Thursday, January 15, 2009
In the last two days, Larry Solum has posted on two articles of interest to torts enthusiasts. First, Joni Hersch and Kip Viscusi (both at Vandy) have posted on SSRN Punitive Damages by Numbers: Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker. Here is the abstract:
The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Exxon Shipping Co. v. Baker is a landmark that establishes an upper bound ratio of punitive damages to compensatory damages of 1:1 for maritime cases, with potential implications for other types of cases as well. This article critiques the Court's reliance on the median ratio of punitive to compensatory damages in samples of verdicts to set an upper bound for punitive damages awards. Our critique of the approach draws on the properties of statistical distributions and a new analysis of cases with punitive damages awards. The Court's conclusion that a 1:1 ratio establishes a fair upper bound lacks a sound scientific basis.
Second, Lars Noah (Florida) has posted on SSRN This is Your Products Liability Restatement on Drugs. Here is the abstract:
This paper attempts to offer a comprehensive evaluation of the various facets of the Products Liability Restatement that relate to medical technologies, and it does so from a perspective rooted in the regulatory as opposed to the doctrinal challenges posed by these products. The special provisions applicable to prescription drugs and devices have provoked a great deal of scholarly commentary, and the few courts to consider the issue have uncritically relied upon the published critiques. I find little merit in most of these negative assessments, though I point out some flaws in section 6 of new Restatement that seemingly no one else has identified. Part II addresses production defects, focusing on the heated debate over what standards to use in deciding whether a prescription drug suffers from a defective design. Part III considers defects related to the information that accompanies prescription drugs, especially those advertised directly to consumers. Finally, Part IV touches on some of the peculiar issues raised by investigational products, generic drugs, prescription medical devices, and the duties of non-manufacturing sellers.