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Reconceptualizing Strict Liability in Tort: An Overview


Martin A. Kotler


Widener University - School of Law

January 1, 1997

Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 50, 1997

Abstract:     
Commonly, strict liability in tort is understood as doctrine that serves to impose liability based on the fact that the defendant caused the plaintiff’s harm, regardless of the culpability of the defendant's conduct. This Article takes issue with that view and seeks to reconceptualize strict liability as doctrine which, like negligence, assesses the culpability of the defendant's conduct. Negligence, however, judges the defendant’s conduct by comparing it the norms of behavior of the social group of which the defendant is a member. In contrast, strict liability assesses the defendant's conduct by comparing it to the norms of behavior of that social group of which the plaintiff is a member.

Thus, in informed consent cases when the physician's conduct is judged under a reasonable patient standard or in products liability cases when a manufacturer is judged under a reasonable consumer standard, we are dealing with what this Article labels "behavioral strict liability."

Number of Pages in PDF File: 57

Keywords: torts, tort law, strict liability

JEL Classification: K13

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Date posted: May 9, 2009  

Suggested Citation

Kotler, Martin A., Reconceptualizing Strict Liability in Tort: An Overview (January 1, 1997). Vanderbilt Law Review, Vol. 50, 1997. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1401505

Contact Information

Martin A. Kotler (Contact Author)
Widener University - School of Law ( email )
4601 Concord Pike
P.O. Box 7286
Wilmington, DE 19803-0474
United States
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