Toxic Harms


Course Code:
LAW 280
Law Honors/Pass/R credit/Fail


This seminar will examine the concerns arising from exposure to toxic substances from a variety of perspectives. A principal focus will be tort liability, and a central theme in the course will be whether tort law is an effective method of compensating victims of toxic exposure and controlling the distribution and/or emission of toxic substances. In order to assess the efficacy of tort, it is essential to compare the liability system with alternatives such as restructured "public law" litigation, administrative compensation schemes, and regulatory control strategies. Moreover, it seems equally important that these options be grounded in a concrete understanding of the major current problem areas. To accomplish these aims, the course will focus on a number of specific present concerns, including tobacco, asbestos, anti-inflammatory drugs, and workplace emissions exposures. In each instance, we will look at the nature of the public health problem as well as ensuing tort litigation and regulatory activity. In addition to examining these distinctive problem areas, we will look at broader, cross-cutting institutional reform proposals that have received recent attention. Students in Section (01) will write three ten-page writing exercises on topics discussed in class. After the term begins, students accepted into the course can transfer from section (01) into section (02), and have the option to write a final independent research paper for Research credit, with instructor consent. Elements used in grading: Three ten-page writing exercises or final independent research paper. Early drop deadline.

Past Offerings

2014-2015 Winter

Toxic Harms LAW 280 Section 01 Class #29840

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Lottery 18
    • 1LJDOPEN

Notes: Open to First-Year JD Students.

Toxic Harms LAW 280 Section 02 Class #33209

  • 2 Units
  • Enrollment Limitations: Consent
    • 1LJDOPEN

Notes: Research Requirement for Law Degree. Open to First-Year JD Students.

Back to the Top