February 9, 2012
Tort Reform Bills Advance in AZ, MN
In Arizona, the Economic Development and Jobs Creation Committee approved a bill that would exempt manufacturers from claims for punitive damages if they followed all federal, state, or agency standard for creating a product. The bill moves to the full Senate. The Arizona Republic has the story.
In Minnesota, the House last week passed several tort reform measures. The measures, which passed largely on party-line votes, include:
• Reducing Minnesota's statute of limitations, the time limit for filing suit, from six years after the incident to four years.
• Allowing an early appeal to question the class-action status of large suits, in an attempt to weed out frivolous actions.
• Limits on attorney fees in certain cases, such as wrongful termination or sexual harassment, where state law requires the fees be paid as part of the lawsuit.
• Reducing the interest rate on judgments that remain unpaid while a case proceeds. The current 10 percent rate would be reduced to a market-based rate no lower than 4 percent.
The Minneapolis Star Tribune has the story.
February 7, 2012
Gripping Supreme Court Legal Thriller...By An Insider
Okay, so this is not torts-related, but I simply had to mention the release of The Last Justice, written by my good friend Anthony Franze. Anthony is a lawyer with Arnold & Porter's Appellate & Supreme Court practice and his novel is set in the high court with the Solicitor General as the main character.
Advance reviews already have raved that the book is reminiscent of "early Robert Ludlum," and have praised Anthony as the next John Grisham:
"Bristling with fascinating insider details, The Last Justice by Anthony J. Franze is a rare legal thriller—authentic, exciting, and beautifully written. From little-seen Supreme Court chambers to elite boardrooms and darkened bedrooms, you'll be swept along on a tidal wave of suspense. Watch out, John Grisham—Franze has arrived, and he's damn good!"
—Gayle Lynds, New York Times bestselling author
"A stunning opening, an action-packed, intriguing middle, and a pulse-pounding ending. Who could ask for more from a thriller. Welcome Anthony Franze—a great new voice has entered the genre."
—Steve Berry, New York Times bestselling author
"In the style of John Grisham, with the authority of Oliver Wendell Holmes—and with insight to spare—Anthony Franze's legal thriller brings you into Washington's innermost inner sanctums, at a breakneck pace, and with writing so good that you will feel the chill of the marble halls—and the bullets slicing the chilly air around you."
—Keith Thomson, New York Times bestselling author
Even the National Law Journal’s Supreme Court correspondent Tony Mauro called the book a “page-turner” that is “downright respectful of the Court, scrupulously accurate in its details about the institution's inner working.”
Having read the book myself - and having taught a Supreme Court Seminar - I agree with all the praise. I am biased, I admit, but the book is fantastic! It strikes an incredible balance of supense with accurate insider details about the Court. The history and details about the Supreme Court and the SG's Office are so accurate and well written that I could see the book being used as optional reading in an Appellate Practice or Law & Literature course, much the way A Civil Action is used in Civ Pro courses.
The book is available at your local book store and on-line starting today. Check it out!
Popper on Deterrence
Andy Popper (American) has posted to SSRN In Defense of Deterrence. The abstract provides:
The civil justice system deters misconduct. It generates far-reaching and positive market effects beyond victim compensation and recovery. Civil judgments, settlements, the potential for litigation — the tort system itself — has a beneficial effect on the behavior of those who are the subject of legal action as well as others in the same or similar lines of commerce. Over the last twenty years, legal scholars have debated whether the civil justice system generally, and tort recovery in particular, generates a deterrent effect. Those who have argued for tort reform (limiting the expanse and reach of accountability in the civil justice system) contend that the tort system has failed to live up to its promise of providing meaningful deterrence. Those who oppose tort reform and defend the civil justice system argue that tort cases have a powerful effect not only on the parties, but also on others involved in similar activity. This article takes the following position: those supporting tort reform cannot wish away deterrence. To claim that punishment has no effect on other market participants is to deny our collective experience. Deterrence is a real and present virtue of the tort system. The actual or potential imposition of civil tort liability changes the behavior of others.
February 6, 2012
Hylton on Zipursky on the "New Private Law"
Keith Hylton (Boston University) has posted to SSRN New Private Law Theory and Tort Law: A Comment. The abstract provides:
This comment was prepared for the Harvard Law Review symposium on “The New Private Law,” as a response to Benjamin Zipursky’s principal paper on torts. I find Zipursky’s reliance on Cardozo’s Palsgraf opinion as a foundational source of tort theory troubling, for two reasons. First, Cardozo fails to offer a consistent theoretical framework for tort law in his opinions, many of which are difficult to reconcile with one another. Second, Palsgraf should be understood as an effort by Cardozo to provide greater predictability, within a special class of proximate cause cases, by reallocating decision-making power from juries to judges. It was almost surely not an effort to set out a nonconsequentialist theory of tort law. While I agree with some of the goals of the new private law movement, much work remains to be done, within the methodological approach championed by Zipursky, in constructing a rigorous theoretical framework.