Tort Theory

What is the point of tort law? The course will begin by examining three answers to this question. One answer (Prosser's) is that tort law aims to deter and to compensate; the second answer (Law and Economics) says that tort law is an attempt to achieve efficient loss allocation; the third answer (Corrective Justice Theory) argues that tort law's function is to do justice by forcing a wrongdoer to restore an injured party to her or his rightful position. We will then apply those models to current controversies in tort law, such as limits on punitive damage awards and pain and suffering awards; market share liability and other deviations from third parties; federal versus state law in torts, procedural and substantive issues in mass tort litigation (e.g., asbestos, breast implant, tobacco industry); gender and race issues in calculation of damage awards. The readings will combine case law, legal scholarship, and legislative materials. We will also examine critical reflections on tort law within philosophy, history, economics, and feminist theory.
Type: SEM