How do courts root themselves in traditional tort principles and policies and also develop tort common law in ways that befit contemporary values? This essay argues that judges should weave classic tort aims of harm prevention and redress with contemporary norms of equality of persons, to provide a fuller accounting to people foreseeably risked and harmed by projects undertaken for financial gain. In essence, common law courts must re-ask the crucial question of who is a neighbor in a shrinking world in which risks and consequences can be traced somewhat farther. The article commends a few recent decisions that compel legal regard for a broader cohort of injured people and promote care for their wellbeing. It also encourages scholars to engage more deeply with the state court decisions that determine tort law’s reach.
Bublick, Ellen M, Tort Common Law Future: Preventing Harm and Providing Redress to the Uncounted Injured (March 28, 2022), Journal of Tort Law (forthcoming 2022), Arizona Legal Studies Discussion Paper No 22-06.