SLS’s Nora Freeman Engstrom Co-Leads ALI’s Medical Malpractice Restatement of Torts

SLS’s Nora Freeman Engstrom Co-Leads ALI’s Restatement of Medical Malpractice Torts
Professor Nora Freeman Engstrom

May 21, 2024 – Stanford, CA – Today, The American Law Institute (ALI), voted to approve the Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Medical Malpractice, bringing to a close five years of work focused on identifying and clearly stating the law of medical malpractice in the United States. The Restatement project was co-led by Stanford Law Professor and Co-Director of the Deborah L. Rhode Center on the Legal Profession Nora Freeman Engstrom, along with Michael D. Green of Washington University School of Law and Mark A. Hall of Wake Forest University School of Law.

The ALI’s Restatements are extremely influential in the legal world, guiding courts, legislatures, scholars, and legal practitioners in understanding and applying the law. The Restatement of the Law Third, Torts: Medical Malpractice focuses on distinct liability issues that arise when a patient seeks or obtains medical care, including matters such as informed consent, the duties medical providers owe to patients, and the special standards that govern the negligence determination in the context of a physician-patient relationship.

The Medical Malpractice Restatement is one component of the much larger Restatement Third of Torts. Work on the Restatement Third of Torts has been underway since the 1990s and is being completed in pieces, rather than in one enormous volume. Over the past three decades, the Institute has published projects addressing Products Liability, Apportionment of Liability, Liability for Physical and Emotional Harm, and Liability for Economic Harm. Another project, addressing Intentional Torts, has received its final approval and is being prepared for publication, and three other distinct projects—addressing Remedies, Defamation and Privacy, and Miscellaneous Provisions—are currently underway. When these last three projects are complete, the Restatement Third of Torts will be finished, and the Restatement Second of Torts, which was published in 1979, will be entirely superseded.

SLS’s Nora Freeman Engstrom Co-Leads ALI’s Restatement of Medical Malpractice Torts 1

The effort by Professor Engstrom and her co-Reporters to complete the Medical Malpractice project has been immense. Over the past five years, they assembled more than one dozen drafts, each incorporating the comments and guidance received by the projects’ 57 Advisers and Liaisons, as well as the 121 ALI members who joined the Members Consultative Group. “Professor Engstrom’s leadership of this project, along with her co-Reporters, has been nothing short of extraordinary,” noted Stanford Law Professor David Studdert, an Adviser to the Project. “Five years may sound like a long time. But to forge broad agreement among experts around such a complex and, in some areas, hotly contested body of tort law in just a few years is a remarkable achievement.” Indeed, in 2022, the ALI designated Professor Engstrom the R. Ammi Cutter Reporter’s Chair, one of only two named chairs, for her “proven effectiveness” on the Restatement.

“This experience has been truly transformative,” said Professor Engstrom. “As a law professor, one dreams of improving the law for future generations—and rendering the law more coherent and legible. This is exactly what the Restatements do. I’m extremely honored to have been involved in the Medical Malpractice project.”  In addition to the Medical Malpractice project, Professor Engstrom, along with Professor Michael D. Green, also serves as a Reporter on the Miscellaneous Provisions project.

Read the ALI Press Release

About Stanford Law School

Stanford Law School is one of the nation’s leading institutions for legal scholarship and education.  Its alumni are among the most influential decision makers in law, politics, business and high technology.  Faculty members argue before the Supreme Court, testify before Congress, produce outstanding legal scholarship and empirical analysis, and contribute regularly to the nation’s press as legal and policy experts. Stanford Law School has established a new model for legal education that provides rigorous interdisciplinary training, hands-on experience, global perspective and focus on public service, spearheading a movement for change.

About The American Law Institute

The American Law Institute is the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize, and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises, and publishes Restatements of the Law, Model Codes, and Principles of Law that are influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. By participating in the Institute’s work, its distinguished members have the opportunity to influence the development of the law in both existing and emerging areas, to work with other eminent lawyers, judges, and academics, to support the rule of law and the legal system, and to contribute to the public good. For more information about The American Law Institute, visit