TortsProf Blog

Editor: Christopher J. Robinette
Widener Commonwealth Law School

Friday, July 19, 2019

John Gardner (1965-2019)

Another sad death to report.  John Gardner, Senior Research Fellow at All Souls College at Oxford, has passed away from cancer at the age of 54.  I met him only once.  He was interesting, interested, charming, and kind.  The Oxford obituary is here.

July 19, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Monday, July 15, 2019

James A. Henderson Jr. (1938-2019)

Cornell Law has now posted a notice for Jim Henderson.

July 15, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, July 2, 2019

Jim Henderson, R.I.P.

I am sorry to report that James A. Henderson Jr., the Frank B. Ingersoll Professor of Law, Emeritus at Cornell Law School, has passed away.  His biography at Cornell's website is here.  When an obituary is available I will post that as well.

July 2, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, April 29, 2019

European Tort Law

Congratulations to Mike Green on his seventeen-year tenure as the U.S. representative to the European Group on Tort Law.  Mike took emeritus status last week; he was both respected and loved by members of the Group.  His involvement began in 2002, in the intense period prior to the Group's 2005 publication of the Principles of European Tort Law.

Last week, for the first time, I attended the Annual Conference on European Tort Law, sponsored by the European Centre on Tort and Insurance Law and the Austrian Academy of Sciences.  For those of you in the U.S. interested in comparative law, I highly recommend it.  The conference covers the highlights of the previous year in tort law for over 20 European countries in 8-minute country reports.  I was dubious that academics could be restricted to speaking for 8 minutes, but the conference is run like a well-oiled machine.  Another wonderful feature of the conference is the atmosphere.  Speakers and attendees are serious about the material, and do not hesitate to debate issues.  There is, however, a remarkable sense of good will present, evident in the custom of attending Heurigen on Friday night.  Heurigen, which translates as something like "first wine," is when the speakers and attendees go to a traditional Austrian restaurant and enjoy dinner, wine, and even singing together.  The opening lecture this year was delivered by Mark Lunney, who discussed Australia as an important point of comparative common law.  The closing lecture on law and economics was delivered by Mark Geistfeld.  Do consider attending next year.

April 29, 2019 in Conferences, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 18, 2019

AALS Torts Section Call for Newsletter Items and Prosser Award Nominations

 Dear Colleagues,

We hope this email finds you well. We are writing as the Secretary and Treasurer of the AALS Torts & Compensation Systems section to pass along two important notices.

1.  Torts and Compensation Systems Section Newsletter

As most of you know, our section publishes a newsletter each fall listing: (1) symposia related to tort law; (2) recent law review articles on tort law; (3) selected articles from Commonwealth countries on tort law; and (4) books relating to tort law. If you know of any works that should be included, please forward relevant citations and other information to The deadline for inclusion in this fall's newsletter is Friday, August 16, 2019.

2.  2020 William L. Prosser Award

This is the first call for nominations for the 2020 William L. Prosser Award. The award recognizes “outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching and service” in torts and compensation systems. Recent recipients include Ken Simons, Marshall Shapo, Steve Sugarman, Aaron Twerski, Mike Green, James Henderson, Jane Stapleton, Guido Calabresi, Robert Rabin, Richard Posner, Oscar Gray, and Dan Dobbs. Past recipients include scholars such as Leon Green, Wex Malone, and John Wade.

Any law professor is eligible to nominate another law professor for the award. Nominators can renew past nominations by resubmitting materials. Living tort scholars and those who have passed away within the last five years are eligible for the award. Selection of the recipient will be made by members of the Executive Committee of the Torts & Compensation Systems section, based on the recommendation of a special selection committee. The award will be presented at the annual AALS meeting in Washington, D.C. in January 2020.   

Nominations must be accompanied by a brief supporting statement and should be submitted no later than Friday, July 19, 2019. Please email submissions to

Warm Regards,

Mary Davis and Tim Lytton

April 18, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 11, 2019

William C. Powers, Jr. (1946-2019)

I am sad to announce the passing of Bill Powers, former president of the University of Texas, dean of the Texas School of Law, and Reporter for the Restatement (Third) of Torts.  I did not know Bill well, but I was impressed with him in every encounter we had.  He was kind to me.  Brian Leiter has a post here, and UT has a memorial notice here.

March 11, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, January 23, 2019

Texas Torts Professor David Robertson Passes Away

David W. Robertson, the William Powers, Jr. and Kim L. Heilbrun Chair in Tort Law at the University of Texas School of Law, passed away at the end of 2018.  The University's announcement is here.  Thanks to blog founder, Bill Childs, for the information.

January 23, 2019 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Friday, January 4, 2019

Torts Section Presents William Prosser Award to Ken Simons


From Chair Stacey Tovino's Twitter page.  Congratulations, Ken!

January 4, 2019 in Conferences, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Tuesday, November 20, 2018

Stapleton Gives Fleming Lecture at Berkeley

Jane Stapleton, the Master of Christ's College at Cambridge University, delivered the 2018 John G. Fleming Lecture at Berkeley Law last week.  The University's announcement is here.  Congratulations to Jane!

November 20, 2018 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Sunday, November 11, 2018

2018 Torts Section Newsletter

Scott Hershovitz has released the 2018 AALS Torts Section newsletter:   Download AALS Tort Section Newsletter November 2018

November 11, 2018 in Conferences, Scholarship, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Wednesday, September 5, 2018

Ken Simons is the 2019 William L. Prosser Award Recipient


The AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section has announced that the 2019 William L. Prosser Award is bestowed upon Kenneth Simons.  Congratulations to Ken!  From the UC Irvine announcement:

IRVINE, Calif. (Sept. 4, 2018) - The University of California, Irvine School of Law is pleased to announce that Chancellor’s Professor of Law Kenneth Simons, a leading scholar at the intersection of torts, criminal law, and philosophy, was named the recipient of the 2019 William L. Prosser Award by the Association of American Law Schools (AALS) Section on Torts and Compensation Systems.
The Prosser Award recognizes “outstanding contributions of law teachers in scholarship, teaching and service” related to tort law and compensation systems. Prof. Simons will receive the award at the AALS Annual Meeting in January 2019.
“Ken Simons is well-deserving of this tremendous recognition,” said UCI Law Dean L. Song Richardson. “He is one of the most important scholars in the Torts field, a remarkable teacher and mentor to our students, and a well-respected, beloved colleague.”
Prof. Simons has published influential scholarship concerning assumption of risk and contributory negligence; the nature and role of mental states in criminal, tort and constitutional law; and negligence as a moral and legal concept. He has also explored such topics as bias crimes, corrective justice, the logic of egalitarian norms, mistake and impossibility in criminal law, and strict criminal liability. Others frequently engage with his work, which is cited often in one of the leading tort treatises, Dobbs’ Law of Torts. He is a frequent speaker and commentator at scholarly conferences on torts, criminal law, philosophy and related issues.
Co-Director of UCI’s Center for Legal Philosophy, Prof. Simons has also served, since 2012, as Co-Reporter and (since 2014) Chief Reporter for the Restatement Third of Torts: Intentional Torts to Persons. He has co-authored numerous lengthy Restatement drafts and presented them to different groups of the American Law Institute (ALI), the country’s leading independent organization made up of elected judges, academics, and practitioners, which publishes works to clarify and improve the law. The drafts clarify the tort doctrines of battery, assault, false imprisonment, consent, and defenses such as defense of property and self-defense.
Prof. Simons is also a dedicated and extraordinary teacher. His courses have included Common Law Analysis: Torts, Statutory Analysis: Criminal Law, Philosophy of Punishment, Law and Ethics of War, Constitutional Law and Products Liability.
“Prof. Simons obviously cares about both the subject matter of his classes and our learning the material,” said Rina Liles, UCI Law 2L student. “It's easy to be star struck by Prof. Simons’ professional stature, especially when our class discussions mirror conferences about the next Restatement. He has the brilliance to distill a complicated subject into terms his students understand, and do so with a great deal of warmth and humor.”
Additionally, the UCI Law faculty value his collegiality and judgment, as evidenced by his leadership role in directing the UCI Law Strategic Planning Committee.
Before joining UCI Law, Prof. Simons was Professor of Law and The Honorable Frank R. Kenison Distinguished Scholar in Law at Boston University School of Law. He was Associate Dean for Research and Associate Dean for Academic Affairs there.
Prof. Simons was a law clerk to U.S. Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall and to Judge James L. Oakes, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Prof. Simons also worked as an associate at Goodwin, Procter & Hoar in Boston, in the field of civil litigation, including commercial law, tort, contracts, and prisoners’ rights. He received his J.D. from Michigan Law School, magna cum laude, and graduated from Yale University, summa cum laude, with a B.A. in philosophy.

September 5, 2018 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, April 12, 2018

Green to Receive 2018 McKay Award

Wake Forest's Mike Green is the recipient of the 2018 Robert B. McKay Law Professor Award, presented by the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section.  Wake Forest's announcement is here.  Congratulations to Mike!

April 12, 2018 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, February 26, 2018

Stein Appointed to Israeli Supreme Court

Alex Stein, who teaches torts and evidence courses at Brooklyn, has been appointed to the Israeli Supreme Court.  The news release is here.

February 26, 2018 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Thursday, August 24, 2017

Allen Linden (1934-2017)

Allen Linden has passed away at the age of 83.  A former Justice of Canada's Federal Court of Appeal, he was named Officer of the Order of Canada in 2015.  Moreover, he was a distinguished torts professor who continued to teach the subject during his judicial duties.  Linden studied with William Prosser at Berkeley, and became one of Canada's most-respected torts professors, teaching primarily at Osgoode Hall Law School.  In the 1960s, he authored a study on compensation for automobile accidents which led to the adoption of a no-fault plan in Ontario in 1969.  I never had the honor of meeting him, but I have heard numerous friends speak of him in glowing terms.  Rest in peace.  An obituary is here.

August 24, 2017 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, August 14, 2017

Northwestern's Shapo to Receive 2018 Prosser Award


The AALS Section on Torts and Compensation Systems is pleased to announce that the recipient of the 2018 William L. Prosser Award is Marshall S. Shapo, the Frederic P. Vose Professor of Law at the Northwestern Pritzker School of Law.

The Prosser Award recognizes outstanding contributions in scholarship, teaching and service related to tort law. Nominations are made by fellow tort scholars, and the recipient is selected by the two most-recent Prosser Award winners and the immediate past Chair of the AALS Torts Section, with approval of the Torts Section Executive Committee. Professor Shapo's award, and his many contributions to tort law, will be recognized at the Torts Section meeting at the AALS Annual Meeting in San Diego, at 1:30 pm on Friday, January 5th, 2018.

August 14, 2017 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, March 20, 2017

AALS Torts Section Mentoring Program

The AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section announces its new mentoring program.  The Torts Section may be able to help if you are a professor who:

  • is starting a career in torts or shifting to torts from another subject area, and
  • lacks a torts colleague to discuss scholarship and teaching.

The Executive Committee and the Section at large have numerous professors happy to work with you.  The goal is to match mentors and mentees based on specific areas of interest.  To start the process, please contact the Chair of the Torts Section, currently Chris Robinette ( or 717-541-3993).

March 20, 2017 in Scholarship, Teaching Torts, TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Tuesday, January 10, 2017

AALS Torts Section Chairs 1980-Present

It has been an honor to serve on the AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section's Executive Committee since January 2012.  I rotated into the Chair position last Friday.  I enjoy history, and began to think about the history of the Section.  The Section was created around 1973; prior to that, AALS organized in "roundtables," which I take to have been less permanent entities.  The AALS has a list of all Section chairs since 1980, which I reproduce below.  The term is now one year, but it appears a two-year term was used during the mid-1990s.  If anyone has further information about the Section's history and would like to share it, please comment on the blog (comments are not immediate) or email me. 

Dominick Vetri University of Oregon School of Law 1/1/1980
Frederick Davis   1/1/1981
Thomas C. Cady West Virginia University College of Law 1/1/1982
Jean C. Love Santa Clara University School of Law 1/1/1983
Harvey S. Perlman University of Nebraska College of Law 1/1/1984
James A. Henderson, Jr. Cornell Law School 1/1/1986
Jean C. Love Santa Clara University School of Law 1/1/1987
David G. Owen University of South Carolina School of Law 1/1/1988
Walter Probert University of Florida Fredric G. Levin College of Law 1/1/1989
Lucinda M. Finley University at Buffalo School of Law, The State University of New York 1/1/1990
Aaron D. Twerski Brooklyn Law School 1/1/1991
Oscar S. Gray University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law 1/1/1992
Diane C. Maleson Temple University, James E. Beasley School of Law 1/1/1993
Jennifer H. Arlen New York University School of Law 1/1/1995
Richard W. Wright Chicago-Kent College of Law, Illinois Institute of Technology 1/1/1997
Mark F. Grady University of California, Los Angeles School of Law 1/1/1999
Catharine Wells Boston College Law School 1/1/2000
Stephen G. Gilles Quinnipiac University School of Law 1/1/2001
Keith Norman Hylton Boston University School of Law 1/1/2002
Anita Bernstein Brooklyn Law School 1/1/2003
Kenneth W. Simons University of California, Irvine School of Law 1/1/2004
Peter A. Bell Syracuse University College of Law 1/1/2005
Richard L. Cupp, Jr. Pepperdine University School of Law 1/1/2006
James R. Hackney, Jr. Northeastern University School of Law 1/1/2007
Ellen Michelle Bublick The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law 1/1/2008
John C.P. Goldberg Harvard Law School 1/1/2009
Catherine M. Sharkey New York University School of Law 1/10/2010
Michael L. Rustad Suffolk University Law School 1/8/2011
John Valery White University of Nevada, Las Vegas, William S. Boyd School of Law 1/8/2012
Jennifer Wriggins University of Maine School of Law 2/14/2013
Andrew R. Klein Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law 2/14/2014
Anthony J. Sebok Benjamin N. Cardozo School of Law 2/14/2015
Leslie Kendrick University of Virginia School of Law 2/14/2016


January 10, 2017 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (0)

Monday, December 12, 2016

Gregory Keating Has Been Busy

Monday, October 31, 2016

Gifford Named Jacob A. France Professor of Torts at Maryland


Don Gifford was named the Jacob A. France Professor of Torts at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law on October 27, 2016. The title had been held by Oscar Gray until his retirement, and Oscar remains the Jacob A. France Professor of Torts Emeritus. Don delivered a lecture entitled "The Stubborn Survival of the Steam-Locomotive Compensation System in the Century of Driverless Cars." He argued that changes in technology and the impact of technological changes on the economy were the most important determinants of change in tort law. He then explored why there was so little change in the fundamental substantive principles of tort law during the twentieth century and why the tort system had generally prevailed over attempts to enact alternative compensation systems. 

October 31, 2016 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1)

Wednesday, October 19, 2016

October 18, 1926 the day Oscar Gray was born.  He celebrated his 90th birthday in Baltimore yesterday at a reception put on by his colleagues at the University of Maryland and the publishers of his treatise, Wolters Kluwer.  Happy birthday!


October 19, 2016 in TortsProfs | Permalink | Comments (1)