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Tort Wars


  • Page extent: 260 pages
  • Size: 228 x 152 mm
  • Weight: 0.53 kg
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 (ISBN-13: 9780521897037)

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$92.00 (P)

Tort Wars brings together the diverse and usually insufficiently related strands of tort law and treats the moral, economic, and systemic problems running through those strands with a single analysis and theory. In that tort law employs theory at all, it is typically theory measured against notions of corrective justice or appeals to utility. Both have severe prescriptive restrictions and limited explanatory power and often stray from any useful description of tort cases in the courts. Tort Wars looks at the nature of dispute resolution techniques, criticizes the blasé justice and more esoteric utility theory, and examines the problems of both the legal academy and the veracity vacuum in the courtroom. Further, it explores the conceptual differences between tort and contract, locating contract as a subset of tort. It uses examples drawn from the edges of tort law in an attempt to measure central cases by the marginal ones and to provide a barometer of emerging legal and social change, achieved through imposing an individualized peace.


1. Digesting torts: an explanation; 2. Discovering tort law; 3. Schoolyard spats; 4. Fighting words; 5. Tort encounters contract; 6. War without the war; 7. Once and future battlefields.


“Joel Levin's Tort Wars is an insightful account of the connection between the current kulturkampf about torts on the one hand and the deep philosophical and social structures of the tort field. In an area of law dominated by polemic, it is refreshing and illuminating to have this incisive and graceful analysis.”
--Marc Galanter, Professor Emeritus, University of Wisconsin- Madison; Centennial Professor, Department of Law, London School of Economics

Tort Wars is a thought provoking analysis of our tort system from its historical roots to its present status. The author identifies current tensions on and within the system identifying its spillover into other substantive areas of law. While the tort system has manifold flaws, Levin points out how it achieves its goal of “peace” with significant societal benefits. This is an important book for litigators, other practicing attorneys, academics in law schools and other who teach in related fields as well as policy makers who have a serious interest in the state of our civil justice system and the recently enacted “reforms” and proposals for change at the state and federal levels.”
--Eugene I. Pavalon, Partner, Pavalon, Gifford & Laatsch, Past President of ATLA (Association of Trial Lawyers of America) and the Roscoe Pound Foundation

“Joel Levin's Tort Wars is a well written and fun read through the recent tort wars. Referencing legal cases and the legal philosophy literature, he proposes a pluralistic, political approach to ending the contentious tort debate. Peace will come to this area of conflict, he argues, when advocates cease being quite so doctrinaire in their views. Practitioners and theorists alike will enjoy and be challenged by his presentation.”
--Carl Cranor, University of California, Riverside, Author of Toxic Torts: Science Law, and the Possibility of Justice

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