When All Else Fails: Regulating Risky Products Through Tort Litigation

51 Pages Posted: 17 May 2006  

Wendy E. Wagner

University of Texas at Austin – School of Law; University of Texas at Austin – Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business

Abstract

It is the prevailing wisdom among both the legal academy and the general public that the regulatory system is better able to ensure the safety of risky products than the tort system. In this article I argue that this is not always the case. Contrary to sharp criticisms of regulation by litigation propounded by leading academics such as Richard Epstein, Richard Reich, and Peter Schuck, tort litigation is sometimes the only way to encourage product safety, at least in settings where manufacturers conceal key information needed to evaluate product safety. Without this litigation, we might still be using products that we know now are exceedingly dangerous.

Keywords: torts, regulation, institutions, toxic products, environment, health

JEL Classification: I18, K32

Suggested Citation

Wagner, Wendy E., When All Else Fails: Regulating Risky Products Through Tort Litigation. Georgetown Law Journal, Forthcoming; U of Texas Law, Public Law Research Paper No. 99. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=902412

Wendy E. Wagner (Contact Author)

University of Texas at Austin – School of Law ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

University of Texas at Austin – Kay Bailey Hutchison Center for Energy, Law & Business ( email )

727 East Dean Keeton Street
Austin, TX 78705
United States

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