Malfeasance in Tort Law

  • Malfeasance is applied when any unlawful act is committed.
  • It is relevant to those unlawful acts which are actionable per se
  • no proof is required with.
  • For example,  trespass.

Malfeasance is a broad term covering any act which is illegal and causes physical or financial harm to another individual. It is an intentional act of doing something wrong, either legally or morally. The term malfeasance is utilized in both common law and criminal law to narrate any act which is unlawful or not identified by law. It is not a different crime or tort but the word malfeasance is used to n7arrate any act that is criminal or any wrongful act which causes injury to any person. Under tort law, malfeasance has legal effect in civil court and the defendant can be sued by the plaintiff for monetary damages. It is an act done with an immoral purpose and the person has the knowledge that the act which is being committed exceeds the authority of the person doing the act.

For example, a police officer is about to complete his rounds during his shift. His shift is about to over and he wants to go home. While he is driving home, he sees that a customer and the cashier at the gas station are having a heated conversation. The officer was on duty at that time and he knew that his shift would end in thirty minutes and if he stops there, it would take time and he will not reach home in time.

After that he thinks, if he is on duty and if any serious issue arises when it is his duty to stop there and try to handle the situation. The officer was aware that if he will not stop the argument between the cashier and the customer, it might turn into a fight but he simply ignored it and went home. Later, the cashier was shot to death and the customer took the cash from the counter. This accident would not have happened if the police officer had stopped at the place where the incident took place, the serious consequences would have been avoided.

Whether the act of officer was malfeasance or not? So, the act of officer was malfeasance as he was aware of his proper protocol and the officer was still on duty at that time when he saw the incident taking place. The officer knew that he was supposed to stop at the scene in order to prevent any further argument between the cashier and the customer. The officer chose not to stop, and his choice led to the robbery and death of a cashier.

Another example of malfeasance is a judge taking bribe from the prosecution. The judge had the knowledge that it is illegal to take money for giving judgment in favour of a person. Since the judge knows that his action is illegal, but continues to carry on doing the act anyway, it is an act of malfeasance.

For example, a school janitor is hired by a principal of a school. The janitor was his relative and had put false employment history in order to get a salary at a rate higher than the normal rate as he was facing some financial problems. Knowingly committing a dishonest act with the motive of getting a higher wage is malfeasance.

It is likewise relevant to the improper performance of some lawful act. For example, assume that a janitor is cleaning a bathroom in a cafe. If he intentionally leaves the floor wet without cleaning it properly, he or his boss could be obligated for any injuries caused to any customer because of the floor which was wet. This is because the janitor owed a duty of care to the people using the bathroom, and he breached that duty by not cleaning the floor properly.

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