June 11, 2011
Fire Gel - Dangers and Labels
The New York Times today has a story that could be from a law school exam, having as it does a new (flammable) product, a label susceptible of multiple interpretations, allegedly lacking warnings, and a withdrawal of the product pending revisions of the label. It describes two serious burn accidents resulting from using Napa Home and Garden's "Firelite...Safe Pourable Gel." Worth a read to get a real-world product warning example.
June 10, 2011
Personal Injury Roundup Hiatus
Given our various summer commitments, the Personal Injury Roundup will be on hiatus for the summer. It will return in August.
Thanks for understanding,
June 8, 2011
Cupp on Lytton on Clergy Abuse Suits
Rick Cupp (Pepperdine) has posted to SSRN Seeking Redemption for Torts Law--A Review of "Holding Bishops Accountable: How Lawsuits Helped the Catholic Church Confront Clergy Sexual Abuse" by Timothy D. Lytton (Harvard University Press 2008). The abstract provides:
In Holding Bishops Accountable, Professor Timothy Lytton presents the Catholic Church child molestation lawsuits as an example to encourage a more careful look at torts litigation’s potential policymaking benefits. In this forthcoming book review (draft available for download), Professor Cupp praises Professor Lytton’s thesis and his impressive scholarship. However, the review raises as an open question whether the clergy abuse cases provide an illustration that is too exceptional to substantially enhance openness to the idea of torts litigation as a policy tool.
Church leaders abusing vulnerable children creates a deeply compelling “morality play,” and a plaintiff’s attorney’s perfect plotline. Finding a more sympathetic plaintiff than a defenseless child or a more deplorable defendant than a corrupt clergyman abusing innocents is not easy. The review acknowledges that in the information age a strong symbiotic relationship exists between news and torts lawsuits that should not be underestimated in assessing torts law’s impact on policymaking. With a scenario as shocking as priests molesting children, the media justifiably flock to cover the scandalous story, the extensive coverage shapes public perceptions, and significant policy change predictably follows.
The review recognizes that under the right circumstances, torts law might play a role as a policymaking tool, but it cautions that the particularly powerful illustration of clergy abuse litigation is just that – particularly powerful – and that torts law’s potential for influencing policy is more limited in most litigation scenarios.
June 7, 2011
Two Tort Articles in Scientia Juris
First, Rajeev Kadambi has published "Jurisprudence of Rescue Under Tort Law." The abstract provides:
The article deals with five broad themes. First, the idea of rescue is embodied in the duty to act reasonably in tort law. Second, the article explains the judicial array of balances in rescue situations, involving the victim, rescuer, and defendant. Third, the article argues that both extremes of the rescue obligation are somewhat reproduced in the prevailing law. Fourth, the article constructs a response to the second thesis, arguing that reasonableness must go beyond the plain judicial balancing approach and derive outcomes and meaning from normative principles. Fifth, rescues represent the junction of the public law and private law distinction because it is based on the conception of the State and the relation with its people. The article concludes that principles of rescue must be derived from a common order of values that transcend public and private law reasoning.
The second article by Marta Requejo Isidro is not directly concerned with torts, but may be of interest. The title is La responsabilidad de las empresas por violacion de derechos humanos - Deficiencias del marco legal. The article is in Spanish. The abstract provides:
In a globalized world the activities of multinational and transnational corporations have a profound impact on the human rights of individuals and communities, especially in developing countries. The human rights violations committed by these agents have to be dealt with. Today is commonly accepted that the optimal approach from a legal point of view should be one of international law; but so far international law has not provided satisfactory answers. Therefore, the accountability of multinational and transnational corporations requires the intervention of domestic systems, where various regulatory options seem possible: one is the use of private civil claims. Civil litigation for human rights often involves private international law problems. Traditional PIL solutions for civil liability do not suit the factual context of violations of human rights. That is why changes on issues such as the criteria of international jurisdiction are needed. In the EU the task could be addressed at this very moment, in the context of the process of review of Regulation Brussels I.
Thanks to Professor François-Xavier Licari (Université Paul Verlaine - Metz) for the info.
June 6, 2011
Journal of Tort Law on "Property, Tort and Private Law Theory"
Volume 4, Issue 1 of the Journal of Tort Law is now available. Issue 1 is the first of three that will feature papers presented at a conference titled “Property, Tort and Private Law Theory.” It was held at the University of Southern California’s Gould School of Law in October, 2010, and was organized by Professors Gregory Keating of USC and Benjamin Zipursky of Fordham University School of Law.
The Table of Contents for Issue 1 is:
- John C.P. Goldberg, Editor’s Introduction
- Jonathan M. Barnett, What’s So Bad About Stealing?
- Hanoch Dagan, Remedies, Rights and Properties
- Mark A. Geistfeld, Tort Law and the Inherent Limitations of Monetary Exchange: Property Rules, Liability Rules, and the Negligence Rule
- Keith N. Hylton, Property Rules and Defensive Conduct in Tort Law Theory
Thanks to John Goldberg for the info.