TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Tuesday, July 31, 2007

Which Comes First - Negligence or Intentional Torts?

With the start of a new school year almost upon us, the question arose:  how do you structure your Torts course?  Do you begin with intentional torts or negligence? 

Readers, please post a comment.  As new torts professors consider how to design their course, we'd love to gather comments on what has worked for you, and why you chose your approach. 


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I start with intentional torts. Students find them engaging enough (if your casebook doesn't have good interesting intentional tort cases, that's a failing of the book) and the concepts are - I find - significantly easier to grasp than the somewhat more elusive negligence concepts. I give my first quiz (I give four) at the end of intentional torts, and it provides a nice self-contained unit for those purposes too.

Posted by: Bill Childs | Jul 31, 2007 4:51:50 AM

I also start with intentional torts, primarily for the same reasons as Bill. In addition, I have an unusual credit allocation--two in the fall and three in the spring. I need more credits to cover negligence and related topics.

Posted by: Chris Robinette | Jul 31, 2007 5:11:47 AM

I too start with the intentional torts. They are easier for the students to understand and they are a good introduction to elements analysis. I don't cover them all. After doing a few I put the elements of all of them on the board (I'm a Luddite) and show the class how they all, except IIED, work similarly. From there it's on to negligence.

Posted by: Bob Mensel | Jul 31, 2007 12:10:11 PM

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