TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Monday, April 2, 2012

Against Liability for Private Risk-Exposure

I just posted my most recent article on SSRN:  Against Liability for Private Risk-Exposure, 35 Harv. J. L. & Pub. Pol'y -- (forthcoming 2012).   The abstract provides:

Can a plaintiff who has not yet suffered an injury sue based on the risk of future harm? After decades of addressing whether these “no injury” or “unmanifested defect” suits are cognizable, courts today are intractably divided. This conflict has created incentives for forum-shopping as plaintiffs search for a jurisdiction friendly to “no injury” lawsuits and class certification. Using these “no injury” or “unmanifested defect” cases as a frame of reference, this Article argues that private risk-exposure should not be compensable. The Article begins by considering whether risk-exposure itself should be considered “harm.” Concluding that risk alone is not a setback to an interest, the Article then examines whether risk exposure should be compensable. Using the two dominant private law camps — utilitarianism and justice — the Article concludes that allowing liability for private risk-exposure is not justified. Claims for private risk-exposure are best addressed through the administrative process.

I am continuing to explore the issues of risk and future harm in my scholarship, and welcome your comments.  


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