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LAW Beyond the Common Law: Tort Reform and Tort Alternatives

Litigation/ADR: Tort Litigation

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Regulatory & Policy
Litigation/ADR
Tort Litigation

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LAW 563

Beyond the Common Law: Tort Reform and Tort Alternatives

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[ Regulatory & Policy ] Litigation/ADR: Tort Litigation

Why it is relevant for ...

[ Regulatory & Policy ] as a Related Elective for those interested in Public Policy : Students anticipating a career in litigation should be familiar with the recent history of tort reform, including the variety of state laws limiting plaintiffs’ incentives to seek relief in court. You will also benefit from this course if you expect to advise clients whose businesses carry a risk of causing harm, or if you are interested in policy reform initiatives in these areas.

General course Description:

In the past century, tort law has been under sustained attack. The attacks have generally taken one of three broad forms. First, some have sought to jettison the common law in favor of alternative compensation schemes-an effort that culminated in the widespread adoption of workers' compensation in the early years of the last century, the scattered adoption of no-fault automobile compensation plans in the 1970s, and the creation of the September 11th and BP Compensation Funds. Second, in recent decades, most states have enacted their own "tort reform" initiatives. Rather than upsetting core tort doctrine, much of this legislation has instead chiseled away at damages and limited plaintiffs' incentives to seek relief. Among other things, states have capped contingency fees, limited noneconomic recoveries, and abrogated traditional joint and several liability and collateral source rules. Finally, the United States Supreme Court has itself moved to limit tort's scope, imposing constitutional limits on punitive damages and granting broad preemptive effect to agency actions. Using a mix of case law, case studies, and scholarly analysis, the seminar will assess the theoretical justifications and practical effects of these disparate efforts to limit the common law.

Course Style: A Substantive/ Perspective course looks at law from an external or non-traditional standpoint.

Course Frequency: Offered once a year

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