Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Third DCA Watch -- How Does a Tortious Act, Repeatedly Done, Become Merely an "Effect"?


So let's discuss a hot topic nowadays, buzzing on social media nearly everywhere, and that's the doctrine of a "continuing tort" for purposes of calculating when the statute of limitations begins to run on a claim:
We therefore agree with the trial court’s determination that the continuing tort doctrine is not applicable to Effs’ claim for tortious interference with a business relationship.  Contrary to Effs’ assertion, the tort was not continual in nature merely because Sony Pictures made subsequent distribution payments. These additional distribution payments were merely “harmful effects from an original, completed act.”
But wait!

Judge Rothenberg just said a second ago that it's the tortious "act" that starts the statute, and that the trial judge found the first payment to be that very "act":
 “A continuing tort is ‘established by continual tortious acts, not by continual harmful effects from an original, completed act.’”. . . .  Specifically, the trial court found that Effs’ claim for tortious interference with a business relationship accrued on October 30, 2005, when Sony Pictures was required to make its first distribution payment...

So the first distribution payment was the tortious "act" but the last one was merely a harmful "effect," adding to the damages but nothing more?

Example: I punch you in the face every day for a year.  Under this reasoning only the first punch is the completed tort;  all remaining 364 punches are merely "harmful effects from an original, completed act."

Sheesh, the movie business is crazy!

3 comments:

  1. SFL check out Marty Steinberg's malpractice case.

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  2. Forget it Jake, it's Rothenberg.

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  3. Rothenberg defense gymnastic gold!

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