MASS TORTS SEMINAR
(LAWK-4006) - 3 UNITS
Civil litigation in the federal courts, and increasingly in the state courts, is dominated by mass tort cases, such as Agent Orange, asbestos, Dalkon Shield, breast implant, and tobacco, to name only a few of the most prominent examples. These cases involve tremendous transactions costs, both in terms of the cost of the cases themselves, and the costs - tangible and intangible - to the civil justice system. This seminar will explore various - often competing - aspects of the mass tort litigation phenomenon, including the ethical problems involving lawyers for plaintiffs and defendants, the media and the judiciary; valuing claims; protecting individuals? due process rights; promoting efficient resolution of cases; and protecting federalism values. The course also will provide a review of the civil procedure rules relevant to the resolution of mass tort cases. Students will be engaged in role playing exercises including preparing memoranda on various legal and strategic issues that arise during the various phases of mass tort litigation, negotiation sessions and court conferences. There will be no final examination. Instead of a single scholarly research paper, grades will be based on student performance in classroom discussion, role playing exercises, and the memoranda they write for internal purposes or for the court.