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108 - Torts (4 hours)

This course examines the circumstances in which courts will shift loss from those who have suffered harm to their person, property, reputation, or psyche to those who have been involved in causing that harm. It is limited to civil (non-criminal) cases that are not typically based on mutual promises made by parties to a contract. The primary focus is on accidental injuries that cause physical harm where negligence or fault is the predominant liability standard, although intentional torts such as assault and battery as well as strict liability (no-fault) may be covered. Justifications for the law imposing liability, both philosophic and economic, are also considered. Procedural aspects, including the respective roles of judge and jury and difficulties of proof, which are central to tort law in the U.S., are raised continuously throughout the semester. Consideration of appropriate liability schemes for new technology, such as autonomous vehicles, may be included.