TORT LAW - LEGL 154 (5 Credits)
 M & W 7:00 – 9:15 pm
Bldg:  23-219
(not currently an active class)

Course Description (from class schedule):


Concepts associated with harm to persons or property, consisting of intentional torts, negligence, or strict liability.  Prerequisites LEGL 151, 152, and 156 or instructor’s permission.


Instructor’s information:


Shawn Newman, J.D.,    

Email:  Please use Canvas messaging option to send me emails pertaining to our course. 

Assigned class materials:


1.         Tort Law for Paralegals, Second Edition  by George E. Guay, III, and Robert Cummins  ,             ISBN-10:0-13-306794-7; ISBN-13:978-0-13-306794-1 (paperback) copyright 2014           by Pearson Education, Inc. 

2.         Free access to WSBA Casemaker [Log in: 9052320; Password: paralegal]

3.         Google Scholar and other free internet resources


Student learning outcomes:


There are several specific learning objectives for this course.


1.         You will develop a basis of knowledge for the substantive law of torts.

2.         You will develop an understanding of the litigation process generally and as it applies to torts.

3.         You will develop your skill at reading and interpreting court decisions.

4.         You will utilize your legal research skills.


Structure of the class:


The class runs from 7 to 9:15pm.  Class meetings will be comprised of lecture, discussion, and in-class assignments.


Each class has its own dynamic and I am flexible on the classroom environment as long as we maintain a productive, non-hostile learning environment.  Students will respect me and their fellow students or they will be asked to leave the classroom.  Those asked to leave will receive a zero for attendance for that class.  I reserve the right to impose additional grade penalties for those unable to conduct themselves in a professional manner, and/or to remove the student from the class permanently.


Below are some guidelines for conduct in the classroom and during the course:


  1. Ask questions in class, even if you think they’re simple or silly questions.  These questions let me clear up confusions that you and likely other students have before that confusion snowballs.  Do not be discouraged because you have questions; if you understood everything, there would be little point in your presence here.  This class is here to challenge you and is your opportunity to sort out what you don’t understand.


  1. Ask me the question.  Do not ask your neighbor during class.  It is distracting and will likely result in both of you being lost or behind.


  1. I assign reading for a reason: it helps.  Do the reading.  Bring questions to class you have concerning the reading.  If you choose not to do the reading and do poorly in the class, do not act surprised.


  1. This is a night class.  We’ve all had a long day already.  We’re all tired.  Remain civil and try to relax.  Take a deep breath when you need it.  Rise above it.  Do not spread your negativity to the rest of the class.  Do not turn fatigue into a disciplinary problem.


College-wide abilities:


South Puget Sound Community College believes that all students need to develop a broad range of abilities that will not only make them more effective in their professional pursuits but will enhance their capacity to relate well to others in their daily lives.  Therefore, students who complete an AAS in Paralegal will:


·         Demonstrate the following skill standards:

Ø  Engage in legal and factual investigation and research using traditional and technology-based tools.

Ø  Brief and analyze legal issues in writing.

Ø  Understand the court system and the process of civil litigation from the inception of a case through trial and post-trial matters.

Ø  Use a variety of current computer applications to efficiently produce, manage, and analyze legal documents. 

·         Interview clients or witnesses.

·         Communicate effectively.

·         Think logically and critically.

·         Evaluate and process quantitative data.

·         Understand themselves and others in an intercultural environment.

·         Understand ethical responsibilities and consequences.



Course outline, required reading, and exam schedule:


Please note – this is a “living syllabus” so check Canvas for updates:

1.         As we progress, I may assign specific cases and other materials for you to read prior to class in addition to the chapters listed below (see Canvas).

2.         This is a tentative schedule.  The schedule will change based upon class dynamics and our progress in the course.  You are responsible to make note of any changes I make in class or electronically.




Topic/Reading Assignment




Read Chapter 1: Foundations of Tort Law

Read Chapter 3: Tort of Negligence




Read Chapter 4: Proof of Negligence

Read Chapter 5: Defenses to Negligence




Read Chapter 6:  Premise Liability

Review for Exam #1 (Take Home) due 4/25




Read Chapter 7: Intentional Torts





Read Chapter 8: Misrepresentation, Interference with Economic Relations, and Other Business-Related Torts Read Chapter 9:  Doctrine of Nuisance




Read Chapter 10: Defenses to Intentional Torts

Review for Exam #2 (Take Home) due 5/16




Read Chapter 11:  Privilege & Immunity




5/25:  Memorial Day – No Class

Read Chapter 13:  Products Liability




Read Chapter 12:  Strict Liability

Read Chapter 14: Vicarious Liability




Read Chapter 15: Torts & Relationships; Loss of Consortium



Read Chapter 2:  Litigating a Tort Action

Review for Exam #3 (Take Home) due 6/20




Your performance in the course will be evaluated as follows:


Attendance                                                                             10%

Take-Home Exams (3)                                                            30% each


Grading Scale:


94 – 100                      A

90 – 93                        A-

87 – 89                        B+

83 – 86                        B

80 – 82                        B-

77 – 79                        C+

73 – 76                        C

70 – 72                        C-

67 – 69                        D+

63 – 66                        D

60 – 62                        D-

59 – below                  F


Incompletes:  I do not give incompletes.  Do not expect one.  Do not rely on it as an option.


Academic honesty:  I do not have a problem with students forming study groups and working together outside of class.  Cheating and plagiarism will result, at minimum, in an F for the exam and a report of the conduct to the Vice President of Student Services.  Depending upon the severity of the misconduct, a violator may also face automatic failure of the entire course and/or any harsher sanction determined by SPSCC.  For further information, see the Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities.


Further information:  For the complete Code of Student Rights and Responsibilities, see