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Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker Jan 2021

Uncertainty > Risk: Lessons For Legal Thought From The Insurance Runoff Market, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Insurance ideas inform legal thought: from tort law, to health law and financial services regulation, to theories of distributive justice. Within that thought, insurance is conceived as an ideal type in which insurers distribute determinable risks through contracts that fix the parties’ obligations in advance. This ideal type has normative appeal, among other reasons because it explains how tort law might achieve in practice the objectives of tort theory. This ideal type also supports a restrictive vision of liability-based regulation that opposes expansions and supports cutbacks, on the grounds that uncertainty poses an existential threat to insurance markets.

Prior work ...


Compensation, Commodification, And Disablement: How Law Has Dehumanized Laboring Bodies And Excluded Nonlaboring Humans, Karen M. Tani Jan 2021

Compensation, Commodification, And Disablement: How Law Has Dehumanized Laboring Bodies And Excluded Nonlaboring Humans, Karen M. Tani

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay reviews Nate Holdren's Injury Impoverished: Workplace Accidents, Capitalism, and Law in the Progressive Era (Cambridge University Press, 2020), which explores the changes in legal imagination that accompanied the rise of workers' compensation programs. The essay foregrounds Holdren’s insights about disability. Injury Impoverished illustrates the meaning and material consequences that the law has given to work-related impairments over time and documents the naturalization of disability-based exclusion from the formal labor market. In the present day, with so many social benefits tied to employment, this exclusion is particularly troubling.


How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver Jan 2019

How Liability Insurers Protect Patients And Improve Safety, Tom Baker, Charles Silver

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Forty years after the publication of the first systematic study of adverse medical events, there is greater access to information about adverse medical events and increasingly widespread acceptance of the view that patient safety requires more than vigilance by well-intentioned medical professionals. In this essay, we describe some of the ways that medical liability insurance organizations contributed to this transformation, and we catalog the roles that those organizations play in promoting patient safety today. Whether liability insurance in fact discourages providers from improving safety or encourages them to protect patients from avoidable harms is an empirical question that a survey ...


Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival Jan 2018

Could Official Climate Denial Revive The Common Law As A Regulatory Backstop?, Mark P. Nevitt, Robert Percival

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Trump Administration is rapidly turning the clock back on climate policy and environmental regulation. Despite overwhelming, peer-reviewed scientific evidence, administration officials eager to promote greater use of fossil fuels are disregarding climate science. This Article argues that this massive and historic deregulation may spawn yet another wave of legal innovation as litigants, including states and their political subdivisions, return to the common law to protect the health of the planet. Prior to the emergence of the major federal environmental laws in the 1970s, the common law of nuisance gave rise to the earliest environmental decisions in U.S. history ...


Bruised Soul Of The Artist: A Tribute To Sheldon W. Halpern, Anita L. Allen Jan 2017

Bruised Soul Of The Artist: A Tribute To Sheldon W. Halpern, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In an unusual case, Scottish-born painter Peter Doig was accused of wrongfully denying the authenticity of a painting he insisted he did not paint, to the financial detriment of the work’s owner. Doig won the case against him, which commenced in 2013 and continued for three years. United States District Judge Gary Feinerman ultimately ruled that the evidence presented in a week-long trial proved “conclusively” that Doig did not paint the plaintiff owner’s painting. The case raised concerns about whether a living artist should ever be required by law to authenticate a work of art ascribed to him ...


Protecting One's Own Privacy In A Big Data Economy, Anita L. Allen Dec 2016

Protecting One's Own Privacy In A Big Data Economy, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Big Data is the vast quantities of information amenable to large-scale collection, storage, and analysis. Using such data, companies and researchers can deploy complex algorithms and artificial intelligence technologies to reveal otherwise unascertained patterns, links, behaviors, trends, identities, and practical knowledge. The information that comprises Big Data arises from government and business practices, consumer transactions, and the digital applications sometimes referred to as the “Internet of Things.” Individuals invisibly contribute to Big Data whenever they live digital lifestyles or otherwise participate in the digital economy, such as when they shop with a credit card, get treated at a hospital, apply ...


Preemption In The Rehnquist And Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis, Michael Greve, Jonathan Klick, Michael A. Petrino, J. P. Sevilla Jan 2016

Preemption In The Rehnquist And Roberts Courts: An Empirical Analysis, Michael Greve, Jonathan Klick, Michael A. Petrino, J. P. Sevilla

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article presents an empirical analysis of the Rehnquist Court’s and the Roberts Court’s decisions on the federal (statutory) preemption of state law. In addition to raw outcomes for or against preemption, we examine cases by subject-matter, level of judicial consensus, tort versus regulatory preemption, party constellation, and origin in state or federal court. We present additional data and analysis on the role of state amici and of the U.S. Solicitor General in preemption cases, and we examine individual justices’ voting records. Among our findings, one stands out: over time and especially under the Roberts Court, lawyerly ...


A Curious Motion: The Uncertain Role Of Anti-Slapp Statutes In Federal Courts, Markus A. Brazill Jan 2016

A Curious Motion: The Uncertain Role Of Anti-Slapp Statutes In Federal Courts, Markus A. Brazill

Prize Winning Papers

No abstract provided.


Medicare Secondary Payer And Settlement Delay, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jul 2015

Medicare Secondary Payer And Settlement Delay, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The Medicare Secondary Payer Act of 1980 and its subsequent amendments require that insurers and self-insured companies report settlements, awards, and judgments that involve a Medicare beneficiary to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. The parties then may be required to compensate CMS for its conditional payments. In a simple settlement model, this makes settlement less likely. Also, the reporting delays and uncertainty regarding the size of these conditional payments are likely to further frustrate the settlement process. We provide results, using data from a large insurer, showing that, on average, implementation of the MSP reporting amendments led to ...


Compensating The Victims Of Japan’S 3-11 Fukushima Disaster, Eric A. Feldman Jan 2015

Compensating The Victims Of Japan’S 3-11 Fukushima Disaster, Eric A. Feldman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Japan’s March 2011 triple disaster—first a large earthquake, followed by a massive tsunami and a nuclear meltdown—caused a devastating loss of life, damaged and destroyed property, and left hundreds of thousands of people homeless, hurt, and in need. This article looks at the effort to address the financial needs of the victims of the 3/11 disaster by examining the role of public and private actors in providing compensation, describing the types of groups and individuals for whom compensation is available, and analyzing the range of institutions through which compensation has been allocated. The story is in ...


Liability Insurer Data As A Window On Lawyers’ Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff Jan 2015

Liability Insurer Data As A Window On Lawyers’ Professional Liability, Tom Baker, Rick Swedloff

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Using the best publicly available data on lawyers’ liability claims and insurance – from the largest insurer of large law firms in the U.S., the American Bar Association’s Standing Committee on Professional Liability, and a summary of large claims from a leading insurance broker–this article reports the frequency of lawyers’ liability claims, the distribution and cost of claims by type of practice, the disposition of claims, and lawyers liability insurance premiums from the early 1980s to 2013. Notable findings include remarkable stability over thirty years in the distribution of claims by area of practice among both small and ...


Catalogs, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein Mar 2014

Catalogs, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

It is a virtual axiom in the world of law that legal norms come in two prototypes: rules and standards. The accepted lore suggests that rules should be formulated to regulate recurrent and frequent behaviors, whose contours can be defined with sufficient precision. Standards, by contrast, should be employed to address complex, variegated, behaviors that require the weighing of multiple variables. Rules rely on an ex ante perspective and are therefore considered the domain of the legislator; standards embody a preference for ex post, ad-hoc, analysis and are therefore considered the domain of courts. The rules/standards dichotomy has become ...


An Empirical Analysis Of Cost Recovery In Superfund Cases: Implications For Brownfields And Joint And Several Liability, Howard F. Chang, Hilary Sigman Jan 2014

An Empirical Analysis Of Cost Recovery In Superfund Cases: Implications For Brownfields And Joint And Several Liability, Howard F. Chang, Hilary Sigman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Economic theory developed in the prior literature indicates that under the joint and several liability imposed by the federal Superfund statute, the government should recover more of its costs of cleaning up contaminated sites than it would under nonjoint liability, and the amount recovered should increase with the number of defendants and with the independence among defendants in trial outcomes. We test these predictions empirically using data on outcomes in federal Superfund cases. Theory also suggests that this increase in the amount recovered may discourage the sale and redevelopment of potentially contaminated sites (or “brownfields”). We find the increase to ...


Natural Law, Slavery, And The Right To Privacy Tort, Anita L. Allen Dec 2012

Natural Law, Slavery, And The Right To Privacy Tort, Anita L. Allen

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

In 1905 the Supreme Court of Georgia became the first state high court to recognize a freestanding “right to privacy” tort in the common law. The landmark case was Pavesich v. New England Life Insurance Co. Must it be a cause for deep jurisprudential concern that the common law right to privacy in wide currency today originated in Pavesich’s explicit judicial interpretation of the requirements of natural law? Must it be an additional worry that the court which originated the common law privacy right asserted that a free white man whose photograph is published without his consent in a ...


The Obligatory Structure Of Copyright Law: Unbundling The Wrong Of Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Jan 2012

The Obligatory Structure Of Copyright Law: Unbundling The Wrong Of Copying, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall Aug 2011

Rights-Based Theories Of Accident Law, Gregory J. Hall

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This article shows that extant rights-based theories of accident law contain a gaping hole. They inadequately address the following question: What justifies using community standards to assign accident costs in tort law?

In the United States, the jury determines negligence for accidental harm by asking whether the defendant met the objective reasonable person standard. However, what determines the content of the reasonable person standard is enigmatic. Some tort theorists say that the content is filled out by juries using cost benefit analysis while others say that juries apply community norms and conventions. I demonstrate that what is missing from this ...


The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker Feb 2011

The Shifting Terrain Of Risk And Uncertainty On The Liability Insurance Field, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Recent sociological and historical work suggests that insurance risks often are not reliably calculable, except in hindsight. Insurance is “an uncertain business,” characterized by competition for premiums that pushes insurers into the unknown. This essay takes some preliminary steps that extend this insight into the liability insurance field. The essay first provides a simple quantitative comparison of U.S. property and liability insurance premiums over the last sixty years, setting the stage to make three points: (1) liability insurance premiums have grown at a similar rate as property insurance premiums and GDP over this period, providing yet another piece of ...


Allowing Patients To Waive The Right To Sue For Medical Malpractice: A Response To Thaler And Sunstein, Tom Baker, Timothy D. Lytton Jan 2010

Allowing Patients To Waive The Right To Sue For Medical Malpractice: A Response To Thaler And Sunstein, Tom Baker, Timothy D. Lytton

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay critically evaluates Richard Thaler and Cass Sunstein’s proposal to allow patients to prospectively waive their rights to bring a malpractice claim, presented in their recent, much acclaimed book, Nudge: Improving Decisions about Health, Wealth and Happiness. We show that the behavioral insights that undergird Nudge do not support the waiver proposal. In addition, we demonstrate that Thaler and Sunstein have not provided a persuasive cost-benefit justification for the proposal. Finally, we argue that their liberty-based defense of waivers rests on misleading analogies and polemical rhetoric that ignore the liberty and other interests served by patients’ tort law ...


Assuming The Risk: Tort Law, Policy, And Politics On The Slippery Slopes, Eric Feldman, Alison I. Stein Jan 2010

Assuming The Risk: Tort Law, Policy, And Politics On The Slippery Slopes, Eric Feldman, Alison I. Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Prominent jurists and legal scholars have long been critical of the doctrine of the assumption of risk, arguing that it is logically flawed and has sown confusion in the courts. This article takes a fresh look at the assumption of risk by focusing on legal conflicts over ski accidents in three ski-intensive states—Vermont, Colorado, and California. It argues that the tort doctrine of the assumption of risk remains vital, and highlights the way in which powerful political and economic actors with links to the ski industry have lobbied aggressively for state laws that codify the assumption of risk. The ...


Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh Apr 2009

Foreseeability And Copyright Incentives, Shyamkrishna Balganesh

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Copyright law’s principal justification today is the economic theory of creator incentives. Central to this theory is the recognition that while copyright’s exclusive rights framework provides creators with an economic incentive to create, it also entails large social costs, and that creators therefore need to be given just enough incentive to create in order to balance the system’s benefits against its costs. Yet, none of copyright’s current doctrines enable courts to circumscribe a creator’s entitlement by reference to limitations inherent in the very idea of incentives. While the common law too relies on providing actors ...


The Relation Between Regulation And Class Actions: Evidence From The Insurance Industry, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Mar 2009

The Relation Between Regulation And Class Actions: Evidence From The Insurance Industry, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Standard law and economics models imply that regulation and litigation serve as substitutes. We test this by looking at the incidence of insurance class actions as a function of measures of regulatory enforcement. We also look specifically at whether states with clear regulatory standards regarding the use of OEM parts experience less litigation over this issue. We find no evidence of substitution between regulation and litigation. We also examine the possibility that litigation is more frequent in states where regulators are more likely to be captured by industry interests, finding no support for this hypothesis either. Instead, litigation is more ...


Law, Society, And Medical Malpractice Litigation In Japan, Eric Feldman Jan 2009

Law, Society, And Medical Malpractice Litigation In Japan, Eric Feldman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Liability Insurance At The Tort-Crime Boundary, Tom Baker Dec 2008

Liability Insurance At The Tort-Crime Boundary, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This essay explores how liability insurance mediates the boundary between torts and crime. Liability insurance sometimes separates these two legal fields, for example through the application of standard insurance contract provisions that exclude insurance coverage for some crimes that are also torts. Perhaps less obviously, liability insurance also can draw parts of the tort and criminal fields together. For example, professional liability insurance civilizes the criminal law experience for some crimes that are also torts by providing defendants with an insurance-paid criminal defense that provides more than ordinary means to contest the state’s accusations. The crime-tort separation in liability ...


Torts And Innovation, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein Oct 2008

Torts And Innovation, Gideon Parchomovsky, Alex Stein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

This Essay exposes and analyzes a hitherto overlooked cost of the current design of tort law: its adverse effect on innovation. Tort liability for negligence, defective products, and medical malpractice is determined by reference to custom. We demonstrate that courts’ reliance on custom and conventional technologies as the benchmark of liability chills innovation and distorts its path. Specifically, the recourse to custom taxes innovators and subsidizes replicators of conventional technologies. We explore the causes and consequences of this phenomenon and propose two possible ways to modify tort law in order to make it more welcoming to innovation.


The Effect Of Judicial Expedience On Attorney Fees In Class Actions, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick Jan 2007

The Effect Of Judicial Expedience On Attorney Fees In Class Actions, Eric Helland, Jonathan Klick

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

Judges facing exogenous constraints on their pecuniary income have an incentive to reduce their workload to increase their private welfare. In the face of an increase in caseload, this incentive will induce judges to attempt to terminate some cases more rapidly. In class action cases, failing to grant an attorney fee request will delay termination. This conflict is likely to lead judges to authorize higher fees as court congestion increases. Using two data sets of class action settlements, we show that attorney fees are significantly and positively related to the congestion level of the court hearing the case.


Offer-Of-Judgment Rules And Civil Litigation: An Empirical Study Of Automobile Insurance Litigation In The East, Tom Baker, Albert H. Yoon Jan 2006

Offer-Of-Judgment Rules And Civil Litigation: An Empirical Study Of Automobile Insurance Litigation In The East, Tom Baker, Albert H. Yoon

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Medical Malpractice And The Insurance Underwriting Cycle, Tom Baker Jan 2005

Medical Malpractice And The Insurance Underwriting Cycle, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Selling Mayberry: Communities And Individuals In Law And Economics, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman Jan 2004

Selling Mayberry: Communities And Individuals In Law And Economics, Gideon Parchomovsky, Peter Siegelman

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

The small village of Cheshire, Ohio was recently acquired in its entirety by the firm whose giant power plant, located at the edge of town, caused it serious pollution problems. Although the plant was worth substantially more than the town, this was not a simple Coasean bargain. This paper combines an ethnographic methodology with theoretical insights from law and economics to present an empirical and theoretic challenge to the standard account of nuisance disputes. We explore the transaction in detail and explain what prevented collective action and holdout problems that are usually thought to hinder bargaining with groups. Specifically, we ...


Is Risk A Harm?, Claire Oakes Finkelstein Jan 2003

Is Risk A Harm?, Claire Oakes Finkelstein

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.


Teaching Real Torts: Using Barry Werth's Damages In The Law School Classroom, Tom Baker Jul 2002

Teaching Real Torts: Using Barry Werth's Damages In The Law School Classroom, Tom Baker

Faculty Scholarship at Penn Law

No abstract provided.