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Upside Down? Terrorists, Proprietors, and Civil Responsibility for Crime Prevention in the Post-9/11 Tort-Reform World

63 Pages Posted: 5 May 2008 Last revised: 13 Mar 2009

Ellen M. Bublick

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law

Date Written: March 2009

Abstract

In the 1993 World Trade Center bombing case a New York jury was asked to apportion liability among all potentially responsible actors. The jury apportioned responsibility for the devastation as follows - terrorists 32%, Port Authority of New York and New Jersey 68%. The Port Authority was twice as responsible for the devastation as were the terrorists themselves. Public bewilderment, even outrage, over the jury's verdict has been palpable. But what if the jurors' verdict was correct?

In this article, Professor Bublick argues that the problem with the World Trade Center apportionment is not the particular jury verdict, but rather the tort-reform-produced state apportionment law that, in a minority of jurisdictions including New York, asks juries to divide responsibility between these negligent and intentional tortfeasors. Consequently, the paper argues that courts should avoid all or at least certain intentional-negligent responsibility comparisons. However, the paper then discusses courts' second-best position - to uphold all jury apportionments, even those that assign greater, or perhaps far greater, responsibility to negligent than intentional parties.

Keywords: torts, liability apportionment, negligent tortfeasors, intentional tortfeasors, juries

Suggested Citation

Bublick, Ellen M., Upside Down? Terrorists, Proprietors, and Civil Responsibility for Crime Prevention in the Post-9/11 Tort-Reform World (March 2009). 41 Loyola of Los Angeles Law Review 1483 (2008); Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No. 08-10. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1128414

Ellen M. Bublick (Contact Author)

University of Arizona - James E. Rogers College of Law ( email )

James E. Rogers College of Law
1201 E. Speedway
Tucson, AZ 85721-0176
United States
(520) 621-5600 (Phone)
(520) 621-9140 (Fax)

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