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Toxic Torts

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Limited Enrollment - 3rd Year Priority
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Course Description

Over the past few decades, courts have been grappling with cases involving individual exposures to toxic and hazardous substances. The underlying theme throughout the law of toxic torts is how the law allocates the environmental and health risks that are the byproduct of our highly industrialized society. In this course, we will study topics which have their roots in familiar areas of the law but have applications that are unique to the area of toxic torts. These topics include: the torts that are most often used in toxic torts; the evidentiary rules governing the admissibility of scientific evidence; the procedural mechanisms, such as class actions, used to adjudicate issues affecting large numbers of people; and whether certain remedies, such as the creation of a medical monitoring fund or compensation for the risk of future disease, are appropriate. We also will examine whether the courts are the appropriate body to decide how to allocate environmental and health risks. We will look at the roles of the legislature, regulatory bodies and bankruptcy courts in toxic torts cases and attempts to create alternative compensation schemes.