… For tort law and, consequently, for the procedural law that effectuates it, that future seemed imminent but never arrived. This Essay tells the story in three parts. The first part describes the growth of three phenomena that are relevant to understanding the idea of a mass tort class action: the advent of modern products liability, the development of law and economics theories of tort, and the improving science of epidemiology. The second part describes how, through the class action device, formal procedural law initially incorporated some of these new ideas into litigated cases but ultimately rejected them. The third part describes how the rejection of risk-based tort doctrine has led to the incorporation of those ideas into litigation in informal ways that seem to be just as powerful as the formal procedural law.
Alexandra D Lahav, Mass Tort Class Actions – Past, Present, And Future, New York University Law Review 92:998 (October 2017).