Tort Law and the Public Interest: Competition, Innovation, and Consumer Welfare

By Peter H. Schuck | Go to book overview

Preface

T he United States has traditionally pioneered advances in medicine, science, and industry. Innovation and research in these fields have allowed this country to provide its people and the people of other nations with a steadily improving quality of life. In recent years, however, pioneers in medicine, science, and industry have faced an increasing potential for tort liability arising from the introduction of new products, technologies, and procedures. Some authorities feel that this is having a chilling effect on progress and on this country's ability to maintain its competitive edge in the world market. At the same time, the threat of tort liability has undoubtedly had a therapeutic effect on the quality and safety of products developed over the past several decades. Tort remedies have also allowed citizens who have been injured through the use of defective products to seek redress.

The great controversy swirling around the effects of tort law on the process of scientific and technical innovation, the competitiveness of American industry, and the safety and wellbeing of consumers has emerged as a major concern of this nation. Inherent in this controversy is the larger debate over

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