TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Tuesday, June 30, 2009

Scorned Husband Sues Wife's Alleged Lover

A new alienation-of-affection case from Jonathan Turley:

Wealthy car dealer Bob Rohrman (known as “Bob Rohrrrrrrr-man” on his commercials) is suing a surgeon, Dr. Sami M. Bittar, who wooed his wife, Ronda.  Of course, Rohrman must show that the couple had a loving and full relationship before Dr. Bittar made a house call and that the good doctor was the cause of the damage to the marriage.

Turley further notes some recent successful alienation cases and the resulting verdicts.


June 30, 2009 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 29, 2009

The D.C. Metro Crash: Race to the Courthouse

John Bratt, an associate of Ron Miller, has a post at Baltimore Injury Lawyer Blog.  For those of you who are just-the-facts types:  Train accident on 6/22 at 5:02 p.m.; first suit filed on 6/24.


June 29, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

G.M. Keeps Liability for Unfiled Products Claims

As the New York Times reports, General Motors will retain liability for unfiled products liability claims as part of its bankruptcy.  Previously-filed claims, however, will be part of the bankruptcy.  A hearing on G.M.'s bankruptcy plan is scheduled for tomorrow in federal bankruptcy court in New York.  


June 29, 2009 in Current Affairs, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News, Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Cookie Dough Suits Filed

A California woman has filed suit against Nestle alleging that raw chocolate chip cookie dough gave her food poisoning, although no tests have confirmed any contamination in Nestle products and despite a clear warning on Nestle pre-packaged cookie dough not to eat the dough raw.  Nestle voluntarily recalled dozens of brands of cookie dough a few weeks ago.   About Lawsuits has more.


June 27, 2009 in Products Liability | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Who Wants to Be a TortsProf?

I assure you it's fabulous!  Prawfsblawg has an open thread for hiring chairs.  At least three schools--Notre Dame, St. John's, and Lewis & Clark--have stated in interest in hiring for Torts.  The full list, including contact information, is here.


June 25, 2009 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

Michigan Class Action Autism Settlement

As the National Law Journal reports, Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan has agreed to a $1M settlement to reimburse at least 100 families for the costs of applied behavioral analysis treatment for their autistic children.  


June 24, 2009 in MDLs and Class Actions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Ted Frank's New Blog

Ted Frank of Overlawyered and Point of Law has launched a new blog:  

Center for Class Action Fairness, a project founded by Ted Frank to provide pro bono representation to consumers dissatisfied with court-appointed representatives in class actions, especially with respect to settlement approval.


June 24, 2009 in MDLs and Class Actions | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Reminder: Prosser Award Nominations Due Next Week (July 1st)

The Torts and Compensation Systems section of the American Association of Law Schools (AALS) is soliciting nominations for the William L. Prosser Award.  The award "recognize[s] outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching and service in ... torts and compensation systems ...."   The two most recent distinguished recipients are Robert Rabin and Dan Dobbs. Past recipients also include luminaries such as  Leon Green, Wex Malone,  and John Wade.

Any law professor is eligible to nominate another law professor for the award.  Selection of the recipient will be made by members of the Executive Committee of the Torts and 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, 2010.   

Nominations, accompanied by a brief supporting statement, should be submitted to Prof. Michael L. Rustad, Secretary of the Executive Committee, either by regular mail or e-mail  at  Nominations must be received no later than 5 pm eastern time (U.S.) on July 1, 2009.  E-mail submissions at are preferred.   If you prefer to mail the nominations, please send them to the address below:


Michael L. Rustad
Thomas F. Lambert Jr. Professor of Law &
Co-Director of the Intellectual Property Law Concentration
Suffolk University Law School
120 Tremont Street, Boston, Massachusetts 02108-4977
Tel: 617-573-8190



June 23, 2009 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

AALS Torts Section Announces Panel on Richard Epstein

 Announcement and Call for Papers

AALS Torts Group Section Meeting

January 8, 2010, 8:30 – 10:15 a.m.


Panel: Richard Epstein’s Legacy in Torts.


            Richard Epstein is among the most prominent and influential torts scholars of our times.  Unmatched in breadth, his scholarly corpus displays a remarkable command of doctrinal, historical, institutional and philosophical analysis. A fiercely independent thinker, Professor Epstein has challenged conventional wisdom on core topics including:  the centrality of fault to modern accident law; the reluctance of courts to allow potential personal injury victims to contract around tort law; the desirability of flexible liability standards over clear rules, the soundness of New York Times v. Sullivan, and the lack of meaningful constitutional limits on tort reform legislation.

            The Executive Committee of the Torts and Compensation System is delighted to have assembled for the 2010 AALS Annual Meeting a panel of world-renowned tort scholars consisting of Jules Coleman (Yale), Jill Horwitz (Michigan), Joshua Getzler (Oxford), and Benjamin Zipursky (Fordham). The panelist will critically examine various dimensions of Professor Epstein’s work, and its potential significance for future tort law and scholarship.  After Professor Epstein has an opportunity to respond, a question-and-answer session will follow. 


Call for Papers


            Papers written by panelists at this year’s AALS Torts Section meeting will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Tort Law (“JTL”).   JTL is also at this time inviting scholars to submit papers for publication on this topic.  Ordinary JTL submissions procedures and publication standards will apply.  Deadline for submissions of papers is January 4, 2010, 5 p.m. Eastern Time (U.S.). 




June 23, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 22, 2009

NYT Letters on Med Mal

The NYT has a letters-to-the-editor section devoted to medical malpractice.


June 22, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Miller & Tucker on Incentives of Adopting Electronic Medical Records

Amalia Miller (Virginia-Economics) & Catherine Tucker (MIT-Management Science) have posted to SSRN Electronic Discovery and Electronic Medical Records:  Does the Threat of Litigation Affect Firm Decisions to Adopt Technology?  Here is the abstract:

After firms adopt electronic information and communication technologies, their decision-making leaves a trail of electronic information. We ask how the threat of litigation affects decisions to adopt technologies that leave more of an electronic trail, such as electronic medical records (EMRs). EMRs allow hospitals to document electronically both patient symptoms and health providers' reactions to those symptoms. We find evidence that hospitals are a third less likely to adopt electronic medical records if there are state laws that facilitate the use of electronic records in court.


June 20, 2009 in Scholarship, Web/Tech | Permalink | Comments (2) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, June 19, 2009

Personal Injury Roundup No. 40 (6/19/09)

I hope you are enjoying the opportunity to focus exclusively on scholarship as much as I am.  Without further ado...

Reform, Legislation, Policy

Trials, Settlement and Other Ends

  • In NC:  a $500,000 alienation of affections and criminal conversation award.  (Overlawyered)  Again, I prefer a different approach.  (I'm feeling contrary.) 
  • Jury awards $1.8M in MI med mal death case.  (Morning Sun)



  • A decision that was to clarify PA products law has been dismissed as improvidently granted.  (Drug & Device Law)



June 19, 2009 in Roundup | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Korzec on Federalizing Products Liability

Rebecca Korzec (Baltimore) has posted on SSRN her 2003 article Products Liability Harmonization:  A Uniform Standard.  Here is the abstract:

Among industrialized nations, the United States is unique in addressing tort law at the state rather than the national level. For example, Australia and Canada, which share a common-law heritage with the United States, have federal tort systems. The United States approach may be appropriate in some tort settings, such as in the premises liability or motor vehicle accident context (not involving a claim of products liability), where the state rule’s impact remains within that state’s geographical boundaries. Unlike the simple 'fender-bender', which occurs within the borders of one state, the typical product is manufactured and marketed nationally or internationally. Therefore, several factors suggest that uniform federal treatment of product liability laws may be a more desirable means of regulation.


June 18, 2009 in Products Liability, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Obama to Embrace Apology Legislation as Med Mal Reform?

So surmises McKnight's in this brief piece.


June 18, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Have You Friended Your Drug Company?

As the Washington Postreports, drug companies are getting creative in their marketing, using Facebook, Twitter, MySpace, YouTube and other on-line outlets to pitch their products.

The FDA is watching the development with interest. "If drug companies or others working on behalf of drug companies wish to promote [their products] using social media tools, FDA would evaluate the resulting messages as to whether they comply with the applicable laws and regulations." said Karen Riley, a spokeswoman for the agency. "Our laws and regulations don't restrict the channels that prescription drug companies choose to use for disseminating product promotional messages."


June 17, 2009 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Democrats Put Tort Reform "On the Table"

As part of President Obama's health care package, top Democrats have begun saying that tort reform is on the agenda.  In particular, former Senate Majority Leader Tom Daschle told CBS's Early Morning Show that "tort reform is going to be on the table."

Coverage of this topic abounds:  New York TimesWSJ Law Blog, CBS News Political Hotsheet, Associated Press, and NY Times Op-Ed.


June 17, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Pace Environmental Law Review Announces New Peer Review Process

As of August 1, 2009, Pace Environmental Law Review (PELR) will use a new Peer Review process to select articles for publication.  Submissions will be reviewed internally and then forwarded to a select group of Peer Reviews - academics, practitioners and experts in the field, including members of Pace Law School’s world-renowned environmental law faculty.  The Peer Review process will offer new and distinctive opportunities to foster continued debate and reflection upon some of the most pressing topics within the field of environmental law.  Articles selected for publication will benefit from:

  • Expedited editorial processing of 8 to 10 weeks from acceptance
  • Single-article hard copy publication
  • Inclusion in a bound volume distributed to PELR's wide-ranging list of subscribers

For more information, visit PELR's website


June 16, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Satire: Soda Under FDA Control

As the San Francisco Examiner reports, Congress has passed a bill giving the FDA authority to regulate soft drinks.  President Obama is expected to sign the legislation.

UPDATE:  Thanks to blog readers Laurie Simpson and Professor Kathryn Kelly (Catholic) for pointing out that the Examiner article was meant as satire of the new tobacco legislation. 


June 16, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, June 15, 2009

Oregon Bill Would Extend Statute of Repose Against Manufacturers

An Oregon bill that would extend the state's statute of repose against manufacturers from 8 to 10 years is headed to the governor for signature. has the details.


June 15, 2009 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Eggen on Preemption

Jean Eggen (Widener) has posted on SSRN The Mature Product Preemption Doctrine:  The Unitary Standard and the Paradox of Consumer Protection.  Here is the abstract:

The history of the U.S. Supreme Court’s product preemption doctrine has been characterized by inconsistency and confusion. Product regulation and common-law product liability actions are primarily concerned with assuring the health and safety of the consuming public, and it is not surprising that the Court’s product preemption decisions have focused substantially on medical devices and drugs. Recent government studies have shown, however, that the FDA is hampered in reaching its safety goals by insufficient resources and increasing demands. This article reassesses the Court’s product preemption doctrine in the light of a triad of new decisions issued in 2008 and 2009. This article argues, first, that the new decisions demonstrate that the Court has embraced a unitary standard for product preemption, which merges previously discrete elements into a single, discretionary analytical process. The unitary standard lacks the desirable structure of a doctrine of this magnitude and leaves itself open to being applied in an arbitrary and unpredictable manner. This article then argues that although the Court continues to express respect for the traditional role of state tort actions in advancing consumer protection, a disconnect exists between those policy goals and the analytical process the Court uses, which places those goals in jeopardy. The unitary standard, paradoxically, invites arbitrary and unpredictable results and poses a threat to the public in the area of product safety.


June 13, 2009 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)