TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Wednesday, August 15, 2007

Sebok on Holocaust Second Generation Suit

In his Findlaw column this week, Tony Sebok writes on the class action filed in July by children of Holocaust survivors against Germany seeking payment for psychiatric treatment for psychological problems related to their childhood.  (Prior post here).   

Sebok notes a couple hurdles that the suit likely will face.  First, Sebok notes that purely psychological harm usually is not compensable without any accompanying physical injury (or threat of physical injury).  Second, Sebok identifies a causation problem:  how do we link the psychological problems by the children to the atrocities suffered by their parents in Germany (as opposed to other potential causes)?  In closing, Sebok poses an interesting analogy, comparing the Holocaust suit to the slavery litigation in the Seventh Circuit. 

At the end, Sebok leaves us with an interesting big picture question:  What are "the limits of redress for psychic harm transmitted over generations"?     Is this something the tort system can handle?  Should handle?   


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