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2006

Torts

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Summary Of Skender V. Brunsonbuilt Constr. & Dev. Co., 122 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 11, Chris Stein Dec 2006

Summary Of Skender V. Brunsonbuilt Constr. & Dev. Co., 122 Nev. Adv. Op. No. 11, Chris Stein

Nevada Supreme Court Summaries

Appeal from a district court judgment entered on a jury verdict in a constructional defect case and an order awarding interest, costs, and attorney fees.


Of Apples And Trees: Adoption And Informed Consent, Ellen Wertheimer Nov 2006

Of Apples And Trees: Adoption And Informed Consent, Ellen Wertheimer

Working Paper Series

This article argues that the doctrine of informed consent should apply to the process of adopting a child. There is substantial evidence that all adopted children are at higher risk of learning disabilities and mental health problems than nonadopted children. The article first summarizes the social science evidence demonstrating these risks and discusses some of the reasons why more extensive studies have not yet been done. The article then turns to the law of informed consent as created and applied in the contexts of medicine and law, and concludes that informed consent doctrine should apply to the process of adoption ...


The Problem Of Social Cost In A Genetically Modified Age, Paul J. Heald, James C. Smith Nov 2006

The Problem Of Social Cost In A Genetically Modified Age, Paul J. Heald, James C. Smith

Scholarly Works

In Part I of this Article, we apply the Coase Theorem and its most useful corollary to the problem of pollen drift. We conclude that the liability of pollen polluters should be governed by balancing rules against nuisance law, to be applied on a case-by-case basis, rather than by a blanket liability or immunity rule. We also conclude that truly bystanding non-GMO farmers should have a viable defense to patent infringement because liability would result in the application of a reverse Pigovian tax that cannot be justified under accepted economic theory. Only a contextual approach can account for the wide ...


Assumption Of Risk As A Defense To Negligence, Gregory S. Sergienko Oct 2006

Assumption Of Risk As A Defense To Negligence, Gregory S. Sergienko

Faculty Scholarship

This article will revisit the history of assumption of risk in California and elsewhere and suggest that the traditional doctrine should be modified and revived, despite the contrary approach of the Restatement (Third) of Torts. In the first part of the article, I will describe the ambiguities in the statements of assumption of risk that existed before the adoption of comparative negligence. I will show that Knight v. Jewett, which rejected assumption of risk, misinterpreted Li v. Yellow Cab Co., in which the California Supreme Court adopted a comparative negligence rule. Moreover, even if the Knight case was defensible on ...


Chasing The Illusory Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow: Negligence And Strict Liability In Design Defect Litigation, Aaron D. Twerski Oct 2006

Chasing The Illusory Pot Of Gold At The End Of The Rainbow: Negligence And Strict Liability In Design Defect Litigation, Aaron D. Twerski

Faculty Scholarship

No abstract provided.


Strict Liability And The Mitigation Of Moral Luck, Gregory C. Keating Aug 2006

Strict Liability And The Mitigation Of Moral Luck, Gregory C. Keating

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

The general problem of moral luck—that responsibility is profoundly affected by factors beyond the control of the person held responsible—has two distinct dimensions in the case of accidental injury (and no doubt in many other cases). One dimension is concerned with attribution of moral blame. Thomas Nagel explains: “If one negligently leaves the bath running with the baby in it, one will realize, as one bounds up the stairs towards the bathroom, that if the baby has drowned one has done something awful, whereas if it has not one has merely been careless.” How badly one has behaved ...


Doctors, Apologies, And The Law: An Analysis And Critique Of Apology Laws, Marlynn Wei Aug 2006

Doctors, Apologies, And The Law: An Analysis And Critique Of Apology Laws, Marlynn Wei

Student Scholarship Papers

This article analyzes and critiques apology laws, their potential use, and effectiveness, both legally and ethically, in light of the strong professional norms that shape physicians’ reaction to medical errors. Physicians are largely reluctant to disclose medical errors to patients, patients’ families, and even other physicians. Some states have passed so-called apology laws in order to encourage physicians to disclose medical errors to patients. Apology laws allow defendants to exclude statements of sympathy made after accidents from evidence in a liability lawsuit. This piece examines potential barriers to physicians’ disclosure of medical mistakes and demonstrates how the underlying problem may ...


Abusing "Duty", Dilan Esper, Gregory C. Keating Jul 2006

Abusing "Duty", Dilan Esper, Gregory C. Keating

University of Southern California Legal Studies Working Paper Series

Black-letter law has it that “duty”—the first element of a prima facie case of negligence in tort—is a nonissue in most cases. “Duty” fixes the legal standard applicable to the conduct in question and that standard is generally the tort obligation to exercise reasonable care for the protection of those who might foreseeably be endangered by one’s actions. Commentators from Oliver Wendell Holmes to the drafters of the pending Restatement Third of Torts have recognized a general duty not to subject others to unreasonable risk of physical harm as the very foundation of modern negligence law. From ...


Theories Of Asbestos Litigation Costs ­ Why Two Decades Of Procedural Reform Have Failed To Reduce Claimants’ Expenses, Jeffrey M. Davidson May 2006

Theories Of Asbestos Litigation Costs ­ Why Two Decades Of Procedural Reform Have Failed To Reduce Claimants’ Expenses, Jeffrey M. Davidson

Student Scholarship Papers

In twenty years of asbestos litigation, procedural reforms at all levels of the civil litigation system have failed to reduce plaintiffs’ attorneys’ fees. The result has been dramatic undercompensation of asbestos tort victims. This paper attempts to explain this remarkable fact using economic methodology. The paper offers three theories: First, that the continuing difficulty of assessing causation in asbestos and other mass tort cases predictably impedes the efforts of procedural reform to reduce costs; second, that changes in defendant and insurer risk attitudes have generated costly litigation; third, that collusion of plaintiffs’ attorneys to maintain prices cannot be ruled out ...


Reprocessing Single-Use Medical Devices: The State Of The Debate, Brian E. Ray, Mark Hermann May 2006

Reprocessing Single-Use Medical Devices: The State Of The Debate, Brian E. Ray, Mark Hermann

Law Faculty Articles and Essays

Reprocessing single-use medical devices is a growing but controversial industry subject to an increasingly complex and fast-developing set of regulations and a wide range of unresolved legal issues.


The Welding Fume Case And The Preemptive Effect Of Osha’S Hazcom Standard On Common Law Failure-To-Warn Claims, Richard C. Ausness May 2006

The Welding Fume Case And The Preemptive Effect Of Osha’S Hazcom Standard On Common Law Failure-To-Warn Claims, Richard C. Ausness

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

The Occupational Health and Safety Act (the OSH Act) affects more than ninety million workers in the United States. The OSH Act is administered by the Occupational Health and Safety Administration (OSHA), which promulgates health and safety standards for the workplace. Although OSHA standards do not regulate product manufacturers directly, they may affect liability when manufacturers are sued by workers who are injured by allegedly defective products provided by their employers. With increasing frequency, manufacturers are contending that the OSH Act or OSHA standards preempt these claims. In particular, manufacturers argue that the Hazard Communication Standard (HazCom Standard) should preempt ...


The Death Of Causation: Mass Products Torts' Incomplete Incorporation Of Social Welfare Principles, Donald G. Gifford Apr 2006

The Death Of Causation: Mass Products Torts' Incomplete Incorporation Of Social Welfare Principles, Donald G. Gifford

Faculty Scholarship

Legal actions against the manufacturers of disease-causing products, such as cigarettes and asbestos insulation, have redefined the landscape of tort liability during the past generation. These actions bedevil courts, because any particular victim often is unable to identify the manufacturer whose product caused her harm. Increasingly, but inconsistently, courts allow victims to recover without proof of individualized causation. This article argues that instrumental approaches seek to turn mass products tort law into the equivalent of a social welfare program, not unlike workers’ compensation or Social Security. As with any such program, the accident compensation system must include compensation entitlement boundaries ...


Wrongful Discharge: The Use Of Federal Law As A Source Of Public Policy, Nancy M. Modesitt Apr 2006

Wrongful Discharge: The Use Of Federal Law As A Source Of Public Policy, Nancy M. Modesitt

All Faculty Scholarship

Wrongful discharge in violation of public policy circumscribes the employment at-will doctrine by prohibiting employers from firing employees who engage in conduct that is deemed to be protected by state or federal public policy. While much has been written about the pros and cons of such wrongful discharge claims, to date no scholarship has focused on the problems that arise when the source of public policy is a federal rather than state statute. This article analyzes the historical and current approaches to the use of federal statutes as a source of public policy to protect employees against discharge, concluding that ...


Responders’ Responsibility: Liability And Immunity In Public Health Emergencies, Sharona Hoffman Mar 2006

Responders’ Responsibility: Liability And Immunity In Public Health Emergencies, Sharona Hoffman

Faculty Publications

Many experts predict the advent of a public health emergency resulting from a flu pandemic or bioterrorism attack in the foreseeable future. At the same time, many health care providers express significant concern about liability arising from emergency response activities, because it is unlikely that they would be able to provide optimal care in crisis conditions. They also state that this concern will likely influence their willingness to be involved in response activities. This article addresses issues that have received little attention in the legal literature: liability and immunity in public health emergencies. The article provides a first-of-its-kind comprehensive analysis ...


Third Party Copyright After Grokster, Alfred C. Yen Feb 2006

Third Party Copyright After Grokster, Alfred C. Yen

Boston College Law School Faculty Papers

This Article studies the construction of third party copyright liability after the recent Supreme Court case Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc. v. Grokster, Ltd. This inquiry is important because third party copyright liability has become a controversial area of law that affects the viability of entire industries. Unfortunately, the law governing third party copyright liability is unclear. Grokster involved a claim of third party liability against defendants whose technology supported the sharing of music over the Internet, and it represents the Supreme Court’s attempt to bring coherence to the relevant law. Grokster is a difficult case to understand. It added a ...


Choice, Consent, And Cycling: The Hidden Limitations Of Consent, Leo Katz Feb 2006

Choice, Consent, And Cycling: The Hidden Limitations Of Consent, Leo Katz

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Most legal scholars assume that if V consents to allow D to do something to him, such consent makes D's actions legally and morally acceptable. To be sure, they are willing to make an exception when consent is given under a specified list of conditions: Force, fraud, incompetence, third-party effects, unequal bargaining power, commodification, paternalism - all of these may be grounds for rejecting the validity of V's consent. We might call scholars who take this view of consent quasi-libertarians. In this Article, I argue against the quasi-libertarian view of consent. My central claim is that the validity of ...


“After You, My Dear Alphonse!”: Should The Courts Defer To The Fda’S New Interpretation Of § 360k(A) Of The Medical Device Amendments?, Richard C. Ausness Feb 2006

“After You, My Dear Alphonse!”: Should The Courts Defer To The Fda’S New Interpretation Of § 360k(A) Of The Medical Device Amendments?, Richard C. Ausness

Law Faculty Scholarly Articles

Under the provisions of the Medical Device Amendments (MDA) to the Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act certain medical devices are subject to premarket approval of the Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Section 360k(a) of the MDA provides that states may not establish “any requirement” which relates to safety or effectiveness of a medical device and "which is different from, or in addition to" any requirement imposed by the FDA. Until recently, the FDA maintained that § 360k(a) did not preempt most common law tort claims; however, in recent amici briefs, the FDA has aggressively asserted that most, if not ...


Note, The Standard Of Proof Of Causation In Legal Malpractice Cases, Erik M. Jensen Jan 2006

Note, The Standard Of Proof Of Causation In Legal Malpractice Cases, Erik M. Jensen

Faculty Publications

This note argues that the use of a but for standard of causation in legal malpractice cases - i.e., that the plaintiff must show that but for the malpractice he or she would have prevailed in the underlying action - is too stringent, making recovery unreasonably difficult. The note therefore argues for implementation of a lost substantial possibility of recovery standard. This is just a student note, and an old one at that, but a lot of courts and commentators have cited it. In any event, modesty and self-restraint seem to play little role when authors are deciding what to post ...


Do Ask And Do Tell: Rethinking The Lawyer’S Duty To Warn In Domestic Violence Cases, Margaret B. Drew, Sarah Buel Jan 2006

Do Ask And Do Tell: Rethinking The Lawyer’S Duty To Warn In Domestic Violence Cases, Margaret B. Drew, Sarah Buel

Faculty Publications

Empirical data document that while domestic violence victims face high risk of recurring abuse, batterers’ lawyers may be privy to information that could avert further harm. Attorneys owe a duty of confidentiality to their clients that can be breached only in extraordinary circumstances, such as when counsel learns her client plans to commit a crime. To resolve the tension between client confidentiality and victim safety, this Article argues that, in the context of domestic violence cases, lawyers have an affirmative duty to (1) screen battering clients who have indicated a likelihood of harming others, (2) attempt to dissuade them from ...


Cognitive Biases And Heuristics In Tort Litigation: A Proposal To Limit Their Effects Without Changing The World, John E. Montgomery Jan 2006

Cognitive Biases And Heuristics In Tort Litigation: A Proposal To Limit Their Effects Without Changing The World, John E. Montgomery

Faculty Publications

Behavioral studies indicate that individuals do not always make objective decisions about risk. Various cognitive biases and heuristics-- mental shortcuts everyone uses consciously or subconsciously to make decisions under conditions of uncertainty--introduce error and subjectivity. At one level, these studies merely confirm the obvious: individuals make decisions based on both reason and emotions. At another level, they may introduce serious complications into some types of legal analysis, which are based on the assumption that individuals are rational actors. The potential effects of erroneous decisions about risk are of particular concern in the area of tort law. Laboratory studies establish that ...


Insufficient Causes, David A. Fischer Jan 2006

Insufficient Causes, David A. Fischer

Faculty Publications

This article analyzes a difficult causation question. If a force is not independently sufficient to bring about an injury, under what circumstances should a court find the force to be a cause of the injury? The question has practical importance. It frequently arises in litigation involving toxic torts and products liability failure to warn. The article includes a critique of the NESS test of causation as it pertains to this issue. This article explores this weakness of the NESS test in the context of insufficient causes, and offers important new insights with respect to the limitations of the NESS test ...


A Cap On The Defendant's Appeal Bond?: Punitive Damages Tort Reform, Doug Rendleman Jan 2006

A Cap On The Defendant's Appeal Bond?: Punitive Damages Tort Reform, Doug Rendleman

Faculty Scholarship

None available.


Reassessing Charitable Immunity In Virginia, Carl W. Tobias Jan 2006

Reassessing Charitable Immunity In Virginia, Carl W. Tobias

Law Faculty Publications

Although most states have legislatively or judicially abolished the once-prevalent doctrine of charitable immunity, the Supreme Court of Virginia and the Virginia General Assembly have essentially retained the doctrine intact. Moreover, the Supreme Court of Virginia has declared on numerous occasions that it is the prerogative of the General Assembly, not the court, to abolish charitable immunity. Because Virginia doctrinal developments which involve charitable immunity do not comport with trends across the country and have significant implications for plaintiffs, and for defendants which assert charitable immunity, these doctrinal developments warrant analysis. This essay undertakes that effort.


Americans Abroad: International Educational Programs And Tort Liability, Vincent R. Johnson Jan 2006

Americans Abroad: International Educational Programs And Tort Liability, Vincent R. Johnson

Faculty Articles

In recent decades, the number of foreign programs operated by American colleges and universities has greatly expanded. Until recently, there were few reported cases involving claims arising from foreign educational ventures. However, the increase in international study abroad programs has been paralleled by an increase in tort claims. Additionally, because of the tendency of tort cases to be settled, the number of unreported cases, based on harm to students participating in study abroad programs, may be considerably larger than what appears in legal research databases.

Given the high cost of potential litigation, a program provider has no choice but to ...


Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets And The Federal Tort Claims Act/Dd Form 882 Over Substance: Caveat Forfeiture, Katherine E. White Jan 2006

Intellectual Property: Trade Secrets And The Federal Tort Claims Act/Dd Form 882 Over Substance: Caveat Forfeiture, Katherine E. White

Law Faculty Research Publications

No abstract provided.


Market Share Liability Beyond Des Cases: The Solution To The Causation Dilemma In Lead Paint Litigation?, Donald G. Gifford, Paolo Pasicolan Jan 2006

Market Share Liability Beyond Des Cases: The Solution To The Causation Dilemma In Lead Paint Litigation?, Donald G. Gifford, Paolo Pasicolan

Faculty Scholarship

Over 300,000 young children in America—disproportionately poor and children of color—suffer from childhood lead poisoning. This disease ordinarily is caused by the deterioration of lead paint into flakes, chips, and dust that children ingest or inhale. Victims of childhood lead poisoning have tried to sue manufacturers of lead paint or lead pigment, but they face a seemingly insurmountable obstacle. Traditional tort law requires a plaintiff to prove that a specific tortfeasor caused the harm. This is almost impossible in the lead paint context because the paint that caused the harm usually consists of many layers, applied over ...


When Criminal And Tort Law Incentives Run Into Tight Budgets And Regulatory Discretion, William G. Childs Jan 2006

When Criminal And Tort Law Incentives Run Into Tight Budgets And Regulatory Discretion, William G. Childs

Faculty Scholarship

Eight-year-old Greyson Yoe was electrocuted while waiting to get on the "Scooters" bumper car ride at the Lake County Fair in northeastern Ohio. The failure to ground the ride structure and damage to a light fixture on the ride caused his death. The day before the electrocution, two inspectors from the Ohio Department of Agriculture (ODA) inspected the ride and passed it as "safe to operate." That inspection was superficial and grossly inadequate, and the completed inspection form had serious misrepresentations. Indeed, the inspectors later admitted that they never reviewed the key electrical items that they checked off on the ...


Responsibility For Historical Injustices: Reconceiving The Case For Reparations, Amy J. Sepinwall Jan 2006

Responsibility For Historical Injustices: Reconceiving The Case For Reparations, Amy J. Sepinwall

Legal Studies and Business Ethics Papers

The twentieth century ended with the vindication of many of its most mistreated victims' cries for reparation.2 Holocaust survivors retrieved over $8 billion in assets frozen in bank accounts or looted by the Nazis;3 Japanese Americans interned during World War II received compensation from the U.S. government;4 Chile compensated descendants of Pinochet's victims;5 Japan redressed Korean "comfort women"; 6 and Canada paid damages to Aboriginals for forced assimilation of their children.7 Absent from the list was the longest suffering and most visible of groups seeking repair - African Americans.8


The Allocation Problem In Multiple-Claimant Representations, Paul H. Edelman, Richard A. Nagareda, Charles Silver Jan 2006

The Allocation Problem In Multiple-Claimant Representations, Paul H. Edelman, Richard A. Nagareda, Charles Silver

Vanderbilt Law School Faculty Publications

Multiple-claimant representations-classa ctions and other group lawsuits-pose two principal-agent problems: Shirking (failure to maximize the aggregate recovery) and misallocation (distribution of the aggregate recovery other than according to the relative value of claims). Clients have dealt with these problems separately, using contingent percentage fees to motivate lawyers to maximize the aggregate recovery and monitoring devices (disclosure requirements, client control rights, and third-party review) to encourage appropriate allocations. The scholarly literature has proceeded on the premise that monitoring devices are needed to police misallocations, because the fee calculus cannot do the entire job. This paper shows that this premise is mistaken ...


Book Review: Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth, Barbara A. Noah Jan 2006

Book Review: Tom Baker's The Medical Malpractice Myth, Barbara A. Noah

Faculty Scholarship

The Author reviews THE MEDICAL MALPRACTICE MYTH by Tom Baker, published by University of Chicago Press, 2005. Baker’s book confronts the idea that medical malpractice litigation is exploding and underserving plaintiffs and that their attorneys receive unjustified rewards while physicians struggle under the burden of high costs. The book strives to debunk the various aspects of this myth and offers directions for reform. Throughout the book, Baker very effectively connects the legal arguments and the insurance and litigation data to his broader points about the politics of tort reform. Baker’s style is concise, lively, and very readable. He ...