The 'Reshapement' of the False Negative Asymmetry in Toxic Tort Causation
William Mitchell Law Review, Vol. 37, page 1507, 2011
75 Pages Posted: 30 Mar 2011 Last revised: 23 Oct 2012
Date Written: March 28, 2011
Legal decision-making entails the possibility of error, and legal rules may preferentially create a higher risk of one type of error than another. In toxic tort causation disputes, much legal doctrine implicitly prefers to risk false negative errors -- incorrectly rejecting questionable causal claims that are actually true -- over false positive errors -- incorrectly accepting causal claims that are actually false. This article explains how legal doctrines create that asymmetry, explores possible reasons for the asymmetry, and describes how the Third Restatement of Torts offers courts an opportunity to correct the asymmetry without sacrificing the truth-seeking objective of adjudication.
Keywords: tort, toxic tort, third restatement of torts, causation, false negative, toxic substances, cancer, admissibility, expert testimony, Daubert
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