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

By Peter H. Schuck | Go to book overview

1
Introduction: The Context of the Controversy

PETER H. SCHUCK

T ort law is the body of principles that determines when one who suffers personal injuries may shift that loss to another. Although this body of law has been considered a unified field for only a century or so, the principles themselves are of ancient vintage. Despite their antiquity, however, modern tort law is one of the most rapidly changing and controversial areas of American law.

In recent years, tort law has acquired a visibility, even notoriety, that would have been quite unthinkable only a quarter- century ago. Suddenly a subject of interest to a small, special-

____________________

PETER H. SCHUCK is the Simeon E. Baldwin Professor at Yale Law School, where he has taught since 1979. He practiced law in New York City from 1965 to 1968, was a "public interest" lawyer in Washington from 1971 to 1977, and served as deputy assistant secretary for planning and evaluation in the U.S. Department of Health, Education, and Welfare. He has authored many articles on a wide variety of legal and policy issues. Two of his recent books relate to tort liability: Suing Government ( Yale University Press, 1983) and Agent Orange on Trial ( Harvard University Press, enlarged ed., 1987).

-17-

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