This section is from the book "Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry, And Building", by James C. et al. Also available from Amazon: Cyclopedia Of Architecture, Carpentry And Building.
Torts are a large class of wrongs arising not in a breach of a contractual duty owed by one person to another, but in the breach of a duty which the law imposes upon one member of society for the benefit of others. Thus a man owes a duty to use due care to avoid injury to any one of his fellows with whom he is brought into contact. The commoner torts are familiar to everyone - trespass, assault, battery, and actions for negligence. A few not so commonly understood may be mentioned here.
If A makes to B a statement knowing it to be false, and intending to lead B to act upon it. and B does act upon it to his damage, A is liable. This is called deceit. It is not uncommon that such statements are made to induce a person to enter into some relation or contract. The fraud may then, as has been seen, afford ground for treating the contract as void; it may also give rise to an action for deceit.
The law imposes various duties upon landowners to keep their premises in safe condition for persons using it in the regular course of business. The duty need not be considered here further than to say that if an architect so designs a building as to render it dangerous to persons in the uses contemplated for it, he may cause the owner to be liable for ensuing damage. For this loss to the owner it will be seen later the architect might be legally responsible.
There is one liability of an extraordinary sort which may occasionally affect a landlord. Ordinarily if a man's use of his land causes damage to another the landowner is liable only if his negligence contributed to the damage. But if a man builds a peculiarly dangerous structure on his land, then he may be liable for any damage it causes, although he is guilty of no negligence, and although the damage would not have occurred but for some natural catastrophe, as a flood or tornado. So a man building a reservoir on his land has been held liable for damage caused by its bursting in time of flood; and the doctrine might be extended to cover a variety of unusual or essentially dangerous structures, thus necessitating extraordinary care in construction.
It has already been said that for torts of an agent committed in the course of his employment, the principal, as well as the agent himself, is liable.