‘Rethinking Tort Liability for Suicides’

Alex B Long, Abolishing the Suicide Rule, 113 Northwestern University Law Review 767 (2019). Suicide has become an important public-health problem, leading Alex Long to revisit the unduly neglected question of whether tort law should recognize wrongful-death actions for cases in which the defendant’s tortious conduct caused the victim to commit suicide. After describing the increasingly worrisome trends – suicide is now the tenth leading cause of death in the country – Long insightfully constructs the historical, religious, and sociological motivations embedded in the tort doctrines, labeled the ‘suicide rule’ by one jurisdiction, that ordinarily bar recovery for suicides. ‘Tort law’s historical treatment of cases involving suicide represents a combination of society’s traditionally negative views regarding suicide and tort law’s traditional concerns with foreseeability and expanding liability in cases involving emotional injury’ … (more)

[Mark Geistfeld, JOTWELL, 25 April]

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