The Racial Implications of Tort Reform

27 Pages Posted: 31 May 2011

See all articles by Joanne Doroshow

Joanne Doroshow

The Center for Justice and Democracy

Amy Widman

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School

Date Written: 2007

Abstract

Whether discussing the impact of typical tort reform proposals or the broad rhetoric used to support restrictions on legal rights, racial prejudice lurks behind the tort reform movement. Some connections to race appear to be part of a deliberate public relations effort, while others are not so apparent. However, it is clear that these pervasive connections are often obscured by less offensive arguments that allow some tort reform proponents to mask a racially discriminatory agenda. This Article examines some of the ways racial issues have been deliberately concealed by the rhetoric of the “tort reform” movement, and how tort reform proposals will have a disparate impact on racial and ethnic minorities. In particular, it analyzes some of the pillars of the tort reform movement: attacks on the medical malpractice system, limits on non-economic damages, class actions, and political attacks against the jury system. It also examines specific cases involving hate crimes and environmental justice, illustrating the importance of the tort system in furthering racial justice.

Suggested Citation

Doroshow, Joanne and Widman, Amy, The Racial Implications of Tort Reform (2007). Washington University Journal of Law and Policy, Vol. 25, p. 161, 2007, Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1856036

Joanne Doroshow

The Center for Justice and Democracy ( email )

New York, NY
United States

Amy Widman (Contact Author)

Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey - Rutgers Law School ( email )

Newark, NJ

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