Law and Contemporary Problems

A quarterly law journal publishing issues devoted to papers on a particular topic of contemporary interest. Topics usually reflect an interdisciplinary perspective with contributions by lawyers, economists, social scientists, scholars in other disciplines

Articles from Vol. 64, No. 4, Autumn

Assessing Causation in Breast Implant Litigation: The Role of Science Panels
LAURAL L. HOOPER [*] JOE S. CECIL [**] THOMAS E. WILLGING [***] I INTRODUCTION While the idea of court-appointed experts has been supported by individuals concerned with the courts' ability to assess scientific and technical evidence,...
Causation and the Law: Preemption, Lawful Sufficiency, and Causal Sufficiency
RICHARD FUMERTON [*] KEN KRESS [**] I INTRODUCTION Richard Wright's attempt to distinguish actual causation from proximate causation, and to analyze actual causation--particularly in tort law--has been the most successful and influential...
Causation, Contribution, and Legal Liability: An Empirical Study
LAWRENCE M. SOLAN [*] JOHN M. DARLEY [**] I INTRODUCTION This article presents empirical evidence of the ways people compare judgments of liability with judgments of causation and contribution. Specifically, the article reports the results...
Culture and Causality: Non-Western Systems of Explanation
WILLIAM M. O'BARR [*] I INTRODUCTION Leave it to an anthropologist to claim that the scientific reasoning on which modern Western society depends is just another of the many systems humans have developed to explain the way things work. As...
Of Cherries, Fudge, and Onions: Science and Its Courtroom Perversion
DAVID W. PETERSON [*] JOHN M. CONLEY [**] I INTRODUCTION The Supreme Court's decisions in Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, Inc.[1] General Electric Co. v. Joiner,[2] and Kumho Tire Co., Ltd. v. Carmichael[3] (the "Daubert trilogy")...
Rationalism and Empiricism in Modern Medicine
WARREN NEWTON [*] I INTRODUCTION About ten years ago, after fellowships and clinical experience in a community setting, I had my first experience as a ward attending in a university hospital. [1] We were working with cardiac patients, and...
Scientific Ignorance and Reliable Patterns of Evidence in Toxic Tort Causation: Is There a Need for Liability Reform?
CARL F. CRANOR [*] DAVID A. EASTMOND [**] I INTRODUCTION The U.S. Supreme Court, urged on by legal scholars, affected industries, a number of lower court decisions, and some in the scientific community, has instituted substantial evidentiary...
Scientific Models of Human Health Risk Analysis in Legal and Policy Decisions
DOUGLAS CRAWFORD-BROWN [*] I INTRODUCTION Scientists working in the fields of law or policy faced with risk-based decisions find themselves in very different positions epistemologically than those in the routine practice of science. First,...
The Admissibility of Differential Diagnosis Testimony to Prove Causation in Toxic Tort Cases: The Interplay of Adjective and Substantive Law
JOSEPH SANDERS [*] JULIE MACHAL-FULKS [**] I INTRODUCTION In E.I. du Pont de Nemours & Co., Inc. v. Robinson, [1] the Texas Supreme Court adopted an interpretation of the rules concerning the admissibility of expert testimony nearly...
The Relation between Counterfactual ("but for") and Causal Reasoning: Experimental Findings and Implications for Jurors' Decisions
BARBARA A. SPELLMAN [*] ALEXANDRA KINCANNON [**] I INTRODUCTION People often try to discover the causes of the events around them: Why did their child behave a certain way? Why did their football team lose? Why does their computer crash...
The Swine Flu Vaccine and Guillain-Barre Syndrome: A Case Study in Relative Risk and Specific Causation
DAVID A. FREEDMAN [*] PHILIP B. STARK [**] I INTRODUCTION This article discusses the role of epidemiologic evidence in toxic tort cases, focusing on relative risk. If a relative risk is above 2.0, can we infer specific causation? Relative...
Too Many Probabilities: Statistical Evidence of Tort Causation
DAVID W. BARNES [*] I INTRODUCTION Judges and lawyers first encountering statistical evidence want to believe that scientific standards are tougher than legal standards. A court will reject an assumption that there is no causal connection...