Camille Carey, ‘Domestic Violence Torts: Righting a Civil Wrong’

… Part I provides an overview of existing tort causes of action that are well suited for use by domestic violence victims. These tort actions include traditional common law claims like assault, battery, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. They also include several local and state tort claims for domestic violence and gender-motivated violence. The civil rights remedy under the Violence Against Women Act is discussed briefly to give context to the development of specific tort claims for gender-motivated and domestic violence. Part II describes the dearth of domestic violence tort claims and offers reasons why so few domestic violence tort claims have been brought. It examines how the common law history of chastisement, coverture, spousal immunity, and judicial obstinacy has barred these claims and affects the frequency of these claims today. This section also describes how insurance policy exclusions and other factors have contributed to the sparseness of domestic violence tort claims. Part III explores how tort claims can be productive avenues of relief for domestic violence victims. Positive potential outcomes for domestic violence plaintiffs include financial benefits, therapeutic benefits, and deterrence. Part IV discusses some shortcomings of tort law in remedying domestic violence harms. Part V proposes a paradigm shift in legal approaches to domestic violence, with domestic violence tort law occupying a more significant role.

Camille Carey, Domestic Violence Torts: Righting a Civil Wrong. Kansas Law Review, Vol 62, p 695 (2014).

First posted 2014-06-04 06:27:48

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