TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, January 18, 2013

Wriggins on Compulsory Auto Insurance and the Health Care Mandate

Jenny Wriggins has posted the final version of her paper analogizing the two, entitled Mandates, Markets, and Risk:  Auto Insurance Mandates and the Affordable Care Act, it is available here.


January 18, 2013 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Symeonides' 26th Annual Choice of Law Survey

Symeon Symeonides has published his annual chocie of law survey.  The abstract provides:


This is the Twenty-Sixth Annual Survey of American Choice-of-Law Cases. It is intended as a
service to fellow teachers and students of conflicts law, in the United States
and abroad.

            Of the 4,300 cases decided in 2012 by
state and federal courts, this Survey reviews 1,225 appellate cases, focusing
on those cases that may contribute something new to the development or
understanding of conflicts law, particularly choice of law. Highlights include:

▸          Numerous exemplifying the valiant efforts of state courts, and
some lower federal courts, to protect consumers, employees, and other
presumptively weak parties from the Supreme Court’s ever-expanding
interpretation of the Federal Arbitration Act;

▸          A few cases enforcing choice-of-law clauses unfavorable to
their drafters, and many more cases involving deadly combinations of
choice-of-law and choice-of-forum clauses;

▸          Several interesting products liability cases, and other tort
conflicts, including maritime torts and workers’ compensation claims by
professional football players;

▸          The first appellate case interpreting the recent amendments
of the anti-terrorism exception to the Foreign Sovereign Immunity Act (FSIA);

▸          The first cases holding unconstitutional the Defense of
Marriage Act (DOMA);

▸          A Massachusetts case holding that an undissolved Vermont
same-sex union was an impediment to a subsequent same-sex marriage in

▸          An Arizona case holding that a Canadian same-sex marriage
was against Arizona’s public policy, but—unlike other cases—also holding that
the trial court had jurisdiction to annul the marriage and divide the parties’

▸          The first case in decades upholding a foreign marriage by

▸          A case upholding, on First Amendment grounds, an injunction
against Oklahoma’s “Anti-Shari’a” Amendment; and

▸          A case refusing to recognize a Japanese divorce, custody,
and child support judgment rendered in a bilateral proceeding because the
husband did not receive notice of a subsequent guardianship proceeding.



January 17, 2013 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

Indiana Governor Seeks Tort Reform

Indiana Governor-elect Mike Pence has included tort reform in his first year legislative agenda.  Proposals include a loser pays bill.   Details have not been released yet.

The Chicago Post Tribune and WISH TV both have reports.


January 16, 2013 in Current Affairs, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, January 15, 2013

More on Stengel v. Medtronic (Ninth Circuit Preemption Decision)

Over at Torts Today, George Conk has commentary on Stengel v. Medtronic, the Ninth Circuit preemption decision reported here last week.  




January 15, 2013 in Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Remembering Jeffrey O'Connell

Since Jeffrey died last Sunday, there have been several notices.  The New York Times and UVa Law both ran good obituaries.  His accomplishments as a scholar are fairly well-known, and I want to share glimpses of Jeffrey that are more personal.

He was a virtuoso classroom teacher.  Jeffrey was so entertaining behind the lectern that you had to listen.  In this way, you learned and learned painlessly.  He told me that too many teachers neglected the performance aspect of teaching.  He studied drama, and even taught it while he was a Harvard Law student, and he used the techniques to enhance his teaching. 

He had a fantastic sense of humor.  One way he was so entertaining is that he was funny.  One day, as his research assistant, I was waiting for him to finish class so we could work on an article.  When he finally came out of the classroom, he winked at me and said, "Sorry I'm late.  The students like to ride me around on their shoulders after class."

He worked.  A lot.  I have vivid memories of him in his office.  He liked to work standing at a lectern and listening to classical music.  At one point in the early 2000s, he told me that he thought he had finished writing.  It lasted a few months.  In 2008, on the verge of turning 80, he co-authored 3 books.

He was centered in family.  He spoke often and lovingly of his family.  His Christmas cards in the later years featured him surrounded by numerous family members and very happy.  I returned from his funeral yesterday, and the family's deep affection for Jeffrey was obvious.

He was generous.  One word I hear over and over about Jeffrey from others is that he was generous.  In working with him, Jeffrey was always more concerned that I get credit for my work than he was about credit for his.  Over the weekend, I heard a story about his experiences as an associate at Hale & Dorr in Boston.  One of the firm's clients was a man who had escaped the Holocaust in Germany.  He built a financial empire in the United States, but was illiterate.  On his own time, Jeffrey took dictation from the man so he could send letters back to his family in Europe.  

He was compassionate.  His fundamental idea was to make compensation more readily available to the injured.  Regardless of your view of his proposals, and we disagreed on several occasions about how to best accomplish the objective, he was motivated by a basic compassion for people.

Farewell, my friend.  You will be missed.


January 13, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)