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The Easy Case for Products Liability: A Response to Professors Polinsky and Shavell


John C. P. Goldberg


Harvard Law School

Benjamin C. Zipursky


Fordham University School of Law


Harvard Law Review, Vol. 123
Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1577653

Abstract:     
In their article “The Uneasy Case for Product Liability,” Professors Polinsky and Shavell assert the extraordinary claim that there should be no tort liability - none at all - for injuries caused by widely-sold products. In particular, they claim to have found convincing evidence that the threat of tort liability creates no additional incentives to safety beyond those already provided by regulatory agencies and market forces, and that tort compensation adds little or no benefit to injury victims beyond the compensation already provided by various forms of insurance. In this response, we explain that, even on its own narrow terms, “Uneasy,” comes nowhere near to demonstrating what it purports to demonstrate. We also identify various “benefits” provided by tort liability for product-related injuries that Polinsky and Shavell entirely fail to consider. In fact, the case for some form of products liability - whether fault-based or defect-based - is really quite easy.

Number of Pages in PDF File: 29

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Date posted: March 24, 2010 ; Last revised: April 26, 2010

Suggested Citation

Goldberg, John C. P. and Zipursky, Benjamin C., The Easy Case for Products Liability: A Response to Professors Polinsky and Shavell. Harvard Law Review, Vol. 123; Fordham Law Legal Studies Research Paper No. 1577653. Available at SSRN: http://ssrn.com/abstract=1577653

Contact Information

John C. P. Goldberg (Contact Author)
Harvard Law School ( email )
Areeda 232
1545 Massachusetts Ave
Cambridge, MA 02138
United States
617-496-2086 (Phone)
Benjamin C. Zipursky
Fordham University School of Law ( email )
140 West 62nd Street
New York, NY 10023
United States
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