July 30, 2010
Oil Spill Liability in China
Can fishermen in China sue for an oil spill in the northeastern city of Dalian? Christopher Beam of Slate explains.
July 29, 2010
Thailand: New Med Mal Rules
Last year, China passed a new tort liability statute. Now, Thailand is on the verge of a new system to handle medical malpractice. The law would create a compensation fund that hospitals would have to pay into that would compensate victims of medical errors. Many Thai doctors are opposed to the law. They argue it has flaws that should be addressed before the law takes effect. Also:
"It means our staff would have to be extra careful during work, which would decrease efficiency," said Somkid Auapisithwong of Thai Federation of Doctors, Main Hospitals and General Hospitals, which looks after the interests of medical practitioners in state hospitals. "We're already very stretched. Some of our nurses have to work almost 365 days. This would add more stress to our staff. They would have to be extra careful with all sorts of risks and this will hinder their work."
Taiwan News has the story.
July 28, 2010
Stevens on Rights
Robert Stevens (University College of London) has posted to SSRN Rights and Other Things. The abstract provides:
This paper seeks to differentiate rights from other things with which they are frequently confused. The focus is upon rights within private law, but this is used to emphasize the distinctiveness and importance of this area. The topics covered are in sequence: (i) Rights and Loss, (ii) Rights and Gains (which may be skipped by those more interested in theory), (iii) Rights and Interests, (iv) Rights and Deontology, (v) Rights and Corrective Justice, (vi) Rights and Private law.
July 27, 2010
Massachusetts SJC Eliminates No-Duty Rule Regarding Snow & Ice
As we approach a new year and a new semester of Torts, the (nerdy) mind turns to duty/no-duty cases. Happily, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court has provided, with a new case eliminating the no-duty rule in connection with "natural" ice buildups, instead, consistent with the trend, holding the defendant to a general duty of reasonable care. The key language:
We now will apply to hazards arising from snow and ice the same obligation that a property owner owes to lawful visitors as to all other hazards: a duty to "act as a reasonable person under all of the circumstances including the likelihood of injury to others, the probable seriousness of such injuries, and the burden of reducing or avoiding the risk." Young v. Garwacki, 380 Mass. 162, 169 (1980), quoting Sargent v. Ross, 113 N.H. 388, 397-398 (1973). See Reardon v. Shimelman, 102 Conn. 383, 388 (1925) ("The duty of the landlord being to exercise reasonable care to prevent the occurrence of defective or dangerous conditions in the common approaches, the fact that a particular danger arose from the fall of snow or the freezing of ice can afford no ground of distinction"). This introduces no special burden on property owners. If a property owner knows or reasonably should know of a dangerous condition on its property, whether arising from an accumulation of snow or ice, or rust on a railing, or a discarded banana peel, the property owner owes a duty to lawful visitors to make reasonable efforts to protect lawful visitors against the danger. See Sheehan v. Roche Bros. Supermarkets, 448 Mass. 780, 782-784 (2007); Restatement (Second) of Torts § 343 (1965). See also Reardon v. Shimelman, supra at 389 ("an accumulation of ice or snow upon a common approach to a tenement house may impose upon the landlord a liability for injuries due to it, provided he knew, or in the exercise of a reasonable oversight ought to have known, of the existence of a dangerous condition and failed to exercise reasonable care to provide against injury by reason of it").
July 26, 2010
New York Judge Dismisses Facebook Defamation Suit
According to the New York Law Journal (via law.com), a New York judge has dismissed a suit brought by a teenager against her former classmates for comments made on a Facebook page. Although the judge found the comments "puerile" and "vulgar," they did not constitute statements of fact to satisfy a defamation claim.