Saturday, March 26, 2011
Friday, March 25, 2011
- Neither incident has yet resulted in litigation, but probably will; two deaths on amusement rides last weekend. I'm covering them at MassTort.org.
- Suit alleges casino bus driver fell asleep, resulting in crash that killed fifteen. (USA Today, and an interesting but only tangetially related story in the New York Times)
- Suit alleges injuries in fall resulted from shoes materials sticking together. (Sun Times)
- Teacher threatens student with defamation suit for complaining about her grades. (SGVTribune.com)
- Court reinstates cheerleader's lawsuit alleging negligence resulting in her injury at cheerleading camp. (Chicago Tribune)
- Indiana appellate court considering claim of woman suing Carnival Cruises for having boats go too fast. (USA Today via Overlawyered)
- Preview of important FELA Supreme Court argument. (SCOTUS blog)
Reform, Legislation, Policy
- Government launches web portal for reporting produces perceived to be dangerous. (SaferProducts.gov)
Trials, Settlements and Other Ends
- Lawsuit over post-Katrina deaths in a hospital settles during jury selection. (Pro Publica)
- Stan Chesley in trouble. (Abnormal Use
Thursday, March 24, 2011
Via Day on Torts comes this California appellate court decision (PDF) addressing a question frequently addressed in Torts books regarding consent and so on -- the liability of a partner for transmission of an STD in an otherwise-consensual sexual relationship. The opinion, while affirming liability for the plaintiff, also reduces the damages.
Wednesday, March 23, 2011
Mark Weber (DePaul) has posted to SSRN The Common Law of Disability Discrimination. The abstract provides:
In many cases alleging race and sex discrimination, plaintiffs append common law claims to cases asserting federal or state statutory causes of action. In other race and sex cases, plaintiffs put forward these common law claims without making any federal or state statutory claims. Less frequent, and much less frequently discussed by scholars, are common law claims for conduct constituting disability discrimination. Nevertheless, there are sound theoretical and practical reasons to develop a common law of disability discrimination.
On the theoretical side of the discussion, federal statutory disability discrimination claims are not exclusive, and the common law can both draw from and influence statutory developments. The evolution of the common law can be part of the adaptation of the social and legal environment that is needed to achieve equality for people with disabilities. Practically speaking, there are numerous obstacles to statutory disability discrimination claims; the common law may provide redress when statutory remedies are blocked. Common law claims may face difficulties of their own, however, and the law may need to be reformed to facilitate just results in common law cases.
Existing scholarship includes several prominent discussions of disability and the law of torts, but there has been little development of the most important tort and contract remedies for disability discrimination. This article seeks to contribute to the scholarly discussion by considering common law remedies for disability discrimination in a systematic way and discussing how to align the remedies more closely with the goal of protecting civil rights of individuals with disabilities.
Tuesday, March 22, 2011
Dan Dobbs is a Regents Professor and the Rosenstiel Professor of Law at the University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law. He is the author of two leading treatises – The Law of Torts, and The Law of Remedies – and a coauthor of the treatise Prosser & Keeton on Torts. He has guided many casebooks to print, including five editions of Torts and Compensation Systems, the last three with co-author Paul T. Hayden. In addition, he has published more than thirty scholarly articles. He also served as a past Chair of the Association of American Law Schools Torts and Remedies sections, and continues to be an active member of the American Law Institute. In 2010, he was awarded the Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award by the American Bar Association Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section.
I recently was able to ask Professor Dobbs some questions about his career:
1. Why did you apply to law school? Where did you go to law school, and why did you select that
I went to law school because I'd just got married and had no plans. The University of Arkansas, in my home state and I chose it because it never occurred to me I might have an opportunity elsewhere.
2. Who was your Torts professor, and what was your experience as a Tort student?
My torts professor was Dean Robert A. Leflar. I was in awe. He taught in old Socratic style. His first words in the first class were: "Mr. Dozier, give us your brief of the first case." The first case, I think it was I de S and Wife, was entirely in Latin, of which I read not one word. I couldn't leave, though--the door was just behind Dean Leflar's desk. After that it was not bad at all.
3. How did you become interested in teaching law and Torts in particular?
I actually liked law school and thought all the moaning and groaning of some students was self-dramatizing and funny. So I always wanted to try my hand teaching. For me that would be torts, since my practice for a little over four years was mostly in torts.
4. When did you begin teaching Torts, and how has the course and the Torts professoriate changed since then?
I began teaching at UNC in the fall of 1961. I'm not sure I have a good read on how the professoriate has changed. My overall impression is that it has become more intellectually distanced from students who are not going to be teachers but practitioners, corporate or government lawyers. Correspondingly it seems to me that many torts teachers don't have courtroom, jury-trial experience, which might be especially important in the personal injury part of tort law. (On the other hand, some of the professors today actually understand mass tort litigation, which I certainly do not!)
5. What do you see as your major accomplishment as a Torts scholar and professor?
My accomplishment as a torts scholar is the book, Law of Torts, which will be coming out in the second edition in June, 2011.
Monday, March 21, 2011
Law Technology News reports that the federal government has launched SaferProducts.gov, as required under the Consumer Product Safety Improvement Act of 2008. The website allows consumers to file reports about hazardous products, and then allows other consumers to search and review these filings.
According to the press release,
Following procedures set up by the law, CPSC will review all online Reports and have five business days to transmit qualifying Reports to the manufacturer, where practicable. Manufacturers then have 10 business days during which they may respond and provide comments and/or claims. At the end of the 10 day period, if all requirements are met, the Report and the manufacturer’s comments will be posted on SaferProducts.gov
Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the info.