Tuesday, September 6, 2011
I am delighted to be involved again organizing the second Southeastern Law Scholars Conference on October 28-29, 2011, at the Charleston School of Law. This regional conference will bring together junior law school faculty to present published papers or works-in-progress across all disciplines within the law. The conference is open to all junior law faculty (one to seven years teaching experience) at law schools in the southeastern United States. To ensure an atmosphere conducive to feedback, space is limited to twenty participants.
The conference will begin with dinner for all participants on Friday, October 28, 2011. On Saturday, October 29, 2011, conference participants will present either a completed paper or work-in-progress, and comment on the papers and ideas presented by others. As the host school, the Charleston School of Law will provide dinner on Friday, October 28, as well as breakfast and lunch on Saturday, October 29. There is no registration fee. Participants, however, are responsible for their own travel expenses.
To participate in the conference, please email me by Friday, September 29, 2011. Please note whether you will be attending dinner on Friday, October 28, in your email. In addition, please include the title of your presentation topic. A short abstract would also be helpful.
Thursday, September 1, 2011
Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations: Challenging Orthodoxy
Hosted by The Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario
London, Ontario, Canada
July 17-20, 2012
The Faculty of Law at the University of Western Ontario is pleased to be hosting the Sixth Biennial Conference on the Law of Obligations. The conference will bring together leading scholars in tort, contract, equity and unjust enrichment from throughout the common law world.
The theme of the conference is "Challenging Orthodoxy." We have prepared an academic program of over 60 speakers in which professors, graduate students and eminent practitioners will challenge established common law rules and suggest new approaches to both old and emerging problems. The plenary speakers are Chief Justice Beverley McLachlin and Justice Thomas Cromwell (Supreme Court of Canada), Melvin Eisenberg (Berkeley), John Goldberg (Harvard), Andrew Robertson (Melbourne), Ernest Weinrib (Toronto), Richard Wright (Chicago-Kent), and Ben Zipursky (Fordham).
The Obligations Conference originated at the University of Melbourne in 2002, and has since become one of the leading private law conferences in the common law world. The biennial conferences have been held at the University of Melbourne, the University of Queensland, the National University of Singapore and the University of Oxford.
For more information on the Conference and to register please visit: http://www.law.uwo.ca/Conferences/Obligations6/index.html.
Friday, August 26, 2011
Tony Sebok and Myriam Gilles at Cardozo have set up a conference on the 9/11 victim compensation fund and its relevance for mass torts. The conference is September 12, 2011 at Cardozo and begins at 2:30 p.m. Kenneth Feinberg is the keynote speaker; other speakers include Sheila Birnbaum, John Goldberg, Marc Moller, Linda Mullenix, Roger Parloff, Bob Rabin, and Judge Jack Weinstein. The program is here.
Wednesday, August 17, 2011
Ken Abraham (Virginia) has posted Strict Liability in Negligence. The abstract provides:
This Article, written for a Symposium in honor of Robert Rabin, argues that some forms of liability imposed in negligence are more like strict liability than negligence. For example, under the objective standard of negligence, liability may be imposed even when the defendant was not capable of exercising what counts as reasonable care. Similarly, under certain circumstances reasonable care requires perfect compliance with precautionary requirements. Finally, the “thin-skull” rule imposes liability on a defendant who negligently risks harm to a foreseeable plaintiff even if the amount of harm this plaintiff suffers is far in excess of what was foreseeable. In the first example the defendant is liable even if he does his best. In the second example the defendant is liable unless he achieves perfect compliance. And in the third example the defendant is liable for something he could not foresee. Imposing liability for negligence in these situations resembles strict liability. At the least, these forms of negligence liability certainly are “stricter” than many others. The Article examines the rights-based and instrumental roles played by these forms of liability in reflecting norms of responsibility, reducing information and error costs, influencing activity levels, and promoting the insurance of losses.
The analysis has two implications. The first is that negligence is not the pure type of liability that it is sometimes thought to be. The existence within negligence of several forms of liability that are strict, or at least “stricter” than the core negligence paradigm, weakens the claim that negligence liability may have to moral superiority over strict liability. I argue that part of the reason negligence has maintained its dominance of accident law, and part of the reason strict liability has not become more dominant, is that negligence has incorporated stricter liability within it. The second implication of my analysis is that the normative character of tort liability is more complex, and perhaps more ambiguous, than either rights or instrumental theories standing alone can easily capture. One of the most interesting things about the instances of strict liability in negligence is that, whether we call them strict liability or deny them this status, there seems to be widespread agreement that they are normatively attractive. This confluence of support on the merits for doctrines whose status itself is contested suggests that tort law doctrines may need to satisfy both instrumental and rights-based concerns in order to be stable and persistent. A negligence system that purports to condition liability on the commission of wrongs, but also sometimes imposes stricter liability for conduct that is not so clearly blameworthy, would seem to be influenced in practice by the same instrumental considerations that support the imposition of strict liability. Conversely, instrumental justifications for tort doctrines are likely to be unpersuasive when these doctrines do not also satisfy rights-based concerns. Whether or not our system of accident law has mixed “goals,” then, it certainly appears to be subject to mixed side-constraints.
Wednesday, August 10, 2011
John Gardner (Oxford) has posted to SSRN Torts and Other Wrongs, his contribution to the Florida State civil recourse symposium. The abstract provides:
In this paper, a draft contribution to a symposium on the work of John Goldberg and Ben Zipursky, I take Goldberg and Zipursky to task for failing to distinguish the law of torts adequately from some neighbouring areas of private law. I focus on their equivocation on the question of whether reparative (a.k.a. compensatory) damages have a special place in the law of torts. I suggest that this equivocation is bound up with Goldberg's and Zipursky's wish to maintain what I argue to be an artificial rivalry between their 'civil recourse' explanation of tort law and the 'corrective justice' explanations associated with Weinrib, Coleman, and others. I suggest that 'civil recourse' and 'corrective justice' each capture part of the truth about tort law. I end by addressing briefly some doubts about whether this is a truth worth capturing.
Friday, August 5, 2011
Arthur Ripstein (Toronto) has posted to SSRN Civil Recourse and Separation of Rights and Remedies, his contribution to the Florida State civil recourse symposium. The abstract provides:
In developing their Civil Recourse theory of tort law, John Goldberg and Benjamin Zipursky seek to separate Civil Recourse from Corrective Justice by showing that tort law does not work in the ways in which corrective justice theory says that it must. The strategy of separation, in turn, rests on a separation between wrongs and remedies, a separation between ideas of risk and ideas of ordinariness, a separation between abstract characterizations of rights and contingent social norms, and, finally, a separation between a wrong done against the plaintiff and her power to exact a remedy. I argue that none of these separations can be made.
Sunday, April 3, 2011
Although not strictly a torts conference, Roger Williams is hosting a symposium relating to the Deepwater Horizon oil disaster. George Conk (Fordham) has the details at Torts Today. On the torts front, George will be speaking, as will tomorrow's Guest Blogger, Tom Galligan. Roger Williams's torts-scholar dean, David Logan, will also be present and moderating.
Tuesday, March 29, 2011
The topic of the 2011 Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy is a "Festschrift for Robert Rabin."
Bob Rabin is one of the towering figures of American tort law. His work has influenced the way we think about virtually all the critical questions confronted by tort scholars. His writings on the tobacco controversy, alternative compensation systems and tort theory have powerfully affected discourse on these topics. His casebook, with Franklin and Green, has served as the introduction to tort law for thousands of students. In 2008, Bob was the recipient of the William Prosser Award for scholarship, teaching and service from the AALS Section on Torts and Compensation. Bob also has been a great friend to the Clifford Symposium. He has appeared on the program more than a half dozen times and has contributed seminal pieces about enabling torts (49 DePaul Law Review), the tobacco wars (51 DePaul Law Review), the September 11th Compensation Fund (53 DePaul Law Review), and noneconomic loss (55 DePaul Law Review). It is with the greatest pleasure and pride that we seek to honor our dear friend and colleague, Bob Rabin, at the 2011 Clifford Symposium on Tort Law and Social Policy.
The program includes an amazing line-up of torts scholars. Session I, Reflections on Tort Theory, includes presentations by Mark Geistfeld, John Goldberg and Ben Zipursky, and Stephen Sugarman. Session II, Tort Law and the Administrative State, includes presentations by Ellen Pryor, Peter Schuck and Cathy Sharkey. The symposium continues on Friday with a panel on Perspectives on Compensations Schemes with presentations by Nora Engstrom, Myriam Gilles and Michael Green. The final panel, Perspectives on Liability Rules, includes presentations by Ken Abraham, Greg Keating, and Tony Sebok.
Registration is free. The symposium will take place April 14-15, 2011, at DePaul.
Wednesday, March 16, 2011
Richard Cupp (Pepperdine) has posted to SSRN another piece from Pepperdine's symposium last spring, International Tobacco Litigation's Evolution as a United States Tort Law Export: To Canada and Beyond? The abstract provides:
In the late 1990’s, the states’ healthcare reimbursement lawsuits against the tobacco industry were settled for approximately $246 billion. In the wake of this enormous settlement, many similar lawsuits were initiated in other nations or by other nations. Most of these early healthcare reimbursement lawsuits failed. However, in 2005, the World Health Organization Framework Convention on Tobacco Control was finalized by over 150 nations, and today has been ratified by 168 nations. The Framework encourages nations to consider tort litigation against tobacco sellers as a way to limit tobacco usage. Canada’s provinces have been particularly aggressive in seeking to use healthcare reimbursement lawsuits inspired by the United States litigation as a tool for tobacco control. This Article considers ways in which United States-style litigation against tobacco companies might be both helpful and hurtful for other nations.
Saturday, March 12, 2011
Mike Rustad (Suffolk) has posted to SSRN Torts as Public Wrongs from last spring's Pepperdine symposium. The abstract provides:
This Article is a rejoinder to the civil recourse theorist's claim that tort law will be better served by retreating to the philosopher's prefecture of private wrongs. A subsidiary goal of this Article is to refute John Goldberg's claim that my sociologically-inspired theory of torts as public wrongs serves the interests of tort reformers rather than American consumers. In a nutshell, civil recourse theory is "tort reform in disguise," not the concept of torts as fulfilling wide-ranging purposes such as the social control of corporations. If judges adopt civil recourse theory, they will be less inclined to recognize new causes of action and plaintiff classes deferring instead to legislatures. Tort law is the multi-tasker of the common law and does far more than redress private wrongs.
Tort law not only redresses private wrongs, it also advances general deterrence through social control. The contemporary Toyota sudden acceleration claims and the BP oil spill are examples of how tort law tackles collective injuries impacting the consuming public, the environment, and communities. While it is unclear what role tort law will ultimately play in redressing these collective injury cases, social interests will be relevant. This Article, which makes the case that tort law can and should redress public wrongs, unfolds in six parts. Part II introduces the idea of the teleological telescope and the deontological microscope illustrating their operation in sociological theory.
In this part of the Article, I explain how the grand theories of classical sociology were telescopic, but some modern theorists miniaturized their perspective to focus on the individual and the small group. Part III describes how modern tort theory has divided into competing camps based upon whether legal academics use a macroscopic or a microscopic approach. The basic distinction is that tort scholars use either a functional telescope (to study public wrongs) contextually or the philosopher's microscope to understand individual cases and controversies in an abstract way. The division between macrotort and microtort theories is the functional equivalent of how these approaches play out in classical and contemporary sociological theory. Torts have a micro aspect applicable to the pressing facts of the individual case and the relationships between the parties, but they also have macro features such as general deterrence and social control that fill in the interstices between criminal and civil law and resonate our collective beliefs.
Part IV comments on civil recourse theory's obscurantism and its lack of fit with the empirical reality of modern tort law's complexity. In this part of the Article, I discuss the civil recourse theorist's misguided attempt to reduce the multiplicity of American tort law to one single "true" quintessence. To me, it seems that the main problem with this pure theory of tort law is its separation from social context such as gender, race, social class, power, and social change. What is important to note here is that torts often redress public wrongs, beyond the interests of the immediate parties.
Part V gives my pluralistic account of torts as public wrongs. While the manifest function of tort law is civil recourse or compensation, its latent function is vindicating public wrongs. The latent function - the hidden face - of tort law is its public policy role addressing corporate misconduct from the bottom up rather than through a top-down government monolith. The key institution is the plaintiff in the role of private attorney general who seeks civil recourse but also fulfills a broader purpose of identifying and punishing reckless corporate defendants who had previously evaded the attention of the public authorities.
Part VI applies my sociological theory of public wrongs to the widespread problems created by dangerously defective software. The tort law lag in addressing defective software demonstrates the need to permit tort law to evolve to address social problems. Hence, the focus is how "we the people" need brawny tort remedies to address social problems in the information-based economy.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011
New York Law Journal has an interesting article by Andrew S. Kaufam and Betsy D. Baydala, both of Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan in NYC. The article analyzes the viability of a claim for intentional infliction of emotional distress based on allegations of cyberbullying.
Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the link.
Monday, January 31, 2011
At Friday's Healthcare Law in the Federal Courts symposium organized by the Federal Courts Law Review at the Charleston School of Law, Professor James Ely (Vanderbilt) and Professor Brian Galle (Boston College) debated whether the mandate that each individual must purchase health insurance or face a $695 penalty was constitutional.
Professor Ely made two arguments. First, he argued that the mandate exceeded Congress's authority under the Commerce Clause because the failure to buy health insurance was not economic activity. Second, Professor Ely argued that the mandate did not constitute a "tax" under the Taxing Clause because the legislation does not use the word tax, nor was the provision intended to be revenue raising.
In response, Professor Galle pointed out that health care amount to 1/7 of the economy. Professor Galle further presented points from his paper The Taxing Power, the Affordable Care Act, and the Limits of Constitutional Compromise, 121 Yale L.J. Online __ (2011). The abstract provides:
This brief essay responds to recent court decisions and scholarly commentary questioning the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act. Criticism has focused in particular on the provision imposing a $695 penalty on those who fail to purchase qualifying health insurance.
I argue that, contrary to the courts and the commentators, this provision is valid as an exercise of Congress' power to lay and collect taxes. Although much has been made of Congress' use of the word "penalty" rather than tax, the Supreme Court has held since 1866 that Congress can invoke the tax power in litigation without using that term in the challenged statute. I also reject any normative arguments for rejecting that venerable rule as unpersuasive. In any event, the relevant section refers to the penalty it imposes as a "tax" 48 times.
More substantively, I argue that efforts to claim that the section would fall afoul of constitutional limits on "direct" taxes over-read those sections of the Constitution. Limits on direct taxes were the product of a compromise over slavery, and have no other obvious deep meaning. While we must honor the bargain that resulted in their inclusion in the Constitution, honor can be paid with a narrow reading that allows Congress, not courts, to make tax policy.
The Fourth Circuit has scheduled oral argument in the conflicting Virginia cases for the second week of May.
Saturday, January 22, 2011
Florida State is hosting a symposium on John Goldberg and Ben Zipursky's civil recourse theory on February 11 and 12, 2011. The lineup includes torts scholars Jules Coleman, Arthur Ripstein, Ernest Weinrib, Heidi Hurd, Jason Solomon, Tony Sebok, John Gardner, Stephen Perry, and Scott Hershovitz. It also focuses on the theory's migration from tort to other areas of private law. In spite of my criticism, it is nice to see this theory get the attention it richly deserves. The announcement from Florida State is here. Larry Solum's coverage at Legal Theory Blog is here.
Tuesday, January 18, 2011
The Federal Courts Law Review at the Charleston School of Law is hosting a day-long symposium on Friday, January 28th, on "Healthcare Law in the Federal Courts." The symposium focuses on the recent health care reform act, namely, the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.
Barry Furrow (Drexel) will be giving the key note address, assessing the economic implications of the Act. Brian Galle (Boston College) and James W. Ely, Jr. (Vanderbilt) will be addressing the constitutionality of the Act and the current litigation.
Registration is free for individuals who do not seek CLE credit. For those seeking CLE credit, the cost is $75.00. (The program is eligible for 6.15 CLE credits based on a 60 minute hour; no ethics credits).
If you are interested in attending the symposium, please contact FCLR Symposium Editor, Angel Heery at aoheery [at] charlestonlaw.edu to RSVP.
Saturday, January 8, 2011
Torts & Compensation Section Chair Cathy Sharkey (NYU) introduced the panel by noting its diversity. In addition to academics, the panel included a policy expert and a practicing lawyer. The papers from the panel will be published in an upcoming volume of the Indiana Health Law Review.
Robert Rabin (Stanford) began the presentations by providing an outline of the vaccine no-fault program at issue in the upcoming Bruesewitz case. The program was enacted in 1986 and became effective in 1988 at the behest of manufacturers concerned with high damages awards. The goal was to ensure the continued availability of vaccinations while providing compensation for those adversely affected. The program is an adversarial process that does not eliminate recourse to the tort system. Pursuant to the program, those who believe they have been injured by a vaccination need not establish fault, only causation. A vaccine court was established to resolve causation issues by specialists with knowledge of vaccines. Damages are capped, and punies are not available. The claimant has the option to accept the award or reject it and sue in tort.
James Copland (Manhattan Institute/Point of Law) began by noting the issue in Bruesewitz was whether design defects in vaccines are preempted. Copland stated he would focus on policy arguments and not address statutory construction. Copland listed several goals of the tort system as deterrence, compensation, and equity (he exemplified this as redistribution, not necessarily an individual justice perspective). On the deterrence issue, the question is whether the FDA sufficiently deters or whether the tort system should provide additional deterrence. Copland distinguished type 1 errors (a vaccine or drug being released and causing unknown side effects and injuring someone) and type 2 errors (being overly conservative and not releasing a drug on time, depriving someone of the beneficial effects). He opined that type 2 errors are more common than type 1 errors, citing an empirical study he co-authored on the issue. Copland argues the FDA probably overdeters rather than underdeters, and he supports a compensation scheme to handle the compensatory aspects of vaccine injuries.
Mary Davis (Kentucky), who described herself as the "lone tort wolf" on the panel, began by outlining the doctrine of preemption. She described the series of preemption cases since 1992 as the courts seeking clarity. Based on the Supremacy Clause, the touchstone of preemption is Congressional intent to override state tort claims. Preemption has both an express and an implied version. Davis noted the Court has tried to avoid nuances in its rulings, and there is a presumption against preemption. She read language from a recent preemption opinion to the effect that the text of the preemption clause, if susceptible of more than one meaning, will be construed narrowly. She then turned to Bruesewitz itself, stating the clause to be interpreted was unusual. She argued that the injury was not "unavoidable," because the manufacturer exercised discretion in creating the vaccine at issue. She concluded by stating of the FDA process that science aims at certainty, but it is difficult if not impossible to attain. Tort can function as a safety valve in those instances science fails.
Mal Wheeler (Wheeler Trigg O'Donnell), who has argued many significant preemption cases, sought to bring a "real world" perspective to the panel. In describing the progress of several of his major cases, he emphasized the role of fortuity in the unfolding of litigation, arguing that the certainty of preemption was preferable. He also challenged the notion that Wyeth altered the law of preemption, stating the case used language that had been used before.
In closing comments, Rabin stated that he did not believe tort suits would undermine the no-fault vaccination scheme, noting the difference between causation and design defect issues. Copland predicted "an enormous uptick" of plaintiff activity if vaccination design defect suits are not preempted. Davis lauded the vaccine program as a good example of interplay between administrative and tort approaches to injury; she emphasized the information-forcing role of discovery in tort. Wheeler concluded by noting that there was no empirical evidence that a U.S.-style tort system was necessary. He argued that the FDA needs more resources.
At the end of the panel's comments, Sharkey presented the Prosser Award to Judge Guido Calabresi, who was unable to attend due to a family wedding in Italy. Sharkey read a letter from Judge Calabresi, in which he expressed his delight at being honored. Mike Rustad rotated into the position of Chair of the Section.
The official Torts & Compensation Section panel is not the only panel at AALS relevant to torts. A panel co-sponsored by the sections on Disability Law and Remedies covered the intersection of torts and disability law. The chair of the Disability Law Section, Mark Weber (DePaul), put together a great panel based on a call for papers. The panel occurred yesterday morning, but Alcatraz beckoned, and I'm only posting it today.
The panel started somberly as Weber noted the passing in October of disability rights champion Paul Steven Miller. The panel was dedicated to his memory.
Anne Bloom (Pacific McGeorge) presented a paper that originated in her exchanges with Miller, entitled "Reframing Tort Litigation: Redefining Plaintiffs with Disabilities." Bloom made 3 major points. First, tort law is based on a medical, as opposed to a social, model. The medical model "requires plaintiffs to present their bodies as a problem to be solved," while the social model regards disability as a social construct. Second, using a medical model in tort is problematic because it presents the disabled as lacking. Bloom questions whether tort litigation incentivizes plaintiffs to adopt a victim status. Third, Bloom asks what a social model as applied to tort would look like. Primarily, it would rely less on medical testimony and more on experiential testimony from others with the same condition as the plaintiff. She couples this with the idea that damages should be less focused on making whole and more focused on providing the plaintiff a mechanism for accountability. She explicitly draws on the civil recourse scholarship of John Goldberg, Ben Zipursky, and Jason Solomon.
Next Geoffrey Rapp (Toledo) presented "Meddling Reasonableness: Disability, Care, Access & Obligation in the Law of Tort." Rapp focused on one of the major ways in which tort and disability law intersect, the fact that tort liability standards take into account physical disabilities. He noted this has advantaging and disadvantaging aspects for the disabled. The advantaging aspects, which tend to receive more attention, favor the disabled by altering the standards for their perception of danger and ability to avoid danger using reasonable care. On the other hand, the more subjective standard can disadvantage the disabled by imposing an obligation to utilize special precautions and limiting access to some activities. Rapp noted several problems with the disadvantaging aspects. First, he said what a "reasonable person" should do is decided by judges, most of who are not disabled. Second, he questioned whether such impositions were a slippery slope. Third, he noted the subjective standard can block prohibit access and prevent integration. Finally, he noted the impositions can be costly. Rapp didn't have time to present his solution, so we will have to await the paper.
Laura Rothstein (Louisville) began by stating that the built environment was not what it should be for the disabled and she focused on the best way to improve it. Specifically, she questioned whether a tort remedy would help or hinder improvement of the built environment. She raised the possibility that statutory remedies such as the ADA, with an emphasis on injunctive relief, would be preferable. One particular concern she raised was the possibility that too many tort cases, some of questionable validity, had caused a judicial backlash.
Finally, Ani Satz (Emory) presented "Mental Impairment in Tort." Satz called attention to the different treatment in tort for physical and mental disabilities. In general, mental disabilities are not taken into account for purposes of tort liability. Satz challenged this dichotomy. First, she argued that the rule on mental disabilities was largely parroted from earlier cases (Weaver v. Ward: "if a lunatic hurt a man, he shall answer in trespass"). Second, she argued that such treatment is inconsistent with the treatment of physical disabilities in liability rules, comparative fault, and damages. Finally, she stated her goal was to create new legal assumptions about mental disabilities. Specifically: (1) tort should focus on incentivizing individuals and not their caretakers, (2) disabilities occur on a spectrum; it's not accurate to say that people are either insane or their disability is trivial, (3) any impairment, whether it be physical or mental, can affect functioning, and (4) individuals with mental impairment should not be viewed as able to form intent for intentional torts if they cannot form an intent to harm or offend, as opposed to simply intend contact.
All the panelists are still working on the papers, and indicated a desire for feedback.
Thursday, January 6, 2011
By the time this post goes up, I'll be en route to San Francisco. For those of you who aren't attending the conference, I'll have coverage of the Torts & Compensation Section's Panel, "Vaccines and Drugs: A Brave New Tort World." Moderated by Cathy Sharkey (NYU), the panel includes James Copland (Manhattan Institute), Mary Davis (Kentucky), Robert Rabin (Stanford), and Malcolm Wheeler (Wheeler, Trigg, O'Donnell). If you plan to be at AALS, the panel is Saturday from 1:30-3:15 at the Parc 55. Earlier posts describing the panel are here and here.
Wednesday, December 22, 2010
Tuesday, November 30, 2010
AALS Torts & Compensation Chair Cathy Sharkey has put together a fantastic panel for the 2011 Annual Meeting in San Francisco. The overview:
The proliferation of vaccine and pharmaceutical drug-related injuries challenges our conceptions of how the tort system can best meet its compensatory and regulatory aims in the 21stcentury. In 1986, Congress created the National Childhood Vaccine Act, establishing a no-fault compensation scheme for vaccine-related injuries. In 2010, the U.S. Supreme Court granted certiorari in Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, Inc. to decide whether design defect claims against vaccine manufacturers are preempted. This follows closely on the heels of the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in Wyeth v. Levine, finding that failure to warn claims against a drug manufacturer were not preempted. Our panelists—who include two prominent torts and products liability scholars (Mary Davis, who posted on a related issue on Monday, and Bob Rabin, who will guest blog with us next semester), a seasoned litigator (Mal Wheeler), and a policy expert (James Copland)—will explore whether it makes sense to have separate legal regimes for vaccines and other pharmaceuticals. They will also address issues at the core of tort law in the modern administrative state: the need for no-fault victim compensation and the respective roles of litigation and governmental regulation.
The program is Saturday, January 8th from 1:30 to 3:15. The location has not been finalized because of an ongoing labor dispute. I'll provide an update on the location when it's available. I hope to see you there.
Wednesday, September 15, 2010
Civil Litigation as a Tool for Regulating Climate Change
Conference on February 18, 2011
The purpose of this conference is to explore the interlinked policy, science, legal and political questions of utilizing the American litigation system, and particularly its tort theories of liability, to regulate climate change. Attempts to employ the courts as a tool for regulation are exemplified by cases such as Comer v. Murphy Oil, Connecticut v. American Electric Power, Co., and Native Village of Kivalina v. Exxon Mobile Corporation. Key presentations at the conference will be made by Professor Daniel Farber, Director of the Center for Law, Energy and the Environment, University of California at Berkeley; Professor Michael B. Gerrard, Director of the Center for Climate Change Law, Columbia University School of Law; and Professor Daniel Bodansky of the Schools of Sustainability and of Law, Arizona State University. Scholars and practitioners in the fields of environmental science, litigation, and tort law, among other areas, are encouraged to attend and present papers that will generate debate and discussion concerning the desirability of such litigation, strategies concerning it, and the impact it might have on efforts to bring about national legislation and international cooperation on global warming and related problems.
Valparaiso University School of Law issues this call for papers as part of the 25th Annual Monsanto Lecture/Conference on Tort Law and Jurisprudence, to be held at the School of Law on February 18, 2011. If you are interested in presenting, please submit an abstract of your proposed paper. Abstracts are due on or before December 1, 2010. A limited number of stipends are available to defray travel and lodging costs of some participants.
Submitted by Joellen Lind.