Skip to content

Tort and Accident Law: Cases and Materials (Robert E. Keeton, Lewis D. Sargentich, Gregory C. Keating et al., 5th ed. 2023).

Abstract: The Fifth Edition embodies the authors’ collective wisdom from teaching the text over many years and incorporates numerous substantive and pedagogical changes. New notes introduce the principal cases succinctly and clearly. These notes orient readers to the topics at hand and illuminate related puzzles and controversies. They both assist students in understanding the cases that follow and serve to spur careful analysis and robust classroom discussion. Many new headings and subheadings have also been added. These, too, are intended to facilitate understanding by clearly indicating how various issues fit together within the larger topic. The revision includes over 50 new cases, squibs, and other materials. These updates reflect both developments in traditional fields of tort liability and new phenomena such as the rise of online platforms where products are now sold and commerce is carried on. Some of these new cases show courts grappling with questions of gendered and racialized wrongs in ways that they would not have done even a decade ago. Since the Fourth Edition, many provisions of the Second Restatement (of Torts, Agency, or other fields of law) have been superseded or supplemented by corresponding provisions of the Third Restatement. Moreover, many states have adopted pattern jury instructions that succinctly outline the elements of various claims and defenses. These new materials provide clear guidance regarding the current scope and contours of numerous claims and defenses. There are also important organizational changes and deletions. To name just a few: several chapters have been reorganized to address the rise of classical accident law and to clarify how modern tort law develops from it, to update and expand upon limitations on punitive damages, and to clarify the elements of battery and the defenses to battery. Furthermore, the casebook has been shortened and its materials have been focused on those topics addressed in current first-year torts classes. Lastly, this edition expands the book’s treatment of an emerging area of law: public nuisance. While public nuisance originally landed in the United States along with the rest of the English common law, it owes its contemporary prominence in mass tort litigation to the tobacco suits of the 1990’s. In the wake of the stunning success of the tobacco litigation, ambitious public nuisance claims have proliferated to encompass contemporary social problems such as the public health scourge of lead paint contamination, greenhouse gases, and opioids. This important legal field is comprehensively addressed in the portion of the casebook discussing mechanisms of recovery for increasingly common situations in which many people are put at risk, and many ultimately hurt, by the same tortious conduct.