Wednesday, October 10, 2012
Tony Sebok (Cardozo) has posted to SSRN The Failed Promise of a General Theory of Pure Economic Loss: An Accident of History?. The abstract provides:
This article was prepared for the 2012 Clifford Symposium, which was held in of the career of Robert Rabin. The article reviews Rabin’s efforts to analyze and rationalize American tort doctrine concerning negligently caused economic loss, which is sometimes dubbed “pure” negligent economic loss so as to distinguish it from economic loss resulting from injury to the plaintiff’s person or property. The article praises and criticizes Rabin’s efforts. It notes that in his early writings on negligently caused economic loss Rabin celebrated decisions such as J’Aire Corp. v. Gregory because it was based on a theory of duty that drawn from a general theory of negligence that applied with equal force to other parts of negligence law, ranging from personal injury to emotional distress. The article then observes that in his later writings, Rabin seemed to back off from his optimistic claim that negligently caused economic loss can be subsumed under a general theory of duty and argued instead that courts must resort to ad hoc duty rules, thus leaving plaintiffs facing a patchwork of holdings driven by various policy considerations.
The article concludes by asking whether Rabin’s retreat is a reflection of an unavoidable reality, which is that negligently caused economic loss is, for whatever reason, destined to operate under principles that limit liability on the basis of principles and/or interests that are unmoored from tort law itself, or whether, as courts outside the United States have suggested (especially in Australia), there is a set of principles available which could subsume negligently caused economic loss cases within a broader theory of duty that includes personal injury, property damage, and emotional distress.
Thursday, October 4, 2012
This is slightly off topic, but Brendan Kenny of Blackwell Burke has founded the Twin Cities E-Discovery Forum. Our readers in the Twin Cities area of Minnesota should check it out.
We would like to invite you to the inaugural meeting of the Twin Cities E-Discovery Forum.
The forum will be a quarterly gathering of local outside counsel, in-house counsel, public-sector attorneys, the judiciary, technologists, and IT professionals dedicated to sharing knowledge and experiences about e-discovery best practices to create a stronger Twin Cities e-discovery community.
At our meetings and at other select events, we will cooperatively discuss current e-discovery issues, educate the local legal community about the challenges posed by electronic discovery, and arrive at cost-effective, ethical, and practical solutions.
The Twin Cities is home to some of the nation’s e-discovery's top talent. Among those national e-discovery thought-leaders that are committed to launching the forum are:
- George Socha: President of Socha Consulting LLC, Co-Founder of EDRM, and Co-Founder of Asperee.
- David Yerich: Director of E-Discovery, United Health Group.
- Michael J. McGuire: Shareholder and eDiscovery Counsel, Littler Mendelson.
Each meeting will have a different topic. There will be a meet and greet with a continental breakfast between 7:30–8:00am, followed by a presentation and a question- and-answer period ending at 9:00am.
The forum is:
- · Free: There will be no charge, no dues, and no fees for our quarterly meetings. Each meeting will be hosted by a different participant.
- · Open: The forum is an open-source e-discovery program. Anyone interested may attend.
- · Flexible: Because e-discovery is constantly evolving, the forum will be decentralized, voluntary, and nimble. Without a rigid agenda and formal structure, it can adjust to meet the ever-changing needs of the legal and technology communities.
- · Collaborative: As the experience of other cities’ e-discovery groups with this format show, the forum is not a CLE—it is a group discussion. Because our discussions are confidential, and because we know and trust our neighbors in the legal community, the forum will foster a more unified, more effective, and more collaborative Twin Cities e-discovery culture.
The forum is modeled after the Friends of E-Discovery groups that Karl Schieneman, Tom Allen, Pete Pepiton, and other lawyers have helped form in Pittsburg, Cincinnati, Columbus, Indianapolis, Cleveland, and Nashville. They have had great success, particularly in bringing together the judiciary, lawyers, IT staff, and technologists.
For more information about these groups, go to www.friendsofediscovery.com.
Opening Meeting Logistics
Our first meeting will be from 7:30–9:00am on October 16, at 431 South 7th Street, Suite 2500, in Minneapolis. It will be hosted by Blackwell Burke P.A. (www.blackwellburke.com/ediscoveryforum.php).
Opening Meeting Topic
After my brief opening presentation, Karl Schieneman will share some of the successes that e-discovery groups with this format have had. This will lead to a roundtable discussion on our most pressing e-discovery issues, and what we hope to gain from the forum.
Mr. Schieneman is a nationally recognized e-discovery thought-leader. He is president and founder of ReviewLess LLC (www.reviewless.co), an e-discovery provider. And he hosts the popular, always insightful, and always free ESI Bytes podcasts (www.esibytes.com).
If interested, please contact Brendan Kenny at 612-343-3211 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
Wednesday, October 3, 2012
Mike Rustad and Gabe Teninbaum at Suffolk are co-chairing Medical Malpractice: Current Issues in Physician, Medical Devices and Pharmaceutical Liability. The conference will be held at Suffolk Law on Friday, November 9, 2012. The description:
About the Conference
Tort reform developments, the U.S. Supreme Court's recent preemption decisions, and rapidly evolving causes of action and defenses are reshaping the medical liability landscape. The Sixth Thomas F. Lambert, Jr. conference brings together top legal practitioners, trial judges and leading academics to reflect on these changes and the potential impact on medical malpractice cases involving physicians, medical devices, and pharmaceutical liability. As Thomas F. Lambert would put it, "A fence at the top of the cliff is worth more than an ambulance in the valley below." Forewarned is forearmed.
Learn about how to resolve challenging medical liability issues from leading Massachusetts jurists and attorneys who try these cases. Learn about how trial judges approach avant garde lost chance cases, high tech medicine cases, and informed consent. This practical conference presents an update on national tort reform as well as New England developments such as the New Hampshire radical reformation of its medical liability and Massachusetts' Apology Bill. Leading trial attorneys will give their take on how these changes to medical liability law impact practice. This conference will give attendees the latest update on the U.S. Supreme Court’s preemption jurisprudence in medical device cases that are often partners in complex medical liability cases. While the emphasis will be on medical liability, there will also be an introduction to the products liability issues. The conference will present state of the art knowledge on what we know and still don’t know about medical liability verdicts from a practical perspective. Attend and hear leading trial lawyers and defense attorneys provide the best available guidance on discovery, voir dire, trial tactics, and jury instructions in a field increasingly impacted by preemption and tort reform. Don't miss this opportunity to learn about the latest developments from the trial judges that try these complex cases with commentary from leading plaintiff and defense experts.
The brochure (pdf): Download Lambert_Medical_Malpractice-2
Monday, September 17, 2012
The Central States Law Schools Association 2012 Scholarship Conference will be held October 19 and 20, 2012 at the Cleveland-Marshall College of Law, in Cleveland, Ohio. We invite law faculty from across the country to submit proposals to present papers or works in progress.
The purpose of CSLSA is to foster scholarly exchanges among law faculty across legal disciplines. The annual CSLSA conference is a forum for legal scholars, especially more junior scholars, to present working papers or finished articles on any law-related topic in a relaxed and supportive setting where junior and senior scholars from various disciplines are available to comment. More mature scholars have an opportunity to test new ideas in a less formal setting than is generally available for their work.
To allow scheduling of the conference, please send an abstract of no more than 500 words to Secretary Missy Lonegrass at Missy.Lonegrass@law.lsu.edu by September 22, 2012. Any late submissions will be considered on a space available basis only.
For those who are interested, the CSLSA mentorship program pairs interested junior scholars with more senior mentors in their fields of expertise to provide feedback on their presentations or papers. To participate in the mentorship program as either a mentor or mentee, please contact Vice-President Elizabeth Young at email@example.com.
In keeping with tradition, CSLSA is able to pay for one night’s lodging for presenters from member schools. If a school is interested in joining CSLSA and has not received an invoice, please contact Treasurer Carolyn Dessin at firstname.lastname@example.org.
For more information about CSLSA, visit our website at http://cslsa.us/
Wednesday, August 29, 2012
Nora Freeman Engstrom (Stanford) has posted her contribution to the Festschrift for Robert Rabin, An Alternative Explanation for No-Fault's 'Demise'. The abstract provides:
In the space of one decade, automobile no-fault legislation — the second most ambitious alternative compensation scheme ever enacted in the United States — went from being widely viewed as “inevitable” to having, it is said, met its sad “demise.” Using a broad mix of primary source material, including voluminous congressional testimony and thousands of contemporaneous press and journal accounts, this Article excavates the history of the American no-fault experiment. With the benefit of this previously untapped material, the Article enriches — and in places, complicates — conventional explanations for why no-fault fizzled. It then situates the no-fault experience within a larger socio-legal framework and, in so doing, raises provocative questions about no-fault’s legacy. Then it finally, and more broadly, steps back to view the no-fault experiment not in isolation but as an exemplar of what may be a larger story about tort’s durability and the evolution, and ultimate convergence, of even very different legal regimes over time.
Tuesday, August 28, 2012
John Goldberg & Ben Zipursky's contribution to the Festschrift for Robert Rabin is Convergence and Contrast in Torts Scholarship: An Essay in Honor of Robert Rabin. The abstract provides:
This contribution to a festschrift honoring Professor Robert Rabin examines overlap and divergence between his approach to Torts and our own civil recourse theory. We first flesh out Rabin’s approach by identifying three antinomies that serve as organizing themes in his work – individualized v. bureaucratic compensation; the fault principle v. enterprise liability; and Realism v. Formalism. We then provide an in-depth analysis of Seffert v. Los Angeles Transit Lines, a decision that Rabin and his casebook co-author Marc Franklin helped make famous among torts scholars. Seffert illustrates both the power and the limitations of law-and-society methodology as applied to tort law. It also demonstrates the capacity of civil recourse theory to capture dimensions of tort law that are obscured by other approaches, and to elucidate contemporary issues in tort reform, such as the propriety of limits on pain and suffering damages.
Last time I checked the top 10 recent torts and products liability e-journal downloads, John and Ben, separately or together, accounted for half of them.
Sunday, August 26, 2012
Papers from DePaul's Clifford Symposium are becoming available on SSRN. This year's was devoted to the scholarship of Robert Rabin, and it is only fitting that the first paper presented be from Rabin himself. His contribution was Reflections on Tort and the Administrative State. The abstract provides:
This essay is my contribution to a festschrift dedicated to my scholarship on tort and the administrative state. The essay aims at identifying the central themes in my work and providing supporting commentary. I mark off for discussion three discrete areas that identify pathways to which I have returned repeatedly, although not chronologically, to explore different features of the landscape.
I begin with historical perspectives on the evolution of tort and the administrative state — essays in which I have been animated by an effort to better understand the underpinnings of common law doctrine and regulatory reform in earlier eras and to explore how those norms came to be transformed over time. As a second identifiable area, I turn to scholarship in which I have analyzed the comparative institutional efficacy of tort and regulation. Some of this writing has been aimed at exploring the regulatory limits that have been imposed (or proposed) on tort; in particular, through defense claims of regulatory compliance and tort preemption. Still other scholarly work of mine in this area has focused on the design of tort and administrative compensation/benefit schemes, particularly by examining, on various occasions, the ramifications of legislative no-fault plans. As a third discrete area, I address a set of concerns that thematically cluster in my scholarship: digging beneath the surface of tort doctrine. Here, my work comes from two quite different perspectives, one of which explores the tort system from a process vantage point and the other through a social policy prism. Closely related to this work, in a traditional vein of legal scholarship, I have at times pursued doctrinal analysis as an end in itself.
Both the tort system and the administrative state have grown by leaps and bounds over the past century. Correspondingly, the opportunities for scholarship evaluating these developments, as well as tracing their roots in earlier eras, know virtually no limits. This essay is meant to indicate some of the issues that have struck me as especially worthy of thematic exploration.
Wednesday, August 22, 2012
I have posted to SSRN a draft of my article from last January's AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section panel on John Goldberg & Ben Zipursky's elegant civil recourse theory. Entitled Two Roads Diverge for Civil Recourse Theory, the abstract provides:
John Goldberg and Ben Zipursky’s civil recourse theory purports to be descriptive and unitary. It cannot be both. According to this theory, as a positive matter, tort law is unified by wrongs and is not designed to be used as an instrument for purposes such as compensation and deterrence. In this article, I argue that civil recourse theory does not offer a complete description of twenty first century tort law. Tort law is not just about civil recourse; at least part of tort law’s purpose is instrumental. The extent of routinization in tort law, particularly in automobile accident claims, demonstrates a gap between civil recourse theory and the tort law it is supposed to describe. In the trenches, insurers and plaintiffs’ lawyers are concerned about the profitability of their portfolio of cases as a whole. Insurers and many plaintiffs’ lawyers, therefore, routinize the claims system, increasing its administrability and the compensation of claimants, but reducing or eliminating the importance of wrongs in a large portion of cases. Civil recourse theory fails as a descriptive unitary theory of tort law because it does not accurately describe automobile accident claims, constituting a majority of tort claims and three-quarters of tort payments.
The symposium will be published by the Indiana Law Journal in the spring and contain articles from Judges Calabresi and Posner, Martha Chamallas, me, and a detailed introduction from Mike Rustad. John and Ben are in the unenviable position of responding to the 5 papers in 3 weeks!
Tuesday, August 14, 2012
Ben Zipursky (Fordham) has posted to SSRN Substantive Standing, Civil Recourse, and Corrective Justice. The abstract provides:
Substantive standing and relational wrongs are the core legal concepts with which civil recourse theory was commenced fourteen years ago. A plaintiff has substantive standing to bring a tort claim if the wrong committed by the tortfeasor was wrongful in the relevant respects in relation to the plaintiff: if the defendant defrauded the plaintiff (for a fraud claim), breached a duty of care owed to the plaintiff (for a negligence claim), trespassed upon her land (for a trespass claim), and so on. After tracing the development of civil recourse theory and its analytical roots in the ideas of substantive standing and relational wrongs, this article turns to: (A) criticizing corrective justice theory and distinguishing civil recourse theory from corrective justice theory; (B) criticizing retributive or vengeance-based theories of tort law and distinguishing civil recourse theory from such theories; (C) explaining the distinctive moral ideas at the core of civil recourse theory. The article develops the view – extant in positive morality and elaborated by reference to work by contemporary moral philosophers -- that a person who has been morally wronged has a moral right to demand an ameliorative response of the wrongdoer, and depicts this idea as the backward-looking mirror image of a moral right to self-defense. In empowering tort victims with a right of action against tortfeasors, the state is giving legal embodiment to this moral principle. It is recognizing, in a victim of a legal wrong, a right to demand ameliorative conduct of the one who legally wronged him or her. The article concludes by observing that there is a familiar moral notion of standing to demand a response to having been wronged that parallels the legal notions of substantive standing pervasive in the law of torts.
Friday, July 27, 2012
Mike Rustad (Suffolk) has posted two pieces to SSRN. First, he reviews Marshall Shapo's new book in The Myth of a Value-Free Injury Law: Constitutive Injury Law as a Cultural Battleground. The abstract provides:
This review essay critically examines Marshall Shapo’s new book, An Injury Constitution. Shapo’s new book provides a counter to simplistic arguments that torts is driving our economy into a death spiral by jackpot justice judgments in which undeserving plaintiffs collect enormous awards given by runaway juries. Drawing upon forty-six years of torts scholarship and teaching, Shapo’s pluralistic theory demonstrates how injury law reflects our culture and our inner life, as well as our aspirations to constrain bullies and the reckless acts that endanger society. In its eleven chapters, this book contends that American injury law has evolved as the functional equivalent of a constitution.
Second, from the AALS mid-year meeting last month is Tort Teaching Lessons from the BP Oil Spill. The abstract provides:
This article is drawn from my talk on the topic of "How to Teach Disaster as Part of a Torts Curriculum" at the AALS Workshop on Torts, Environment and Disaster from June 8-10, 2012, in Berkeley. This piece draws upon an informal survey I conducted in the spring of 2012 on how torts teachers employed the BP oil spill disaster (and other disasters) in their basic torts course (to illustrate topics such as the economic loss rule, legal causation, damages, and the impact of safety regulations).
Friday, July 13, 2012
I posted this earlier, but it was not directly accessible. I tried again yesterday, but the time to upload the file was far too long. I think I have fixed the problem. In order, the speakers are Mike Rustad, John Goldberg, Ben Zipursky, Guido Calabresi, Martha Chamallas, and me.
Tuesday, July 10, 2012
Professors Michael D. Green (Wake Forest) and William C. Powers Jr. (Texas) have been announced as the 2012 co-winners of the John G. Fleming Memorial Prize for Torts Scholarship. They will jointly deliver the second Fleming Lecture at Berkeley Law on November 5. Professors Green and Powers are being honored for, among other things, their outstanding work as American Law Institute co-reporters for two core portions of the Restatement (Third) of Torts.
Berkeley Law Professor John Fleming was among the world’s leading comparative tort law scholars and long-time editor-in-chief of the American Journal of Comparative Law. When he passed away in 1998, two books were published in his honor and proceeds were used to create the Fleming Prize, which is awarded every other year to a tort law scholar from any country. The Fleming family later endowed the Fleming Lecture. Bob Rabin (Stanford), the previous winner of the prize, delivered the first Fleming Lecture.
Professor Stephen Sugarman (Berkeley) can provide more details about this fall’s Fleming Lecture. Congratulations!
Tuesday, June 26, 2012
John Oberdiek (Rutgers-Camden) has posted to SSRN Method and Morality in the New Private Law of Torts. The abstract provides:
The just-christened New Private Law is especially intriguing, for it self-consciously aspires to draw insight from both instrumentalism and formalism. In his ambitious and illuminating "Palsgraf, Punitive Damages, and Preemption," for example, Benjamin Zipursky could not be any more forthright in combining instrumentalist and formalist themes. On his view, the New Private Law’s methodology is sensitive to both the functions and the concepts internal to law. Thus the New Private Law promises to be the elusive third way. And in Zipursky’s hands, it seems to me, the New Private Law of Torts makes good on that promise, offering a sound approach to the adjudication of vexing questions at the frontier of tort law. But Zipursky nevertheless falters in eschewing consideration of the approach’s moral foundations. In addition to explicating just what a commitment to the New Private Law of Torts comes to, then, it is the aim of this essay to assess where normative and specifically moral considerations do, should, and must come into play in the New Private Law of Torts.
Monday, June 25, 2012
Jason Solomon (W&M) has posted to SSRN Civil Recourse as Social Equality. The abstract provides:
In the past decade, civil recourse theory has emerged as an important way of thinking about tort law as individual justice, and private law more broadly. But it has also been criticized as lacking an adequate normative foundation. On its face, the right to civil recourse seems like a form of retaliation or vengeance, and it seems unlikely that this is an appropriate part of a modern liberal state.
In prior work, I explained how the idea of equal accountability was an attractive moral norm and conceptual foundation for the right to recourse. This paper explores whether there are conceptions of equality that might support the right to recourse as a matter of political theory. Specifically, I argue that the right to recourse can be justified by drawing on two related notions of equality — a distributive one and a relational, or social, one.
I argue that these two conceptions of equality relate in the following way. The right to hold accountable those who have wronged you is a good subject to principles of distributive justice. And this good is something that the state provides to help constitute a community that aspires to social equality — where individuals relate to one another as equals. My task here is to explain what I mean in drawing on these two conceptions of equality, and how they relate to civil justice.
Tuesday, June 12, 2012
John Goldberg has posted to SSRN Tort Law at the Founding. The abstract provides:
In his influential History of American Law, Lawrence Friedman suggests that tort law was “totally insignificant” prior to the late Nineteenth Century. Implicit in this assessment is a judgment that a body of law is significant only insofar is it addresses a large-scale social problem as such. This criterion stacks the deck against tort law, which is not law of this kind. Rather, it is a law of civil recourse. In fulfillment of a governmental responsibility to its citizens, tort defines a certain kind of wrong and empowers victims of this kind of wrong to obtain redress from wrongdoers.
Written for a 2011 symposium held at Florida State University, this essay melds the insights of civil recourse theory with recent historical scholarship to demonstrate that tort law was central to American legal practice and legal thought long before the Industrial Revolution. In fact, the tort notion of civil recourse set the terms on which this nation was founded. Quite self-consciously, Jefferson cast the Declaration of Independence in the language of civil recourse; the Declaration is our founding lawsuit. The inclusion of the Alien Tort Statute in the Judiciary Act of 1789 and the emergence of the nineteenth-century congressional practice of indemnifying officials for their tort liabilities further demonstrate our early embrace of the core tort notion that government bears a responsibility to provide citizens with law for the recourse of wrongs.
Thursday, June 7, 2012
John Goldberg & Ben Zipursky respond to critics from last year's Florida State symposium on civil recourse theory in Civil Recourse Revisited. The abstract provides:
This essay responds to the extensive and thoughtful commentary on civil recourse theory provided by Curtis Bridgeman, Julian and Stephen Darwall, John Gardner, Andrew Gold, Scott Hershovitz, Gabe Mendlow, Nathan Oman, Arthur Ripstein, Anthony Sebok, Emily Sherwin, Jason Solomon, and Ernest Weinrib, all of whom participated in a 2011 symposium at Florida State University School of Law that was devoted to the subject. In it, we defend civil recourse theory against corrective justice theory and (following our own, independent contributions to the symposium) further develop our critiques of that theory. Against methodological criticisms, we maintain that civil recourse theory is an interpretive theory that has both explanatory and normative power. Finally, we briefly tease out some of the implications of civil recourse theory for private law beyond torts (contract law, in particular), and for the philosophical analysis of concepts such as accountability and responsibility.
Thursday, May 31, 2012
Tuesday, April 17, 2012
The 2012 Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy, "A Celebration of the Thought of Marc Galanter," will take place on April 26 and 27 at DePaul University College of Law. As always, the symposium is chaired by Stephan Landsman.
Thanks to Alberto Bernabe for the tip.
Thursday, April 12, 2012
The Center for Agricultural Law and Taxation at Iowa State is offering a webinar on Monday April 16:
On Monday April 16 from noon to 1 p.m. CST, CALT's Staff Attorney, Erika Eckley, will be conducting a webinar on the important topic of agricultural torts. Lawyers can obtain 1 hour of CLE for joining in on the webinar. But, it's not just for lawyers. If you are an agricultural producer, operate an agribusiness, or are a rural landowner, you will benefit greatly from the 1-hour session. It's a cost-effective way to learn how the law handles various liability situations, and that knowledge could end up saving you a great deal of dollars and grief in the future.
Among the topics that Erika will cover include key state and national developments involving topics such as premises liability, nuisance, employer liability, recreational use, and legislative developments of importance to agricultural clients. Erika will provide a basic primer on the development of an agricultural tort case, including the preservation and development of requisite evidence and proof of damages.
Wednesday, April 11, 2012
For those of you who still haven't firmed up your summer plans, consider traveling to Berkeley during June 8-12. Torts is a focus of this year's AALS Mid-Year Meeting; it includes a "Workshop on Torts, Environment and Disaster." The planning committee includes Laura Hines, Douglas Kysar, Bob Rabin, Tony Sebok and Lisa Grow Sun. The speakers are an all-star cast. The brochure is here. Still not convinced?
Why Torts Law Teachers Would Attend? Tort scholarship and tort practice has been concerned with large-scale losses since the advent of the class action. Recent events, such as the attacks of 9/11 and the BP oil spill, have illustrated that the tools of aggregate litigation may not be enough to handle the job of ascertaining both responsibility and compensation after a disaster. The Torts and Compensation Law Section will take advantage of its joint meeting with the Environmental Law Section to provide a fresh look at the special problem that disasters pose for tort law in the 21st Century. The topics covered by the torts portion of the joint meeting will include whether tort law should be limited in times of disasters, the role (if any) of tort principles in the design of public compensation and private settlement funds, and the relationship between tort and insurance law in times of disaster. At the end of the program there will be a session on the incorporation of issues relating to disaster in the torts curriculum. The program will provide torts and insurance scholars of all levels of seniority with new insights into their own research and teaching. --CJR
Why Torts Law Teachers Would Attend?
Tort scholarship and tort practice has been concerned with large-scale losses since the advent of the class action. Recent events, such as the attacks of 9/11 and the BP oil spill, have illustrated that the tools of aggregate litigation may not be enough to handle the job of ascertaining both responsibility and compensation after a disaster. The Torts and Compensation Law Section will take advantage of its joint meeting with the Environmental Law Section to provide a fresh look at the special problem that disasters pose for tort law in the 21st Century.
The topics covered by the torts portion of the joint meeting will include whether tort law should be limited in times of disasters, the role (if any) of tort principles in the design of public compensation and private settlement funds, and the relationship between tort and insurance law in times of disaster. At the end of the program there will be a session on the incorporation of issues relating to disaster in the torts curriculum. The program will provide torts and insurance scholars of all levels of seniority with new insights into their own research and teaching.