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Liability Design For Autonomous Vehicles And Human-Driven Vehicles: A Hierarchical Game-Theoretic Approach, Xuan Di, Xu Chen, Eric L. Talley Jan 2019

Liability Design For Autonomous Vehicles And Human-Driven Vehicles: A Hierarchical Game-Theoretic Approach, Xuan Di, Xu Chen, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

Autonomous vehicles (AVs) are inevitably entering our lives with potential benefits for improved traffic safety, mobility, and accessibility. However, AVs’ benefits also introduce a serious potential challenge, in the form of complex interactions with human-driven vehicles (HVs). The emergence of AVs introduces uncertainty in the behavior of human actors and in the impact of the AV manufacturer on autonomous driving design. This paper thus aims to investigate how AVs affect road safety and to design socially optimal liability rules in comparative negligence for AVs and human drivers. A unified game is developed, including a Nash game between human drivers, a ...


The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg Jan 2017

The Macpherson-Henningsen Puzzle, Victor P. Goldberg

Faculty Scholarship

In the landmark case of MacPherson v. Buick, an automobile company was held liable for negligence notwithstanding a lack of privity with the injured driver. Four decades later, in Henningsen v. Bloomfield Motors, the court held unconscionable the standard automobile company warranty which limited its responsibility to repair and replacement, even in a case involving physical injury. This suggests a puzzle: if it were so easy for firms to contract out of liability, did MacPherson accomplish anything?


Class Actions In The Era Of Trump: Trends And Developments In Class Certification And Related Issues, John C. Coffee Jr., Alexandra D. Lahav Jan 2017

Class Actions In The Era Of Trump: Trends And Developments In Class Certification And Related Issues, John C. Coffee Jr., Alexandra D. Lahav

Faculty Scholarship

In this memorandum prepared for the Annual ABA National Institute on Class Actions, Professors Coffee and Lahav review and assess developments in class certification over recent years, and track trends in approaches to certification. Special attention is given to securities litigation, the use of confidential witnesses, ascertainability, attorney's fees, standing, mootness, statutes of repose, and the impact of recent Supreme Court decisions, including Halliburton II and Spokeo.


The Equipoise Effect, Bert Huang Jan 2016

The Equipoise Effect, Bert Huang

Faculty Scholarship

This Essay explores an overlooked way to use the remedy of disgorgement in torts, contracts, and regulation. It begins with a reminder that disgorging net gains does not force the liable actor to take a loss; by definition, it allows him to break even. As a matter of incentives, it places him in a sort of equipoise. This equipoise effect has a logical upshot that might seem counterintuitive: Substituting disgorgement for any other remedy, part of the time, can emulate the incentive effect of using that other remedy all of the time.

In theory, then, courts or regulators can sometimes ...


Driverless Cars And The Much Delayed Tort Law Revolution, Andrzej Rapaczynski Jan 2016

Driverless Cars And The Much Delayed Tort Law Revolution, Andrzej Rapaczynski

Faculty Scholarship

The most striking development in the American tort law of the last century was the quick rise and fall of strict manufacturers’ liability for the huge social losses associated with the use of industrial products. The most important factor in this process has been the inability of the courts and academic commentators to develop a workable theory of design defects, resulting in a wholesale return of negligence as the basis of products liability jurisprudence. This article explains the reasons for this failure and argues that the development of digital technology, and the advent of self-driving cars in particular, is likely ...


"Courts Have Twisted Themselves Into Knots": Us Copyright Protection For Applied Art, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2016

"Courts Have Twisted Themselves Into Knots": Us Copyright Protection For Applied Art, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

In copyright law, the marriage of beauty and utility often proves fraught. Domestic and international law makers have struggled to determine whether, and to what extent, copyright should cover works that are both artistic and functional. The U.S. Copyright Act protects a work of applied art "only if, and only to the extent that, its design incorporates pictorial, graphic, or sculptural features that can be identified separately from, and are capable of existing independently of, the utilitarian aspects of the article." While the policy goal to separate the aesthetic from the functional is clear, courts' application of the statutory ...


Licensing Commercial Value: From Copyright To Trademarks And Back, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2015

Licensing Commercial Value: From Copyright To Trademarks And Back, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright and trademarks often overlap, particularly in visual characters. The same figure may qualify as a pictorial, graphic or sculptural work on the one hand, and as a registered (or at least used) trademark on the other. The two rights, though resting on distinct foundations, tend to be licensed together. Trademarks symbolize the goodwill of the producer, and are protected insofar as copying that symbol is likely to confuse consumers as to the source or approval of the goods or services in connection with which the mark is used. For famous marks, the dilution action grants a right against uses ...


Surprisingly Punitive Damages, Bert I. Huang Jan 2014

Surprisingly Punitive Damages, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Damages can add up to super-punitive amounts in unintended ways. To take a textbook example: The Defendant has caused an industrial accident or other mass tort. Plaintiff 1 sues, winning punitive damages based on the reprehensibility of that original act. Plaintiff 2 also sues – and also wins punitive damages on the same grounds. So do Plaintiff 3, Plaintiff 4, and so forth. If each of these punitive awards is directed at the same general badness of that original act, then these punishments are redundant. When such redundancy occurs, even damages that are meant to be punitive can reach surprisingly punitive ...


Fee-Shifting Bylaw And Charter Provisions: Can They Apply In Federal Court? – The Case For Preemption, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2014

Fee-Shifting Bylaw And Charter Provisions: Can They Apply In Federal Court? – The Case For Preemption, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

In the first months after a decision of the Delaware Supreme Court upholding a fee-shifting bylaw under which the unsuccessful plaintiff shareholder was required to reimburse all defendants for their legal and other expenses in the litigation, some 24 public companies adopted a similar provision – either by means of a board-adopted bylaw or by placing such a provision in their certificate of incorporation (in the case of companies undergoing an IPO). In effect, private ordering is introducing a one-sided version of the “loser pays” rules. Indeed, as drafted, these provisions typically require a plaintiff who is not completely successful to ...


Concurrent Damages, Bert I. Huang Jan 2014

Concurrent Damages, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

In areas as diverse as copyright, pollution, consumer protection, and electronic privacy, statutory damages have become a familiar form of civil remedy. Yet as judges are discovering, these formulaic awards can swing by orders of magnitude for no good reason — due to the rigidly linear way in which the awards stack up, count by count. The irony is that too much structure, rather than too little, is what causes such capricious outcomes. This Article proposes a solution: allow courts to run damages concurrently. As with concurrent criminal sentencing, the judge would recognize every act of violation, and yet group the ...


Surprisingly Punitive Damages, Bert I. Huang Jan 2014

Surprisingly Punitive Damages, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Think first of the classic problem of redundant punitive damages: A defendant has caused a mass tort. Plaintiff 1 sues, winning punitive damages based on the overall reprehensibility of that original act. Plaintiff 2 also sues – and also wins punitive damages on the same grounds. So do Plaintiff 3, Plaintiff 4, and so forth. Next, consider a more subtle problem: Many statutes set the minimum award per claim at a super-compensatory level, based on the assumption that private suits may need extra inducement. But when enforcement turns out to be more vigorous than was assumed – most famously, when thousands or ...


Concurrent Damages, Bert I. Huang Jan 2014

Concurrent Damages, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

Imagine that a hacker is working for a university official secretly spying on faculty members – say, to find out who has been leaking information to the press about internal disciplinary matters. The injuries to a given victim of the hacking might follow a classic learning curve: The first few intrusions into her e-mail account reveal a storehouse of personal secrets, but further break-ins yield less and less new information. One might say there is diminishing marginal harm.

There is no such leveling off, however, in the compensation that would be awarded to that victim. The electronic privacy law that bars ...


Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2013

Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

China has experienced a surge in medical disputes in recent years, on the streets and in the courts. Many disputes result in violence. Quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence of medical malpractice litigation and medical disputes in China reveals a dynamic in which the formal legal system operates in the shadow of protest and violence. The threat of violence leads hospitals to settle claims for more money than would be available in court and also influences how judges handle cases that do wind up in court. The detailed evidence regarding medical disputes presented in this Essay adds depth to existing understanding ...


An Introduction To Climate Change Liability Litigation And A View To The Future, Michael B. Gerrard, Joseph A. Macdougald Jan 2013

An Introduction To Climate Change Liability Litigation And A View To The Future, Michael B. Gerrard, Joseph A. Macdougald

Faculty Scholarship

This article discusses the advancement of climate change litigation. It explores two approaches to climate change litigation; the first is to use the federal regulatory apparatus and the second is to use the tort system. The article explores key questions in climate change litigation such as, who is responsible for deciding the appropriate level of harmful emissions? How should courts handle the long tail effects of climate change? What are the proper forums to litigate in? And, what is the role of the federal government in climate change litigation?


Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2012

Malpractice Mobs: Medical Dispute Resolution In China, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

China has experienced a surge in medical disputes in recent years, on the streets and in the courts. Many disputes result in violence. Quantitative and qualitative empirical evidence of medical malpractice litigation and medical disputes in China reveals a dynamic in which the formal legal system operates in the shadow of protest and violence. The threat of violence leads hospitals to settle claims for more than would be available in court and also influences how judges handle cases that do wind up in court. The detailed evidence regarding medical disputes presented in this article adds depth to existing understanding of ...


Law, Economics, And The Burden(S) Of Proof, Eric L. Talley Jan 2012

Law, Economics, And The Burden(S) Of Proof, Eric L. Talley

Faculty Scholarship

This chapter presents an overview of the theoretical law and economics literature on the burden of proof within tort law. I begin by clarifying core legal definitions within this topic, demonstrating that the burden of proof actually refers to at least five doctrinal concepts that substantially overlap but are not completely interchangeable. I then provide a conceptual roadmap for analyzing the major extant contributions to this topic within theoretical law and economics, emphasizing three key dimensions that organize them: (a) where they fall in the positive-normative spectrum; (b) what type of underlying modeling framework they employ (ranging from decision theoretic ...


The New Class Action Landscape: Trends And Developments In Class Certification And Related Topics, John C. Coffee Jr., Alexandra D. Lahav Jan 2012

The New Class Action Landscape: Trends And Developments In Class Certification And Related Topics, John C. Coffee Jr., Alexandra D. Lahav

Faculty Scholarship

In this memorandum, Professors Coffee and Lahav describe and assess the highlights of class certification rulings from 2005 to 2012, and track trends in approaches to certification.


Litigation Finance: What Do Judges Need To Know?, Bert I. Huang Jan 2012

Litigation Finance: What Do Judges Need To Know?, Bert I. Huang

Faculty Scholarship

The growth of “litigation finance” — the funding of lawsuits by outside investors who are neither parties nor counsel — is being closely watched by academics, the press, and the bar. The practice poses risks of conflicting interests and improper influence; and yet if carefully managed it may in fact enhance party autonomy. What questions, then, should judges be asking when dealing with a case with outside funding? This symposium essay offers judges a starting point: a menu of questions to ask parties who receive such financing. These inquiries aim to pierce simplistic labels such as “loan” or “investment,” in order to ...


Is Public Nuisance A Tort?, Thomas W. Merrill Jan 2011

Is Public Nuisance A Tort?, Thomas W. Merrill

Faculty Scholarship

Public nuisance has recently been dusted off as a potential source of legal redress for tobacco use, handgun distribution, lead paint removal, MTBE contamination, and global warming. The premise of this litigation is that public nuisance is a tort, and that courts have inherent authority as common law tribunals to determine what conditions qualify as a public nuisance. This article argues that public nuisance is properly regarded as a public action rather than a tort, as revealed by a number of its features, including the nature of the interest protected – rights common to the general public – and the traditional understanding ...


Medical Malpractice Mediation: Benefits Gained, Opportunities Lost, Carol B. Liebman Jan 2011

Medical Malpractice Mediation: Benefits Gained, Opportunities Lost, Carol B. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

In the past decade, the United States healthcare system has begun to use mediation to facilitate communication between patients and physicians after an adverse medical event, to ease tensions among members of care-giving teams, to resolve medical malpractice claims, and to help family members and medical professionals make awesome and wrenching decisions at the end of life. Implementation of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 will produce new controversies and increase the need for mediation. Patients, families, physicians, nurses, other healthcare professionals, and administrators will require help managing the disagreements that arise as they adapt to the ...


Litigation Governance: Taking Accountability Seriously, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2010

Litigation Governance: Taking Accountability Seriously, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Both Europe and the United States are rethinking their approach to aggregate litigation. In the United States, class actions have long been organized around an entrepreneurial model that uses economic incentives to align the interest of the class attorney with those of the class. But increasingly, potential class members are preferring exit to voice, suggesting that the advantages of the U.S. model may have been overstated. In contrast, Europe has long resisted the U.S.’s entrepreneurial model, and the contemporary debate in Europe centers on whether certain elements of the U.S. model – namely, opt-out class actions, contingent ...


The Us Experience With Copyright Formalities: A Love/Hate Relationship, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2010

The Us Experience With Copyright Formalities: A Love/Hate Relationship, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

Copyright formalities – conditions precedent to the existence or enforcement of copyright, such as provision of information about works of authorship that will put the public on notice as to a work’s protected status and its copyright ownership, or deposit of copies of the work for the national library or other central authority, or local manufacture of copies of works of foreign origin – have performed a variety of functions in US copyright history. Perhaps of most practical importance today, formalities predicate to the existence or enforcement of copyright can serve to shield large copyright owners who routinely comply with formalities ...


In (Partial) Defense Of Strict Liability In Contract, Robert E. Scott Jan 2009

In (Partial) Defense Of Strict Liability In Contract, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Many scholars believe that notions of fault should and do pervade contract doctrine. Notwithstanding the normative and positive arguments in favor of a fault-based analysis of particular contract doctrines, I argue that contract liability is strict liability at its core. This core regime is based on two key prongs: (1) the promisor is liable to the promisee for breach, and that liability is unaffected by the promisor's exercise of due care or failure to take efficient precautions; and (2) the promisor's liability is unaffected by the fact that the promisee, prior to the breach, has failed to take ...


Responsibility And The Negligence Standard, Joseph Raz Jan 2009

Responsibility And The Negligence Standard, Joseph Raz

Faculty Scholarship

The paper has dual aim: to analyse the structure of negligence, and to use it to offer an explanation of responsibility (for actions, omissions, consequences) in terms of the relations which must exist between the action (omission, etc.) and the agents powers of rational agency if the agent is responsible for the action. The discussion involves reflections on the relations between the law and the morality of negligence, the difference between negligence and strict liability, the role of excuses and the grounds of duties to pay damages.


Accountability And Competition In Securities Class Actions: Why "Exit" Works Better Than "Voice", John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2008

Accountability And Competition In Securities Class Actions: Why "Exit" Works Better Than "Voice", John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

The rules of "litigation governance" in class actions are diametrically different from the rules of corporate governance, in large part because the former works off an "opt out" rule while the latter employs an "opt in" rule. This results in higher agency costs in the former context. To address this problem, reformers have long favored remedies such as the "lead plaintiff" provision of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act ("PSLRA"), which in theory give class members a stronger voice. Empirically, however, such "voice-based" reforms appear to have had no more than a modest impact. But an alternative remedy appears to ...


In (Partial) Defense Of Strict Liability In Contract, Robert E. Scott Jan 2008

In (Partial) Defense Of Strict Liability In Contract, Robert E. Scott

Faculty Scholarship

Many scholars believe that notions of fault should and do pervade contract doctrine. Notwithstanding the normative and positive arguments in favor of a fault-based analysis of particular contract doctrines, I argue that contract liability is strict liability at its core. This core regime is based on two key prongs: (1) the promisor is liable to the promisee for breach, and that liability is unaffected by the promisor's exercise of due care or failure to take efficient precautions; and (2) the promisor's liability is unaffected by the fact that the promisee, prior to the breach, has failed to take ...


On Copyright's Authorship Policy, Tim Wu Jan 2007

On Copyright's Authorship Policy, Tim Wu

Faculty Scholarship

It has long been the stated aspiration of copyright to make authors the masters of their own destiny. Yet more often than not, the real subject of American copyright is distributors, book publishers, record labels, broadcasters, and others, who control the rights, bring the lawsuits, and take copyright as their industries' 'life-sustaining protection.' This paper offers a new theory and defense of the role of authors and authorial copyright in the copyright system. I argue that the device of making authors rights-bearers can seed new modes of production in the industries under copyright. Rights-bearing authors can, in other words, help ...


Of Mutant Copyrights, Mangled Trademarks, And Barbie's Beneficence: The Influence Of Copyright On Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg Jan 2007

Of Mutant Copyrights, Mangled Trademarks, And Barbie's Beneficence: The Influence Of Copyright On Trademark Law, Jane C. Ginsburg

Faculty Scholarship

In Dastar Corp. v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. Justice Scalia colorfully warned against resort to trademarks law to achieve protections unattainable by copyright, lest these claims generate "a species of mutant copyright law that limits the public's 'federal right to "copy and to use,"' expired copyrights." The facts of that controversy, in which the claimant appeared to be invoking time-unlimited trademark protection to end-run the exhausted (unrenewed) copyright term in a motion picture, justified the apprehension that unbridled trademark rights might stomp, Godzilla-like, over more docile copyright prerogatives. Unfortunately, in the Court's eagerness to forestall Darwinian disaster ...


Reforming The Securities Class Action: On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr. Jan 2006

Reforming The Securities Class Action: On Deterrence And Its Implementation, John C. Coffee Jr.

Faculty Scholarship

Securities class actions impose enormous penalties, but they achieve little compensation and only limited deterrence. This is because of a basic circularity underlying the securities class action: When damages are imposed on the corporation, they essentially fall on diversified shareholders, thereby producing mainly pocket-shifting wealth transfers among shareholders. The current equilibrium benefits corporate insiders, insurers, and plaintiffs' attorneys, but not investors. The appropriate answer to this problem is not to abandon securities litigation, but to shift the incidence of its penalties so that, in the secondary market context, they fall less on the corporation and more on those actors who ...


Innovation Through Intimidation: An Empirical Account Of Defamation Litigation In China, Benjamin L. Liebman Jan 2006

Innovation Through Intimidation: An Empirical Account Of Defamation Litigation In China, Benjamin L. Liebman

Faculty Scholarship

Consider two recent defamation cases in Chinese courts. In 2004, Zhang Xide, a former county-level Communist Party boss, sued the authors of a best selling book, An Investigation into China's Peasants. The book exposed official malfeasance on Zhang's watch and the resultant peasant hardships. Zhang demanded an apology from the book's authors and publisher, excision of the offending chapter, 200,000 yuan (approximately U.S.$25,000) for emotional damages, and a share of profits from sales of the book. Zhang sued in a local court on which, not coincidentally, his son sat as a judge.

In ...