November 30, 2012
"Tort Litigation and Juries: By the Numbers"
The Center for Justice and Democracy at New York Law School has published "Tort Litigation and Juries: By the Numbers." The briefing summarizes recent statistical analysis of tort filings, trials, and awards.
November 29, 2012
Federalism and Tort Reform
A number of authors have been engaging in a lively debate about congressional power to enact tort reform. Starting it off, Paul Clement authored Federalism, the Framers, and Federal Legal Reform - Setting the Record Straight, released by the Chamber of Commerce in October. Essentially, Clement defends federal tort reform as permissibe under the Commerce Clause. Last week, Rob Natelson of the Independence Institute offered a response: Did the Founders Constitution Permit Federal Tort Reform? And now, Randy Barnett over at Volokh Conspiracy has weighed in.
November 27, 2012
Mullenix on the BP Compensation Fund
Linda Mullenix (Texas) has posted to SSRN Prometheus Unbound: The Gulf Coast Claims Facility as a Means for Resolving Mass Tort Claims--A Fund Too Far. The abstract provides:
In the well-known Greek myth, Prometheus stole fire from the Greek god Zeus and gave it to humanity. In return for this arrogance, Zeus had Prometheus chained to a rock in the Caucasus Mountains where Prometheus was punished by an eagle eating away at his liver, which regenerated every night. Because Prometheus was immortal, he was condemned to eternal torture by the voracious eagle‘s pecking. After 30 years of this punishment, however, Hercules appeared, killed the eagle, and liberated Prometheus from his unending torment. In return for freeing him, Prometheus rewarded Hercules with the secret to completing the 11th of his famous Herculean labors.
On April 20, 2010, an explosion on the Deepwater Horizon rig killed 11 workers and unleashed the worst oil spill in American history. Less than two months later, on June 16th, 2010, BP Oil ― after meeting with President Barack Obama ― agreed to set up a $20 billion fund to compensate victims of the disaster. Shortly thereafter, BP selected Kenneth Feinberg to oversee the compensation fund and claims process.
PA: New Ruling on Products Liability Affirmative Defense
On Monday, the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania ruled that, in order to avoid liability, a defendant raising a claim of highly reckless conduct must plead and prove such claim as an affirmative defense. The case, Reott v. Asia Trend, is here.
Thanks to Scott Cooper for the tip.