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Spring 2014 - Smnr: Mega-Settlements

Baker, Lynn A

Course ID: 397S  Unique # 30150  Credit Hours: 3
Meeting DaysTimesLocation
   Monday 3:45 pm - 5:35 pm JON 6.203
Exam Type   Date   Time      Name Range   Room  
  Paper      
Registration Information
This course is restricted to upper division students only.

Description
This seminar will examine the evolution, future, and unique problems posed by the "mega-settlement" in modern American law.  Over the past 30 years, American courts and lawyers have been increasingly challenged by the special difficulties presented by the litigation of mass torts, such as those involving the BP oil spill, Vioxx, the diet drug Fen-Phen, asbestos, and the 9/11 attacks.  The high-stakes, multibillion dollar settlements of nationwide litigation involving thousands of plaintiffs have forced attorneys (for both the plaintiffs and defendants) and the courts to rethink notions of individual justice, and the zealous and ethical representation of clients.  Some of the topics to be covered include:  the variety of structures for resolving mass tort litigation, including the "quasi-class action"; the changing role of the court and the proper limits on judicial power; ethical issues confronting attorneys (for both plaintiffs and defendants); how best to compensate attorneys (for both plaintiffs and defendants); and various proposals for reform.

Pre-requisites:  Professional Responsibility, which may be taken during the same semester.

Requirements:  Research paper and several short "response" papers on the weekly reading assignment.

Related Course Areas
Textbooks
Lawyer Barons: What Their Contingency Fees Really Cost America - Brickman
  Cambridge, edition: 2011
  ISBN: 9780521189491   (required)
Mass Torts in a World of Settlement - Nagareda
  Univ. of Chicago Press, edition: 2007
  ISBN: 9780226567600   (required)
Individual Justice in Mass Tort Litigation - Weinstein
  Northwestern Univ. Press, edition: 1995
  ISBN: 0810111888   (required)
Agent Orange on Trial - Schuck
  Harvard Univ. Press, edition: Enlarged 1987
  ISBN: 0674010264   (required)
Risks, Reputations, and Rewards - Kritzer
  Stanford Univ. Press, edition: 2004
  ISBN: 0804749671   (required)
Who Gets What: Fair Compensation after Tragedy and Financial Upheaval - Feinberg
  Public Affairs, edition: 2012
  ISBN: 1586489771   (required)