This course examines the issues arising in mass tort litigation such as tobacco, asbestos, and silicone breast implants. Initially, the course explores the tension between aggregate procedure and litigant autonomy, as well as ethical dilemmas arising in mass tort practice. The course then assesses attempts to adjudicate mass torts through the class action rule, consolidation, multidistrict litigation procedure, and preclusion doctrine.
The course also examines the effect of mass tort litigation on tort law doctrines such as the problems of indeterminate plaintiffs, indeterminate defendants, joint liability, causation and use of scientific evidence, and aggregate damages. In addition, the course addresses choice-of-law problems implicated in mass tort litigation.
The course concludes with a brief consideration of alternatives to the litigation of mass torts. Course assignments include writing and oral advocacy.
Prerequisites: Torts (170), Civil Procedure I (115A), and Civil Procedure II (115B).