Copyright 1965, American Law Institute
§ 3 ACTOR
The word "actor" is used throughout the Restatement of this Subject
to designate either the person whose conduct is in question as subjecting
him to liability toward another, or as precluding him from recovering against
another whose tortious conduct is a legal cause of the actor's injury.
COMMENTS & ILLUSTRATIONS: Comment:
a. Plaintiff or defendant as "actor." The word "actor" is used merely for convenience, and is used not only in its primary sense of denoting one who acts, but also as denoting one who deliberately or inadvertently fails to act. It generally denotes the person who is the defendant in a litigated case, or who would be the defendant if the matter were litigated. The actor may, however, be the plaintiff if the matter in dispute is the effect of his conduct in precluding him from recovering in an action which he might otherwise maintain against the defendant, as where the plaintiff's right to recover depends upon whether he is or is not guilty of contributory negligence. Thus in the same litigation both the plaintiff and the defendant may be actors; the defendant being an actor in so far as the character of his conduct in creating liability is in question, the plaintiff being an actor in so far as the character of his conduct as contributory negligence is in question. So too, the word "actor" describes both one whose freedom from liability depends upon a privilege which prevents his act or omission from subjecting him to liability to which he would ordinarily be subject, and one whose right to recover depends upon a privilege which prevents his conduct which would be ordinarily contributory fault from so being.
b. Use of "another." The word "another" is used throughout the Restatement of this Subject in the same sense as in this Section, to denote the person whom the actor's conduct affects, and who is either alleging the actor's conduct as the basis of his right to recover against him or is relying upon the actor's conduct as a reason why he should not be liable to the actor, as where a negligent defendant relies upon the plaintiff's contributory negligence to relieve him from liability.