Mass Torts in a World of Settlement

By Richard A. Nagareda | Go to book overview
Save to active project

CHAPTER X
GOVERNMENT AS
PLAINTIFF

The preceding chapters reveal how the peacemaking process in mass tort litigation has come to operate as a rival regime of governance. If peacemaking involves a kind of governance, then one might think that the law would be better off by having the government undertake the litigation that leads to peace negotiations. The government, after all, is in the business of making difficult trade-offs and distilling competing considerations into public policy. This chapter explains why the idea of the government as plaintiff points the law of mass torts down a blind alley. Walking down blind alleys is not necessarily a pointless activity, but its value lies chiefly in enabling one to discern other, more productive paths to travel. So, too, with the idea of the government as plaintiff, as I shall explain.

The focus here is on a significant innovation that has come to stand side by side with tort suits on behalf of private claimants, whether on an individual or an aggregate basis. The 1990s saw the rise of government reimbursement litigation—that is, lawsuits brought by the government at the federal, state, or local level to achieve two intertwined goals: (1) to recover the additional increment of expense to the public fisc alleged to stem from some manner of wrongdoing by the defendant industry in the past, and (2) to bring about changes in the ways that industry markets its products, so as to advance public health and safety in the future. The premise of government reimbursement litigation typically is that the underlying product will remain on the market in some form, not disappear entirely.

In 1998, government reimbursement litigation brought by the vast majority of state attorneys general on behalf of their respective governments led to the largest civil settlement in history: the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA), under which the major firms in the tobacco industry shall

-183-

Notes for this page

Add a new note
If you are trying to select text to create highlights or citations, remember that you must now click or tap on the first word, and then click or tap on the last word.
Loading One moment ...
Project items
Notes
Cite this page

Cited page

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited page

Bookmark this page
Mass Torts in a World of Settlement
Settings

Settings

Typeface
Text size Smaller Larger
Search within

Search within this book

Look up

Look up a word

  • Dictionary
  • Thesaurus
Please submit a word or phrase above.
Print this page

Print this page

Why can't I print more than one page at a time?

While we understand printed pages are helpful to our users, this limitation is necessary to help protect our publishers' copyrighted material and prevent its unlawful distribution. We are sorry for any inconvenience.
Full screen
/ 325

matching results for page

Cited passage

Style
Citations are available only to our active members.
Sign up now to cite pages or passages in MLA, APA and Chicago citation styles.

Cited passage

Welcome to the new Questia Reader

The Questia Reader has been updated to provide you with an even better online reading experience.  It is now 100% Responsive, which means you can read our books and articles on any sized device you wish.  All of your favorite tools like notes, highlights, and citations are still here, but the way you select text has been updated to be easier to use, especially on touchscreen devices.  Here's how:

1. Click or tap the first word you want to select.
2. Click or tap the last word you want to select.

OK, got it!

Thanks for trying Questia!

Please continue trying out our research tools, but please note, full functionality is available only to our active members.

Your work will be lost once you leave this Web page.

For full access in an ad-free environment, sign up now for a FREE, 1-day trial.

Already a member? Log in now.

Are you sure you want to delete this highlight?