Torts- Calhoun- Fall 2006- Anonymous- Grade B+

Torts- Calhoun- Fall 2006- Anonymous- Grade B+ - I...

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I. INTRODUCTION – PURPOSE OF TORT LAW TERMS OF ART Should have known  – “reasonable person ” standard – common sense based observation, when circumstantial evidence  conveys a conclusion Reason to know –  not mere inference, but sufficient knowledge that would lead to a conclusion as a matter of fact  (inferences are inescapable) Knew  – first-hand knowledge PURPOSE AND GOALS OF TORT LAW Govern standards of behavior Compensate P for unreasonable harm caused by D -  provides access to a system of damages (ex. punitive) that help  restore the P to place before harm caused by D o Shifting of costs through the judicial process o This also brings about incentives for Ds to think about cost of behavior – deterrence effect Shifting the burden of costs to those who can afford them (deep pockets theory, insurance) THEORIES OF TORT LAW Instrumentalists v. Non-Instrumentalists o INSTRUMENTALIST     Rules serve a greater social purpose – Look at rules of tort law as a way to achieve a certain societal  goal Asks the question – How do we want people to behave? Hope is to reduce # of future lawsuits and lower transaction costs but also worries about over-deterrence from excessive punishment Doesn’t just look at this P v. D – thinks about broad social impact Rules should have a purpose! LAW + ECONOMICS Efficient allocation of resources Maximize the total wealth in society by deterring wasteful injuries and accidents  Choices have a cost  o correct choices maximize social wealth o resources are reallocated when wrong choices are made 3 types of costs     : injury, costs after injury, transaction costs  CALABRESI      – Goal of tort law is to reduce the # and severity of accidents cost/benefit analysis done with regards to behavior goal of the “reasonable person standard” is not to over-deter; we want people to make choices  based on the cost/benefit analysis Calabresi wants rules that: o Primary  - reduce the cost of accidents by reducing the # and severity forbid certain activities make certain activities more expensive o Secondary –  reduce the societal cost of accidents reduce the cost of accidents by placing the cost on those who can best bear  the burden
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figure out a way to distribute the cost of damage/injuries in a way that least  impacts society o Lastly –  reduce transaction costs and minimize litigation General v. Specific Deterrence  o NON-INSTRUMENTALIST     Primarily concerned with fairness Looks to punish wrongdoers
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