TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

Wright Comments on R3 Intentional Torts

The discussion draft of the Restatement Third, Torts: Intentional Torts to Persons, was discussed this morning at the American Law Institute annual meeting.  

Richard W. Wright (IIT Chicago-Kent) submitted the following comments on the draft:  Download ALI Intentional Torts RWW comments


May 20, 2014 in Conferences, Current Affairs, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 3, 2014

Lens on Post-Sale Duty to Warn

Jill Wieber Lens (Baylor) has posted Warning: A Post-Sale Duty to Warn Targets Small Manufacturers on SSRN.  The abstract provides:

The majority of states now obligate manufacturers to warn about dangers of their products that are discoverable after the sale. Commentators and courts have been hesitant about this obligation because of the potential burden it puts on manufacturers — the costs of identifying users and warning them of the danger. The consensus is that only a factually dependent post-sale duty to warn should exist, obligating manufacturers to warn only if a reasonable manufacturer would do so. A reasonable manufacturer, of course, would warn only if the danger to be warned of justifies the costs of the warning. 

This Article is the first to identify a massive problem with a factually dependent post-sale duty to warn — that it will most likely result in liability for small manufacturers, but not large manufacturers. This is because the costs of issuing the warning for a small manufacturer will always be smaller than for a large manufacturer. This Article is also the first to argue that a factually dependent post-sale duty to warn is thus inconsistent with the underlying purposes of products liability law and general public policy. Although the factually dependent post-sale duty to warn seemed like a perfect solution to the overburdening problem, it should not be adopted.



March 3, 2014 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, February 25, 2014

In Memoriam: Professor Ted Eisenberg (1947-2014)


I am sorry to report the passing of one of the great empirical legal scholars of our day: Professor Ted Eisenberg (Cornell).  Professor Eisenberg, age 66, died on Sunday from a heart attack.  From the Cornell statement:

Known as the “grandfather of empirical legal studies,” Eisenberg was a passionate teacher, beloved colleague, and prolific scholar during his 33 years at the Law School.

A legendary figure in the areas of bankruptcy, civil rights, and the death penalty, Eisenberg has used innovative statistical methodology to shed light on such diverse subjects as punitive damages, victim impact evidence, capital juries, bias for and against litigants, and chances of success on appeal. He is the founder of the Journal of Empirical Legal Studies and a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. Eisenberg taught courses on bankruptcy and debtor-creditor law, constitutional law, civil rights, contracts, federal income taxation, and empirical studies of the legal system.



Photo atttribution:  Cornell Law School

February 25, 2014 in Current Affairs, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, February 17, 2014

Goldberg on "Inexcusable Wrongs"

John Goldberg (Harvard) has been appointed as the Eli Goldston Professor of Law.  To mark this appointment, Goldberg gave a lecture on "Inexcusable Wrongs" back in November:



February 17, 2014 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Oliphant Steps Down at IETL

After 5 successful years of leading the Institute for European Tort Law, Ken Oliphant is stepping down at the end of 2013 to resume his position as Professor of Tort Law at the University of Bristol.  Ernst Karner, of the University of Vienna, will act as interim Director.  Congratulations and best wishes to both!


December 26, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 5, 2013

"Abnormal Interviews" - Professor Bill Janssen

Abnormal Use continues its series of interviews with products liability professors and practitioners with an interview with my colleague, Bill Janssen.  


December 5, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, November 5, 2013

Oberdiek To Be Acting Dean At Rutgers-Camden

The Faculty Lounge reports that upon Dean Solomon's move to the Provost's office,  TortsProf John Oberdiek will become acting Dean at Rutgers-Camden next July 1, 2014.  Oberdiek teaches and writes in torts and tort theory.


November 5, 2013 in TortsProfs, TortsProfs Moves | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, October 28, 2013

Goldberg Reviews "Tort As A Substitute for Revenge"

Over at JOTWELL,  John Goldberg has a review of  "Tort as A Substitute for Revenge," by  Scott Hershovitz:

Modern tort theory begins with Holmes, who was eager to recast the old law of ‘trespass’ on suitably modern terms. Back when people were superstitious and quick to blame, tort could be understood as law that provides an alternative to vengeance. In our disenchanted world, however, tort law must be seen as a mechanism by which the state pursues a public policy, such as compensation of injury victims.

In Tort as a Substitute for Revenge, Professor Scott Hershovitz invites us to ask whether Holmes got us off on the wrong foot. Indeed, he argues that tort law has an important connection to revenge and that, as such, it is to be credited with delivering a kind of justice.


October 28, 2013 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | 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)

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

Figley on "Using Problems to Teach Quantitative Damages in a First Year Torts Class"

Paul Figley (American) has published "Using Problems to Teach Quantitative Damages in a First Year Torts Class" in the Journal of Legal Education.  The article discusses methods to teach 1Ls how to actually calculate damages in a torts case, such a future income.  Figley suggests a "Festival of Damages" class day, where "the students serve as advocates, judges, and reporters to discuss and argue specific damages issues." The article provides instructions for how to incorporate this idea into your own class.


August 14, 2013 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Phoebe Haddon Stepping Down As Dean at Maryland

The Faculty Lounge reports that Phoebe Haddon will be stepping down as Dean at Maryland at the end of the 2013-2014 academic year.  According to the press release, Haddon will return to faculty research and teaching in Fall 2014.  Haddon's teaching and research include torts and constitutional law.

- SBS 

June 11, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

AALS Torts Section: Newsletter Information/Prosser Award Nominations

From Tony Sebok:

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.  We are now beginning the process of compiling material for this year's newsletter.  If you know of anything that should be included, please forward relevant citations and other information to me at  The deadline for inclusion is September 1, 2013.  

2.  Prosser Award

This is the first call for nominations for the 2014 William L. Prosser Award.  The award "recognize[s] outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching and service in ... torts and compensation systems ... ."   Recent recipients are Jane Stapleton, Robert Rabin, Richard Posner, Guido Calabresi, 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.  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 announcement of the award will be made at the annual AALS meeting in January, 2014.   

Nominations must be accompanied by a brief supporting statement and should be submitted no later than July 9, 2013.   E-mail submissions to are preferred.   If you would rather mail hard copies of nomination materials, please use the address in the signature line below.  
Our committee will send additional reminders about both the newsletter and the Prosser Award as the deadlines approach.  In the meantime, feel free to contact me if you have any questions.



April 17, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, March 25, 2013

TortsProf Andrew Klein Named Dean At IU-Indianapolis

From Faculty Lounge comes the news that Andrew Klein has been named Dean at Indiana University at Indianapolis School of Law.  Klein's research focuses on a variety of tort issues, including environmental torts.  


March 25, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Chamallas: Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory, 3rd Edition

TortsProf Martha Chamallas has published the Third Edition of Introduction to Feminist Legal TheoryThe description:

The leading text in the field, Introduction to Feminist Legal Theory was the first book that served as an introductory survey of feminist jurisprudence. Its historical view of feminist legal theory places issues in social context and thoroughly reviews the evolving paradigms of contemporary feminism from the 1970s through the present. The full range of legal issues affecting women are covered, including gender discrimination, rape, sexual harassment, motherhood, reproductive issues, and much more. Clear, energetic presentation keeps students engaged and involved with succinct overviews, intellectually stimulating material, and jargon-free prose.


March 13, 2013 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Torts Professor Named to Queen's Bench in Alberta

Professor Russ Brown of the University of Alberta has been appointed as a Justice to the Alberta Court of Queen's Bench.  Brown taught Torts, Civil Procedure, Property and Wills.  His research focused within tort law on economic loss and causation. 


February 14, 2013 in Current Affairs, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Remembering Jeffrey O'Connell

Since Jeffrey died last Sunday, there have been several notices.  The New York Times and UVa Law both ran good obituaries.  His accomplishments as a scholar are fairly well-known, and I want to share glimpses of Jeffrey that are more personal.

He was a virtuoso classroom teacher.  Jeffrey was so entertaining behind the lectern that you had to listen.  In this way, you learned and learned painlessly.  He told me that too many teachers neglected the performance aspect of teaching.  He studied drama, and even taught it while he was a Harvard Law student, and he used the techniques to enhance his teaching. 

He had a fantastic sense of humor.  One way he was so entertaining is that he was funny.  One day, as his research assistant, I was waiting for him to finish class so we could work on an article.  When he finally came out of the classroom, he winked at me and said, "Sorry I'm late.  The students like to ride me around on their shoulders after class."

He worked.  A lot.  I have vivid memories of him in his office.  He liked to work standing at a lectern and listening to classical music.  At one point in the early 2000s, he told me that he thought he had finished writing.  It lasted a few months.  In 2008, on the verge of turning 80, he co-authored 3 books.

He was centered in family.  He spoke often and lovingly of his family.  His Christmas cards in the later years featured him surrounded by numerous family members and very happy.  I returned from his funeral yesterday, and the family's deep affection for Jeffrey was obvious.

He was generous.  One word I hear over and over about Jeffrey from others is that he was generous.  In working with him, Jeffrey was always more concerned that I get credit for my work than he was about credit for his.  Over the weekend, I heard a story about his experiences as an associate at Hale & Dorr in Boston.  One of the firm's clients was a man who had escaped the Holocaust in Germany.  He built a financial empire in the United States, but was illiterate.  On his own time, Jeffrey took dictation from the man so he could send letters back to his family in Europe.  

He was compassionate.  His fundamental idea was to make compensation more readily available to the injured.  Regardless of your view of his proposals, and we disagreed on several occasions about how to best accomplish the objective, he was motivated by a basic compassion for people.

Farewell, my friend.  You will be missed.


January 13, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Jeffrey O'Connell (1928-2013)

It is with profound sadness that I report the death of my teacher, mentor, and friend, Jeffrey O'Connell.  The longtime University of Virginia Law professor co-authored the work that led to no-fault automobile insurance and created an "early offers" proposal, a version of which was passed into law in New Hampshire last year.  He was a phenomenal classroom teacher and a good man.  He will be missed. 

I will likely post some further thoughts about Jeffrey later in the week.


January 6, 2013 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, November 7, 2012

ALI to Draft Restatement of Intentional Torts

Ellen Pryor (SMU/UNT Dallas) and Ken Simons (Boston University) have been named as Reporters.


November 7, 2012 in Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, November 1, 2012

A Tribute to Jeffrey O'Connell

UVa Law Dean Paul Mahoney has eloquently penned A Tribute to Jeffrey O'Connell, which is published in the latest issue of the Virginia Law Review.


November 1, 2012 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Robinette Elected to American Law Institute

Congratulations to TortsProf's own Chris Robinette for his recent election to the American Law Institute!

- SBS 

October 2, 2012 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)