Toxic Torts

Science, Law and the Possibility of Justice

  • By Carl F. Cranor

  • Publisher: Cambridge University Press

    Online Publication Date:January 2010

    Online ISBN:9780511617713

    Hardback ISBN:9780521861823

    Paperback ISBN:9780521728409

  • Book DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1017/CBO9780511617713

    Subjects: Jurisprudence

The U.S. tort, or personal injury law, cloaked behind increased judicial review of science, is changing before our eyes, except we cannot see it. U.S. Supreme Court decisions beginning with Daubert v. Merrell-Dow Pharmaceutical altered how courts review scientific testimony and its foundation in the law. The complexity of both science and the law mask the overall social consequences of these decisions. Yet they are too important to remain hidden. Mistaken reviews of scientific evidence can decrease citizen access to the law, increase incentives for firms not to test their products, lower deterrence for wrongful conduct and harmful products, and decrease the possibility of justice for citizens injured by toxic substances. Even if courts review evidence well, greater judicial scrutiny increases litigation costs and attorney screening of clients, and decreases citizens' access to the law. This book introduces these issues, reveals the relationships that can deny citizens just restitution for harms suffered, and shows how justice can be enhanced in toxic tort cases.


 Reviews:

"Carl Cranor has achieved the almost impossible goal of a learned, readable, and exciting book on the torturous interactions between law and science in tort litigation. For a scientist, his analysis of case law in this field is exceptionally informative and provocative."
--Ellen K. Silbergeld, PhD, Professor, Environmental Health Sciences, Johns Hopkins University, Bloomberg School of Public Health


"Cranor's insightful discussions of science and law as it is seen by the Courts in toxic tort litigation is a "must read" for scientists in toxicology, epidemiology, and pharmacology."
---Eula Bingham PhD, Professor, College of Medicine, University of Cincinnati


"Toxic Torts is a powerful dissection of the use of science in our system of justice. Professor Cranor has written an important book that examines why most victims of toxic exposures never receive the compensation they deserve."
---David Michaels, PhD, MPH, Director,The Project on Scientific Knowledge and Public Policy, and Research Professor and Associate Chairman, Department of Environmental and Occupational Health, The George Washington University School of Public Health and Health Services


"Carl Cranor's exceptionally lucid analysis of science in regulation and litigation reveals brilliantly why circumstantial evidence currently can convict a dangerous person but not a toxic chemical."
--Sheldon Krimsky, Professor. Department of Urban & Environmental Policy & Planning, Tufts University


"This highly sophisticated examination of science's role in toxic tort litigation is presented so clearly that even a lay reader can comprehend the impact the courts' views on science are having on everyday lives."
Margaret A. Berger, Suzanne J. and Norman Miles Professor of Law, Brooklyn Law School


"This is a work of scholarship, dealing with the interactions of law and science in relation to personal injury litigation...The author’s disquisitions on the disciplines of epidemiology, statistics, and toxicology, and on their limitations, are instructive for lawyers and legislators who require to wrestle with scientific evidence and expert opinions, while his exposition of legal principles will inform the scientist. This book commends itself to all of their bookshelves, after first being read."
--- MORRIS GREENBERG, MB, FRCP, FFOM


"Toxic Torts makes a substantial contribution to the ongoing debate concerning the admissibility of expert witness testimony and its role in proving causation in toxic tort suits...Researchers and scientists will also come away from reading the book with a greater understanding of how the judicial system incorporates their work into its quest to make justice, perhaps encouraging “greater acceptance of legal decisions in the scientifc community [and] greater scientifc participation in the legal system.”79"
—Devin Brennan


"TOXIC TORTS is an excellent book, filled with keen observations about the science/law interaction, the epistemic structure of scientific inquiry, the norms and conventions which regulate the community of researchers, and the special difficulties faced by the torts [*108] system in obtaining justice and deterring malfeasance in toxic tort cases."
--- Andrew T. Hayashi, Department of Economics and Boalt Hall School of Law, University of California, Berkeley


"...his analysis is always informed and sophisticated."
---DLF


"...Toxic Torts deserves the attention of judges, lawyers, and legal scholars...compelling and timely...an insightful and important addition to the literature..."
---David S. Caudill, Jurimetrics [Summer 2009]


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