TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, July 16, 2010

Jeffries on Qualified Immunity

John Jeffries (UVa) has posted to SSRN What's Wrong with Qualified Immunity?.  The abstract provides:

Originally delivered as the Dunwody Lecture at the University of Florida, this paper argues that “qualified immunity needs a course correction.” The Supreme Court’s attempt to strike a balance between the “importance of a damages remedy to protect the rights of citizens” and the “public interest in encouraging the vigorous exercise of official authority” (Harlow v. Fitzgerald) may have seemed sensible in the abstract, but has broken down in administration. Today, the law of qualified immunity is complicated, unstable, and overprotective of government officers. This paper documents those defects and proposes reforms designed to “get constitutional tort law back on track.”

(Via Keith Hylton's Torts & Products Liability eJournal)

Just seeing the title reminded me of the arguments Professor Jeffries made in class 15 years ago. 


July 16, 2010 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Octomom's Physician Accused of Malpractice

The California Medical Board has filed a lawsuit against the Octomom's physician, alleging "gross negligence" in his implantation of a dangerous number of embryos into the 48-year-old woman.  Vitals has the story.


July 15, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Rustad on Tort Reform

Mike Rustad (Suffolk) has posted to SSRN his provocative essay The Endless Campaign:  How the Tort Reformers Successfully and Incessantly Market Their Groupthink to the Rest of Us.  The abstract provides:

Neo-conservatives often employ the theme of personal responsibility to marginalize plaintiffs seeking compensation for mass torts. For example, the tort reformers use techniques of blaming the victim successfully in defending tobacco products liability claims. This groupthink about corporate victimhood deflects attention away from the true victims of defective products, negligent medicine, or unreasonably risky activities. Similarly, neo-conservatives redefined the term "reform" to signify caps and other limitations on recovery for injured plaintiffs in an effort to improve the functioning of the American civil justice system. Tort law's remarkable ability to continually adapt to old causes of action to new threats and dangers makes it an important institution of social control. A strong regime of tort law ensures that not even multi-billion dollar industries, such as those represented by the tort reform movement, are beyond the reach of the law. Tort law is, as it has always been, forward-looking with the ability to confront new social problems and conditions. The tort reformers endless campaign of misinformation threaten to diminish the ability of our civil justice system to evolve to meet the emergent hazards of the twenty-first century.

(Via Keith Hylton's Torts & Products Liability eJournal)


July 14, 2010 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Consumers Sue J&J For Fraud

Bloomberg Businessweek reports that consumers have filed a class action against Johnson & Johnson based on the recall on children's pain and allergy medicines back in April.   The suits allege fraud and racketeering claims. 


July 13, 2010 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 12, 2010

"Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy"

From David Rosen at the Penn Program on Regulation comes news of a new book, Import Safety: Regulatory Governance in the Global Economy.   From Penn:

In recent years, numerous imports have prompted public alarm, including:

· imported toys coated with lead paint

· milk products and pet food contaminated with the hazardous chemical melamine

· drywall that leaches noxious fumes in homes across the country

· blood thinner for kidney dialysis patients masked with a lethal chemical

In today’s era of global trade, more food, drugs, and other goods move across national borders than government inspectors can ever fully test for safety.   Import Safety’s analyses and proposals therefore come at an pivotal time for consumer protection. 

Published by the University of Pennsylvania Press, Import Safety contains the results from a major project organized by the Penn Program on Regulation.  With chapters written by leading legal scholars and social scientists, this new book combines careful diagnosis of the import safety problem with analysis of innovative policy solutions.

For more information, please visit



July 12, 2010 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)