Chapter

Government as Plaintiff

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: http://dx.doi.org/10.7208/chicago/9780226567624.003.0010
Government as Plaintiff

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This chapter concentrates on litigation by the government to recover the additional increment of expenditures from the public fisc said to be caused by a defendant industry's wrongful conduct. It explains why the idea of the government as plaintiff points the law of mass torts down a blind alley. In tobacco litigation, government reimbursement suits are more properly described as mass restitution actions than as mass torts per se. Government reimbursement litigation against the firearms industry produced the opposite result from tobacco: plenty of doctrinal testing and no settlement. The chapter then draws upon the Master Settlement Agreement (MSA) to show what is problematic about government reimbursement litigation more generally. The impact of the MSA was to increase cigarette prices for a discrete political minority within each state comprised of persons who do not exactly elicit great sympathy from the electorate at large.

Keywords: litigation; government; plaintiff; mass torts; tobacco; reimbursement; firearms industry; Master Settlement Agreement

Chapter.  14716 words. 

Subjects: Company and Commercial Law

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