Wednesday, May 24, 2017
In the past week, I have had posts about the ALI's votes on two Restatement projects. On Monday, the membership reviewed the Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Intentional Torts to Persons (Reporters Ken Simons and Jonathan Cardi). The entire discussion consisted of motions on section 3(b), which provides liability for offensive battery for unusually sensitive plaintiffs. Guy Struve filed two motions to eliminate liability. The membership split on the motions, eliminating liability for cases of substantial certainty but retaining it in cases where the defendant had purpose to offend the plaintiff. The Reporters accepted Richard Wright's motion to amend requiring it be the defendant's principal purpose. Due to a lack of time, Wright's other motions were not debated.
Yesterday the membership reviewed the Restatement of the Law, Liability Insurance (Reporters Tom Baker and Kyle Logue). A number of motions to alter the draft were defeated, but a final draft was not approved as scheduled. The Reporters agreed that another year of work on the project would be beneficial.
Wednesday, May 17, 2017
Restatement of Intentional Torts: Should Offensive Battery Include Unusual Sensitivities of Plaintiffs if Known by Defendants?
The latest version of Section 3 of the Restatement of Intentional Torts provides:
§ 3. Battery: Definition of Offensive Contact
A contact is offensive within the meaning of § 1(c)(ii) if:
(a) the contact is offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity; or
(b) the contact is highly offensive to the other’s unusually sensitive sense of personal dignity, and
(i) the actor knows to a substantial certainty that the contact will be highly offensive to the other;
or (ii) the actor contacts the other with the purpose that the contact will be highly offensive.
Liability under Subsection (b) shall not be imposed if the court determines that avoiding the contact would be unduly burdensome or that imposing liability would be against public policy.
Section 3(b) includes liability for contact that is not offensive to a reasonable sense of personal dignity if the defendant knew that such contact would be highly offensive to the particular plaintiff in question. It was adopted two years ago, at the 2015 annual meeting, by a tie vote broken by the Reporters. Subsequently, it was decided to reconsider the issue this year, due to the relatively low number of persons present in 2015 and the closeness of the vote. The issue is whether to allow liability for offensive battery (or assault) if the defendant knowingly or purposefully ignores or exploits, as the case may be, the plaintiff's unusually sensitive condition, when it would not be unduly burdensome or contrary to public policy to avoid doing so. Just as in 2015, motions have been filed to eliminate 3(b) in its entirety or at least eliminate 3(b)(i) regarding substantial certainty. Guy Struve filed these motions which are here: Download R3d Intentional Torts TD2 s.3b Struve motion 1 (2) and here: Download R3d Intentional Torts TD2 s.3b Struve motion 2 (1)
On the other hand, Richard Wright has filed motions that seek to have the ALI support such liability, but without requiring a highly offensive contact or an intent to cause a highly offensive contact. Wright's arguments in support of his motions criticize the Struve motions for their assertions regarding the existing state of the case law and the prior Restatement provisions. Wright's motions are here: Download R3d Intentional Torts TD2 s.3b RWW motions
Very few Torts professors were at the meeting in 2015. If you are an ALI member in the area, please come and participate.
Wednesday, January 4, 2017
The AALS Section on Torts and Compensation Systems panel information:
Tuesday, January 3, 2017
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.
Thursday, November 24, 2016
Institute for Law Teaching & Learning and Emory University School of Law
Spring Conference 2017
“Compliance with ABA Standard 314: Formative Assessment in Large Classes” is a one-day conference for law teachers and administrators who want to learn how to design, implement, and evaluate formative assessment plans. The conference will be interactive workshops during which attendees will learn about formative assessment techniques from games to crafting multiple choice questions to team-based learning. Participants will also learn ways to coordinate assessment across the curriculum. The conference workshop sessions will take place on Saturday, March 25, 2017, at Emory University School of Law.
Conference Content: Sessions will address the following topics:
Why Assess: Empirical Data on How it Helps Students Learn
Games as Formative Assessments in the Classroom
Formative Assessment with Team-Based Learning
Creating Multiple Choice Questions and Ways to Using Them as Formative Assessment
Coordinating Formative Assessment Across the Curriculum
Conference Faculty: Workshops will be taught by experienced faculty: Andrea Curcio (GSU Law), Lindsey Gustafson (UALR Bowen), Michael Hunter-Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Heidi Holland (Gonzaga) and Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga)
Who Should Attend: This conference is for all law faculty and administrators. By the end of the conference, attendees will have concrete and practical knowledge about formative assessment and complying with Standard 314 to take back to their colleagues and institutions.
Registration Information: The registration fee is $225 for the first registrant from each law school. We are offering a discounted fee of $200 for each subsequent registrant from the same school, so that schools may be able to send multiple attendees. Registration is here: https://emorylaw.wufoo.com/forms/institute-for-law-teaching-learning-conference/
Accommodations: A block of hotel rooms for conference attendees has been reserved at the Emory Conference Center Hotel for $159/night; at the Courtyard by Marriott in downtown, Decatur for $99/night; and at the Decatur Holiday Inn for $159/night. Reservation phone numbers are : Emory Conference Center Hotel: 1-800-933-6679; Courtyard by Marriott Downtown Decatur: www.marriott.com or 1-404-371-0204; Holiday Inn Hotel Decatur 1-888-HOLIDAY.
Friday, November 11, 2016
The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning announces its Summer 2017 Conference, "Teaching Cultural Competency and Other Professional Skills Suggested by ABA Standard 302," at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law on July 7-8, 2017:
The Institute invites proposals for workshop sessions addressing how law schools are responding to ABA Standard 302’s call to establish learning outcomes related to “other professional skills needed for competent and ethical participation as a member of the legal profession,” such as “interviewing, counseling, negotiation, fact development and analysis, trial practice, document drafting, conflict resolution, organization and management of legal work, collaboration, cultural competency and self-evaluation.” The conference will focus on how law schools are incorporating these skills, particularly the skills of cultural competency, conflict resolution, collaboration, self-evaluation, and other relational skills, into their institutional outcomes, designing courses to encompass these skills, and teaching and assessing these skills. The deadline to submit a proposal is February 1, 2017.
Call for Proposals: Download CFP Summer 2017 Bowen Conference
Thursday, October 27, 2016
Thursday, October 13, 2016
At Ralph Nader's "Breaking Through Power" conference two weeks ago, Margaret Jane Radin proposed a new tort: deceptive deprivation of core legal rights. Her focus is on the use of fine print boilerplate to take rights away from consumers and she offers a specific example:
“Pre-dispute arbitration clauses that erase class actions and jury trial would be a good candidate, because in cases of widespread small harms — such a $5 per month overcharge by a cable company, for example — no one party can get legal redress, and the company achieves large extra gains by aggregating small losses of a large number of people.”
Corporate Crime Reporter has the story.
Monday, September 19, 2016
On December 3, 2016, Duquesne Law will host the Fifth "Colonial Frontier" Legal Writing Conference. Entitled "Drafting Statutes and Rules: Pedagogy, Practice, and Politics", the flyer is here: Download The Fifth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference, Description.
Wednesday, July 20, 2016
From Chris Odinet at PropertyProf Blog:
REGISTRATION OPEN FOR CENTRAL STATES LAW SCHOOLS ASSOCIATION CONFERENCE
Please click here to register. The deadline for registration is September 2, 2016.
Hotel rooms are now available for pre-booking. The conference hotel is the Hilton Garden Inn in Grand Forks. The hotel phone number is (701) 775-6000. When booking, identify yourself as part of the “UND School of Law” block to receive a daily rate of $89. Please note that conference participants are responsible for all of their own travel expenses including hotel accommodations.
For more information about CSLSA and the 2016 Annual Conference please subscribe to our blog.
We look forward to seeing you in Grand Forks!
The 2016 CSLSA Board
For more information about CSLSA, visit our website at http://cslsa.us/ or contact a board member.
Friday, May 27, 2016
A recent conference at the James Humphreys Center for Complex Litigation at George Washington addressed the complex issue of liens for medical expenses and subrogation. The conference chairs, Alan Morrison and Roger Trangsgrud, issued a report entitled "Subrogation of Medical-Expense Claims: A Proposal for Future Study", available here: Download GW Law Roundtable Subrogation Proposal Final Thanks to Michael Kaplen for the tip.
Friday, May 6, 2016
Wednesday, April 27, 2016
Duquesne is hosting a legal writing conference on drafting statutes and rules on December 3, 2016. Former PA Governor Tom Corbett and Pennsylvania Senate Minority Leader Jay Costa are among the speakers. The flyer, including a call for proposals, is here: Download The Fifth Colonial Frontier Legal Writing Conference Call for Proposals (Second Announcement)
Thursday, March 17, 2016
Maya Steinitz has posted to SSRN Back to Basics: Public Adjudication of Corporate Atrocities Torts. The abstract provides:
The editors of this symposium invited me to contribute on the subject of an argument I have recently advanced that the world needs a permanent International Court of Civil Justice (ICCJ) to adjudicate cross-border mass torts. A common reaction to this proposal has been to suggest that the function of such an international court be assumed by one of the existing arbitration institutions or filled by a new one. I’d like to take this opportunity to argue against that idea.
Monday, February 22, 2016
Lynn Baker has posted to SSRN Aggregate Settlements and Attorney Liability: The Evolving Landscape. The abstract provides:
This Article was prepared for the Hofstra Law Review conference on "Lawyers as Targets: Suing, Prosecuting, and Defending Lawyers."
Over the past several decades, attorneys involved in mass tort settlements, especially those representing the plaintiffs, have faced an increasing number of large-dollar liability claims centered on the aggregate settlement rule: that is, the state equivalents to Rule 1.8(g) of the ABA Model Rules of Professional Conduct. During this period, courts have held that fee forfeiture, potentially totaling millions of dollars, is an appropriate remedy for violations of the Rule, even in the absence of any demonstrated harm to the client. At the same time, courts and other authoritative bodies have expressed a variety of often conflicting views regarding the obligations that the Rule imposes on attorneys and when the Rule applies, resulting in much uncertainty and little guidance for attorneys.
This Article offers both positive and normative clarification. It provides a thick description of the current interpretations of the aggregate settlement rule in order to identify the specific areas of disagreement among authorities. It goes on to offer a normative theory of the Rule and its purpose, which could usefully mitigate the current interpretive confusion regarding which settlements are "aggregate settlements" and what client disclosures are mandated by the Rule.
Monday, February 15, 2016
In conjunction with the British Institute of International and Comparative Law, Ken Oliphant is presenting "The Personal Injury Claims Process--Comparing Legal Cultures" on March 3 in London:
Monday, February 1, 2016
Thursday, January 14, 2016
Jay Feinman has posted to SSRN The Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance as a Restatement. The abstract provides:
This is an Introduction to volume 68, issue 1 of the Rutgers University Law Review which published papers from a conference on the American Law Institute’s Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance held on February 27, 2015 at Rutgers Law School in Camden, New Jersey. Sponsored by the Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility and co-sponsored by the Institute for Professional Education, the conference engaged academics and practicing lawyers in a discussion of the issues raised by the Restatement.
This Introduction first describes the articles in the symposium, the topics into which they fall, and the papers of other speakers who participated in the conference. Because only a few months prior to the conference the ALI Council had changed the project from a Principles project into a Restatement, many participants framed their analysis in light of the project’s new status as a Restatement. Part II of the Introduction highlights this feature of the articles and discusses the nature of a Restatement and the ALI process that produces Restatements.
The concept of “Restating” the law with a capital “R” has always been controversial, in concept and in application. This Introduction offers four propositions about Restatements, using the Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance as an illustration: A. Restatements address easy cases and hard cases; B. Precedent matters for a Restatement; C. A Restatement is about weighing, not counting; D. A Restatement is a product of the ALI process.
Monday, January 11, 2016
On Friday in New York, the Torts & Compensation Systems Section met; the Section: 1. presented the Prosser Award to Aaron Twerski; 2. conducted a panel on "MacPherson at 100;" and 3. elected a slate of officers for the coming year.
The chair, Tony Sebok, moderated the panel and presented the Prosser Award. In accepting the award, Twerski stated, "It's an incredible honor to be recognized by my colleagues to win this very prestigious award."
The panel consisted of John Goldberg & Ben Zipursky (presenting a paper together), John Witt, Franz Werro, and Anita Bernstein. Goldberg and Zipursky started the discussion by presenting three myths about MacPherson. The first myth: "Cardozo rejected privity because he embraced a nonrelational duty." In reality, Goldberg and Zipursky stated, a duty may be owed to an indefinite class of persons, but it is always a relational duty. The manufacturer owes care to those who will use its product without inspection, and who stand to be injured if the product is made without due care. The second myth: "Cardozo reached a sound result because he reasoned instrumentally, not doctrinally or morally." In reality, Goldberg and Zipursky argued that Cardozo's approach is not instrumental, but one of pragmatic conceptualism. Macpherson's rule is by far the better reading of the precedents, especially as interpreted against the background of prevailing mores. The question is "are users among those to whom manufacturers owe vigilance?" and not "will society benefit if manufacturers are subject to liability?" Third myth: "Cardozo partly effaced the line between negligence and strict liability." Instead, the focus in MacPherson is on duty and breach, but the focus in Greeman is on compensation and deterrence. Goldberg and Zipursky believe that the myths are problematic because they lead to conceptions of tort law that are problematic. A nonrelational conception of duty, they argued, slides easily into a liability rule conception of tort that overlooks the sense in which product manufacturers should regard themselves as duty-bound not to injure consumers. What should be understood as a responsibility comes to be understood as a mere potential cost. An instrumentalist approach--leads judges to analyze tort cases as calling for judicial policymaking, which in turn renders their decisions more vulnerable to overturning by the legislature (tort reform). Finally, if the difference between negligence and strict liability is overlooked, preemption of products liability law becomes more palatable and the special strengths and rationales for strict products liability law are at risk of being obliterated. Goldberg & Zipursky's message: It is mistaken to think that the way to be a progressive in tort law is to be an instrumentalist.
Next, John Witt presented an historical angle on MacPherson. He approached it by starting with a case decided five years prior: Ives v. South Buffalo Railway. In Ives, the New York Court of Appeals, speaking through William Werner, entertained the first constitutional challenge to workers' compensation. The court went through what Witt described as a "full-0n" discussion of the values at stake in the Constitution and held workers' compensation unconstitutional. The opinion was not well received; by the time of MacPherson only 2 judges remained from the Ives Court. Cardozo's opinion in MacPherson is internal to the doctrine and does not discuss "regulatory" criteria at all. This is especially striking given that automobile accidents at the time had become a significant issue and were being discussed in the same vein as industrial accidents had been before Ives. Witt wondered why Cardozo stuck to the internal approach. He offered several possibilities. One is that Cardozo was engaged in deception. He decided the case on different grounds than he used in the opinion. He realized he couldn't get away with an explicit statement (especially in light of the reaction to Ives) and so he deceived. A slightly different reason is that "purely legal" decisions have more durability. Thus, Cardozo stuck with the internal to preserve the holding for the long haul. Witt rejected these possibilities. He believes them inconsistent with Cardozo's character. In Witt's opinion, Cardozo's approach is based in a moral modesty. Commissions (like the Wainwright Commission for workers' compensation) will inevitably make mistakes. Cardozo, by not relying on such pronouncements, based his decision on more reliable, less grand, principles.
Franz Werro approached MacPherson from a comparative perspective. What influence did MacPherson have in Europe? Werro indicated MacPherson did not have much of an effect on the Continent (largely because it was not needed). It was, however, particularly important to a significant 1932 Scottish case (later adopted in English law by the House of Lords): Donoghue v. Stevenson, better known as the "Paisley snail" case. In that case, a woman was drinking a bottle of ginger beer (at a café in Paisley) when she discovered a decomposing snail in it. The woman sued the manufacturer directly and asserted a legal duty to, in essence, produce snail-free beer. The case established negligence-based liability by setting out general principles whereby one person owes a duty of care to another. The "neighbor principle" was based on whether harm was reasonably foreseeable. MacPherson served as a basis for the principles announced in Donoghue. Werro closed with 3 observations. First, he said it was striking for a civil lawyer to see how long it took the common law to recognize a general tort of negligence. He attributed this to the power of laissez-faire. Second, he noted the French and German civil codes have been far more generous. Third, he celebrated the adaptability of French law until World War II. Since that time, however, he noted tort lost its place to insurance schemes. Europeans trust regulation and insurance far more than Americans.
Finally, Anita Bernstein focused on the changes in society, and thus law, from the time of MacPherson until today. In a presentation entitled the "Reciprocal of MacPherson," Bernstein noted the holding of MacPherson was that care and vigilance were owed by an auto manufacturer. Although privity offered "comfort and care" to the manufacturer, the holding in MacPherson, coming during the Progressive Era, offered "comfort and care" to consumers. Modern law, however, is producing a shift toward obligations owed to an auto manufacturer. Bernstein referenced Geier (2000) (preemption limits design defect cases); Kumho Tire (1999) (making expert testimony for plaintiffs more costly and harder to find); and BMW v. Gore (1996) (restricting punies against auto manufacturers). She then noted the bailout of the big 3 auto manufacturers, which cost taxpayers roughly $9.26 billion. Moreover, tort reform, Bernstein suggested, extends the reciprocal. The emphasis has shifted from what is owed to consumers to what consumers owe potential defendants.
Papers from the panel will be published in the Journal of Tort Law.
The meeting concluded with the election of the Executive Committee for the year:
Chair: Leslie Kendrick; Chair-elect: Chris Robinette; Secretary: Stacey Tovino; Treasurer: Adam Scales; Member: Scott Hershovitz
Tuesday, January 5, 2016
Don't forget the Torts and Compensation Systems Section Panel this Friday at 1:30: "MacPherson at 100: Perspectives on its Influence and Meaning." Aaron Twerski will receive the Prosser Award at the beginning of the presentation.