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Full-Text Articles in Law

Tort Law And Civil Recourse, Mark A. Geistfeld Apr 2021

Tort Law And Civil Recourse, Mark A. Geistfeld

Michigan Law Review

A Review of Recognizing Wrongs. by John C.P. Goldberg and Benjamin C. Zipursky.


The Ragged Edge Of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft And The Personalization Of Social Harm, Matthew Fritz-Mauer Apr 2021

The Ragged Edge Of Rugged Individualism: Wage Theft And The Personalization Of Social Harm, Matthew Fritz-Mauer

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Every year, millions of low-wage workers suffer wage theft when their employers refuse to pay them what they have earned. Wage theft is both prevalent and highly impactful. It costs individuals thousands each year in unpaid earnings, siphons tens of billions of dollars from low-income communities, depletes the government of necessary resources, distorts the competitive labor market, and causes significant personal harm to its victims. In recent years, states and cities have passed new laws to attack the problem. These legal changes are important. They are also, broadly speaking, failing the people they are supposed to protect.

This Article fills …


Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg Jan 2021

Sovereign Immunity And Interstate Government Tort, Louise Weinberg

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

This paper argues that the Supreme Court made a serious mistake last term, when, in a case of interstate government tort, it tore up useful options that should be available to each state for the rare cases in which they would be of service. In seeking to insulate a state from liability when its employee intrudes on a sister state’s territory and causes injury there, the Court stripped every state of power, in cases of interstate government tort, to try injuries occurring on its own territory to its own residents—an unprecedented disregard of a state’s acknowledged traditional interests. Indeed, the …


Calculating Compensation Sums For Private Law Wrongs: Underlying Imprecisions, Necessary Questions, And Toward A Plausible Account Of Damages For Lost Years Of Life, Michael Pressman May 2020

Calculating Compensation Sums For Private Law Wrongs: Underlying Imprecisions, Necessary Questions, And Toward A Plausible Account Of Damages For Lost Years Of Life, Michael Pressman

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The ubiquitous corrective-justice goals of “making a party whole” or “returning a party to the position she was in” are typically understood in monetary terms, and in this context, it is fairly clear what these terms mean. If, as this Article argues, these corrective-justice goals should instead be understood in terms of something that has intrinsic value, such as happiness, various imprecisions come to the fore. This Article identifies and explores these imprecisions and, in so doing, articulates a novel framework that can be used for understanding and systematizing our approach to private law remedies. This is the Article’s first …


Saliency, Anchors & Frames: A Multicomponent Damages Experiment, Bernard Chao Jan 2019

Saliency, Anchors & Frames: A Multicomponent Damages Experiment, Bernard Chao

Michigan Technology Law Review

Modern technology products contain thousands, sometimes hundreds of thousands, of different features. Nonetheless, when electronics manufacturers are sued for patent infringement, these suits typically accuse only one feature, or in more complex suits, a handful of features, of actual patent infringement. But damages verdicts often do not reflect the relatively small contribution an individual patent makes to an infringing product. One study observed that verdicts in these types of cases average 9.98% of the price of the entire product. While both courts and commentators have blamed the law of patent damages, the role cognitive biases play in these outsized damages …


Policing Corporate Conduct Toward Minority Communities: An Insurance Law Perspective On The Use Of Race In Calculating Tort Damages, Dhruti J. Patel Jan 2019

Policing Corporate Conduct Toward Minority Communities: An Insurance Law Perspective On The Use Of Race In Calculating Tort Damages, Dhruti J. Patel

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Courts commonly use U.S. Department of Labor actuarial tables, which explicitly take into account the race of the tort victim, to determine average national wage, work-life expectancy, and life expectancy. This practice has led to wide discrepancies between average damage awards for minority plaintiffs compared to white plaintiffs even if both plaintiffs are similarly situated. While recent legal scholarship criticizes the use of race-based tables and addresses the Equal Protection and incentive concerns such tables present, few courts have deviated from the explicit use of race in determining tort damages.

Though the use of demographic features, such as race, to …


Punishment But Not A Penalty? Punitive Damages Are Impermissible Under Foreign Substantive Law, Paul A. Hoversten Mar 2018

Punishment But Not A Penalty? Punitive Damages Are Impermissible Under Foreign Substantive Law, Paul A. Hoversten

Michigan Law Review

It is a well-established principle that no court applies the penal laws of another sovereign. But what exactly is a penal law? According to Judge Cardozo, a penal law effects “vindication of the public justice” rather than “reparation to one aggrieved.” Although courts have historically treated punitive damages as a purely civil remedy, that attitude has shifted over time. Modern American punitive damages serve not to compensate the plaintiff but to punish the defendant on behalf of the whole community. Therefore, when courts rely on foreign substantive law to impose punitive damages, they arguably violate the well-established principle that no …


Products Liability And The Internet Of (Insecure) Things: Should Manufacturers Be Liable For Damage Caused By Hacked Devices?, Alan Butler Jun 2017

Products Liability And The Internet Of (Insecure) Things: Should Manufacturers Be Liable For Damage Caused By Hacked Devices?, Alan Butler

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

While the application of products liability to insecure software is a frequently-discussed concept in academic literature, many commentators have been skeptical of the viability of such claims for several reasons. First, the economic loss doctrine bars recovery for productivity loss, business disruption, and other common damages caused by software defects. Second, the application of design defects principles to software is difficult given the complexity of the devices and recent tort reform trends that have limited liability. Third, the intervening cause of damage from insecure software is typically a criminal or tortious act by a third party, so principles of causation …


Show Me The Money: Determining A Celebrity’S Fair Market Value In A Right Of Publicity Action, Cody Reaves Mar 2017

Show Me The Money: Determining A Celebrity’S Fair Market Value In A Right Of Publicity Action, Cody Reaves

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

As the power of celebrity continues to grow in the age of social media, so too does the price of using a celebrity’s name and likeness to promote a product. With the newfound ease of using Twitter, Facebook, and even print media to use a celebrity’s identity in conjunction with a product or company, right of publicity concerns arise. When a company uses a celebrity’s name and likeness without the celebrity’s authorization to market or sell a product, companies open themselves up to right of publicity suits. Many of these cases settle out of court. But when these cases do …


It Is Time For Washington State To Take A Stand Against Holmes's Bad Man: The Value Of Punitive Damages In Deterring Big Business And International Tortfeasors, Jackson Pahlke Nov 2016

It Is Time For Washington State To Take A Stand Against Holmes's Bad Man: The Value Of Punitive Damages In Deterring Big Business And International Tortfeasors, Jackson Pahlke

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

In Washington State, tortfeasors get a break when they commit intentional torts. Instead of receiving more punishment for their planned bad act, intentional tortfeasors are punished as if they committed a mere accident. The trend does not stop in Washington State—nationwide, punitive damage legislation inadequately deters intentional wrongdoers through caps and outright bans on punitive damages. Despite Washington State’s one hundred and twenty-five year ban on punitive damages, it is in a unique and powerful position to change the way courts across the country deal with intentional tortfeasors. Since Washington has never had a comprehensive punitive damages framework, and has …


A Day In Court For Data Breach Plaintiffs: Preserving Standing Based On Increased Risk Of Identity Theft After Clapper V. Amnesty International Usa, Thomas Martecchini Jun 2016

A Day In Court For Data Breach Plaintiffs: Preserving Standing Based On Increased Risk Of Identity Theft After Clapper V. Amnesty International Usa, Thomas Martecchini

Michigan Law Review

Following a data breach, consumers suffer an increased risk of identity theft because of the exposure of their personal information. Limited protection by data-breach statutes has made it difficult for consumers to seek compensation for these injuries and penalize the companies that fail to protect their information, leading consumers to bring common law claims in court. Yet courts have disagreed about whether an increased risk of identity theft qualifies as an injury-in-fact under Article III standing principles: the Seventh and Ninth Circuits have approved of increased risk standing, while the Third Circuit has rejected it. The Supreme Court has further …


Making A Buck While Making A Difference, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein May 2016

Making A Buck While Making A Difference, Alphonse A. Gerhardstein

Michigan Journal of Race and Law

It is not right for children to die before their parents. It is not right for peaceful, unarmed citizens to die at the hands of the police. In my civil rights practice, I have met many mothers, fathers, and family members who are struggling to recover after a law enforcement officer caused the death of their loved one. Sure, they want fair compensation. But money does little to reduce their loss or make the grief more bearable. They often want to do something that will ensure that their loved one did not die in vain. They want to prevent other …


Too Many Cooks In The Climate Change Kitchen: The Case For An Administrative Remedy For Damages Caused By Increased Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, Benjamin Reese May 2015

Too Many Cooks In The Climate Change Kitchen: The Case For An Administrative Remedy For Damages Caused By Increased Greenhouse Gas Concentrations, Benjamin Reese

Michigan Journal of Environmental & Administrative Law

Recent federal and state court decisions have made clear that federal common law claims against emitters of greenhouse gases are not sustainable; however, those same courts seem to have given state common law tort claims the green light, at least if the claims are brought in the state where the polluters are located. This Note contends that such suits are not an adequate remedy for those injured by climate change because they will face nearly insurmountable barriers in state court, and because there are major policy-level drawbacks to relying on state tort law rather than a federal solution. This Note …


Copyright And The Vagueness Doctrine, Bradley E. Abruzzi Feb 2012

Copyright And The Vagueness Doctrine, Bradley E. Abruzzi

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Constitution's void-for-vagueness doctrine is itself vaguely stated. The doctrine does little to describe at what point vague laws-other than those that are entirely standardless-become unconstitutionally vague. Rather than explore this territory, the Supreme Court has identified three collateral factors that affect its inclination to invalidate a law for vagueness: (1) whether the law burdens the exercise of constitutional rights, (2) whether the law is punitive in nature, and (3) whether the law overlays a defendant-protective scienter requirement. Measured against these factors, copyright law does not meet the vagueness doctrine's minimum requirement of fair notice to the public. Copyright, by …


Improving Patent Notice And Remedies: A Critique Of The Ftc's 2011 Report, Alan Devlin Jan 2012

Improving Patent Notice And Remedies: A Critique Of The Ftc's 2011 Report, Alan Devlin

Michigan Telecommunications & Technology Law Review

2011 was an eventful year for those interested in patent law. In March, the Federal Trade Commission ("FTC") released a report that urges the Patent and Trademark Office ("PTO") and courts to remedy perceived inadequacies underlying the U.S. patent system. The FTC observes that people of skill in the art routinely encounter difficulty in determining the meaning, and hence exclusive scope, of a patent's claims. Not only does this failure of notice stymie the efficient dispersion of technology throughout the economy, the FTC argues, but the judicial process can aggravate the problem by granting inappropriate remedies in patent-infringement cases. Then, …


Unfit For Prime Time: Why Cable Television Regulations Cannot Perform Trinko's 'Antitrust Function', Keith Klovers Dec 2011

Unfit For Prime Time: Why Cable Television Regulations Cannot Perform Trinko's 'Antitrust Function', Keith Klovers

Michigan Law Review

Until recently, regulation and antitrust law operated in tandem to safeguard competition in regulated industries. In three recent decisions-Trinko, Credit Suisse, and Linkline-the Supreme Court limited the operation of the antitrust laws when regulation "performs the antitrust function." This Note argues that cable programming regulations-which are in some respects factually similar to the telecommunications regulations at issue in Trinko and Linkline-do not perform the antitrust function because they cannot deter anticompetitive conduct. As a result, Trinko and its siblings should not foreclose antitrust claims for damages that arise out of certain cable programming disputes.


The Federal Common Law Of Vicarious Fiduciary Liability Under Erisa, Colleen E. Medill Feb 2011

The Federal Common Law Of Vicarious Fiduciary Liability Under Erisa, Colleen E. Medill

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

The Employee Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 ("ERISA"), the federal law that regulates employer-sponsored benefit plans, has a rich history of judiciallycreated federal common law. This Article explores the theoretical, policy, statutory, and stare decisis grounds for the development of another area offederal common law under ERISA-the incorporation of respondeat superior liability principles to impose ERISA fiduciary liability ("vicarious fiduciary liability") upon a corporation for the fiduciary activities of its employees or agents. The Article proposes that the federal courts should adopt a federal common law rule of vicarious fiduciary liability under ERISA based on the traditional scope of …


The "Enlightened Barbarity" Of Inclusive Fitness And Wrongful Death: Biological Justifications For An Investment Theory Of Loss In Wycko V. Gnodtke, Ryan Shannon Dec 2010

The "Enlightened Barbarity" Of Inclusive Fitness And Wrongful Death: Biological Justifications For An Investment Theory Of Loss In Wycko V. Gnodtke, Ryan Shannon

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Wrongful death laws should permit and encourage courts and juries to consider the survivors' investment in decedents when determining wrongful death damages, given new biological justifications for this theory of loss. The investment theory of damages, which permits an award of damages based on the investment of financial resources relatives make in one another, originated in Michigan's courts in the early 1 960s, but as of present day has been largely abrogated. In the context of modern understandings of evolutionary biology, including kin selection theory and sociobiology, the investment theory of recovery accords with the goals of corrective justice as …


Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Burden Of Proof In Wrongful Conviction Claims Under State Compensation Statutes, Daniel S. Kahn Oct 2010

Presumed Guilty Until Proven Innocent: The Burden Of Proof In Wrongful Conviction Claims Under State Compensation Statutes, Daniel S. Kahn

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Despite significant efforts to uncover and prevent wrongful convictions, little attention has been paid to the compensation of wrongfully convicted individuals once they are released from prison. State compensation statutes offer the best path to redress because they do not require the claimant to prove that the state was at fault for the wrongful conviction and because they are not susceptible to the same political influences as other methods of compensation. However, even under compensation statutes, too many meritorious claims are dismissed, settled for far too little, or never brought in the first place. After examining the current statutory framework, …


Comfortably Numb: Medicalizing (And Mitigating) Pain-And-Suffering Damages, Lars Noah Dec 2009

Comfortably Numb: Medicalizing (And Mitigating) Pain-And-Suffering Damages, Lars Noah

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Among the compensatory damages that a plaintiff may recover in tort litigation, awards for pain and suffering have attracted the most attention. Attorneys, judges, legislators, and scholars from various disciplines long have struggled to measure and make sense of this aspect of compensation for tortiously caused injuries. With the steady expansion of what falls within the rubric of nonpecuniary damages and in the types of claims eligible for such awards, to say nothing of the growth in the absolute and relative size of this portion of compensatory awards, pain-and-suffering damages have become increasingly controversial.

Although it canvasses the competing arguments …


The Unintended Consequence Of Tort Reform In Michigan: An Argument For Reinstating Retailer Product Liability, Ashley L. Thompson Jul 2009

The Unintended Consequence Of Tort Reform In Michigan: An Argument For Reinstating Retailer Product Liability, Ashley L. Thompson

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Tort reform became an important issue during the 1994 Congressional Campaign as part of the Republican Party's "Contract with America. "Since then, many federal and state laws have attempted to reduce both liability and recovery in tort actions. In 1996, Michigan passed the Tort Reform Act, encompassing many drastic changes to state tort law. One provision of the Act, § 294 7, scaled back liability against non-manufacturing retailers in product liability actions. The Michigan Supreme Court interpreted the exceptions of the law narrowly and the prohibition broadly, essentially barring recovery from retailers. Since 1996, this provision has prevented victims injured …


Fault In Contract Law, Eric A. Posner Jun 2009

Fault In Contract Law, Eric A. Posner

Michigan Law Review

A promisor is strictly liable for breaching a contract, according to the standard account. However, a negligence-based system of contract law can be given an economic interpretation, and this Article shows that such a system is in some respects more attractive than the strict-liability system. This may explain why, as a brief discussion of cases shows, negligence ideas continue to play a role in contract decisions.


Why Breach Of Contract May Not Be Immoral Given The Incompleteness Of Contracts, Steven Shavell Jun 2009

Why Breach Of Contract May Not Be Immoral Given The Incompleteness Of Contracts, Steven Shavell

Michigan Law Review

There is a widely held view that breach of contract is immoral. I suggest here that breach may often be seen as moral, once one appreciates that contracts are incompletely detailed agreements and that breach may be committed in problematic contingencies that were not explicitly addressed by the governing contracts. In other words, it is a mistake generally to treat a breach as a violation of a promise that was intended to cover the particular contingency that eventuated.


An Information Theory Of Willful Breach, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar Jun 2009

An Information Theory Of Willful Breach, Oren Bar-Gill, Omri Ben-Shahar

Michigan Law Review

Should willful breach be sanctioned more severely than inadvertent breach? Strikingly, there is sharp disagreement on this matter within American legal doctrine, in legal theory, and in comparative law. Within law-and-economics, the standard answer is "no "-breach should be subject to strict liability. Fault should not raise the magnitude of liability in the same way that no fault does not immune the breaching party from liability. In this paper, we develop an alternative law-and-economics account, which justifies supercompensatory damages for willful breach. Willful breach, we argue, reveals information about the "true nature" of the breaching party-that he is more likely …


Could Breach Of Contract Be Immoral?, Seana Shiffrin Jun 2009

Could Breach Of Contract Be Immoral?, Seana Shiffrin

Michigan Law Review

Some scholars defend the contract law's ban on punitive damage awards on the grounds that breach of contract, in itself, is not morally wrong. In this Article, I offer two responses. First, I refute one prevalent argument of Steven Shavell's in support of this view. Shavell argues that contractual breach is not immoral in those cases in which the legal regime would offer expectation damages because the contracting parties would not have agreed to require performance had they explicitly deliberated about the circumstances occasioning the breach. I criticize his argument for failing to justify this hypothetical-contract approach and, in any …


Foreword: Fault In American Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, Ariel Porat Jun 2009

Foreword: Fault In American Contract Law, Omri Ben-Shahar, Ariel Porat

Michigan Law Review

The basic rule of liability in tort law is fault. The basic rule of liability in contract law is no fault. This is perhaps one of the most striking divides within private law, the most important difference between the law of voluntary and nonvoluntary obligations. It is this fault line (speaking equivocally) that the present Symposium explores. Is it a real divide-two opposite branches of liability within private law-or is it merely a rhetorical myth? How can it be justified? As law-and-economics scholars, this fault/no-fault divide between contract and tort is all the more puzzling. In law and economics, legal …


The Tort Of Betrayal Of Trust, Caroline Forell, Anna Sortun May 2009

The Tort Of Betrayal Of Trust, Caroline Forell, Anna Sortun

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Fiduciary betrayal is a serious harm. When the fiduciary is a doctor or a lawyer, and the entrustor is a patient or client, this harm frequently goes unremedied. Betrayals arise out of disloyalty and conflicts of interest where the lawyer or doctor puts his or her interest above that of his or her client or patient. They cause dignitary harm that is different from the harm flowing from negligent malpractice. Nevertheless, courts, concerned with overdeterrence, have for the most part refused to allow a separate claim for betrayal. In this Article, we suggest that betrayal deserves a remedy and propose …


The Appropriations Power And Sovereign Immunity, Paul F. Figley, Jay Tidmarsh May 2009

The Appropriations Power And Sovereign Immunity, Paul F. Figley, Jay Tidmarsh

Michigan Law Review

Discussions of sovereign immunity assume that the Constitution contains no explicit text regarding sovereign immunity. As a result, arguments about the existence-or nonexistence-of sovereign immunity begin with the English and American common-law doctrines. Exploring political, fiscal, and legal developments in England and the American colonies in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries, this Article shows that focusing on common-law developments is misguided. The common-law approach to sovereign immunity ended in the early 1700s. The Bankers' Case (1690- 1700), which is often regarded as the first modern common-law treatment of sovereign immunity, is in fact the last in the line of English …


"One Of The Dirty Secrets Of American Corrections": Retaliation, Surplus Power, And Whistleblowing Inmates, James E. Robertson May 2009

"One Of The Dirty Secrets Of American Corrections": Retaliation, Surplus Power, And Whistleblowing Inmates, James E. Robertson

University of Michigan Journal of Law Reform

Retaliation is deeply engrained in the correctional office subculture; it may well be in the normative response when an inmate files a grievance, a statutory precondition for filing a civil rights action. This Article, the first to address comprehensively the sociological and constitutional aspects of retaliation, argues for protecting grievants through safeguards much like those accorded whistleblowers. Part I of the Article provides a socio-legal primer on correctional officer retaliation by addressing the frequency of retaliation, its causes, and its constitutional taxonomy. Part II describes the elements of a prima facie case of unconstitutional retaliation under § 1983. Part III …


When Is A Willful Breach "Willful"? The Link Between Definitions And Damages, Richard Craswell Jan 2009

When Is A Willful Breach "Willful"? The Link Between Definitions And Damages, Richard Craswell

Michigan Law Review

The existing literature on willful breach has not been able to define what should count as "willful." I argue here that any definition we adopt has implications for just how high damages should be raised in those cases where a breach qualifies as willful. As a result, both of these issues-the definition of "willful," and the measure of damages for willful breach-need to be considered simultaneously. Specifically, if a definition of "willful" excludes all breachers who behaved efficiently, then in theory we can raise the penalty on the remaining inefficient breachers to any arbitrarily high level ("throw the book at …