TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Southwestern Law School

Friday, January 12, 2024

Tort Law and Social Equality Project Speakers Series: Martha Chamallas

The Tort Law & Social Equality project is having its 2024 Speakers Series. 

2024 Winter

Martha Chamallas

January 19, 2024, 12:00 p.m. EST

“Trauma Damages”

This paper examines the concept of trauma as it relates to tort recoveries, featuring three contemporary contexts: rape trauma, racial trauma, and birth trauma. It explains why many trauma victims are unable to qualify for a post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) diagnosis, even though they experience many symptoms of PTSD. It explores the obstacles to recovery for victims of chronic racism and obstetric violence and calls for a recommitment to the “eggshell plaintiff” rule and dismantling of artificial distinctions between physical and emotional harm to respond to the intensified injuries suffered by marginalized persons in underserved communities marked by violence, injustice, poverty and deprivation.

 Martha Chamallas is a Distinguished University Professor and the Robert J. Lynn Chair in Law Emerita at the Moritz College of Law, The Ohio State University. She is the author of The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender and Tort Law (with Jennifer B. Wriggins) (NYU Press 2010), Feminist Judgments: Rewritten Tort Opinions (with Lucinda M. Finley) (Cambridge U. Press 2020) and numerous articles exploring such topics as the devaluation of emotional harm, bias in the computation of damages and the underutilization of tort law for harms stemming from sexual discrimination and abuse.

Her most recent articles propose a negligence framework for redressing rape and articulate the contours of social justice tort theory. She is the 2022 winner of the William L. Prosser Award for her pioneering work on gender and race in tort law. She currently teaches torts at Fordham Law School.

From Zoë Sinel:

I am thrilled to announce the 2024 Tort Law and Social Equality Project Speakers Series. Our inaugural speaker will be Distinguished University Professor Martha Chamallas from Moritz College of Law at Ohio State University. She will deliver her talk, "Trauma Damages," on Friday, January 19 at noon over Zoom. 

This series will feature monthly presentations from scholars around the world who work on topics situated at the intersection of torts and social justice. Its aim is to foster debate and dialogue within the academic community focused on these topics and cultivate social justice tort theory as a distinctive field of inquiry. A full list of presenters can be found on the Tort Law and Social Equality website (see link below).

Presentations will be hosted virtually by the University of Toronto Faculty of Law and are open to the public. They will last about 45 minutes and will be followed by a 45-minute Q&A period. Sessions will be recorded and made available for subsequent online viewing. Attendees are not expected to pre-read.

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