Torts: Affirmative Defenses for Intentional Torts: Necessity

Necessity – only available in cases involving 3 property torts (trespass to land, chattels, and conversion)
  • Public necessity: when a Δ invades Π’s property in an emergency to protect the community as a whole, or a significant group of people. “The savior of the city.” Complete and total defense.
    • (i.e. mad dog in a street)
  • Private necessity: when Δ invades Π’s property in an emergency to protect an interest of his own. These Δ’s are self interested. Limited defense, so there are 3 consequences:
    • The private necessity Δ must pay for actual harm done to Π’s property.
      • Land, building or chattels – if harmed you have to pay for it.
    • The private necessity Δ never pays nominal or punitive damages.
    • As long as the emergency continues, the private necessity Δ has a right to stay on Π’s land in a position of safety. Π cannot eject or expel him. There’s a right of sanctuary during an emergency.