TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, September 29, 2017

Asfour on Wrongful Enrichment

Nahel Asfour has published Wrongful Enrichment:  A Study in Comparative Law and Culture (Hart Publishing).  The blurb provides:

This book analyzes enrichment law, its development, and underpinning in social culture within three geographical regions: the United States, western members of the European Union, and the late Ottoman Empire. The regions chosen correspond, though imperfectly, with three different legal traditions, namely, the American, continental, and Islamic traditions. The book argues that we should understand law as a mimetic artefact. In so doing, it explains how typical patterns and exemplary articulations of wrongful enrichment law capture and reiterate vocal cultural themes found in the respective regions. Nahel Asfour identifies remarkable affinities between poetic tendencies, structures, and default dispositions of wrongful enrichment law and cultural world-views. Asfour offers bold accounts of each region's law and culture, providing fertile grounds for external and comparative elucidations of the legal doctrine. Revised Dissertation. (Series: International Studies in the Theory of Private Law) [Subject: Contract, Tort & Restitution Law; Comparative Law]

September 29, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, September 1, 2017

Peter Cane: Key Ideas in Tort Law

Peter Cane has authored "Key Ideas in Tort Law" from Hart Publishing.  The blurb provides:

This book offers nine key ideas about tort law that will help the reader to understand its various social functions and evaluate its effectiveness in performing those functions. The book focuses, in particular, on how tort law can guide people's behaviour, and the political and social environments within which it operates. It also provides the reader with a wealth of detail about the ideas and values that underlie tort 'doctrine'-tort law's rules and principles, and the way those rules and principles operate in practice. The book is an accessible introduction to tort law that will provide students, scholars and practitioners alike with a fresh and engaging view of the subject.

The table of contents:

1. Nine Key Ideas
2. Tort Law
3. Torts
4. Torts Unpacked
5. Torts Repackaged
6. Wrongs
7. Out and About with Tort Law
8. Politics
9. Uses
10. The Political Economy of Compensation Schemes
11. The Future of Tort Law

September 1, 2017 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 21, 2017

Dyson on Risk-Reasoning in Tort

Matthew Dyson has posted to SSRN What Does Risk-Reasoning Do in Tort Law?.  The abstract provides:

This chapter is a draft of the conclusion to an edited collection on how private law (particularly tort law) conceives of risk, generates liability from risk and seeks to use liability to control risk. It is made up for 18 substantive chapters, two each from England, France, Sweden, Italy, Spain, the Netherlands, Chile, South Africa and Brazil. The volume will be published later in 2017 by Intersentia. This chapter sets out the main findings from the volume, analyses them comparatively, and shows what risk-reasoning does within tort law.

August 21, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, August 2, 2017

Call for Authors: Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Torts Opinions

Martha Chamallas and Lucinda Finley are co-editors of the torts volume of Cambridge University Press's Feminist Judgments series.  The series involves rewriting legal opinions as if the judge were writing from a feminist perspective.  They are seeking authors for both rewritten opinions and commentaries on key cases regarding most facets of tort law.   The editors have identified approximately 16 relevant cases for discussion.  The deadline to express interest is August 25th.  Deadlines for the final product are in March 2018 for the opinions and April 2018 for the commentaries.  More information is available here:   Download Call for Authors Feminist Torts Judgments

August 2, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 25, 2017

Popper's Materials on Tort Reform (2nd ed.)

Announcement: Publication of Materials on Tort Reform, 2nd Edition (2017) by Andrew F. Popper, Bronfman Professor of Law, American University, Washington College of Law

 

Early in July, West Publishing released Materials on Tort Reform, 2nd Edition (2017) by Andrew F. Popper.  The goal for this edition is very much the same as it was for the First Edition: a supplemental text for torts classes that provides essays, articles, cases, and other materials allowing for consideration of all sides of the tort reform debate.  In the quest to cut the Gordian knot of tort reform, the hope is to provide all points of view in an accessible and compelling manner. 

While tort law has not changed dramatically since this book was first published, the tort reform debate has shifted. In the period preceding the first edition, tort reform was a battle over substantive tort law, joint and several liability, admissibility of certain evidence—in other words, issues pertaining directly to accountability and liability.  Typical tort reform proposals involved limitations on non-economic loss, standards for punitive damages, changes in the definition of design defect, the government standards and state of the art defense, and more.

For the last seven years, while the above topics remain in play, focus has broadened to include fundamental procedural mechanisms that affect, enhance, or limit access to courts. In addition, there has been an undeniable push to move tort cases away from state courts and into federal court.  Broadly speaking, those fighting for these changes contend that tort law, as currently practiced, produces uncertain and unfair results.

Those opposing these changes assert that injured people are entitled to access to justice in their own states, before judges from their own states, with basic decisions made by a jury of their peers at a local level, i.e., federalism. Broadly, they assert that this is a struggle to preserve the rights of injured consumers to a fair and just legal system. What is at risk, they contend, is a level playing field where damages imposed on those who produce dangerous products or provide inappropriate professional services are sufficient to make whole those harmed and deter others from similar misconduct.

Both positions have multiple glimmers of legitimacy, a fact that seems obvious to all except those involved in the fight.

Through commentary, essays on both sides of the battle, articles, interest group papers, and cases, this text is designed to help students comprehend this 40-year struggle. Does the tort system yield inefficient and counter-productive results (e.g., a less competitive market and higher prices), or is it that prized legal regime its supporters contend, preserving fragile rights of injured consumers? 

July 25, 2017 in Books, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, June 12, 2017

Goudkamp's Introduction to Tort Law Defences

James Goudkamp has posted to SSRN the Introduction to his book Tort Law Defences.  The abstract provides:

The law of torts recognises many defences to liability. While some of these defences have been explored in detail, scant attention has been given to the theoretical foundations of defences generally. In particular, no serious attempt has been made to explain how defences relate to each other or to the torts to which they pertain. The goal of this book is to reduce the size of this substantial gap in our understanding of tort law. The principal way in which it attempts to do so is by developing a taxonomy of defences. The book shows that much can be learned about a given defence from the way in which it is classified.

June 12, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, May 19, 2017

Shapo's Treatise on Products Liability

The latest edition of Marshall Shapo's products liability treatise is available from Elgar.  The blurb provides:

An authoritative, in-depth study of issues in products liability litigation, this comprehensive treatise traces the law of products liability from its roots in contract and tort to its development into the challenging, complex modern law of the subject.

May 19, 2017 in Books, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, February 7, 2017

Wells on Harmonizing European Tort Law

Mike Wells has posted to SSRN Harmonizing European Tort Law and the Comparative Method:  Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective.  The abstract provides:

This is a book review of Basic Questions of Tort Law from a Comparative Perspective, edited by Professor Helmut Koziol. This book is the second of two volumes on “basic questions of tort law.” In the first volume, Professor Helmut Koziol examined German, Austrian, and Swiss tort law. In this volume Professor Koziol has assembled essays by distinguished scholars from several European legal systems as well as the United States and Japan, each of whom follows the structure of Koziol’s earlier book and explains how those basic questions are handled in their own systems.

This review focuses on Professor Koziol’s ultimate aim of harmonization, and on the contribution of these essays to that project. Harmonization of tort law across the member states is not just a matter of working out answers to such questions as the content of the liability rule or whether non-pecuniary harm should be recoverable. Harmonization raises an issue of European Union federalism. That question is not explicitly addressed in either volume, yet the value of the project, and prospects for its success, turn on the answer to it. I argue that Professor Koziol has not made a convincing case for EU displacement of member state tort law.

February 7, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Hershovitz Reviews Ripstein's "Private Wrongs"

Scott Hershovitz has posted to SSRN The Search for a Grand Unified Theory of Tort Law.  The abstract provides:

In Arthur Ripstein's new book "Private Wrongs," he argues that one simple idea accounts for all of tort's rights and remedies: no one is in charge of anyone else. In this review, I argue that Ripstein is wrong about that. I outline his account of tort, and then set out (some of) the details of the doctrine for which he has failed to account. I also argue that the ambition of Ripstein's book is misguided: we ought not expect simple explanations for complicated and contingent institutions, like tort. Nevertheless, I find lots to admire in Ripstein's book, and I recommend it to everyone who is interested in private law.

January 25, 2017 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, January 3, 2017

Porat on Calabresi's "Future of Law and Economics"

Ariel Porat has posted to SSRN The Future of Law and Economics and the Calabresian External Moral Costs.  The abstract provides:

This short essay is a contribution to a symposium held at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem on Professor Calabresi's "The Future of Law and Economics." It focuses on Calabresi's arguments that tort law facilitates a modified market for merit goods, and that external moral costs should be seriously taken into account by the state and the law in making and implementing difficult social choices. The essay points out two categories of situations where tort law fails to facilitate modified markets for merit goods, and highlights the hurdles in considering external moral costs at least in some cases.

January 3, 2017 in Books, Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, December 16, 2016

Ball: "Enrichment at Claimant's Expense"

Eli Ball has published Enrichment at the Claimant's Expense with Hart Publishing.  The blurb provides:

This book presents an account of attribution in unjust enrichment. Attribution refers to how and when two parties – a claimant and a defendant – are relevantly connected to each other for unjust enrichment purposes. It is reflected in the familiar expression that a defendant be 'enriched at the claimant's expense'. This book presents a structured account of attribution, consisting of two requirements: first, the identification of an enrichment to the defendant and a loss to the claimant; and, secondly, the identification of a connection between that enrichment and that loss. These two requirements must be kept separate from other considerations often subsumed within the expression 'enrichment at the claimant's expense' which in truth have nothing to do with attribution, and which instead qualify unjust enrichment liability for reasons that should be analysed in their own terms. The structure of attribution so presented fits a normative account of unjust enrichment based upon each party's exchange capacities. A defendant is enriched when he receives something that he has not paid for under prevailing market conditions, while a claimant suffers a loss when he loses the opportunity to charge for something under the same conditions. A counterfactual test – asking whether enrichment and loss arise 'but for' each other – provides the best generalisation for testing whether enrichment and loss are connected, thereby satisfying the requirements of attribution in unjust enrichment.

December 16, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, November 21, 2016

The Liability of Public Authorities in Comparative Perspective

Ken Oliphant has edited a new book, The Liability of Public Authorities in Comparative Perspective:

In recent decades, the liability of public authorities has been one of the main areas of development in and at the edges of tort law in Europe, with major reforms implemented or considered at a national level, and a steady stream of major court decisions. During the same period, ‘Member State liability’ has also been recognised in the law of the EU, and the interplay of principles of national and EU law – and additionally the ‘just satisfaction’ jurisprudence of the European Court of Human Rights – evidently warrants close attention. In this context, the aims of the present study are to contribute to the understanding of the law of extra-contractual liability as it applies to public authorities in the legal systems of Europe (and selected non-European jurisdictions), to facilitate its enhancement where necessary or desirable, and to consider the possibilities for harmonisation in the area – specifically, through the extension and adaptation of the Principles of European Tort Law to cover public authority liability.

Mike Green and Jonathan Cardi describe doctrines in the United States.  The flyer is here:   Download E-flyer liability of public authorities

November 21, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, November 18, 2016

Damages and Compensation Culture

Hart Publishing announces Damages and Compensation Culture by Eoin Quill and Raymond J. Friel:

The focus of the essays in this book is on the relationship between compensation culture, social values and tort damages for personal injuries. A central concern of the public and political perception of personal injuries claims is the high cost of tort claims to society, reflected in insurance premiums, often accompanied by an assumption that tort law and practice is flawed and improperly raising such costs. The aims of this collection are to first clarify the relationship between tort damages for personal injuries and the social values that the law seeks to reflect and to balance, then to critically assess tort reforms, including both proposals for reform and actual implemented reforms, in light of how they advance or hinder those values. Reforms of substantive and procedural law in respect of personal injury damages are analysed, with perspectives from England and Wales, Canada, Australia, Ireland and continental Europe. The essays offer valuable insights to anyone interested in the reform of tort law or the tort process in respect of personal injuries.

This flyer includes a 20% discount:  Download Quill_Friel

November 18, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, October 27, 2016

2016 AALS Torts Section Newsletter

Stacey Tovino has done a great job putting together the Section's newsletter:   Download Newsletter (Oct. 2016) (1)

October 27, 2016 in Books, Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, August 26, 2016

Two from Hart Publishing

Hart Publishing has published James Edelman and Elise Bant's Unjust Enrichment.  From the blurb:

Unjust enrichment is one of the least understood of the major branches of private law. This book builds on the 2006 work by the same authors, which examined the developing law of unjust enrichment in Australia. The refinement of the authors' thinking, responding to novel issues and circumstances that have arisen in the maturing case law, has required many chapters of the book to be completely rewritten. The scope of the book is also much broader. It concerns the principles of the law of unjust enrichment in Australia, New Zealand, England and Canada. Major decisions of the highest courts of these jurisdictions in the last decade provide a fertile basis for examining the underlying principles and foundations of this subject. The book uses the leading cases, particularly in England and Australia, to distil and explain the fundamental principles of this branch of private law. The cases discussed are current as of 1 May 2016 although the most recent could only be included in footnotes.

For a 20% discount, download this flyer:  Download Edelman_Bant

Hart has also published Alan Beever's A Theory of Tort Liability.  From the blurb:

This book provides a comprehensive theory of the rights upon which tort law is based and the liability that flows from violating those rights. Inspired by the account of private law contained in Immanuel Kant's Metaphysics of Morals, the book shows that Kant's theory elucidates a conception of interpersonal wrongdoing that illuminates the operation of tort law. The book then utilises this conception, applying it to the various areas of tort law, in order to develop an understanding of the particular areas in question and, just as importantly, their relationship to each other. It argues that there are three general kinds of liability found in the law of tort: liability for putting another or another's property to one's purposes directly, liability for doing something to a third party that puts another or another's property to one's purposes, and liability for pursuing purposes in a way that improperly interferes with the ability of another to pursue her legitimate purposes. It terms these forms liability for direct control, liability for indirect control and liability for injury respectively. The result is a coherent, philosophical understanding of the structure of tort liability as an entire system. In developing its position, the book considers the laws of Australia, Canada, England and Wales, New Zealand and the United States.

For a 20% discount, download this flyer:  Download Beever

August 26, 2016 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 8, 2016

Varuhas: Damages and Human Rights

Hart Publishing announces a new book by Jason Varuhas, Damages and Human Rights.  The blurb provides:

Damages and Human Rights is a major work on awards of damages for violations of human rights that will be of compelling interest to practitioners, judges and academics alike. Damages for breaches of human rights is emerging as an important and practically significant field of law, yet the rules and principles governing such awards and their theoretical foundations remain underexplored, while courts continue to struggle to articulate a coherent law of human rights damages. The book's focus is English law, but it draws heavily on comparative material from a range of common law jurisdictions, as well as the jurisprudence of international courts.The current law on when damages can be obtained and how they are assessed is set out in detail and analysed comprehensively. The theoretical foundations of human rights damages are examined with a view to enhancing our understanding of the remedy and resolving the currently troubled state of human rights damages jurisprudence. The book argues that in awarding damages in human rights cases the courts should adopt a vindicatory approach, modelled on those rules and principles applied in tort cases when basic rights are violated. Other approaches are considered in detail, including the current 'mirror' approach which ties the domestic approach to damages to the European Court of Human Rights' approach to monetary compensation; an interest-balancing approach where the damages are dependent on a judicial balancing of individual and public interests; and approaches drawn from the law of state liability in EU law and United States constitutional law. The analysis has important implications for our understanding of fundamental issues including the interrelationship between public law and private law, the theoretical and conceptual foundations of human rights law and the law of torts, the nature and functions of the damages remedy, the connection between rights and remedies, the intersection of domestic and international law, and the impact of damages liability on public funds and public administration.

A flyer with more information, and a discount, is here:  Download Varuhas

July 8, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, May 9, 2016

Shapo: The Experimental Society

Marshall Shapo has published The Experimental Society.  The blurb:

This book examines society’s responses to many kinds of experimentation, focusing on both creation of and assessment of risks. As people seek new ways to make their lives safer and happier, the widespread process of experimentation claims victims. Some of these are people who directly and willingly accept the risks of experiments. By comparison, some are effectively experimental subjects in the hands of others who often may not even think of themselves as experimenting with the lives of consumers.

The Experimental Society covers a wide spectrum of products and activities, including those that radiate into the environment like nuclear power, hydrofracking, and asbestos. The book spotlights prescription drugs and substances used in the most ordinary consumer products such as salt, caffeine, and BPA in sippy cups. It also discusses the testing of new ways of thinking, including those related to social organization and processes, and even the law itself. A particular concern is the case in which the subjects of experiments are unaware that the experiments are taking place.

This lucidly written volume will be useful to practicing lawyers who specialize in personal injury law, and law professors who teach such subjects as torts and products liability, medicine, and science. Physicians and scientists in various branches of medicine will find it provocative, as will political scientists, economists, sociologists, anthropologists, and philosophers.

Shapo is interviewed about the book here.

May 9, 2016 in Books | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, April 26, 2016

JOTWELL Torts: Engstrom on Radin on Boilerplate

Over at JOTWELL, Nora Engstrom reviews Margaret Jane Radin's Boilerplate:  The Fine Print, Vanishing Rights, and the Rule of Law.

April 26, 2016 in Books, Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 15, 2016

11th Edition of Epstein & Sharkey's Casebook Available

From the authors: 

We are excited to launch the 11th edition of our casebook, Cases and Materials on Torts, which marks a real sea change in the four short years since we teamed up as co-editors.  We have redesigned our book in response to the new sensibilities of the age.  For the first time, the book contains historical images, cartoons, tables, and charts that are set off from the main text to supply visual background information about the persons, places, and things that hold center stage in the cases and materials of the book.  The design of these materials has been spruced up with red headings to mark transitions and with boxes that contain key provisions of the various Restatements of Torts.

In response to the suggestions of our faithful users, we have judiciously shortened the material by thinning out the notes and eliminating some of the less popular principal cases.  In doing so, we have held fast to the intellectual rigor, historical depth, and careful case selection and notes found in the previous ten editions.  But we have embraced change as well, adding diverse perspectives (such as race and gender-based critiques of damages calculations, which have gained additional judicial attention), incorporating contemporary empirical scholarship (especially on medical malpractice, damages and jury decision-making), addressing the increasing influence of technology (such as privacy and defamation in the Internet age), and keeping pace with modern trends in business tort litigation, including the most recent the Third Restatement project on liability for economic harms (such as fraud and negligent misrepresentation).

To get a feel for the pedagogy in our book, we encourage you to have a look at a sample chapter posted on our Companion Website.  In your review of this chapter, here are a few noteworthy features (which are representative of those that appear throughout the book):

  • Judge portraits.  See pages: 141 for Tindal, 144 for Holmes, 170 for Hand, and 172 for Posner and Calabresi
  • Charts and graphs.  Look to page 236 for one depicting “vanishing trial”
  • Judge vs. jury section, including reference to current empirical study of jury/judge decision-making (245-48)
  • Boxes.  This one depicts significant Restatement provisions and pattern jury instructions (252-3)
  • Cartoons and other images  that engage students.  See page 139 for a cartoon from The New Yorker.

Our goal is nothing short of producing a Torts casebook for the next generation of torts professors and students.  With that in mind, the new 11th Edition will now also be available digitally, as a Connected Casebook.  In addition to offering students an enhanced eBook with note taking and highlighting capabilities, the “connected” version of our casebook also includes an outlining tool, a wealth of self-assessment materials – including multiple choice and essay questions, and analytics that enable the student or professor to see which topics may need further clarification or study. 

We are indebted to our torts colleagues across the country and now two generations of torts students (at Chicago, Columbia, and NYU) for their received wisdom on various topics and issues raised in our book.  We would be delighted to hear from anyone interested in exploring our book in either 1L torts courses or advanced torts or business torts courses.

If you’d like to receive a review copy of our book, please click here.

Thank you for your consideration,

Richard Epstein, richard.epstein@nyu.edu

Catherine Sharkey, catherine.sharkey@nyu.edu

April 15, 2016 in Books, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 8, 2016

Ripstein: Private Wrongs

Arthur Ripstein's Private Wrongs is now available from Harvard University Press:

A waiter spills hot coffee on a customer. A person walks on another person’s land. A moored boat damages a dock during a storm. A frustrated neighbor bangs on the wall. A reputation is ruined by a mistaken news report. Although the details vary, the law recognizes all of these as torts, different ways in which one person wrongs another. Tort law can seem puzzling: sometimes people are made to pay damages when they are barely or not at fault, while at other times serious losses go uncompensated. In this pioneering book, Arthur Ripstein brings coherence and unity to the baffling diversity of tort law in an original theory that is philosophically grounded and analytically powerful.

Ripstein shows that all torts violate the basic moral idea that each individual is in charge of his or her own person and property, and never in charge of another individual’s person or property. Battery and trespass involve one person wrongly using another’s body or things, while negligence injures others by imposing risks to them in ways that are inconsistent with their independence. Tort remedies aim to provide a substitute for the right that was violated.

As Private Wrongs makes clear, tort law not only protects our bodies and property but constitutes our entitlement to use them as we see fit, consistent with the entitlement of others to do the same.

April 8, 2016 in Books, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0)