TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Dorf on "The Setoff Problem"

An article in Saturday's NY Times reported that New York State seeks reimbursement from indigent patients in state-run mental hospitals when the patient wins a tort award against the state for poor care in the very same hospital. 

On his blog, Dorf on Law, Michael Dorf (Cornell) comments on the impact of this practice on the deterrence goal of a tort award    As Dorf explains,

Vis-a-vis an indigent who owes the State hundreds of thousands or millions of dollars for past care, the State itself is a kind of indigent--in the sense that it will never see that money, and so can commit torts up to the value of that care without worrying about any real out-of-pocket cost.  


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