The Tort of Cockblocking

§ 1.1 - Overview and General Definitions

(a) Cockblocking is defined in the common law as an unlawful interference by the cockblocker with the cockblockee's chances of getting play from the target. The target must be a specific person; merely throwing off the cockblockee's game is insufficient. To analogize from Justice Cardozo, proof of cockblocking in the air, so to speak, will not do. See Martin v. Herzog, 126 N.E. 814, 816 (N.Y. 1920).

(b) The cockblocker is the person who engages in cockblocking, that is, the actual tortfeasor.

(c) The cockblockee is the person who was cockblocked. Only the cockblockee has standing to sue on a claim of cockblocking, although the law of agency may apply under appropriate circumstances.

(d) The target is the person from whom play was sought by the cockblockee.

(e) For the purposes of this treatise, the cockblockee will be assumed to be male and the target female; the cockblockee will be assumed to be male or female, depending on the type of cockblocking at issue. However, any actor may be male or female.

§ 1.2 - Play

It is not necessary that the plaintiff would have actually engaged in intercourse with the target; rather, there must only have been a substantial likelihood that the cockblockee would have hooked up. While to be actionable, cockblocking requires something more than a mere kiss, what counts as "play" shall be determined with reference to the local community in which the encounter took place. For example, evidence that the cockblockee would have engaged in a "hot make-out session" may be all that is required (for example, at a high school party), while other times the cockblockee must prove that "dude, she would have totally gone down on me" in others, see, e.g., College.

Note how characterization of the facts underlying "play" alter the claim. For example:

A meets B at a bar and they hit it off. They soon begin making out heavily. C, jealous of her friend, demands that B go home with her. C could potentially argue that she did not "prevent" A from getting play from B because they had already been playing serious tonsil-hockey at the bar. However, A could argue that he would have gotten to third base, had C not interfered and B come home with him. At this point, the court would have to consider questions of proximate cause in deciding on how it ought to characterize the alleged prevented "play."

§ 1.3 - Chances of Getting Play from the Target

The cockblockee's chances of actually getting play from the target is always a question for the trier of fact. Proof may be had by direct or circumstantial evidence. Notwithstanding any statutes or rules of evidence to the contrary, the target's sexual history is almost always relevant to determining the cockblockee's chances; such history may include, but is not limited to the target's preferred "type," the target's "easiness" (including when alcohol is involved), and any prior play from target recieved by the cockblockee.

§ 2.1 - Types of Cockblocking

The law recognizes three types of cockblocking: negligent cockblocking, intentional cockblocking, and malicious cockblocking.

§ 2.2 - Negligent Cockblocking

The cockblocker negligently cockblocks the cockblockee if his conduct poses an unreasonable risk of interfering with the cockblockee's chances of getting play from the target, and that he should have been aware of such risk.

§ 2.21 - Unreasonable Interference

The cockblocker's conduct must pose an unreasonable risk of interfering with the cockblockee's chances of hooking up with the target. What consitutes an unreasonable risk will be weighed relative to the cockblockee's actual chances of getting play from the target. The cockblockee's chances must therefore be measured at the time of the incident. For example, if at the time of the incident, A, the target, is totally wasted and would not have hooked up with B sober, B's chances with A must be measured relative to "drunk A," not "sober A." That A would have chewed his or her arm off upon waking up next to B is not relevant to B's chances. However, that B was "coyote ugly" is relevant to whether the interference was reasonable.

§ 2.22 - Cockblocker's Awareness of the Risk

To be actionable, the cockblocker should have been aware of that risk. Negligent cockblocking does not require a mental state, hence it is not necessary that the cockblocker was actually aware of the risk. Hence, that the cockblocker was too drunk to recognize that B was grinding her ass on A is no defense. Indeed, the degree and obviousness of flirtation between A and B is highly relevant to whether the cockblocker "should have been aware" of the risk his or her conduct posed to B getting play.

§ 2.23 - Conduct of the Cockblocker

Finally, there must have been actual conduct that interfered with the cockblockee's chances of getting play from the target. Acts of ommision are not negligent cockblocking. For example, if B was hitting on A, and C was busy downing shots at the bar, B cannot sue C for failing to be a good wingman and "take one for the team."

§ 2.3 - Intentional Cockblocking

A person commits the tort of intentional cockblocking if, with the intent to prevent the cockblockee from getting play from the target, engages in conduct that prevents the cockblockee from getting play.

§ 2.31 - Intent

The tort of cockblocking incorporates the common law on intent from other intentional torts. As such, a cockblocker may intend to cockblock by having a subjective "purpose in the heart" to cockblock, or may "know with reasonable certainty" that cockblocking will flow from her conduct. Here, severe intoxication may negate intent, if the plaintiff's theory is "knowledge with reasonable certainty." It does not however, negate a subjective "purpose in the heart." Hence, it may be advisable for the plaintiff to plead both negligent and intentional cockblocking, if the cockblocker appeared to be intoxicated.

Further, like other intentional torts, the doctrine of "transferred intent" is applicable to cockblocking. For example:

A, B, and C are approached by D and E. D hits on A while E hits on B. C approves of D, but not E and attempts to ruin E's chances with B. Although E is successful in separating B from the group, A is annoyed by the whole situation and leaves with C. C's intent to cockblock E transfers to E in the same way that missing a punch and hitting an innocent bystander transfers that tortfeasor's unlawful intent.

§ 2.32 - Conduct

Like negligent cockblocking, intentional cockblocking requires actual conduct, rather than acts of ommission. See § 2.23, supra.

§ 2.34 - Affirmative Defenses

(a) Consent of Cockblockee. While this is a rare situation, a person prone to beer goggles may ask his friends to prevent him from hooking up with an unattractive target, or to prevent him from cheating on his girlfriend. Here, the two issues for the trier of fact will be (1) whether the cockblockee actually consented, and (2) whether the conduct within the scope of the consent (i.e., were the cockblocker's standards too high). In cases where the target was questionably the scope of the consent, the trier of fact should consider both the objective attractiveness of the target, the clarity with which the consent was given. Of course, the cockblockee is always free to change his mind, regardless of the amount of alcohol consumed.

(b) Consent of Target. Similar considerations apply as with consent of the cockblockee. However, the trier of fact should be particularly careful to distinguish between cases where the consent to interfere was in force at the time of the conduct, and those where target changed her mind and the cockblocker used the target's prior "consent" as a pretext for her own agenda.

(c) True Competitor. A competitor is a person who cockblocks with the intent of getting play from the target himself. This defense follows from the maxim that "all's fair in love and war." However, in order to be a "true" competitor, the trier of fact must find that he had an equal or greater chance of recieving play from the target than the cockblockee.

§ 2.4 - Malicious Cockblocking

Malicious cockblocking incorporates all of the elements of intentional cockblocking. However, it contains the additional element that the cockblocker "willfully and wontonly" interfered with the cockblockee's chances of getting play. In other words, malicious cockblocking can be thought of as "depraved mind cockblocking," (similar to the mental element in many second-degree murder statutes). Typically, though not necessarily, the malicious cockblocker will be female, who will not be getting any action that night, and so feels compelled to drag her friends into her misery.

Whether intentional cockblocking qualifies as "malicious" is a matter of culpability. Therefore, it will always be a question for the trier of fact.

Malicious cockblocking carries punitive damages.