TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

A Member of the Law Professor Blogs Network

Monday, August 10, 2015

Lahav on Party Participation in Mass Torts

Alexandra Lahav has posted to SSRN Participation and Procedure.  The abstract provides:

How much participation should a procedurally just court system offer litigants? This question has always been especially difficult to answer in complex litigation such as class actions and mass torts because these cases involve so many litigants that it would be impossible for each of them to be afforded the kind of individualized hearing that we associate with the day in court ideal. To address the problem, we need to go back to first principles and ask what purposes participation in litigation is meant to serve. Participation serves two purposes: as a predicate to litigant consent and to engage public reason. This Article, written for the Clifford Symposium honoring Judge Jack Weinstein, argues that the public reason rationale offers the best normative underpinning for participation in large-scale litigation and demonstrates how public reason can be realized through procedural innovations such as those Judge Weinstein has pioneered.

August 10, 2015 in Conferences, MDLs and Class Actions | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

NYU Law's Civil Jury Project

NYU Law has just announced its new Civil Jury Project, with directors Sam Issacharoff and Cathy Sharkey.  Its first conference, on Friday, September 11th, will be "The State and Future of Civil Jury Trials."  Register here.

July 29, 2015 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Rutgers Insurance Workshop

Jay Feinman sends the following:

The Rutgers Center for Risk and Responsibility is holding its fourth annual insurance workshop on Friday, October 2, 2015. This is a day-long event on the Camden campus with an opportunity to present and receive comments on drafts or less fully formed works-in-progress on topics related to insurance law or other aspect of managing or regulating risk. For more information, contact Professor Rick Swedloff, swedloff@camden.rutgers.edu

July 18, 2015 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, June 5, 2015

AALS Torts Section: Second Request for News and Prosser Award Nominations

Dear Colleagues,  

Greetings!  In my capacity as Secretary of the AALS Torts & Compensation Systems section, I am writing to pass along two important notices.  

1. Torts and Compensation Section Newsletter   As most of you know, our section publishes a newsletter each fall listing: (1) symposia related to tort law; (2) recent law review articles on tort law; (3) selected articles from Commonwealth countries on tort law; and (4) books relating to tort law. If you know of any works that should be included, please forward relevant citations and other information to me at cjrobinette@widener.edu. The deadline for inclusion is August 17, 2015.   

2.  2016 William L. Prosser Award   This is the first call for nominations for the 2016 William L. Prosser Award. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching and service” in torts and compensation systems. Recent recipients include Mike Green, James Henderson, Jane Stapleton, Guido Calabresi, Robert Rabin, Richard Posner, Oscar Gray, and Dan Dobbs.  Past recipients include scholars such as Leon Green, Wex Malone, and John Wade.  

Any law professor is eligible to nominate another law professor for the award. Nominators can renew past nominations by resubmitting materials. Living tort scholars and those who have passed away within the last five years are eligible for the award. Selection of the recipient will be made by members of the Executive Committee of the Torts & Compensation Systems section, based on the recommendation of a special selection committee. The award will be presented at the annual AALS meeting in January 2016.

   
Nominations must be accompanied by a brief supporting statement and should be submitted no later than July 13, 2015.   Email submissions to cjrobinette@widener.edu are preferred.   If you would rather mail hard copies of nomination materials, please mail to:  Chris Robinette, Widener University School of Law, 3800 Vartan Way, P.O. Box 69380, Harrisburg, PA 17106-9380.


Please feel free to contact me if you have any questions.

Thank you—

Chris 

June 5, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, April 3, 2015

JOTWELL: Mullenix on Robreno

At JOTWELL Courts, Linda Mullenix (Texas) reviews Judge Eduardo Robreno's contribution to Widener's Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation symposium from April 2013.

April 3, 2015 in Conferences, Scholarship, Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 5, 2015

Conference on the Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance

Rutgers Camden in hosting a conference on the ALI's Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance on Friday, February 27th.  Reporters Tom Baker and Kyle Logue are speaking, along with numerous influential academics and practitioners.

February 5, 2015 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, January 3, 2015

AALS Torts Section Meeting

The AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section has its panel at the Annual Meeting tomorrow from 4:00 until 5:45 in Maryland Suite C, Lobby Level, at the Marriott Wardman Park Hotel.  Andy Klein led the Section this year and set up a great panel:

Tort Law and a Healthier Society

Moderator:

Andrew R. Klein, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Speakers:

Michelle Mello, Stanford Law School

Dorit Reiss, University of California, Hastings College of the Law

Diana Winters, Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Section on Torts and Compensation Systems William L. Prosser Award Winner:

Michael Green, Wake Forest University School of Law

The section will present a program on leading issues at the intersection of tort and health law. Professor Mello will discuss medical malpractice alternatives for hospitals. Professor Reiss will discuss liability issues related to vaccine-preventable diseases. Professor Winters will discuss food safety impact litigation. The section will also honor the winner of its annual William L. Prosser Award for outstanding contribution in scholarship, teaching, and service related to tort law.

Business meeting at program conclusion.

I regret I can't attend, but I extend my warm congratulations to Mike Green.

January 3, 2015 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 3, 2014

Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum

If you  have 7 or fewer years of teaching experience, you are eligible for the Yale/Stanford/Harvard Junior Faculty Forum, this year including Torts as a subject matter.  The deadline is March 1, 2015.  Details are here:  Download JFF final call for submissions

December 3, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Feinberg on Tort and Compensation

On October 6th in Buffalo, Ken Feinberg was the keynote speaker at a conference on cutting-edge tort issues.  He both praises and damns tort law in his remarks to the Buffalo Law Journal.

October 28, 2014 in Conferences, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

AALS Torts Newsletter

The AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section Newsletter is available here:  Download Torts_Newsletter_2014.  Section Secretary Leslie Kendrick drafted it, with the help of Kristin Glover, Research Librarian at UVa Law.

October 22, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, September 29, 2014

"The New Doctrinalism" at Penn Law

...includes a paper presentation by Ben Zipursky ("Reasonableness in and out of Negligence Law") and Greg Keating as a panelist.  The symposium is October 24th and 25th.  The program is here and you can RSVP.  Thanks to Karen Wong of the University of Pennsylvania Law Review for the tip.

September 29, 2014 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, September 11, 2014

Wake's Green to Receive Prosser Award

Greenmd

The AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section has announced that Mike Green (Wake Forest) will receive the 2015 Prosser Award.  From the announcement:

On behalf of the Torts and Compensation Systems Executive Committee, it gives me great pleasure to announce that the recipient of the 2015 William L. Prosser Award is Michael D. Green of Wake Forest University School of Law. Through his work as Co-Reporter for the Restatement (Third) of Torts: Liability for Physical Harm, his own scholarship, his contributions to multiple casebooks, his exemplary teaching, and his generosity toward other scholars, Michael Green has made “outstanding contributions ... in scholarship, teaching and service” of the kind that the Prosser Award was designed to recognize. I hope you will join the Executive Committee in offering our congratulations.
 
The award will be presented at our section meeting at 4pm on January 4, 2015, during the AALS annual conference at the Marriott Wardman Park in Washington, D.C. We hope to see many of you there.
 
Many thanks to all of you who took the time to submit such thoughtful nominations to our nominating committee. Many thanks, too, to that committee, consisting of James Henderson, Jane Stapleton, and Jennifer Wriggins. And finally, once again, many congratulations to Mike.

September 11, 2014 in Conferences, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, September 3, 2014

Conference at Buffalo: Recent Developments in Tort Law and Practice

Todd Brown (Buffalo) is chairing a conference entitled "Recent Developments in Tort Law and Practice" with Kenneth Feinberg as the Gerald S. Lippes Lecture Speaker.  The conference is October 6, 2014 from 8:45 until 5:00 at the Hyatt Regency Buffalo.  Registration is here.  The schedule:

7:30 a.m.  Conference and keynote registration begins
8:45 –10:00 a.m.  Breakfast and Gerald S. Lippes Lecture featuring Kenneth R. Feinberg.  Mr. Feinberg is an attorney who has overseen the payouts of billions of dollars to the victims of the September 11 Victim Compensation Fund, the BP oil spill, and the Boston Marathon bomb victims, among other highly visible settlements. 

10:20 – 11:20 a.m. Aggregation and Disaggregation in Mass Torts: Panelists discuss the recent trend in some mass tort MDLs away from global settlement in favor of individual claim litigation and settlement in state court.

11:30 a.m. –12:15 p.m. Lunch

12:15 – 1:30 p.m. Judges from New York City and Western New York discuss their experience with asbestos litigation.

1:40 – 2:40 p.m. Asbestos Litigation in New York: Panelists discuss legislative reforms at the state and federal levels and recent changes to asbestos practice in NYS courts.

2:50 – 3:50 p.m. Update on the RAND ICJ Asbestos Bankruptcy Project: Early findings from the RAND study on the impact of the bankruptcies of asbestos defendants on asbestos litigation in state court, with commentary from panelists.

4:00 – 5:00 p.m. The Past, Present and Future of the New York “Scaffold Law”: A detailed examination of New York’s unique approach to strict liability in construction accident cases, including the origins and evolution of the law in recent years.

5:00 p.m.  Reception.  Sponsored in part by the SUNY Buffalo Law Alumni Association.

September 3, 2014 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 2, 2014

Wright on Moore on Causation and Responsibility

Richard Wright (Chicago-Kent) has posted to SSRN Moore on Causation and Responsibility:  Metaphysics or Intuition?.  The abstract provides:

This paper was prepared for a festschrift in honor of Michael Moore to be published by Oxford University Press.  Moore's magnum opus, Causation and Responsibility, amply demonstrates his encyclopedic knowledge of the relevant sources in law and philosophy and his analytical skill.  Much can be learned from careful, critical reading.

However, I argue, Moore relies too much on intuition -- more specifically, his own -- in developing his account of causation and its pervasive and (he claims) dominant role in attributions of legal responsibility.  Focusing on the NESS account that I have elaborated, he rejects "generalist" accounts of causation, which analyze singular instances of causation as instantiations of causal (natural) laws, instead opting for a "primitivist singularist" account, according to which we simply recognize causation when we see it in each particular instance without any even implicit reference to causal laws or any other "reductionist" test.  He erroneously treats the "substantial factor" criterion in the first and second Restatements of Torts (which is properly strongly criticized and rejected in the third Restatement) as being such a primitivist singularist account.  In addition, he seeks to replace all of the traditional normative limitations on legal responsibility with a supposed causal analysis, based on the "scalarity" of causation.

Yet, Moore believes, intuitions come into conflict with metaphysics when considering omissions or other absences as causes, which is routinely assumed to be true in law and life but which Moore insists is fundamentally erroneous from a metaphysical standpoint.  His insistence on this point, while admirable from an intellectual integrity standpoint, completely undermines the fundamental premise of his book -- that causation is the pervasive and dominant determinant of legal responsibility -- since omissions/absences are part of every causal chain involving human action and many not involving human action.

In this paper, I defend a specific "generalist" account of causation (the NESS account) and criticize Moore's primitivist singularist account.  Along the way, I address a number of issues regarding causation and legal responsibility, including the metaphysical basis for treating omissions as causes.

September 2, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, August 25, 2014

Two by Solomon on Juries

Jason Solomon has posted two pieces to SSRN.  First is a symposium introduction to The Civil Jury as Political Institution.  The abstract provides:

More than two hundred years after the Seventh Amendment enshrined the civil jury right, the debate over the role of the civil jury in the United States continues unabated. But even as questions about the civil jury’s competence as an adjudicative institution continue, questions surrounding the civil jury’s justification and role as a political institution are under explored.

To explore these questions in contemporary society, the Bill of Rights Institute and Law Review at William & Mary Law School hosted a symposium on The Civil Jury as a Political Institution. For two days in February 2013, scholars from an array of disciplines gathered to consider the extent to which the civil jury played a meaningful role as a political institution historically, whether it still serves that purpose today and, if so, what measures can or should be taken to ensure its continuing significance. 

This short essay is the introduction to the symposium issue of the William & Mary Law Review on this topic. The essay provides a brief summary and exploration of some of the themes that arose in the papers and during the discussion.

Second is Juries, Social Norms, and Civil Justice.  The abstract provides:

At the root of many contemporary debates and landmark cases in the civil justice system are underlying questions about the role of the civil jury. In prior work, I examined the justifications for the civil jury as a political institution, and found them wanting in our contemporary legal system. 

This Article looks closely and critically at the justification for the civil jury as an adjudicative institution and questions the conventional wisdom behind it. The focus is on tort law because the jury has more power to decide questions of law in tort than any other area of law. The Article makes three original contributions.

First, I undermine the claim that the breach question in negligence is inevitably one for the jury by revisiting a famous debate between Cardozo and Holmes about the possibility of judge-made rules around breach in tort. Second, I draw on social and cognitive psychology to question the conventional wisdom that juries applying general standards are ideally suited to identify and apply social norms. And third, I sketch a middle-ground approach on breach, which involves presumptive rules that defer to indicia of social norms such as statutes and regulations, custom, and the market.

In making the argument, this Article begins to point the way towards a tort system that recognizes the value of recourse but better serves rule-of-law values.

August 25, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, August 7, 2014

Conference Announcement: "New Frontiers for FDA Regulation"

The Petrie-Flom Center for Health Law Policy, Biotechnology, and Bioethics at Harvard Law School and the Food and Drug Law Institute have announced a joint symposium on "Emerging Issues and New Frontiers for FDA Regulation," to be held on October 20, 2014, in Washington.  Topics include food regulation, drug shortages, stem cells, and synthetic biology.

- SBS

August 7, 2014 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 29, 2014

Oberdiek on Proximate Cause

John Oberdiek (Rutgers-Camden) has posted to SSRN Putting (and Keeping) Proximate Cause in Its Place.  The abstract provides:

This is a draft contribution to a forthcoming fetschrift in Michael S. Moore's honor, to be published by Oxford University Press.  The chapter takes on an aspect of Moore's important work on causation in law.

Before one can recover for an injury sounding in negligence, one must establish that the defendant more likely than not proximately caused the injury. That the positive law of negligence imposes this requirement is beyond controversy. What is more controversial is whether the requirement is conceptually and morally defensible. Michael Moore, singly as well as in tandem with Heidi Hurd, powerfully argues that it is neither. Specifically, Moore contends that the harm-within-the-risk test of proximate causation, despite its venerable history in tort law and reaffirmation in the latest Restatement, is “incoherent” and “morally undesirable.” It is bad enough, on Moore’s view, that negligence law bifurcates its causal inquiry, distinguishing as it does the question of actual causation from that of proximate causation, rather than pursuing a unified naturalistic inquiry into the substantiality of causal contribution. What is worse is that tort law can’t even get its own misguided causal inquiry half-right.

I do not share Moore’s jaundiced view of the harm-within-the-risk test of proximate cause – what I will call the “risk rule” for short. I begin by questioning his understanding of the risk rule as it figures in tort law, and go on to argue that neither his conceptual nor his moral criticism of the risk rule is decisive. In the course of rebutting Moore’s criticisms, I outline what I take to be the most compelling account of the risk rule in the law of torts. What emerges is a conception of proximate cause that is thoroughly moralized. Of course moral premises must be invoked to defend the risk rule’s moral merit, but, I argue, they must also be invoked to defend its conceptual coherence. In my view, the risk rule is both morally and conceptually sound.
 
Via Solum/LTB.
 
--CJR

July 29, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 25, 2014

Upcoming LEC Workshops for Law Professors

I posted last February about my experience at the George Mason Law & Economic Center Workshop on Risk, Injury, Liability & Insurance.  In a word: fantastic.

If any of the upcoming LEC Workshop topics strike your fancy, my advice is GO! (especially to Duck Key!).  


LEC WORKSHOP FOR LAW PROFESSORS ON AUSTRIAN LAW AND ECONOMICS
Wednesday, October 1 - Friday, October 3, 2014
George Mason University School of Law, Arlington, VA

Confirmed speakers include: Peter J. Boettke (George Mason University), Christopher J. Coyne (George Mason University), Israel Kirzner (New York University), Peter Leeson (George Mason University), Ragan Petrie (George Mason University), Edmund Phelps (2006 Nobel Laureate, Columbia University), Vernon Smith, (2002 Nobel Laureate, Chapman University), Oliver Williamson, (2009 Nobel Laureate, University of California at Berkeley), and Todd J. Zywicki (George Mason University School of Law).

LEC-PERC WORKSHOP FOR LAW PROFESSORS ON ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS
Saturday, December 6 - Wednesday, December 10, 2014
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, FL

Confirmed speakers include: Jonathan H. Adler (Case Western Reserve University School of Law), Terry L. Anderson (Property and Environment Research Center), Henry N. Butler (George Mason University School of Law), and Dean Lueck (University of Arizona).

LEC WORKSHOP FOR LAW PROFESSORS ON THE ECONOMICS OF LITIGATION AND CIVIL PROCEDURE
Thursday, January 29 - Sunday, February 1, 2015
Hawks Cay Resort, Duck Key, FL

Confirmed speakers include: Robert G. Bone (University of Texas at Austin School of Law), Jonah B. Gelbach (University of Pennsylvania Law School), and Bruce H. Kobayashi (George Mason University School of Law).

TERMS AND CONDITIONS APPLICABLE TO ALL THREE WORKSHOPS:
1. NO TUITION
2. ATTENDANCE AND PARTICIPATION: Attendees are required to attend all sessions and group meals. Attendees are expected to be prepared and to actively participate in the discussions.
3. HOTEL ROOMS: The LEC makes reservations and pays for rooms via direct bill.
4. MEALS: The LEC provides group meals and breaks for all attendees.
5. TRANSPORTATION: Attendees are responsible for making their own transportation arrangements.
6. DEPOSIT: For each workshop, accepted applicants must make a $500 deposit bonding their attendance within 30 days of acceptance. For each workshop, the deposit is refunded within 30 days after successful completion of the workshop.
7. APPLICATION PROCEDURE: Please use the link below to apply: http://www.cvent.com/Surveys/Welcome.aspx?s=921dfb49-5ceb-44bd-87df-bd63d4acc371
8. ACCEPTANCE: The LEC will begin evaluating applications as they are received.

ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: For more information regarding these conferences or other initiatives of the Law & Economics Center, please visit: http://www.MasonLEC.org

You may also call or send an email to Jeff Smith, Coordinator, Henry G. Manne Program in Law & Economics Studies, at 703.993.8382 or jsmithQ@gmu.edu

July 25, 2014 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, July 21, 2014

Causation, Liability and Apportionment Law, Economics and Philosophy

The conference Causation, Liability and Apportionment: an Interdisciplinary Perspective: Law, Economics and Philosophy is organized by the BETA (Bureau of Theoretical and Applied Economics, University of Lorraine and UDS, CNRS). The conference is supported by the French National Agency for Scientific Research (ANR, DAMAGE  program 2012-­‐2015), the French Civil Law Supreme Court (Cour de cassation), the University of Paris 2 (Paris Center for Law and Economics) and the François Geny Institute (University of Lorraine).
 
Practical information
The conference is held at the Cour de cassation (Grand’chambre) on Friday, Sept 12 and at the University of Paris 2 (Salle des conseils) on Saturday, sept 13. No registration fees but, for safety reasons, registration is required. Proceed to registration by sending an email to Cécile Dumaux-­‐Fardet (cecile.dumaux-­‐fardet@univ-­‐lorraine.fr) before august 18 or directly to the Cour de cassation after august 18 (Télécopie 01.44.32.78.28; Internet www.courdecassation.fr.)
 
Talks will be delivered in English.
 
Organization and Contacts
For any further information, please contact the organizers of the conference: Samuel Ferey (Samuel.Ferey@univ-­‐lorraine.fr) or Florence G’sell (flogsell@gmail.com).
 
Thanks to Richard Wright for the tip.
 
--CJR

July 21, 2014 in Conferences | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

The Evolution of Asbestos Litigation at Tulane

The Tulane Law Review recently hosted "The Evolution of Asbestos Litigation:  Enduring Issues and the Administration of Trusts."  The articles are now available:

Edward F. Sherman, The Evolution of Asbestos Litigation, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 1021 (2014).

Georgene Vairo, Lessons Learned By the Reporter:  Is Disaggregation the Answer to the Asbestos Mess?, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 1039 (2014).

Lester Brickman, Fraud and Abuse in Mesothelioma Litigation, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 1071 (2014).

Joseph Sanders, The “Every Exposure” Cases and the Beginning of the Asbestos Endgame, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 1153 (2014).

Peggy L. Ableman, A Case Study From a Judicial Perspective:  How Fairness and Integrity in Asbestos Tort Litigation Can Be Undermined by Lack of Access to Bankruptcy Trust Claims, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 1185 (2014).

Anita Bernstein, Gender in Asbestos Law: Cui Bono? Cui Pacat?, 88 Tul. L. Rev. 11211 (2014).

--CJR

July 1, 2014 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)