TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

BP Economic Loss Class Action Settlement Approved

by Judge Barbier, reports George Conk.


December 26, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Tort News from Europe

Courtesy of Ken Oliphant:

1. New publication: European Tort Law Yearbook 2011
European Tort Law 2011 (ed by Ken Oliphant and Barbara C Steininger) provides information and analysis about tort law developments in Europe in 2011. It includes reports from most EU Member States, plus Norway and Switzerland, and an overview of developments in the field of EU law. Selected highlights are picked out and evaluated from a comparative perspective in the book's introduction. A bonus feature this year is a 10-year conspectus of developments in Israeli tort law, whose timing is especially propitious because 2011 saw the first reading in theKnesset of a proposed Israeli Civil Code.
The book is published by de Gruyter (Berlin/Boston). For further details, click here.
2. Annual Conference on European Tort Law 2013 (4 April to 6 April 2013, Vienna)
The Conference provides practitioners and academics with the opportunity to learn about the most significant tort law developments in Europe in 2012. It begins on the evening of Thursday 4 April in the splendid surroundings of the Palais Trautson (Austrian Ministry of Justice), where Irmgard Griss (former President of the Austrian Supreme Court) will deliver the opening lecture on the topic of 'How Judges Think: Judicial Reasoning in Tort Law Cases from a Comparative Perspective'. On Friday 5 April, the venue switches to the Austrian Supreme Court, and the day is given over to reports on developments in Europe's national legal systems and under EU law. In the evening, the Conference dinner is at one of Vienna's famous wine taverns ('Heurigen') on the edge of the Vienna Woods. The Conference concludes on Saturday morning (April 6, 2013) with a special session on Tort Law and the Financial Crisis. 
Torts Prof list members are particularly welcome atthis enjoyable and informative event. For further details, click here.
3. Journal of European Tort Law: contents of vol 3 no 3


 Michael D Green andOlivier Moréteau ‘Restating Tort Law: The American and European Styles’ (2012) 3 JETL 281

 Matthew Dyson‘Civil Law Responses to Criminal Judgments inEngland and Spain’ (2012) 3 JETL 308

 Robert J Dijkstra ‘Liability of Financial Supervisory Authorities in the European Union’ (2012) 3 JETL 346

 Bernd J Hartmann ‘Perspectives on the Economic Analysis of Public Liability Law’ (2012) 3 JETL 378

Case Commentary:

 Vanessa WilcoxVindicatory Damages: The Farewell?’ (2012) 3 JETL 390

Book Reviews

Jens M Scherpe’Christoph Oertel, Objektive Haftung in Europa. Rechtsvergleichende Untersuchung zur Weiterentwicklung der verschuldensunabhängigen Haftung im europäischen Privatrecht’ (2012) 3 JETL 410 

 Florian Wagner von-Papp’Helmut Koziol/Josef Seethaler/Thomas Thiede (eds), Medienpolitik und Recht: Media Governance, Wahrhaftigkeitspflicht und sachgerechte Haftung’ (2012) 3 JETL 413

For online access/subscription details, click here.

December 25, 2012 in Conferences, Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Nora Freeman Engstrom: Damage Caps--And Why Fein May No Longer Be Good

Stanford's Nora Freeman Engstrom reconsiders MICRA and its constitutionality (pdf):  Download Torts Prawf Blog -8.

December 21, 2012 in Guest Blogger, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Tomorrow's Guest Blogger: Nora Freeman Engstrom


Nora Freeman Engstrom is an Associate Professor at Stanford Law
School.  Professor Engstrom’s scholarship lies at the intersection of
tort law and professional ethics, and her current work explores the
day-to-day operation of the tort system and particularly the tort
system’s interaction with alternative compensation mechanisms, such as
workers’ compensation and no-fault automobile insurance.  Professor
Engstrom has also written extensively on attorney advertising and law
firms she calls “settlement mills”—high-volume personal injury law
practices that heavily advertise and mass-produce the resolution of


December 20, 2012 in Guest Blogger | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Viscusi & Hersch on Tort's Insurance Role

Kip Viscusi & Joni Hersch (Vanderbilt) have posted to SSRN Assessing the Insurance Role of Tort After Calabresi.  The abstract provides:

Calabresi’s theory of tort liability (1961) as a risk distribution mechanism established
insurance as an objective of tort liability. Calabresi’s risk-spreading concept
of tort has provided the impetus for much of the subsequent development of tort
liability, including risk-utility analysis and strict liability. Calabresi’s
analysis remains a powerful basis for modern tort liability. However, punitive
damages, noneconomic damages, shifts in liability rules over time, high
transactions costs, correlated risks, catastrophic losses, and mass toxic torts
pose challenges for the viability of tort liability as an insurance mechanism.
Despite limitations of tort liability as insurance, tort compensation also
serves a deterrence role. Tort liability retains a valuable insurance function
in many situations and may be superior to alternative institutional mechanisms
in fostering incentives.



December 19, 2012 in Scholarship | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 17, 2012

Legal Malpractice and Penn State Scandal

The Legal Intelligencer reports that Gary Schultz, a former Penn State administrator now facing criminal charges, "has filed a praecipe for writ of summons against the university's former general counsel, Cynthia Baldwin, indicating he intends to sue her for legal malpractice."    According to the article,  at least two Penn State employees testified before the grand jury believing Baldwin was there as their lawyer.   Baldwin, however, asserts that she was representing the university, not the employees, but "she did not think it was "appropriate" to interrupt the proceedings and clarify."

The full story requires free registration. 

Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert.  


December 17, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 14, 2012

2012 Judicial Hellholes

The American Tort Reform Association released its list of Judicial Hellholes for 2012-2013.  California has replaced Philly at the top spot on the list.  The rest of the top five include West Virginia, Madison County, IL, New York City and Albany, NY, and Baltimore, MD. 


December 14, 2012 in Current Affairs, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Calculate Your Flood Risk

So this topic is a little removed from tort law.  Liability insurance is intimately related, but this is first-party insurance.  Regardless, it's an interesting device.  Yesterday's NYT featured a website that allows homeowners to calculate their risk of flood losses and receive a flood insurance estimate.  You can type in your address and receive tailored data.  Of course, homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.


December 13, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Tort Reform Agenda in Virginia

Virginia Lawyers Weekly is reporting that the Virginia Chamber of Commerce has published its legislative wish list on tort reform.  Most of the hot-button issues are missing; for instance, there is no call for caps.  This may be explained by Virginia's relatively business friendly environment.  The Chamber would like summary judgment practice reform, nonsuit reform, and further limitations on venue.


December 11, 2012 in Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 10, 2012

Consumers Sued More for Defamation

According to a recent ABA Journal story, on-line consumer reviews have become fodder for defamation suits against consumers.   

Thanks to Lisa Smith-Butler for the alert. 


December 10, 2012 | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Friday, December 7, 2012

JOTWELL: "A Preference for Strict Liability?"

Over at JOTWELL, I have a review of Joseph Sanders, Matthew B. Kugler, John M. Darley and Lawrence M. Solan, Torts as (Only) Wrongs? An Empirical Perspective (Brooklyn Law School, Legal Studies Paper No 302, 2012).   From the review:

In a compelling new sociological study, however, Joseph Sanders tests the idea of tort as wrongs (and only wrongs), and adds to the scholarly debate about tort’s rationales.  Sanders persuasively argues that—far from being “at the margin of tort law” —from the public’s perspective, strict liability reigns supreme.  In four discrete studies, Sanders assessed whether the public believes fault or wrongdoing is a requirement for tort liability.  His thoughtful article presents some surprising findings that should have those of us in the academy taking another look at the purpose of tort law.




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

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Criminalization of Formerly Tortious Conduct

Over at the Faculty Lounge, Beth Haas (Drexel) is asking whether criminalizing conduct that was formerly only tortious (prohibiting not pricing, in the law and economics lexicon) impedes safety investigations.  The post is here.


December 6, 2012 in Weblogs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Explosion in Chemistry Class

Last week, a local middle school chemistry class ended in an explosion.  Seven people were injured and two were transported via helicopter to John Hopkins.  Fortunately, all seven are now out of the hospital.  The chemistry teacher is reputed to be extremely cautious, and it is not yet clear what happened to cause the explosion.  The Patriot News (Harrisburg) has an article, including contributions from Widener TortsProf Randy Lee, about the legal issues in suing over such an incident.

Those of you struggling to write an exam might consider this as the basis for a question.  By tweaking the facts a bit, you can test negligence, contrib, assumption of risk, battery, sovereign immunity, etc.



December 5, 2012 in Current Affairs, Teaching Torts | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)

Tuesday, December 4, 2012

"Reforming the Tort System: Freeing the Patient"

Psychology Today has an article by John C. Goodman, Ph.D., on "Reforming the Tort System: Freeing the Patient."    The article examines medical malpractice liability by contract, rather than the tort system. Goodman is a Research Fellow at the Independent Institute and President and Kellye Wright Fellow in Healthcare at the National Center for Policy Analysis.


December 4, 2012 in Current Affairs, Legislation, Reforms, & Political News | Permalink | Comments (1) | TrackBack (0)

Monday, December 3, 2012

Torts Blogs in the ABA Blawg 100

A shout out to the torts-related blogs in the ABA's 6th annual "Blawg 100":

Abnormal Use - "an unreasonably dangerous products liability blog dedicated to the discussion of federal and state products liability litigation" by the attorneys at Gallivan, White & Boyd, P.A.

Drug and Device Law - "Jim Beck's personal views (and those of several other attorneys) of various topics that arise in the defense of pharmaceutical and medical device product liability litigation"

Overlawyered - "chronicling the high cost of our legal system"

New York Personal Injury Law Blog (Blawg 100 Hall of Fame!!)- Eric Turkewitz's blog on "New York personal injury law, medical malpractice, the civil justice system, and cases of interest"

Tort Talk - "updates, trends, and thoughts regarding Pennsylvania Civil Litigation Law by northeastern Pennsylvania insurance defense attorney Daniel E. Cummins"


December 3, 2012 in Current Affairs | Permalink | Comments (0) | TrackBack (0)