Technology & Torts: A Theory of Memory Costs, Nondurable Precautions and Interference Effects

20 Pages Posted: 17 Jul 2008 Last revised: 12 Nov 2012

See all articles by Ben Depoorter

Ben Depoorter

UC Hastings Law; Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society; Ugent - CASLE

Jef De Mot

Ghent University - Faculty of Law

Date Written: July 17, 2008

Abstract

This Article examines the influence of nondurable precaution technologies on the expansion of tort awards. We provide four contributions to the literature. First, we present a general, formal model on durable and non-durable precaution technology that focuses on memory costs. Second, because liability exposure creates interference, we argue that tort law perpetuates the expansion of awards. Third, because plaintiffs do not consider the social costs of interference effects, private litigation induces socially excessive suits. Fourth, while new harm-reducing technologies likely increase accident rates, such technologies also raise the ratio of trial costs to harm, leaving undetermined the overall effect of new technologies on the rate of litigation.

Keywords: tort law, tort award, precaution, technology

JEL Classification: D72, F02, K34

Suggested Citation

Depoorter, Ben and De Mot, Jef, Technology & Torts: A Theory of Memory Costs, Nondurable Precautions and Interference Effects (July 17, 2008). University of Miami Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2008-37, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1162106 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1162106

Ben Depoorter (Contact Author)

UC Hastings Law ( email )

200 McAllister Street
San Francisco, CA 94102
United States

Stanford Law School Center for Internet & Society ( email )

559 Nathan Abbott Way
Stanford, CA 94305-8610
United States

Ugent - CASLE ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4
Belgium

Jef De Mot

Ghent University - Faculty of Law ( email )

Universiteitstraat 4
Ghent, B-9000
Belgium

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