SMNR: Mega-Settlements

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Meeting Times

Day Time Location
MON 3:45 - 5:35 pm JON 6.203

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Type Date Time Location


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.

Textbooks ( * denotes required )

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


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