Sunday, October 10, 2010
I was shocked and deeply saddened to hear of the sudden passing of Richard Nagareda, a remarkable scholar and professor and a titan in the field of mass tort litigation. I first encountered Richard's far-reaching mind when poring over his thorough and intricately reasoned scholarship on class actions. See, e.g., Richard A. Nagareda, The Preexistence Principle and the Structure of the Class Action, 103 Colum. L. Rev. 149 (2003); Richard A. Nagareda, Autonomy, Peace, and Put Options in the Mass Tort Class Action, 115 Harv. L. Rev. 747 (2002). His vast scholarly output lead to his magnum opus, Mass Torts in a World of Settlement (U. Chicago Press 2007), a sweeping assessment of the problems and possible solutions for mass torts -- including importing concepts from administrative law and using innovative attorney-fee arrangements to incentivize attorneys to care for future claimants.
In 2008, I had the good fortune to be able to invite Richard to speak at an asbestos symposium at Southwestern Law School, meet him at a pre-symposium dinner, and hear him speak about mass torts -- he was thoughtful, good-spirited, polite, and intellectually curious; here are the transcripts from the symposium, including Richard's remarks. Richard's students were no doubt greatly enriched by his teaching, for which Vanderbilt bestowed on him Awards for Excellence in Teaching in 2002, 2009, and 2010; they were also likely made comfortable seeking guidance in his office, for in contrast to the seriousness and rigor of scholarship, he decorated his office with plastic figures from The Simpsons cartoon show, including a chessboard with Simpsons pieces. See Vanderbilt "A Day in the Life of ... Richard Nagareda." We here at the Mass Tort Litigation Blog also benefitted from Richard's periodic suggestions about new developments to think about, and we were delighted to post an interview with Richard that was sent to us from Rodger Citron of Touro Law Center. In recent years, Richard was active as the Director of Vanderbilt's Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation & Dispute Resolution Program, and served as an Associate Reporter of the American Law Institute's influential Principles of the Law of Aggregate Litigation. Richard also continued to publish widely -- indeed, his curriculum vitae lists four forthcoming works. It is hard to accept the dimming of a star in what one assumes is an unchanging firmament, especially given Richard's relative youth at age 47. He will be greatly missed.