Curriculum Guide · Curriculum
The first-year Torts course provides a basic introduction to the three major areas of tort liability: intentional torts, negligence and strict liability. It also focuses on the tensions between the major goals of tort liability, deterrence and compensation.
The curriculum cluster on advanced torts builds upon this foundation by offering students an opportunity to delve in depth into some of the more controversial and important issues now facing the tort system. It also permits students to explore aspects of tort liability not covered in first-year Torts courses.
Professor Heidi Li Feldman teaches a three-credit course in Advanced Torts: Theory and Practice. The course includes an intensive survey of recent torts scholarship and examines the major theoretical issues raised by the literature. It looks at histories of modern tort law; efficiency analysis of tort problems; and tort liability, insurance, and tort reform. The course delves into three substantive areas of tort law -- mass toxic torts, workers accidents, and libel and defamation -- and considers these areas in a comparative context.
Products Liability and Safety furnishes an intensive look at one of the most disputed and dynamic areas of tort law, the responsibility of manufacturers and sellers for harm caused by unreasonably dangerous products. This course explores the relative institutional competence of the courts and regulatory agencies at regulating unsafe products.
The course in Mass Torts enables students to wrestle with specific issues that arise in product liability cases, as well as other areas of tort law. Disasters caused by mass-marketed products have given rise to problems such as how to develop procedures to handle mass-tort claims fairly and efficiently and how to do justice to thousands of claimants, so that they can obtain adequate recovery for their injuries without exhausting sources of compensation. The mass tort has also made it necessary to explore ways of proving, in the context of the judicial process, the causal relationship between toxic exposures and harms sustained by claimants.
The institution of insurance is essential to the functioning of the tort system, and the course in Insurance Law provides students with a comprehensive understanding of not only liability insurance but also property, casualty, life and health insurance. It also takes up the tort liability of agents and brokers, and the liability of insurers for failing to settle tort claims.
The Class Action Law and Practice Seminar explores the emerging issues surrounding the class action device in a variety of contexts, including mass torts cases. The seminar covers all phases of a class action suit. The Complex Litigation Seminar: Perspectives on Federal Court Reform addresses several issues related to tort law, including proposals to reform punitive damages, joint and several liability and multi-district tort litigation.
Full-time and Visiting Faculty:
Advanced Torts: Constitutional Torts
Class Action Law and Practice
Public Interest Advocacy: Government Regulation of Tobacco and Personal-Care Products