Skip to content
  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    In his famous 1960 article, William Prosser identified four privacy torts: Disclosure of Private Facts, False Light Invasion of Privacy, Appropriation of Likeness, and Intrusion Upon Seclusion. Although each was recognized in the Second Torts Restatement and by various courts, the false light tort seems to have foundered. Indeed, starting in the late 1980s, prominent courts rejected it and many academics have expressed grave misgivings about it. Often interpreted as a kind of ‘defamation lite,’ the tort seems to its critics an ill-defined wrong that clever lawyers invoke to evade important limitations on defamation liability. Drawing from case law and an important but underappreciated body of prior scholarship, this article elucidates the distinctive content and role of false light as an authentic invasion-of- privacy tort and explains why its recognition is especially important in our digital world. To appreciate its value requires, first and foremost, grasping that its closest tort sibling is not defamation, but instead public disclosure. Like that tort and unlike defamation, false light applies only to a subset of subject matters – those that are genuinely private and are not newsworthy – and only when highly offensive images or messages pertaining to the plaintiff are widely disseminated to the public. In short, as Melville Nimmer once noted, the sound judgment undergirding false light is this: if causing humiliation or grave offense by disseminating accurate depictions or accounts of private matters is actionable, it should be no less actionable when the putative representations are false. In an era of deepfakes and other privacy-invading misrepresentations, courts should embrace the tort of false light.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    “Intentional torts,” “Negligence,” and “Strict Liability” are typically cast as the major categories of tort liability. Conspicuously absent from this list is “Recklessness,” which would seem to fit between intentionality and negligence and is treated in criminal law as a category of its own. And yet recklessness does make sporadic appearances in tort law. Because it lies between categories without constituting a distinct category, recklessness thus can fairly be described as operating “interstitially” within tort law. As we explain, recklessness fulfills this role in two quite different ways. In the law of defamation and fraud, it sets the lower boundary of ‘malice,’ understood as mistreatment of another involving dishonesty or other states of mind inconsistent with good faith. A quite different collection of tort settings in which recklessness plays an important role – one that includes the application of assumption of risk to recreational activities – are those in which courts are prepared to relieve actors of liability notwithstanding that their actions generate a significant risk of harm. In this domain, recklessness marks an upper rather than a lower boundary, namely, the point at which conduct becomes so unjustifiably dangerous that liability will attach. We conclude by suggesting that attention to the different ways in which recklessness serves as a fine-tuning mechanism in tort law may illuminate philosophical debates about the nature of recklessness, as well as jurisprudential inquiries concerning interstitial legal concepts.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    This chapter begins with an explanation of why, in the United States, philosophical analysis has become a prominent feature of private law scholarship. Historical, sociological, and constitutional peculiarities of the American experience all figure in our account. It then distinguishes two ways in which philosophy has been brought to bear on private law. The first involves the use of analytical and moral philosophy to critique and develop alternatives to policy-driven, welfarist approaches that tend to dominate elite U.S. legal-academic writing. The second harnesses philosophical analysis to defend the intelligibility of ordinary lawyerly discourse about private law as against reductionists (whether deontological and welfarist) who treat legal concepts as empty vessels to be filled with extra-legal content. Our aim is to help scholars understand the current state of private law scholarship in the U.S. and appreciate the role that philosophy can play in the explanatory, justificatory, and critical aspects of the legal academic enterprise.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    The American Law Institute (“ALI”) has devoted much attention to tort law. This attention has come in different forms. This chapter labels these, respectively: “ALI in the Mode of Appellate Court,” “ALI in the Mode of Law Reform Commission,” and “ALI in the Mode of Think Tank.” Each of these can be placed along a spectrum of ambitiousness with respect to law reform. None is unambitious. But Appellate Court Mode is tethered to doctrine, Think Tank Mode is untethered, and Law Reform Commission Mode lies somewhere in between. One might suppose that the ALI’s promise – which enables leading academics, in consultation with members of the bench and bar and others, to undertake long-term, large-scale research projects – resides in work at the more ambitious end of the spectrum. However, based on an admittedly impressionistic survey, I will suggest that, in the domain of tort law, the Institute has had important successes when proceeding in the manner of an appellate court, and has courted trouble when operating in the other modes.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    The doctrine of vertical precedent requires that courts, except for a jurisdiction’s highest court, must follow an on-point precedent or distinguish it. Lawyers are typically taught that distinguishing a precedent requires a court to articulate why the current case is justifiably treated in a different manner than the precedent. Exclusive legal Positivists are troubled by the phenomenon of distinguishing, because the notion of justification built into the idea of distinguishing precedent appears to call for substantive normative reasoning by lower courts. To respond to this apparent problem, Raz has suggested a model of legal reasoning that treats “distinguishing precedent” as a kind of legal change rather than as law-application. This article contends that the Razian strategy cannot work because it simply gets the law wrong: lower courts are not generally empowered to amend the law. An undistorted description of the practice must recognize that courts engage in small-scale moral reasoning when they distinguish vertical precedents. The last half of the article utilizes several Indiana cases on the affirmative duties of landowners to illustrate the power and authenticity of our anti-positivistic account.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    With gratitude for our commentators’ thoughtful and generous engagement with Recognizing Wrongs, we offer in this reply a thumbnail summary of their comments and responses to some of their most important questions and criticisms. In the spirit of friendly amendment, Tom Dougherty and Johann Frick suggest that a more satisfactory version of our theory would cast tort actions as a means of enforcing wrongdoers’ moral duties of repair. We provide both legal and moral reasons for declining their invitation. Rebecca Stone draws a particular link between civil recourse in private law theory and the right of self-defense as recognized in criminal law and moral theory. While we share Stone’s basic inclination, we argue for a different version of the link than the one that she draws. Veronica Rodriguez-Blanco provides a critique of our model of negligence law based on action theory. In response, we explain – in a way that we hope sheds light on debates over moral luck – how it is possible for the law to define negligence such that its commission depends simultaneously on the character of the defendant’s conduct and on the consequences that result from it. Though generally sympathetic to our approach, Stephen Smith faults us for failing satisfactorily to explain important remedial dimensions of tort law. Stubbornly, we insist that we can account for these, and indeed can do so on more satisfactory terms than corrective justice theorists. Finally, Erin Kelly challenges us to consider how our work might inform the analysis of two pressing issues of racial justice: overcriminalization and reparation payments. While we question whether our work to date has as much to offer on these matters as she suggests, we also maintain that the core principle of civil recourse theory – where there is a right there is a remedy – provides grounds for critiquing modern law’s failure to provide adequate accountability when police officers use excessive force against persons of color.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    May a threatened state use force against armed nonstate actors situated in another state without the other state's permission? Proponents of the “Unable or Unwilling Doctrine” ("UUD") answer in the affirmative, provided that the territorial state in which the nonstate actors are based is either unable or unwilling to tackle the threat by itself. Opponents reject the UUD, arguing that it has no place within existing international law. The intense, multi-layered debates over the UUD have thus far been grounded primarily in the international law of self-defense. Moreover, both proponents and opponents of the doctrine have tended to treat its two prongs as interchangeable, such that the legality of a use of force or the consequences that follow from it are unaffected by which of the two explains the territorial state’s failure to negate the threat to the targeted state. This Article challenges both of these features of UUD analysis. Our first contention is that, while states enjoy limited leeway to use defensive force against nonstate actors in another state’s territory, the prerogative to enter the territorial state without other authorization is rooted in principles of necessity, not self-defense. In turn—and here we reach our second main contention—grounding the UUD in necessity suggests that, for cases in which the territorial state is unable, rather than unwilling, to deal with the threat, the threatened state is obligated to compensate the territorial state for harm caused by its unpermitted entry. Our third contribution is to explain why compensation might be owed, as a matter of equity, even for the entry itself as a (justified) violation of sovereignty. All of these claims, we contend, are bolstered by interpreting international law through the lens of private law, particularly the Anglo-American law of tort and restitution and its rules for the imposition of liability in cases of "private necessity."

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    Late twentieth-century tort theory was dominated by scholars who regarded tort law as primarily a means employed by government to deter anti-social conduct. On this model, tort plaintiffs are cast as private attorneys general whose lawsuits promote safety. Tort theorists today better appreciate that this approach obscures crucial respects in which tort law is private law–law that empowers persons who have been wronged to redress the wrongs done to them. But in practice there is a continued failure to perceive the ways in which the deterrence model has shaped and distorted views of tort law, as evidenced by the terms on which both the ‘right’ and the ‘left’ critique modern mass tort litigation. More troublingly, the problem extends beyond the field of torts. Indeed, we contend that the lawyerly loss of feel for distinctions between public law and private law explains the inability of the United States Supreme Court Justices, in Whole Woman’s Health v. Jackson, to capture why S.B. 8–Texas’s radical anti-abortion statute–really is a private attorney general statute and why, as such, it should be subject to preenforcement constitutional review.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Favorite

    John C.P. Goldberg, Anthony J. Sebok, Benjamin C. Zipursky & Leslie Kendrick, Tort Law: Responsibilities and Redress (Wolters Kluwer Aspen 2021).

    Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    "This is a book on tort law for law students"–

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    “Private law” embraces the traditional common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), as well as adjacent more statutory areas such as intellectual property and commercial law. It also includes important areas that have been neglected in the United States but are beginning to make a comeback. These include unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies more generally. “Private law” can also mean private law as a whole, which invites consideration of issues such as the public-private distinction, the similarities and differences between the various areas of private law, and the institutional framework supporting private law – including courts, arbitrators, and even custom. The New Private Law is an approach to these subjects that aims to reinvigorate the study of private law by moving beyond reductively instrumentalist policy evaluation and narrow, rule-by-rule, doctrine-by-doctrine analysis, so as to consider and capture how private law’s various features fit and work together, as well as the normative underpinnings of these larger structures. This movement has begun resuscitating the notion of private law itself in the United States and has brought an interdisciplinary perspective to the more traditional, doctrinal approach prevalent in Commonwealth countries. The Handbook embraces a broad range of perspectives to private law – including philosophical, economic, historical, psychological, to name a few – yet it offers a unifying theme of seriousness about the structure and content of private law. This Introduction introduces the New Private Law and briefly summarizes the chapters in the volume.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    The Oxford Handbook of the New Private Law reflects exciting developments in scholarship dedicated to reinvigorating the study of the broad field of private law. This field embraces the traditional common law subjects (property, contracts, and torts), as well as adjacent, more statutory areas, such as intellectual property and commercial law. It also includes important areas that have been neglected in the United States but are beginning to make a comeback. These include unjust enrichment, restitution, equity, and remedies more generally. "Private law" can also mean private law as a whole, which invites consideration of issues such as the public-private distinction, the similarities and differences between the various areas of private law, and the institutional framework supporting private law - including courts, arbitrators, and even custom. The New Private Law is an approach to these subjects that aims to bring a new outlook to the study of private law by moving beyond reductively instrumentalist policy evaluation and narrow, rule-by-rule, doctrine-by-doctrine analysis, so as to consider and capture how private law's various features fit and work together, as well as the normative underpinnings of these larger structures. This movement has begun resuscitating the notion of private law itself in the United States and has brought an interdisciplinary perspective to the more traditional, doctrinal approach prevalent in Commonwealth countries. The Handbook embraces a broad range of perspectives to private law - including philosophical, economic, historical, and psychological, to name a few - yet it offers a unifying theme of seriousness about the structure and content of private law. It will be an essential resource for legal scholars interested in the future of this important field.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    In the United States and elsewhere, the Law and Economics movement has fundamentally reshaped how judges, lawyers, and law students understand tort law. And yet economic interpretations of tort law – as opposed to prescriptive analyses of tort problems that deploy economic methodologies – face insuperable difficulties. Why, then, do the endure? The answer is that some of the leading economic accounts actually manage to identify, albeit in a distorted way, many of tort law’s core features. In keeping with the emphasis of the New Private Law on analysis that is down-to-earth without being reductionist, this Chapter explains why these same features can be captured without distortion though an understanding of tort as a law of wrongs and redress.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    Beginning with Justice Ginsburg’s 2011 opinion in the Goodyear case – and echoed in Justice Thomas’s 2014 opinion in Walden v. Fiore and Justice Alito’s 2017 opinion in Bristol-Myers Squibb v. Superior Court – the Supreme Court has suggested that the distinctiveness of specific personal jurisdiction (in contrast to general jurisdiction) resides in its being “case-linked.” However, to date, the Justices have not spelled out what it takes for a defendant’s contacts with a forum to be case-linked, although they now have an opportunity to do so in a pair of personal injury cases brought against Ford Motor Company. This essay aims to provide the missing account of case-linkage, explaining along the way how it applies to the Court’s pending cases. Our method is constructive and interpretive: we take as our starting point the Court’s precedents and its reasoning about two pillars of personal jurisdiction: state sovereignty and defendant’s due process rights. After Part I’s introduction, Part II re-examines the Court’s personal jurisdiction decisions from International Shoe to the present with the goal of understanding the concept of case-linkage as it has played out in the cases. Part III describes the Ford litigations presently before the Court, explaining why they invite consideration of an aspect of specific jurisdiction that the Court has yet to address adequately. We put forward our theory of case-linked jurisdiction in Part IV. Case-linkage, we argue, can only be understood within a framework that isolates the key concepts that matter for due process. Two are crucial: (1) a concept of the scope of the defendant’s submission to state authority, and (2) a concept of the scope of the forum state’s legitimate interests. We explain the latter in terms of the principle that a state’s courts ought not meddle in affairs beyond the state’s legitimate reach (labeled “the Anti-Busybody Principle”). By explaining case-linkage both in terms of the scope of a defendant’s submission to state power and of a state’s legitimate interests, we offer a way to bring together the process and sovereignty concerns that underlie the law of personal jurisdiction. With our own affirmative account in place, Part V shows why the “causation” approach to case-linkage advocated Ford and by some lower courts are indefensible, even if the more expansive “relatedness” tests of other courts are also not up to the task at hand. We also show that the intuitively right answer to the Ford cases—that a state court has jurisdiction to hear tort claims brought by state residents injured in-state by the defendant’s product (when the defendant has extensively sold the product-line in that state)—not only meshes with all relevant Supreme Court precedents, but also points to the best path forward for understanding, defining, and demarcating case-linked jurisdiction.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    This chapter addresses a basic difference between the rules governing tort and contract damages. It also explains why this already puzzling divergence is all the more puzzling in virtue of a seemingly intuitive “foreseeable-at-breach” rule that tort law rejects in favor of one that is less restrictive, while contract law rejects in favor of one that is more so. The chapter sets out to explain this phenomenon, in the process defending and illuminating prevailing doctrine. Two cases provide the focal point for this discussion. Hadley v. Baxendale (1854) stands for the rejection, in contract law, of the foreseeable-at-breach rule in favor of foreseeability of loss at the time of contract formation. Vosburg v. Putney (1891), meanwhile, holds that damages may be recovered in a tort action even if not reasonably foreseeable at the time of breach.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Tort law is badly misunderstood. In the popular imagination, it is “Robin Hood” law. Law professors, meanwhile, mostly dismiss it as an archaic, inefficient way to compensate victims and incentivize safety precautions. In Recognizing Wrongs, John Goldberg and Benjamin Zipursky explain the distinctive and important role that tort law plays in our legal system: it defines injurious wrongs and provides victims with the power to respond to those wrongs civilly. Tort law rests on a basic and powerful ideal: a person who has been mistreated by another in a manner that the law forbids is entitled to an avenue of civil recourse against the wrongdoer. Through tort law, government fulfills its political obligation to provide this law of wrongs and redress. In Recognizing Wrongs, Goldberg and Zipursky systematically explain how their “civil recourse” conception makes sense of tort doctrine and captures the ways in which the law of torts contributes to the maintenance of a just polity. Recognizing Wrongs aims to unseat both the leading philosophical theory of tort law—corrective justice theory—and the approaches favored by the law-and-economics movement. It also sheds new light on central figures of American jurisprudence, including former Supreme Court Justices Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr., and Benjamin Cardozo. In the process, it addresses hotly contested contemporary issues in the law of damages, defamation, malpractice, mass torts, and products liability.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    At the time he wrote, Wesley Hohfeld seemed to be of the view that longstanding conceptual confusions that had blocked progress in legal thought — particularly confusions about legal rights — would soon be put to rest. If so, rights have proved a tougher nut to crack than he expected. Indeed, the difficulty of providing an adequate account of rights has led many scholars, including scholars who share Hohfeld’s aptitude and aspirations for analytic philosophy, to lose sight of a distinction central to Hohfeld’s project, namely, the distinction between a right (or claim right) and a power. Or so we argue in Part I. Worse, confusions over rights and powers, when combined with a particular understanding of what constitutes clear-eyed analysis of legal issues, has contributed to the now-widely shared but mistaken supposition that common law reasoning must (or should) take the form of instrumental reasoning. We outline this claim in Parts II and III. Ultimately, we suggest that Hohfeld’s juristic legacy contains two profound ironies. His entirely sound insistence on the analytic separation of legal rights and legal powers has helped to obscure their deep substantive connection in certain bodies of law, especially tort and contract law. And his implicit acceptance of the idea that a commitment to conceptual clarity goes hand in hand with instrumentalism in legal analysis has indirectly led prominent courts — including most famously the California Supreme Court in landmark decisions such as Rowland v. Christian — to mangle how rights, duties, and powers are linked within private law.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    The fusion of law and equity in common law systems was a crucial moment in the development of the modern law. Common law and equity were historically the two principal sources of rules and remedies in the judge-made law of England, and this bifurcated system travelled to other countries whose legal systems were derived from the English legal system. The division of law and equity – their fission – was a pivotal legal development and is a feature of most common law systems. The fusion of the common law and equity has brought about major structural, institutional and juridical changes within the common law tradition. In this volume, leading scholars undertake historical, comparative, doctrinal and theoretical analysis that aims to shed light on the ways in which law and equity have fused, and the ways in which they have remained distinct even in a 'post-fusion' world. Brings together comparative, doctrinal, historical and theoretical analyses of equity in a single volume, providing multiple perspectives on the issue. Analyses the fusion of law and equity in various jurisdictions, including Australia, Canada, England, Scotland, and the U.S. allowing readers to gain insights into their domestic legal systems by contrasting developments in others. Provides insights into the experiences of fusion, merger and fission of law and equity in different jurisdictions and discusses the misunderstandings about the modern relation of law to equity.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    This chapter begins with a sharp distinction between two kinds of judicial authority—the authority to apply law and to do equity. Plaintiffs who file suit on a claim of legal right assert an entitlement to recourse from the defendant, and to judicial assistance in obtaining it. By contrast, equitable claims request a court to exercise its discretion to block or modify the ordinary operation of the law, or to provide relief to which there is no legal entitlement. This distinction, we argue, sheds light on some of American law’s most famous and controversial decisions, including Riggs v. Palmer, Moore v. Regents, and Shelley v. Kraemer. Indeed, insofar as each reaches a defensible result, it is because it is an instance of a court doing equity rather than applying law. As our analysis of these and other decisions demonstrates, an appreciation of the law-equity distinction remains necessary for an adequate understanding of Anglo-American legal systems.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Fiduciary duties of care are at once familiar and strange. They partake of many of the characteristics of duties of care in other domains of private law, particularly tort law. But they also bear the distinctive marks of the fiduciary context. This chapter identifies two ways in which fiduciary duties of care tend to be distinct from tort duties of care. First, with some important exceptions, they are less demanding and less vigorously enforced. Second, breaches of the fiduciary duty of care can give rise to liability even if no injury results to the beneficiary. These distinctive features, I argue, reflect judicial efforts to harmonize the fiduciary’s duty of care with her duty of loyalty. As such, they are defensible, even if not in all respects justified.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Equity and Tort appear to be strangers. Beyond historically making equitable relief available in some cases, equity did not intervene in tort law to the extent it did in contract and some aspects of property. And yet substantive equity focuses on wrongful conduct and affords persons the opportunity to seek remedies for such conduct through the courts. Are there ‘equitable wrongs’, and, if so, how if at all do they differ from torts? We focus on a particular function loosely associated with historic equity jurisdiction: equity supplements the law where it fails to address problems that are difficult to handle on the same ‘level’ on which they arise. In situations of conflicting rights, party opportunism, and interacting behavior, it is difficult to formulate solutions that do not make reference to the ordinary (primary level) set of rights and rules. Thus, it is often more effective to frame ‘abuse of rights’ in terms of what one can do with rights rather than formulate the right to make it resistant to abuse. We distinguish three scenarios at the intersection of equity and tort: (i) tort law itself contains a second-order element to deal with problems such as coming to the nuisance; (ii) equity solves an inadequacy of tort law, such as by reformulating privity, which is then incorporated into tort law going forward; and (iii) equity maintains a limited but open-ended capacity to counteract inadequacies of tort law, especially involving hard-to-foresee manipulation of rules and conflicts of rights. With the increasing fusion of law and equity, it has been difficult to maintain this second-order equitable function, but nowhere more so than at the equity-tort interface. Many of the interventions of equity, especially into areas of wrongful interference, invite redescription as torts, and have in fact induced courts to recognize new torts, for better and worse. On our account, this reformulation into tort is appropriate only where a problem is amenable to delineation in terms of general rights and fails where a degree of open-endedness is necessary to deal with party opportunism and new types of conflict. We also consider the diffusion of ‘flattened’ equitable notions into primary-level tort law, often in the form of balancing tests, which have in many ways rendered tort less coherent, stable, and law-like than is desirable.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Although a member of the Supreme Court at the time, Benjamin Cardozo did not participate in Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins. He was dying. It is a mere fortuity that Cardozo’s death coincided with the death of the general common law. Yet it has since proved to be something more—or so this symposium essay argues. It is in part because our highest court took itself out of the business of making law in contract, property, tort, and related areas that Cardozo’s beloved common law has fallen on hard times, and that even state-court judges have increasingly lost their feel for how to reason about it. Today, there is no member of a state judiciary who rivals Cardozo in stature. Mainly this is a testament to his extraordinary gifts. But it also reflects the waning of the common law in the United States, and a concomitant loss of the sense of what it means to be a great common-law judge.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    In A Theory of Tort Liability, Allan Beever identifies a lacuna in modern tort theory and aims to fill it. In his view, it is correct but insufficient to assert that a tort suit involves a plaintiff seeking to establish that the defendant wrongfully injured her, such that she is entitled to redress for the wrong. What’s missing is an explanation of tort law’s substance—of why courts have recognised particular torts defined in particular ways. Even if one accepts, as Beever does, that the wrongs of tort law track and vindicate rights, one still needs an account of which rights, and of why it protects them on the terms that it does.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    Tort scholars have long been obsessed with the dichotomy between strict liability and liability based on fault or wrongdoing. We argue that this is a false dichotomy. Torts such as battery, libel, negligence, and nuisance are wrongs, yet all are “strictly” defined in the sense of setting objective and thus quite demanding standards of conduct. We explain this basic insight under the heading of “the strict liability in fault.” We then turn to the special case of liability for abnormally dangerous activities, which at times really does involve liability without wrongdoing. Through an examination of this odd corner of tort law, we isolate “the fault in strict liability” — that is, the fault line between the wrongs-based form of strict liability that is frequently an aspect of tort liability and the wrongs-free form of strict liability that is found only within the very narrow domain of liability for abnormally dangerous activities. We conclude by defending these two features of the common law of tort: the strictness of the terms on which it defines wrongdoing and its begrudging willingness to recognize, in one special kind of case, liability without wrongdoing.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    The Fourth Edition of Tort Law: Responsibilities and Redress has been updated to reflect the very latest developments in tort law, including discussions of the draft provisions of the Third Restatement of Torts concerning intentional torts.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Open Book: The Inside Track to Law School Success, Second Edition is a book that every JD and LL.M. law student needs to read, either before classes start or as they get going in their 1L year. Now in an expanded second edition, the book explains in a clear and easygoing, conversational manner what law professors expect from their students both in classes and exams. The authors, award-winning teachers with a wealth of classroom experience, give students an “inside” look at law school by explaining how, despite appearances to the contrary, classes connect to exams and exams connect to the practice of law. Open Book introduces them to the basic structure of our legal system and to the distinctive features of legal reasoning. To prepare students for exams, the book explains in clear and careful detail what exams are designed to test. It then devotes a single, clearly written chapter to each step of the process of answering exams. It also contains a wealth of material, both in the book and digitally, on preparing for exams. Finally, and perhaps most importantly, Open Book comes with a free suite of 18 actual law school exams in Civil Procedure, Constitutional Law, Contracts, Criminal Law, Property and Torts, written and administered by law professors. These exams include not only questions, but: (1) annotations from the professors explaining what they were looking for; (2) model answers written by the professors themselves; and (3) actual student answers, with professor comments that explain why certain answers were stronger of weaker. As Open Book explains, there is no better way to prepare for exams than by practicing, and these unique materials will enable students to get the most out of their pre-exam practice.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    For a symposium marking the centenary of MacPherson v. Buick, we identify three common characterizations of Cardozo’s famous opinion that purport to explain its importance. Unfortunately, each of these characterizations turns out to be a myth. MacPherson is worthy of celebration, but not because it recognizes that negligence law’s duty of care is owed to the world, nor because it displays the promise of an instrumental, policy-oriented approach to adjudication, nor because it embraces a nascent form of strict products liability. These myths of MacPherson reflect deep misunderstandings of tort law, and of Cardozo’s distinctively pragmatic approach to adjudication. Ironically, although they have been largely fostered by progressives, the myths lend support to the cause of modern tort reform. By contrast, an accurate appreciation of MacPherson’s virtues permits an understanding of negligence, tort law, and common law adjudication that provides grounds for resisting regressive reforms.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    In its famous 1938 Erie decision, the U.S. Supreme Court deemed itself without power to make general common law. Yet while the rule of Erie remains, the Court has strayed from its spirit. Using two lines of cases as representative of a larger trend – one involving First Amendment limits on claims for defamation, invasion of privacy, and infliction of emotional distress, the other concerning the preemption of state products liability law – we explain how the Court has increasingly empowered federal courts to serve as fora in which repeat-player defendants are offered a ‘second bite at the apple.’ This is precisely the role for federal courts that Erie rejected.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    When a professional is negligent in providing services to her client or patient, third parties are sometimes harmed. “Triangular torts,” as we call them, are negligence claims brought against professionals by such third parties. One common example involves a father suing a therapist for inducing his daughter to have false memories of childhood abuse, thereby causing him emotional harm. Another involves a nephew suing a lawyer for incorrectly drafting his aunt’s will, thereby causing him financial loss. Despite the general decline of privity limits on negligence liability, courts frequently reject triangular tort claims, ruling that professionals do not owe duties of care to third parties. In this chapter, we explain when such rulings are warranted — and when they are not. The answer turns on whether the recognition of a duty of care to the third party is consistent with the professional’s fiduciary duty of loyalty to the client or patient.

  • Favorite

    Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    Tort law has little patience for excuses. Criminal law is more forgiving. It recognizes complete excuses such as duress and provocation, as well as excuses that temper punishment. Excuses are also commonplace in ordinary morality. Like criminal law and morality, tort law seems concerned with holding persons accountable for their wrongs, and excuses seem to go hand-in-hand with accountability. So why—or in what sense—are torts inexcusable wrongs? This Article explains how tort law, understood as law that enables victims to hold wrongdoers answerable to them, cogently can refuse to recognize excuses. In doing so, it offers a unified account of many of tort law’s core features, including the objectivity of negligence law’s ordinary care standard, the courts’ insistence on injury as a condition of liability, and the strictness of certain forms of tort liability. More generally, it invites us to broaden our understanding of what it means for law to identify conduct as wrongful, and for law to set up schemes for holding wrongdoers accountable.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

  • Favorite

    Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    It borders on banality to observe that tort law enables injury victims to hold tortfeasors responsible for having wrongfully injured them. Yet modern torts scholarship has largely obscured the centrality of responsibility to tort law. This is true not only of avowedly instrumental and prescriptive theories, but also of many corrective justice theories. In this chapter, we aim to provide an account of the centrality of responsibility to tort law, thereby restoring its proper place in tort theory. We first review the impressive effort of Stephen Perry to harness Tony Honoré’s notion of “outcome-responsibility” to supply a satisfactory understanding of tort law, and negligence law in particular. We then demonstrate how notions of responsibility of the sort invoked by Perry help explain some of the most important developments in modern tort doctrine, including the emergence of strict products liability, comparative fault, and robust-yet-limited affirmative duties. Finally, we argue that our own interpretive account — the civil recourse theory of tort — is superior to Perry’s in that it places notions of responsibility at the center of tort law while also making better sense of prevailing doctrine.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    This Article sketches two ways in which Judge Weinstein’s judicial performance raises issues of responsibility. First, it considers how he has deployed responsibility concepts that are central to tort law. Unsurprisingly, it concludes that, in his efforts to do “equity” through mass tort litigation, he has stretched these concepts quite far. This conclusion raises a second set of questions about responsibility—namely, questions about the role responsibilities of federal district court judges. As to these, the Article contends that Judge Weinstein’s tort decisions are consistent with a familiar and plausible account of judicial decision-making. It also notes ways in which he has been especially responsible in his handling of claims and claimants.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links:

    This article addresses Frances Kamm's discussion, in Ethics for Enemies, of how intentions should figure in determining whether a nation's act of war is morally permissible. The authors, experts in law rather than moral philosophy, seek to show how certain facets of domestic and international law might pose challenges to Kamm’s argument. They first consider how domestic law addresses individual behavioral analogs to the kind of state behavior with which Kamm is concerned. They then turn to state behavior and the law of war, addressing how the legality of conduct indicates the conduct's moral permissibility.

  • Type:
    Categories:
    Sub-Categories:

    Links: