Saturday, October 6, 2018

Tort Museum

I heard an interesting interview with Ralph Nader on Marketplace Morning Report about the The American Museum of Tort Law, which he founded. The museum is dedicated to educating the public about the benefits of tort litigation and trial by jury.

In the interview, Nader makes a strong case for the social benefit of litigation, both individual and class action. Even in cases where virtually all the money goes to the lawyers, Nader believes that the end result is a reduction in harm to society.

I do not actually disagree with Nader in general. Automobiles, medications, and consumer products are just a few of the areas where litigation has resulted in consumer benefit. But let's not be naive. There are also many, many cases of litigation where the point is not to benefit society but to essentially extort money for the lawyers. Litigation is expensive. Often it is much cheaper to pay a settlement even if you are in the right than it is to defend yourself.

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