February 16, 2004

Thrower Symposium to focus on tort reform

By Stephanie Stinn

Successes, failures and possible changes to the current tort system will be examined from various legal angles during this year's Thrower Symposium, to be held Thursday, Feb. 19, in the School of Law's Tull Auditorium.

Specifically, legal scholars and practitioners will discuss the myth and reality of large-scale jury awards; tort reform's impact on women; justifications for a no-fault system; and lessons learned from the World Trade Center Victims Compensation Fund.

Stephen Daniels and Joanne Martin, both senior research fellows at Northwestern University's American Bar Foundation and faculty associates in the Center for Legal Studies, will present "The 'Strange' Success of Tort Reform." The two have written extensively on civil justice, and both share research interests in plaintiff law with an emphasis on the impact of tort reform on lawyers' practices.

Additional topics and presenters include:

"The Hidden Victims of Tort Reform: Women, Children and the Elderly," by Lucinda Findley of University of Buffalo, State University of New York.

"Why Do So Many Experts Flunk Torts?" by Jeffrey O'Connell, University of Virginia.

"Punitive Damages in Practice," by Neil Vidmar, Duke University Law School.

"The Blockbuster Punitive Damage Awards," by Kip Viscusi, Harvard University Law School.

"The Future of Tort Reform: Possible Lessons From the World Trade Center Victims' Compensation Fund," by Linda Mullenix, University of Texas School of Law.

Each discussion will include commentary from Emory legal scholars, including Anita Bernstein, the first Sam Nunn Professor of Law; Paul Rubin, Samuel Candler Dobbs Professor of Economics and Law; Frank Vandall, professor of law; Chilton Varner, an Emory alumna ('76L) and trustee since 1995; and Paul Zwier, professor of law and director of Advocacy Programs.

The event, which is free and open to the public, will run from 9 a.m.-4:30 p.m. Five continuing legal education (CLE) credits are available for $5 per credit. Registration will begin at 8 a.m. on the day of the program, but those seeking CLE credits are strongly encouraged to pre-register. For more information, call 440-727-6831.