TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Saturday, June 21, 2008

Potential Torts Openings?

In the same vein as Sheila's post yesterday, Prawfsblawg has a list of hiring chairs for 2008-09.  Although many schools are not specific about their needs at this point, Wisconsin and Berkeley specifically list Torts as an area of interest. 


June 21, 2008 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 20, 2008

Torts Opening at Southern Illinois

From the Puerto Rican Bar Association of Illinois:

Southern Illinois University School of Law seeks to hire an Assistant or Associate Professor of Law to teach Torts, Advanced Torts, and other courses to be negotiated.

Title & Rank: Assistant or Associate Professor of Law.

Minimum Qualifications: Applicants must possess: (1) either the Juris Doctor degree or its equivalent from an ABA accredited law school, or an advanced law degree from an ABA accredited law school; (2) an impressive law school academic record; and (3) the potential to produce high quality scholarship. To be eligible for appointment at the Associate Professor level, the candidate must have prior law school teaching experience and an established record of scholarship and contributions to the profession. Associate Professor candidates should be able to meet the requirements for tenure on the faculty of the School of Law.

Preferred Qualifications: Law teaching experience, an advanced law degree, an established scholarship record, practice experience and/or judicial clerkship experience.

Duties & Responsibilities: (a) classroom instruction; (b) research and publication involving legal analysis of a high quality; (c) committee and other service work within the law school; and (d) university and public service.

Deadline for application: September 30, 2008, or until position is filled.

To apply: Applications should be submitted electronically at

A completed application will require a letter of application, resumé and the contact information for three references. The letter should be addressed to:

Marshall Kapp, Chair, Personnel Committee
Southern Illinois University School of Law, Mail Code 6804
Southern Illinois University Carbondale
1150 Douglas Drive
Carbondale, Illinois 62901

SIUC is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer that strives to enhance its ability to develop a diverse faculty and staff and to increase its potential to serve a diverse student population. All applications are welcomed and encouraged and will receive consideration.


June 20, 2008 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Directorship's Boardroom Guide to State Litigation Climates

The Directorship has released its second annual Boardroom Guide to State Litigation Climates. (PDF version also available).  According to the Guide:

Directorships Best and Worst States for Business

The 10 Best

1. Tennessee
2. Utah
3. Indiana
4. Ohio
5. North Dakota
6. North Carolina
7. Nebraska
8. Virginia
9. Michigan
10. South Dakota


1. Oklahoma
2. South Carolina
3. Mississippi
4. Louisiana
5. Tennessee

The 10 Worst

1. Illinois
2. West Virginia
3. Rhode Island
4. Pennsylvania
5. California
6. Florida
7. Montana
8. New York
9. Maryland
10. Alabama


1. Kansas
2. Washington
3. Colorado
4. Hawaii
5. Oregon


June 20, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Davis on Liability of Coaches for Pro Athletes' Injuries

More sports and torts!  Timothy Davis (Wake Forest) has uploaded Tort Liability of Coaches for Injuries to Professional Athletes:  Overcoming Policy and Doctrinal Barriers to SSRN.  Here's the abstract:

The resolution of seemingly straightforward disputes that arise in sports often require courts to invoke rules from several substantive areas of the law. The potential tort liability of coaches and their teams for injuries to professional athletes provides such an illustration. Determining the culpability of coaches requires resort not only to tort law doctrine, but also to doctrine and policy related to contract, labor, and workers compensation law. This article first provides an overview of the law regarding the tort liability of institutions for injuries to athletes and the standards of care that courts have adopted. The article suggests that the breach of any duty imposed on coaches and their teams to players would most likely be assessed according to a heightened standard of care, specifically recklessness. The article concludes, however, that even if a coach engages in conduct that falls short of the applicable standard of care, a professional athlete will have difficulty prevailing in a tort-based civil action against a coach, or by virtue of vicarious liability, the team. In this regard, the article briefly discusses the defenses that might impede a player's ability to pursue state tort claims. These defenses, which include the labor law preemption doctrine, mandatory arbitration, and workers compensation, demonstrate the convergence of different strands of law in resolving sports-related disputes.


June 19, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Don't Eat Legos! Unless They're The Yummy Ones!

The Laboratorium notes a post on Penny Arcade regarding fruit snacks in the shape of Legos. And yes, they're real, not a clever Photoshop job.

Bad idea.


June 19, 2008 in Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Crimtorts Symposium Issue

The Crimtorts symposium issue of the Widener Law Journal is rolling off the presses.  The articles are available below:

Christopher J. Robinette, Introduction (Available through SSRN)

Kenneth W. Simons, The Crime/Tort Distinction:  Legal Doctrine and Normative Perspectives Download simons_symposium_pp_719732.pdf

Thomas H. Koenig, Crimtorts:  A Cure for Hardening of the Categories Download koenig_symposium_pp_733781_revised.pdf

Michael L. Rustad, The Supreme Court and Me:  Trapped in Time with Punitive Damages Download rustad_symposium_pp_783833.pdf

Jeffrey O'Connell, The Large Cost Savings and Other Advantages of an Early Offers "Crimtorts" Approach to Medical Malpractice Claims Download oconnell_symposium_pp_835875_revised.pdf

Frank J. Vandall, Should Manufacturers and Sellers of Lethal Products Be Subject to Criminal Prosecution? Download vandall_symposium_pp_877891_revised.pdf

Byron G. Stier, Crimtorts, Class Actions, and the Emerging Mass Torts Method Download stier_symposium_pp_893925.pdf

Keith N. Hylton, A Theory of Wealth and Punitive Damages (Available through SSRN)

Sheila B. Scheuerman, The Road Not Taken:  Would Application of the Excessive Fines Clause to Punitive Damages have Made a Difference? (Available through SSRN)


June 18, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

"Putting Duty In Its Place": Esper & Keating Reply to Goldberg & Zipursky

Dilan Esper (Stein & Flugge LLP) and Gregory C. Keating (USC) have posted "Putting Duty In Its Place:  A Reply to Professors Goldberg and Zipursky" on SSRN.   The abstract provides:

In Abusing 'Duty' we argued that California courts have been abusing duty by issuing highly particularized rulings which reach no father than the facts before the court. The role of duty doctrine is to fix the legal standard applicable to the defendant's conduct. Highly particular rulings distort duty by failing to articulate law. They deform the substance of negligence law and disrespect the role of the jury. California's burgeoning 'no duty' decisions also trace a troubling whole; it devalues the physical integrity of the person and exalts unfettered dominion over real property and the unfettered pursuit of mutual advantage in the marketplace.

Our arguments did not go unchallenged, especially by John Goldberg & Ben Zipursky. In this paper we respond to their criticisms and engage the position of the Third Restatement, to which we are largely sympathetic. In our view, Professors Goldberg & Zipursky mischaracterize negligent wrongdoing by presenting negligence as a personal affront akin to a knife in the back or a boot on the neck. Negligence is a more abstract wrong and a more abstract relation - a failure to show sufficient regard for an indefinite plurality of unknown persons who might come to grief from one's carelessness. Personalizing duty is a mistake with far-reaching consequences. When duty is personalized, it no longer functions to determine the existence of an obligation in tort - to determine whether or not the defendant was required to exercise reasonable care for the protection of a class of persons including the plaintiff. It becomes instead a license to determine the exact contours and scope of the obligation owed to any particular plaintiff. Duty begins to swallow breach and proximate cause, and the domain of the judge begins to consume the domain of the jury. Duty is converted from the first element of plaintiff's case and a non-issue almost all of the time into the master concept of negligence law. This deforms tort doctrine and invites the very kind of judicial abuse that disturbs us - a degradation of the judicial role and a usurpation of the jury's role by collapsing the line between law articulation and law application. Worse still, personalizing duty threatens to undermine the moral universalism that is the great achievement of twentieth century tort law. Personalizing duty tends to obscure the hard won insights that everyone's physical integrity is worthy of respect and counts equally, and that our shared interest in the physical integrity of our persons trumps our competing interests in the free use of real property and the unfettered pursuit of mutual advantage in the marketplace.

We have, therefore, ample reason to keep duty in its place.


June 17, 2008 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Federalist Society Talk on Alien Tort Claims Act

The New York City Lawyers Chapter of the Federalist Society is sponsoring "What Corporate Acts Create Exposure for International Law Violations?"  on Wednesday June 25th at the Cornell Club in NYC.

Speakers include Richard L. Herz, Litigation Coordinator, NGO Earthrights International and Julian Ku (Hofstra).  Vince Vitkowsky (Edwards Angell) will moderate. 

The event is free and open to the public.  Details here.

(Via Point of Law).


June 17, 2008 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 16, 2008

Judge Permits Discovery of Anonymous AutoAdmit Poster

Two Yale law students have sued various posters at AutoAdmit for defamation and other torts.  One of them, "AK47," sought permission to proceed anonymously and to quash (based on free speech grounds) a subpoena seeking his identity.  The trial court judge denied the motion: Download 08.06.13 Ruling on Doe 21's Motion to Quash & Motion to Proceed Anonymously.pdf [PDF]

AK47 did not previously have counsel; the court appointed pro bono counsel.  Prior to that, AK47 sent the plaintiffs a letter:

On February 25, 2008, the plaintiffs’ counsel received a letter and a motion to quash 
signed by “John Doe 21, a.k.a. ‘AK47.’” In the letter, Doe 21 admitted to posting the statement “Women named Jill and [Doe II] should be raped.” Doe 21 also threatened to create a website on which he would track the pending litigation, detail the allegations, feature the actual names of the plaintiffs, and also solicit comments on whether the alleged comments on AutoAdmit were true.

He also stated he would send links to this website to Yale and other university students, as well as posting a link on AutoAdmit.  The ostensible purpose of such a website was to formulate his defense to this action, although he also admitted it would likely be harmful to the plaintiffs.  Doe21's letter stated he would not take such actions if he were dropped from the lawsuit.


June 16, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (1)

Center for American Progress on Malpractice Reform

The Center for American Progress has a number of articles recently posted about malpractice liability, insurance, and so on. It's all in the context of health care reform more generally, and worth a read.


June 16, 2008 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Prosser and Campaign 2008

"Prosser on Torts" has made an appearance in the election campaign here.


June 15, 2008 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)