to seek punitive damages such as temporary injunction to bar the activities of the church or if that is not successful, then they will seek financial damages for the duress and coercion imposed on their son by the church. According to contracts involving minors, a minor is liable for his actions if he consently accepts the offer, but however he may be free from the same contract if at the time of making such he was coerced in accepting the offer without his full consent and hence may seek damages for either time loss or pain and suffering caused to him by the other party. Rob Jr. being a junior did not know anything related from the actions and the intents of Tom, which caused him a lot suffering and distress hence when his parents sues the church it will be definite that they will win the case.
The Church ought to contribute towards the elimination of emotional distress but not when it adds more distress to it members. Owing to this, when Rob Jr.'s parents move to court to seek legal action on behalf of their son, then it is because of the untold emotional distress they have encountered as a result of their son' s absence. Basing on the fact much time has been taken for them to repossess their son from the Church, and then seeking legal action could possibly help to relieve the pain and grant them justice. Emotional distress and humiliation can be great such that a person will require a considerable time to return to the former state. Most of this bad experience has been felt by the family of Rob Jr. who were worried about the state of their son. It is also quite evident that it takes a good deal of time for Rob Jr. to come back to his normal state.
Duty of care is a necessity for any party that has been given mandate of protection. But then the Church here turns out to negligent on the above tort one of its senior members does not take the necessary protection for the infants who are allowed by their parents to attend youth meetings. If we are to state the facts precisely well, we know that the parents have given the church the responsibility of caring for their children while they are at the church and by good consent of its managers does agrees to these terms and impositions. Because the church failed to take reasonable care, a lot of panic, pain and humiliation could not have occurred to one of its believers as happened to Robs' family. By failing to take maximum duty of care, the infant's parents has decided to sue the church and if it succeeds in its quest for justice then might be awarded punitive damages such temporary injunctions.
Under the proximate cause, the felt pain and suffering in the family of Rob would not have no occurred if the breach had not occurred. If the church had taken a good duty of care, by ensuring that even parents are involved in the proceedings of the meeting held by the youth of the church, then Tom could not had detained Rob Jr. in the church grounds (Bassett, 2010). These actions were maliciously taken by Tom with the aim of causing pain to the family. By forcing the parents of the Infant to pay for his expenses, he willful intended to deceive the parents so that he could gain financially and would be indirectly termed as fraud intended to deprive one from enjoying and using his property. The court might hold that under the circumstances, the defendant be held liable for his actions and conduct.
Measurable damages could be weighed from the conduct of Tom, such as when he forces the young boy to write to his parents demanding to be given money for monthly expenses. We can openly note that if the plaintiff was with he could not have demanded the money and this could be used to weigh some of the financial implications that could have felt by the parents had they decided to give money to their son. When all possible evidences have established and verified, then one notable finding could be intended fraud by the defendant. Seeking to gain financially by detaining the young could be direct fraud intended to harm the other person in this case the parents of Rob Jr. Most people have been forced to pay huge sums of money by unscrupulous fellows and these inhuman acts are the ones to be stopped and if offenders are found, they should be made to pay heavily for their actions and behaviors. Thus the juries and judges might decide to heavily punish Tom by either imprisoning him or forcing him to pay heavy financial penalties as damages for compensation or the same may be extended to the church by inhibiting its operations and activities through use of injunction.
From the ongoing case, some actions taken by the plaintiff proves to be strong while others might lack strong argument. The strong actions include consent on infant, infliction of emotional distress, deceit and false misrepresentation of facts and invasion of privacy. Some of the actions that might not be strong are negligence, nuisance, and assault.
A successful defense absolves the defendant from full or partial liability for damages. Apart from proof that there was no breach of duty, there are three principal defenses to tortuous liability (Okrent, 2009). In this case various defenses can be applied. These include; duty of care, consent, contributory negligence and assumption of risk.
Duty of care could be used by the church as a defense against the mentioned case. The parents of Rob Jr. had originally accepted that their son be attending the weekly meetings and they were bound by the duty of care to ensure that their son was safe. Since they didn't ensure that proper care for their son, they cannot sue the church for not taking that duty of care. We all ought to contribute towards ensuring that the security of our members and as such the church will be acquitted of the proceedings because the parents of Rob Jr. were to ensure whenever their son left home, they had the mandate of ensuring all his activities are looked into, thus the church is likely to win the case.
Consent as a defense mechanism applies mostly to the parents and the church and partly to the child. It was previously agreed that the youths be attending meetings at the church halls. Since both had consently agreed towards that matter, without any vitiating factors like duress and undue influence, then start legal action will only result into the parents losing the case (Dunham, 2008). By contently accepting, the parents were fully aware of any implications of their agreement and cannot sue them for whatever happened. Therefore no damages can be awarded to them.
Without assuming this subject, the consent between Tom and the infant was not a valid consent. A valid consent can only be used as a defense when there are no vitiating factors but in this case, Tom used coercion, undue influence and threat to make the infant accept to stay back in the church for a period of six months. The presence of vitiating factors solely makes the church liable for the intentional torts caused by Tom to Rob Jr. Therefore in the event that the infant sues the church, the he will automatically win the case.
Contributory negligence could be used as a defense by the church. Though Tom negligently forced the infant to make the church his new home, his parents are liable for the same negligence. As a defense, the church will seek to share the liabilities caused by one of its managers. This would involve using evidences of the parents not seriously considering the safety of their son that they leave him under the care of the church, which has no home programmes for the infants. However there is no contributory negligence by the infant since he was only forced to comply with the intents of Tom on the grounds that he could be taken to hell and be consumed by fire and as a result he could never see world again. This is what sets him free from the agreement and it only remains binding to the parents and the church.
Vicarious liability in tort law refers to the idea of one person being liable for the harm caused by another, because of some legally relevant relationship. This relationship might involve an employer and employee relationship where the employer will be liable for the action and conduct that occurred while executing his employment duties to the employer. From the research carried out, the church is vicariously liable for the actions of Tom. When Tom committed the act, he was at the church where he had been assigned duties by the church, hence therefore when the legal proceedings are filed against him for his conduct, then after examination the church will be held liable for the offense not because it wants to cover him up but because of the strictness of the liability which is borne as a result of the relationship shared by the concerned parties.
The parents of Rob Jr. will be held liable for negligence, under the rule of parental vicarious liability, because of their failure to supervise their child, by allowing him to attend meetings at will with the believe that the church will take all reasonable care to protect him incase any tort is committed against him. Thus while challenging the plaintiff the church as the defendant will apply parental vicarious liability as a defense mechanism in order to reduce the compensation (Morissette, 2008).
While a number of defenses have been applied, there are possible damages and remedies that the plaintiff will be awarded. These include; economic damages, pain and suffering damages which will be non economic in nature and could be compared to remedies. Economic damages will largely involve the financial implications likely to be incurred by the defendant. These include the cost of paying the lawyers and administration fees as well as the compensation on the plaintiff for the harm caused to him and the family. The non economic damages which relates to the pain suffered by the plaintiff are the possible remedies that will include warnings and injunction. The church will be warned of any future arising of similar cases and required to change the management or some of its managers.
Another remedy will be issuing an injunction which can either be permanent or temporary. A permanent injunction will involve the court inhibiting or barring some practices of the church partly or completely, basically those that contribute towards civil wrong on other people. A temporary injunction will involve the court stopping some activities of the church for a period of time which will be determined based on the judges' decisions. Therefore in conclusion, the church will largely have to bear all the legal implications caused by Tom's actions and conduct.
From the above facts and issues, the rule that has been violated is specifically the injury and torts law that falls under civil law. According to California Supreme and Appellate court Opinions, a civil law is concerned with the relationship between one person and the other, hence the liability arising thereof from the relationship shall be ascertained based on the conduct of the originator of such liability (California. Supreme Court, 2010). Therefore from the findings of the above case involving the infant and the church, violation of this law has occurred.
A case law involving Doe vs. Roman Catholic Bishop of Sacramento, C061842, can help elaborate the above case. Doe sued the Diocese claiming she suffered damages as result of the priest molesting her sons. In affirming the trial court's judgment did not sustain the Diocese's demurrer to the complaint because, among other reasons, plaintiff's action had substantial merit, the court held that the diocese he liable for acts of the priest. (California. Supreme Court, 2010).
The Application of the Above Case
The application of the above case to what is being referred will be based on the conduct of Tom. Since he committed the act when he was of sound mind and caused pain and suffering to the plaintiff, then by looking at the probable relationship shared between the defendant and the plaintiff, an amicable ruling can be made.
Analysis of The case
Following an extensive search of the various issues raised in the case, we of the probable opinion that the case will be based on the behavior and conduct of Tom. His actions have largely violated civil law by causing civil wrongs to Rob Jr. and the family. An award of remedies and damages will be assessed on likely weight of financial and non financial compensation that the case is likely to impose on the church. The case has numerous violations of the civil law that will be used to prove the final decision of the judges.
The Conclusion Of The case
In conclusion based on the evidence, a favorable ruling is imperative since there is creditable evidence of the defendant action to have breached the civil law. After ascertaining all of the facts presented to the court, an award for damages should be granted to the plaintiff.