Tuesday, July 12, 2016
As I wrote last month, I am teaching Products Liability this summer. It has been over 4 years since I last taught it; the last time through, the course was a 2-credit, paper course. I am now teaching a 3-credit, exam course.
Perhaps I wasn't thinking in these terms in 2012, but I am struck this time through by how well Products could serve as a capstone course, roughly understood as a culminating course that integrates multiple subject areas. Obviously, Products is heavily tort-oriented. One of the common causes of action for an injury by product is negligence, and that is covered (again), including duty, breach, causation, damages, and defenses. Of course, the sales concept of warranty is thoroughly covered. But there is more. A lot of evidence concepts are reviewed, such as Daubert, subsequent remedial measures, admissibility for injuries in the same or similar circumstances, and the burden of proof. Administrative law is covered because of the regulations passed by agencies and their effect on private litigation (including preemption, which has a connection to constitutional law). Civil procedure is also touched upon in the form of statutes of limitations, statutes of repose, and the discovery rule.
As a whole, the course requires students to connect areas of practice to one another, which I think is extremely beneficial. That is, of course, how they will function in practice. The course also reviews a number of concepts they will soon face on the bar, including the specific MBE questions about products liability, often given little to no attention in the basic Torts course due to time constraints.