Legal Oopsies: Mal, Mis, & Missedfeasance

April 12, 2024

Malfeasance, misfeasance, and nonfeasance are three legal terms that refer to different types of wrongful actions or inactions.

– ***History:*** Malfeasance comes from Latin roots meaning “bad” and “doing.” It refers to intentionally doing something wrong.
– ***Usage:*** Malfeasance is used to describe illegal or dishonest actions done on purpose.
– ***Trick to Remember:*** Remember malfeasance with the phrase “bad deeds.”

1. The mayor was charged with malfeasance for accepting bribes.
2. The company’s CEO was guilty of malfeasance for embezzling funds.
3. The judge found the defendant guilty of malfeasance for tampering with evidence.
4. The police officer’s malfeasance led to his dismissal from the force.
5. Political malfeasance can have serious consequences for a government.

– ***History:*** Misfeasance comes from the prefix “mis-” meaning “wrong” and “doing.” It refers to doing something improperly or incompetently.
– ***Usage:*** Misfeasance is used when someone does something with good intentions but does it incorrectly, causing harm.
– ***Trick to Remember:*** Think of misfeasance as a “mistake in action.”

1. The doctor was sued for misfeasance after a surgical error.
2. The accountant committed misfeasance by miscalculating the company’s finances.
3. The engineer faced charges of misfeasance for a faulty bridge design.
4. The teacher’s misfeasance in handling student complaints led to a disciplinary review.
5. His misfeasance in operating the machinery resulted in a workplace accident.

– ***History:*** Nonfeasance comes from the prefix “non-” meaning “not” and “doing.” It refers to failing to act or fulfill an obligation.
– ***Usage:*** Nonfeasance is used when someone neglects their duty or fails to perform an action required of them.
– ***Trick to Remember:*** Remember nonfeasance with the idea of “not fulfilling.”

1. The lifeguard was accused of nonfeasance for not rescuing the drowning swimmer.
2. The manager was criticized for nonfeasance in addressing employee concerns.
3. Nonfeasance on the part of the politician led to public distrust.
4. The landlord’s nonfeasance in repairing the leaky roof led to property damage.
5. The employee was fired for nonfeasance after repeatedly missing deadlines.

– ***Malfeasance:*** Bad deeds, done intentionally to deceive or harm.
– ***Misfeasance:*** Mistake in action, done with good intentions but leading to harm.
– ***Nonfeasance:*** Not fulfilling, failing to act or meet obligations.