SMNR: Mega-Settlements

This seminar will examine the evolution, future, and unique problems posed by the "mega-settlement" in modern American law. Over the past 30 years, American courts and lawyers have been increasingly challenged by the special difficulties presented by the litigation of mass torts, such as those involving the BP oil spill, Vioxx, the diet drug Fen-Phen, asbestos, and the 9/11 attacks. The high-stakes, multibillion dollar settlements of nationwide litigation involving thousands of plaintiffs have forced attorneys (for both the plaintiffs and defendants) and the courts to rethink notions of individual justice, and the zealous and ethical representation of clients. Some of the topics to be covered include: the variety of structures for resolving mass tort litigation, including the "quasi-class action"; the changing role of the court and the proper limits on judicial power; ethical issues confronting attorneys (for both plaintiffs and defendants); how best to compensate attorneys (for both plaintiffs and defendants); and various proposals for reform. Pre-requisites: Professional Responsibility, which may be taken during the same semester. Requirements: Research paper and several short "response" papers on the weekly reading assignment.

Class Details

Meeting Days Time Location
Monday 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 6.203
Exam Type Date Time Alpha Range Room
Paper

Additional Information

Course Type

Textbooks

  • Lawyer Barons: What Their Contingency Fees Really Cost America - Brickman
      Cambridge , edition: 2011
      ISBN: 9780521189491   (required)
  • Mass Torts in a World of Settlement - Nagareda
      Univ. of Chicago Press , edition: 2007
      ISBN: 9780226567600   (required)
  • Individual Justice in Mass Tort Litigation - Weinstein
      Northwestern Univ. Press , edition: 1995
      ISBN: 0810111888   (required)
  • Agent Orange on Trial - Schuck
      Harvard Univ. Press , edition: Enlarged 1987
      ISBN: 0674010264   (required)
  • Risks, Reputations, and Rewards - Kritzer
      Stanford Univ. Press , edition: 2004
      ISBN: 0804749671   (required)
  • Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval - Feinberg
      Public Affairs , edition: 2012
      ISBN: 1586489771   (required)