Public Legislation and Private Contracts

in Mass Torts in a World of Settlement

Published by University of Chicago Press

Published in print October 2007 | ISBN: 9780226567600
Published online March 2013 | e-ISBN: 9780226567624 | DOI:
Public Legislation and Private Contracts

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This chapter introduces a brief taxonomy of the various peacemaking vehicles that have emerged. It then explains how the long-standing debate among tort scholars over risk-based claims helps to organize the thinking about developments in the post-Amchem Products, Inc. v. Windsor world. Additionally, it describes the limitations of the two most straightforward alternatives that have emerged: public legislation and private contracts. Bankruptcy has taken on greater prominence as a vehicle for peace. The post-Amchem period has witnessed a convergence of public and private approaches to the resolution of mass tort claims. The circumstances of the aftermath of terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001 diverged considerably from the circumstances that define the landscape for peacemaking with regard to most mass torts. The National Settlement Program (NSP) could not lock in the entire plaintiffs' bar, for new entrants and spin-offs could evade the constraints of firm-specific contracts.

Keywords: public legislation; private contracts; peacemaking; mass tort; bankruptcy; terrorist attacks; National Settlement Program

Chapter.  6951 words. 

Subjects: Company and Commercial Law

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