TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Thursday, August 20, 2015

Request for Empirical Study Results from Torts Classes

James Stark (Connecticut) makes the following request:

Dear Colleagues:
I will be working this year with a PhD psychologist from the University of Maryland on an empirical research study designed to learn more about the role of individual differences in lawyers' susceptibility to cognitive and motivational bias in a representative lawyering role.  The exercise at the core of the study asks students to assume the role of counsel for plaintiff or defendant in a personal injury case and assess its value, based on condensed pleadings and discovery materials from a (real) Texas motorcycle accident case.      
Asking your students to do the exercise is a great way to teach them-- in a fun, hands-on way-- about the risks of bias they will face as representative lawyers, and how these biases may affect them in a partisan lawyering role. It is also an opportunity to expand knowledge in the field of behavioral economics as it applies to law students and lawyers.  It's a 45 minute, on-line homework exercise that need not take significant class time to debrief, and should fit very well in most any Torts course, once students have completed their study of negligence.  
If you find this short description at all intriguing, a more complete description is attached. We need 400 research subjects, so I hope you will consider joining us.  Happy to answer any and all questions, by phone or offline.
Apologies for cross-listings and wishing everyone a happy and productive fall semester.
James H. Stark
Professor of Law and Director, Mediation Clinic
University of Connecticut Law School
65 Elizabeth Street
Hartford, CT 06105
(860) 570-5278 (telephone)
(860) 570-5242 (telefax) 
Please send all emails to my new email address: 

August 20, 2015 in Experts & Science, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, August 16, 2015

Hiring: Iowa


            THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA COLLEGE OF LAW anticipates hiring several tenured/tenure track faculty members and clinical faculty members (including a director for field placement program) over the coming year. Our goal is to find outstanding scholars and teachers who can extend the law school’s traditional strengths and intellectual breadth. We are interested in all persons of high academic achievement and promise with outstanding credentials. Appointment and rank will be commensurate with qualifications and experience. Candidates should send resumes, references, and descriptions of areas of interest to:  Faculty Appointments Committee, College of Law, The University of Iowa, Iowa City, Iowa  52242-1113.

            THE UNIVERSITY OF IOWA is an equal opportunity/affirmative action employer. All qualified applicants are encouraged to apply and will receive consideration for employment free from discrimination on the basis of race, creed, color, national origin, age, sex, pregnancy, sexual orientation, gender identity, genetic information, religion, associational preference, status as a qualified individual with a disability, or status as a protected veteran.

August 16, 2015 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, July 31, 2015

Fruehwald's Torts Exercises

Just in time for fall classes, E. Scott Fruehwald has published A Companion to Torts:  How to Think Like a Torts Lawyer.  The blurb:

This book takes a new approach to learning torts law: its goal is to teach law students to think like torts lawyers.  Thinking like a lawyer means solving a problem to produce a legal solution.  This process involves using several types of reasoning in combination, including synthesis, rule-based reasoning, analogical reasoning, distinguishing cases, policy-based reasoning, and creativity.  A torts lawyer uses these reasoning methods to solve torts problems.  This book will include a variety of torts exercises on the different types of legal reasoning to achieve the goal of teaching students to think like torts lawyers.  This book is a supplement to torts casebooks and textbooks.  Its main audience is first-year law students who are taking torts.  It may be required by a professor, or students may use it as a supplement to the class to improve their torts skills and general legal reasoning skills.  This book will also be useful for incoming law students who want to develop their torts and legal reasoning skills before they attend law school.  Law school begins quickly on the first day, and it is better to be ahead than behind.  Finally, this book will also help law graduates who are preparing for the bar, academic support staff who want to help students improve their legal reasoning skills, and practitioners who want to refine their legal reasoning skills.

July 31, 2015 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 27, 2015

Survey on the Use of Pop Culture in the Classroom

From Cynthia Bond:

Greetings Law Teacher Colleagues:

I am working on an article this summer on uses of popular culture in the law school classroom.  I am defining popular culture broadly to include mass culture texts like movies, TV shows, popular music, images which circulate on the internet, etc, and also any current events that you may reference in the classroom which are not purely legal in nature (i.e. not simply a recent court decision).

To support this article, I am doing a rather unscientific survey to get a sense of what law professors are doing in this area.  If you are a law professor and you use popular culture in your class, I would be most grateful if you could answer this quick, anonymous survey I have put together:

Thanks in advance for your time and have a wonderful rest of summer!

Cynthia Bond

The John Marshall Law School

Chicago, IL

July 27, 2015 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, July 20, 2015

Teaching Advanced Torts

What do you teach in your advanced torts class (not the second semester of first-year Torts, but a torts class for 2L's and 3L's)?  I teach an upper-level class of Products Liability (and also Insurance), but I don't teach "Advanced Torts."  My sense is that people tend to teach defamation and the economic torts.  A TortsProf has asked that I solicit syllabi to help in planning such a course.  Because our comments feature does not allow attachments, if you are willing to send a syllabus to help, please e-mail me at and I will pass it on.  Thank you.

July 20, 2015 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (2)

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Program in Venice

I have spent the last several weeks teaching in Venice; I'm home now and blogging should be much more consistent again. 

I taught a class entitled "Tort Law in Global Perspective," using Julie Davies and Paul Hayden's Global Issues in Tort Law.  I liked the book and I believe my students did as well.  It is relatively cheap and not physically heavy.  It provides a good overview of doctrinal differences among countries in many major areas of tort law.  It covers the Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act, Anti-Terrorism Act, Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act, and Warsaw Convention.  It was a great experience for me because I have a better understanding of comparative tort law.  And, of course, I got to spend several weeks in Venice.     

July 6, 2015 in Books, Teaching Torts, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 2, 2015

Summer Program: Comparative Tort Law in Venice


Image from

This summer I will be teaching a course entitled "Tort Law in Global Perspective" in Venice from June 22 until July 3rd.  The course will cover basic common law/civil law differences and then explore how particular injuries are covered in different countries.  In addition to my course, Justice Randy Holland of the Delaware Supreme Court will teach a course on comparative corporate law and Professor Massimiliano Granieri (professor of comparative private law and economic analysis at the University of Foggia Law School) will teach a course on EU law.  More information on the program, courses, and schedule is available here.  The classes will take place at Venice International University on San Servolo Island, pictured below.


Image from

February 2, 2015 in Teaching Torts, Travel | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning: Symposium on Engaging the Entire Class

The Institute for Law Teaching and Learning is sponsoring a symposium at the UCLA School of Law entitled "Engaging the Entire Class:  Strategies for Enhancing Participation and Inclusion in Law School Classroom Learning."  Occurring on February 28, each session is presented by a teacher featured in What the Best Law Teachers Do.  More information is here.

January 14, 2015 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Exam Advice: How to Explain the Unforeseeable Plaintiff?

Beau Baez (Charlotte) writes:

Here is my recurring problem around final exam time:  how to explain to students when they need to discuss the unforeseeable plaintiff.  In most cases, the plaintiff is foreseeable, so on the exam I really don't want students to waste time identifying and discussing a non-issue.  A seasoned lawyer will "know it when they see it," but just as that was not satisfactory in the old obscenity cases it's not a great response in this context either.  I am wondering how other torts professors explain this context within the essay exam context. 

You can either respond in the comments or directly to Beau at:

November 13, 2014 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (3) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

One for Your Torts Class - General Noriega Sues Video Gamers

Most TortsProfs probably don't cover the common law right of publicity, but if you do, here's a good one to use in class:  General Manuel Noriega (yes that one) has sued manufacturers of the video game "Black Ops II" for misappropriating his likeness in said video.   According to the complaint, Noriega's portyal in the video as "as a kidnapper, murderer and enemy of the state" has damaged his reputation.

The complaint is here.   CNN has the story.


July 30, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, July 23, 2014

Drunk Man May Sue Friends For Fall From Cliff

Here's a good one for your class on negligence:  

A California appellate court has held that a man who fell off a cliff while drunk can sue the friends who brought him to the cliff to watch the sunrise after a night of partying.   The court found that the plaintiff "created a triable issue of material fact as to whether [the defendant]  breached a duty owed to [the plaintiff] by bringing him to the cliff side when she knew he was intoxicated and waiting several hours to call 911 or otherwise summon aid after the fall."

Courthouse News has more.  


July 23, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, July 18, 2014

Breaking Ground on the Ralph Nader Torts Museum

About a year ago, we reported that Ralph Nader had purchased an old bank in his hometown of Winfield, Connecticut for his "American Museum of Tort Law."  

The Associated Press now reports that construction crews have begun inside demolition work on the building.   Nader hopes that the museum will open in Fall 2015.




July 18, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, July 10, 2014

Bride Sues Hotel For Emotional Distress After Hotel Guest Bares All

DT_weddingceremony01_20_677x380_FitToBoxSmallDimension_Center   Planning a wedding is stressful.  So many things that can go wrong...  


  So understandably, one bride asked theoperators of the Doubletree Hotel & Suites in historic Charleston to assure her that her courtyard ceremony "would not be disrupted by hotel guests not in attendance."*   Not as understandably, the hotel allegedly agreed to this clause.   Now, the wedding venue - the hotel's courtyard area -  is overlooked by guestrooms, and on the big day, one hotel guest decided to bare all in the window of his room while the wedding ceremony below was in progress.    The distraught bride has now sued the hotel for what sounds like an intentional infliction of emotional distress claim, and seeks actual and punitive damages.

Courthouse News has more. 


(Photo credit:  Doubletree Hotel & Suites.  Presumably, this advertising photo is not of the wedding in question...)

*Presumably, there would be no lawsuit if the alleged nudist had been a guest of the wedding itself.  


July 10, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, May 12, 2014

Foreseeability & Duty in New Mexico

Deborah J. LaFetra blogs over at Pacific Legal Foundation about a new case by the New Mexico Supreme Court,  Rodriguez v. Del Sol Shopping Centerwhere the court held that "a foreseeability-driven duty analysis is inappropriate." 

Visit Deborah's post for a more on the case. 



May 12, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, March 18, 2014

Advanced Torts Casebook in the CAP Context and Practice Series

Many of you know that Carolina Academic Press launched the Context and Practice Series as a way for law profs to implement the ideas in the Carnegie Report and Best Practices.  I've used Michael Hunter Schwartz's and Denise Riebe's Contracts casebook and found it very student-friendly.  Now Alex Long (Tennessee) and Meredith Duncan (Houston) are publishing Advanced Torts in that series.  From the CAP blurb:

Advanced Torts:  A Context and Practice Casebook
by Alex B. Long, Meredith J. Duncan

           Advanced Torts focuses primarily on tort theories that are not covered in significant detail in the standard first-semester Torts course. However, the book explores these topics with a particular emphasis on how they apply to lawyers engaged in the practice of law. Thus, students learn about defamation, interference with contractual relations, etc. while reading cases and working through problems that frequently involve lawyers as litigants. Given the reality that a lawyer is more likely to be sued for malpractice or some related theory during the lawyer’s career than it is the lawyer will face professional discipline, the subject matter of the book should resonate with students in a way that most Advanced Torts books do not.
           The book covers the theories of liability often addressed in Advanced Torts courses, and some of the cases do not involve lawyers as parties. In this sense, the book is general enough that it can be used in any Advanced Torts class. However, it also includes material that should be of special concern for lawyers, including several chapters devoted to legal malpractice. Thus, it could be used in an Advanced Torts class as well as a stand-alone class devoted to legal malpractice and related theories of liability. Throughout the book, the authors make a conscious effort to help aspiring lawyers develop their professional identities as they learn the doctrine.

Alex states that he ( and Meredith ( are delighted to answer questions.


March 18, 2014 in Books, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Weekend Pedagogy Announcement: Assessment at UALR

Assessment Across The Curriculum

Institute for Law Teaching and Learning

Spring Conference 2014

Saturday, April 5, 2014 

“Assessment Across the Curriculum” is a one-day conference for new and experienced law teachers who are interested in designing and implementing effective techniques for assessing student learning.  The conference will take place on Saturday, April 5, 2014, at the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law in Little Rock, Arkansas.

Conference Content:  Sessions will address topics such as

Formative Assessment in Large Classes

Classroom Assessment Techniques

Using Rubrics for Formative and Summative Assessment

Assessing the Ineffable: Professionalism, Judgment, and Teamwork

Assessment Techniques for Statutory or Transactional Courses


By the end of the conference, participants will have concrete ideas and assessment practices to take back to their students, colleagues, and institutions.

Who Should Attend:  This conference is for all law faculty (full-time and adjunct) who want to learn about best practices for course-level assessment of student learning.

Conference Structure:  The conference opens with an optional informal gathering on Friday evening, April 4.  The conference will officially start with an opening session on Saturday, April 5, followed by a series of workshops.  Breaks are scheduled with adequate time to provide participants with opportunities to discuss ideas from the conference.  The conference ends at 4:30 p.m. on Saturday.  Details about the conference are available on the websites of the Institute for Law Teaching and Learning ( and the University of Arkansas at Little Rock William H. Bowen School of Law ( 

Conference Faculty:  Conference workshops will be taught by experienced faculty, including Michael Hunter Schwartz (UALR Bowen), Rory Bahadur (Washburn), Sandra Simpson (Gonzaga), Sophie Sparrow (University of New Hampshire), Lyn Entrikin (UALR Bowen), and Richard Neumann (Hofstra).

Accommodations:  A block of hotel rooms for conference participants has been reserved at The DoubleTree Little Rock, 424 West Markham Street, Little Rock, AR 72201.  Reservations may be made by calling the hotel directly at 501-372-4371, calling the DoubleTree Central Reservations System at 800-222-TREE, or booking online at  The group code to use when making reservations for the conference is “LAW.” 

February 15, 2014 in Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, January 6, 2014

Lawyer Has Tortious Interference Claim Against Former Client

Really interesting case from Indiana at the intersection of torts and professional responsibility -

A lawyer was a partner in a firm.   Firm client wanted to buy land that the partner owned.  Partner refused but entered into a land use agreement with the firm client.   There were disagreements over the land use contract.  Firm client met with firm partners and threatened to take its business elsewhere unless the dispute was resolved with the partner.   The firm  removed the partner from the firm....

The partner subsequently filed a tortious interference agasint the firm client, and the Indiana Court of Appeals has just held that the partner can proceed.   BNA has a full report on the case.


January 6, 2014 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 11, 2013

"Fore!" - Golfer Liability in New Jersey

A New Jersey Superior Court reaffirmed that only the golfer taking the shot is legally responsibile for yelling "fore" for an errant shot.  In Corino v. Duffy, the court held that two bystanders - friends of the golfer hitting the ball and part of the threesome - were not liable  for the golfer's shot striking the plaintiff in the right eye.  A copy of the decision is available here.  The Legal Blitz has more on the decision.


December 11, 2013 in Current Affairs, Sports, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, September 10, 2013

Here's One for Class: Heavy Grocery Bag Caused Woman's Death?

This is a great one for your class on causation:

The ABA Journal reports that a man has sued Wal-Mart for negligence in training its employees on how to bag groceries, as well as the plastic bag manufacturer, for the death of his wife.  Yes, his wife allegedly died from a negligently packed plastic grocery bag.  According to the Journal, the plaintiff alleges that the Wal-Mart bagger "overstuffed" the bag, which broke on the way to the car, which caused the groceries to fall on his wife's toe, which caused a cut, which caused an infection, which led to his wife's death.

Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert.


September 10, 2013 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, August 30, 2013

NJ Court of Appeals Finds Remote Texter Can Be Held Liable for Distracted Driver's Crash

The ABA Journal reports that the Appellate Division of New Jersey Superior Court has held that a remote texter can be liable for injuries caused when the text-recipient has a car accident, but only if the texter knew that the recipient was driving and reading texts while driving.

A copy of the decision is available here

Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert. 


August 30, 2013 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)