The Myth of the Litigious Society

Why We Don't Sue

Author: David M. Engel

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022630504X

Category: Law

Page: 232

View: 990

While the United States is often called the Land of the Law Suit, in reality Americans hardly sue at all. In fact, when it comes to physical injuries, over 90% of the time, we--as David M. Engel points out in his engaging and provocative book--simply lump it, making no claims against either the injurers or their insurance companies. Bringing to bear an impressive array of research and data, Engel firmly and persuasively demolishes the pervasive myth of the litigious American. But why don t most people sue whey they have been wrongfully physically injured? We have in fact a mystery, what Engel calls The Case of the Missing Plaintiff. The solution his investigation leads us to is as fascinating as it is unexpected. Engel reconstructs how people who suffer injuries actually react to them. When real people experience physical injuries, their lives, thoughts, and emotions are profoundly disrupted and compromised. They often have difficulty thinking clearly and acting decisively. Human nature, our immediate friends and families, and broader social and cultural factors all tend again injury victims making claims. And as often as one might have heard of victim-blaming, self-blame is one of the most common reactions of victims to their injuries. Ultimately Engel shows that the proliferation of law and regulations in our society is not the problem. The real problem is the law s failure to protect those who suffer wrongful injuries. Tort law is usually said to serve three purposes that even those who want to curtail law suits would agree on: to compensate losses suffered by injury victims, to deter unnecessarily risky and harmful behavior, and to correct the moral injustice that results when one person or group injures another. Engel s book clearly and powerfully shows that none of these purposes is being met and concludes his investigation with recommendations for how they might be."

Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Legal Rights

The Battle Over Litigation in American Society

Author: Thomas F. Burke

Publisher: Univ of California Press

ISBN: 0520243234

Category: Law

Page: 267

View: 8755

"Burke drills deep into America's unique culture of litigation and is rewarded with a powerful insight: it is not the public or even lawyers that are so darn litigious, but American law itself. This meticulous, dispassionate book stands not only to advance the debate but—I hope—to reshape it."—Jonathan Rauch, author of Government's End: Why Washington Stopped Working "Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Legal Rights is a fascinating study of the American penchant for public policies that rely on lawsuits to get things done. Burke's analysis is insightful and original. This book compellingly shows that litigious policies have deep roots in our Constitution, culture, and politics."—Charles Epp, author of The Rights Revolution: Lawyers, Activists, and Supreme Courts in Comparative Perspective "Burke's authoritative book demonstrates that the highly litigious American system is not an isolated anomaly but in fact fits in with deeply-rooted elements of American political culture. Where citizens of other countries rely on expert or bureaucratic judgment to resolve disputes, Americans turn to the courts. Equally novel and compelling, Lawyers, Lawsuits, and Legal Rights marshals an impressive set of evidence and delivers a refreshingly well-written look at the state of American litigation."—Frank R. Baumgartner, co-author of Agendas and Instability in American Politics

Distorting the Law

Politics, Media, and the Litigation Crisis

Author: William Haltom,Michael McCann

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 9780226314693

Category: Political Science

Page: 332

View: 3297

In recent years, stories of reckless lawyers and greedy citizens have given the legal system, and victims in general, a bad name. Many Americans have come to believe that we live in the land of the litigious, where frivolous lawsuits and absurdly high settlements reign. Scholars have argued for years that this common view of the depraved ruin of our civil legal system is a myth, but their research and statistics rarely make the news. William Haltom and Michael McCann here persuasively show how popularized distorted understandings of tort litigation (or tort tales) have been perpetuated by the mass media and reform proponents. Distorting the Law lays bare how media coverage has sensationalized lawsuits and sympathetically portrayed corporate interests, supporting big business and reinforcing negative stereotypes of law practices. Based on extensive interviews, nearly two decades of newspaper coverage, and in-depth studies of the McDonald's coffee case and tobacco litigation, Distorting the Law offers a compelling analysis of the presumed litigation crisis, the campaign for tort law reform, and the crucial role the media play in this process.

Working Law

Courts, Corporations, and Symbolic Civil Rights

Author: Lauren B. Edelman

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022640093X

Category: Social Science

Page: 312

View: 7208

Since the passage of the Civil Rights Act, virtually all companies have antidiscrimination policies in place. Although these policies represent some progress, women and minorities remain underrepresented within the workplace as a whole and even more so when you look at high-level positions. They also tend to be less well paid. How is it that discrimination remains so prevalent in the American workplace despite the widespread adoption of policies designed to prevent it? One reason for the limited success of antidiscrimination policies, argues Lauren B. Edelman, is that the law regulating companies is broad and ambiguous, and managers therefore play a critical role in shaping what it means in daily practice. Often, what results are policies and procedures that are largely symbolic and fail to dispel long-standing patterns of discrimination. Even more troubling, these meanings of the law that evolve within companies tend to eventually make their way back into the legal domain, inconspicuously influencing lawyers for both plaintiffs and defendants and even judges. When courts look to the presence of antidiscrimination policies and personnel manuals to infer fair practices and to the presence of diversity training programs without examining whether these policies are effective in combating discrimination and achieving racial and gender diversity, they wind up condoning practices that deviate considerably from the legal ideals.

The Sit-Ins

Protest and Legal Change in the Civil Rights Era

Author: Christopher W. Schmidt

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022652258X

Category: Law

Page: 256

View: 7155

On February 1, 1960, four African American college students entered the Woolworth department store in Greensboro, North Carolina, and sat down at the lunch counter. This lunch counter, like most in the American South, refused to serve black customers. The four students remained in their seats until the store closed. In the following days, they returned, joined by growing numbers of fellow students. These “sit-in” demonstrations soon spread to other southern cities, drawing in thousands of students and coalescing into a protest movement that would transform the struggle for racial equality. The Sit-Ins tells the story of the student lunch counter protests and the national debate they sparked over the meaning of the constitutional right of all Americans to equal protection of the law. Christopher W. Schmidt describes how behind the now-iconic scenes of African American college students sitting in quiet defiance at “whites only” lunch counters lies a series of underappreciated legal dilemmas—about the meaning of the Constitution, the capacity of legal institutions to remedy different forms of injustice, and the relationship between legal reform and social change. The students’ actions initiated a national conversation over whether the Constitution’s equal protection clause extended to the activities of private businesses that served the general public. The courts, the traditional focal point for accounts of constitutional disputes, played an important but ultimately secondary role in this story. The great victory of the sit-in movement came not in the Supreme Court, but in Congress, with the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, landmark legislation that recognized the right African American students had claimed for themselves four years earlier. The Sit-Ins invites a broader understanding of how Americans contest and construct the meaning of their Constitution.

Invitation to Law and Society, Second Edition

An Introduction to the Study of Real Law

Author: Kitty Calavita

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022629661X

Category: Social Science

Page: 240

View: 3711

Law and society is a rapidly growing field that turns the conventional view of law as mythical abstraction on its head. Kitty Calavita brilliantly brings to life the ways in which law is found not only in statutes and courtrooms but in our institutions and interactions, while inviting readers into conversations that introduce the field’s dominant themes and most lively disagreements. Deftly interweaving scholarship with familiar examples, Calavita shows how scholars in the discipline are collectively engaged in a subversive exposé of law’s public mythology. While surveying prominent issues and distinctive approaches to both law as it is written and actual legal practices, as well as the law’s potential as a tool for social change, this volume provides a view of law that is more real but just as compelling as its mythic counterpart. With this second edition of Invitation to Law and Society, Calavita brings up to date what is arguably the leading introduction to this exciting, evolving field of inquiry and adds a new chapter on the growing law and cultural studies movement.

Building the Prison State

Race and the Politics of Mass Incarceration

Author: Heather Schoenfeld

Publisher: University of Chicago Press

ISBN: 022652115X

Category: Law

Page: 352

View: 3424

The United States incarcerates more people per capita than any other industrialized nation in the world—about 1 in 100 adults, or more than 2 million people—while national spending on prisons has catapulted 400 percent. Given the vast racial disparities in incarceration, the prison system also reinforces race and class divisions. How and why did we become the world’s leading jailer? And what can we, as a society, do about it? Reframing the story of mass incarceration, Heather Schoenfeld illustrates how the unfinished task of full equality for African Americans led to a series of policy choices that expanded the government’s power to punish, even as they were designed to protect individuals from arbitrary state violence. Examining civil rights protests, prison condition lawsuits, sentencing reforms, the War on Drugs, and the rise of conservative Tea Party politics, Schoenfeld explains why politicians veered from skepticism of prisons to an embrace of incarceration as the appropriate response to crime. To reduce the number of people behind bars, Schoenfeld argues that we must transform the political incentives for imprisonment and develop a new ideological basis for punishment.

Raised Right

Fatherhood in Modern American Conservatism

Author: Jeffrey R. Dudas

Publisher: Stanford University Press

ISBN: 1503601730

Category: Law

Page: 224

View: 6195

How has the modern conservative movement thrived in spite of the lack of harmony among its constituent members? What, and who, holds together its large corporate interests, small-government libertarians, social and racial traditionalists, and evangelical Christians? Raised Right pursues these questions through a cultural study of three iconic conservative figures: National Review editor William F. Buckley, Jr., President Ronald Reagan, and Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas. Examining their papers, writings, and rhetoric, Jeffrey R. Dudas identifies what he terms a "paternal rights discourse"—the arguments about fatherhood and rights that permeate their personal lives and political visions. For each, paternal discipline was crucial to producing autonomous citizens worthy and capable of self-governance. This paternalist logic is the cohesive agent for an entire conservative movement, uniting its celebration of "founding fathers," past and present, constitutional and biological. Yet this discourse produces a paradox: When do authoritative fathers transfer their rights to these well-raised citizens? This duality propels conservative politics forward with unruly results. The mythology of these American fathers gives conservatives something, and someone, to believe in—and therein lies its timeless appeal.

Ending Zero Tolerance

The Crisis of Absolute School Discipline

Author: Derek W. Black

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 1479886084

Category: Law

Page: 256

View: 1016

In the era of zero tolerance, we are flooded with stories about schools issuing draconian punishments for relatively innocent behavior. One student was suspended for chewing a Pop-Tart into the shape of a gun. Another was expelled for cursing on social media from home. Suspension and expulsion rates have doubled over the past three decades as zero tolerance policies have become the normal response to a host of minor infractions that extend well beyond just drugs and weapons. Students from all demographic groups have suffered, but minority and special needs students have suffered the most. On average, middle and high schools suspend one out of four African American students at least once a year. The effects of these policies are devastating. Just one suspension in the ninth grade doubles the likelihood that a student will drop out. Fifty percent of students who drop out are subsequently unemployed. Eighty percent of prisoners are high school drop outs. The risks associated with suspension and expulsion are so high that, as a practical matter, they amount to educational death penalties, not behavioral correction tools. Most important, punitive discipline policies undermine the quality of education that innocent bystanders receive as well—the exact opposite of what schools intend. Ending Zero Tolerance answers the calls of grassroots communities pressing for integration and increased education funding with a complete rethinking of school discipline. Derek Black, a former attorney with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law, weaves stories about individual students, lessons from social science, and the outcomes of courts cases to unearth a shockingly irrational system of punishment. While schools and legislatures have proven unable and unwilling to amend their failing policies, Ending Zero Tolerance argues for constitutional protections to check abuses in school discipline and lays out theories by which courts should re-engage to enforce students’ rights and support broader reforms.

The Law and Society Reader II

Author: Erik Larson,Patrick Schmidt

Publisher: NYU Press

ISBN: 0814770614

Category: Law

Page: 429

View: 6393

Law and society scholars challenge the common belief that law is simply a neutral tool by which society sets standards and resolves disputes. Decades of research shows how much the nature of communities, organizations, and the people inhabiting them affect how law works. Just as much, law shapes beliefs, behaviors, and wider social structures, but the connections are much more nuanced—and surprising—than many expect. Law and Society Reader II provides readers an accessible overview to the breadth of recent developments in this research tradition, bringing to life the developments in this dynamic field. Following up a first Law and Society Reader published in 1995, editors Erik W. Larson and Patrick D. Schmidt have compiled excerpts of 43 illuminating articles published since 1993 in The Law & Society Review, the flagship journal of the Law and Society Association. By its organization and approach, this volume enables readers to join in discussing the key ideas of law and society research. The selections highlight the core insights and developments in this research tradition, making these works indispensable for those exploring the field and ideal for classroom use. Across six concisely-introduced sections, this volume analyzes inequality, lawyering, the relation between law and organizations, and the place of law in relation to other social institutions.

Legal Reason

Author: Lloyd L. Weinreb

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1107153468

Category: Law

Page: 200

View: 7874

In this book, the pervasive use of analogies in the reasoning of lawyers and judges is explained in clear, simple, untechnical prose.

Why Tolerate Religion?

Author: Brian Leiter

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 140085234X

Category: Law

Page: 216

View: 1360

This provocative book addresses one of the most enduring puzzles in political philosophy and constitutional theory—why is religion singled out for preferential treatment in both law and public discourse? Why are religious obligations that conflict with the law accorded special toleration while other obligations of conscience are not? In Why Tolerate Religion?, Brian Leiter shows why our reasons for tolerating religion are not specific to religion but apply to all claims of conscience, and why a government committed to liberty of conscience is not required by the principle of toleration to grant exemptions to laws that promote the general welfare.

Forensic Science

A sociological introduction

Author: Christopher Lawless

Publisher: Routledge

ISBN: 131764252X

Category: Social Science

Page: 196

View: 7493

This book addresses a significant gap in the literature and provides a comprehensive overview of the sociology of forensic science. Drawing on a wealth of international research and case studies, this book explores the intersection of science, technology, law and society and examines the production of forensic knowledge. This book explores a range of key topics such as: The integration of science into police work and criminal investigation, The relationship between law and science, Ethical and social issues raised by new forensic technology including DNA analysis, Media portrayals of forensic science, Forensic policy and the international agenda for forensic science. This book is important and compelling reading for students taking a range of courses, including criminal investigation, policing, forensic science, and the sociology of science and technology.

In the Moment of Greatest Calamity

Terrorism, Grief, and a Victim's Quest for Justice - New Edition

Author: Susan F. Hirsch

Publisher: Princeton University Press

ISBN: 0691138419

Category: History

Page: 264

View: 7271

On August 7, 1998, bombs exploded at two United States embassies in East Africa. American anthropologist Susan Hirsch and her husband Jamal, a Kenyan, were among the thousands of victims, and Jamal died. From there, Hirsch went on to face devastating grief with the help of friends and families on two continents, observing the mourning rituals of her husband's community to honor him. When the alleged bombers were captured and sent to New York to stand trial, she witnessed firsthand the attempts of America's criminal justice system to handle terrorism through the law. In the Moment of Greatest Calamity is her story--a tale told on many levels: personal, anthropological, legal, and, finally, political. The book's central chapters describe Hirsch's experience of the bombing trials in a Manhattan federal court in 2001, including a behind-the-scenes look at the investigation leading up to the trial, encounters with some of the FBI's leading terrorism investigators, and many moments of drama from the proceedings themselves. Hirsch reveals the inner conflict that results from her opposition to the death penalty and concludes that the trial was both flawed and indispensable. Hirsch's story of this tragedy and its legal aftermath comes to life through--and is enhanced by--her skills as a social scientist. Her unique viewpoint makes it unlike any other story about terrorism.

Entrepreneurial Litigation

Author: John C. Coffee

Publisher: Harvard University Press

ISBN: 0674736796

Category: History

Page: 307

View: 2046

In class actions, attorneys effectively hire clients rather than act as their agent. Lawyer-financed, lawyer-controlled, and lawyer-settled, this entrepreneurial litigation invites lawyers to act in their own interest. John Coffee’s goal is to save class action, not discard it, and to make private enforcement of law more democratically accountable.

China and Islam

The Prophet, the Party, and Law

Author: Matthew S. Erie

Publisher: Cambridge University Press

ISBN: 1316577996

Category: Law

Page: N.A

View: 4566

China and Islam examines the intersection of two critical issues of the contemporary world: Islamic revival and an assertive China, questioning the assumption that Islamic law is incompatible with state law. It finds that both Hui and the Party-State invoke, interpret, and make arguments based on Islamic law, a minjian (unofficial) law in China, to pursue their respective visions of 'the good'. Based on fieldwork in Linxia, 'China's Little Mecca', this study follows Hui clerics, youthful translators on the 'New Silk Road', female educators who reform traditional madrasas, and Party cadres as they reconcile Islamic and socialist laws in the course of the everyday. The first study of Islamic law in China and one of the first ethnographic accounts of law in postsocialist China, China and Islam unsettles unidimensional perceptions of extremist Islam and authoritarian China through Hui minjian practices of law.

The Balance Gap

Working Mothers and the Limits of the Law

Author: Sarah Cote Hampson

Publisher: Stanford Law Books

ISBN: 9781503600058

Category: Law

Page: 168

View: 2830

In recent decades, laws and workplace policies have emerged that seek to address the "balance" between work and family. Millions of women in the U.S. take some time off when they give birth or adopt a child, making use of "family-friendly" laws and policies in order to spend time recuperating and to initiate a bond with their children.The Balance Gap traces the paths individual women take in understanding and invoking work/life balance laws and policies. Conducting in-depth interviews with women in two distinctive workplace settings--public universities and the U.S. military--Sarah Cote Hampson uncovers how women navigate the laws and the unspoken cultures of their institutions. Activists and policymakers hope that such family-friendly law and policy changes will not only increase women's participation in the workplace, but also help women experience greater workplace equality. As Hampson shows, however, these policies and women's abilities to understand and utilize them have fallen short of fully alleviating the tensions that women across the nation are still grappling with as they try to reconcile their work and family responsibilities.

Family Law Stories

Author: Carol Sanger

Publisher: N.A

ISBN: N.A

Category: Law

Page: 298

View: 9256

This new Law Stories title presents the back stories historical, procedural, personal and political of eleven significant family law cases. The essays, written by leading family law scholars, cover four main areas: marriage (Reynolds, Loving, Goodridge), parenting and custody (Troxel), separation and divorce (McGuire and O Brien) and the definition of family (Moore v. East Cleveland). Other essays investigate well known state and federal cases on such topics as child kidnapping, the intentional infliction of emotional distress, the Indian Child Welfare Act and frozen embryos.

Law 101

Everything You Need to Know about American Law, Fifth Edition

Author: Jay M. Feinman

Publisher: Oxford University Press

ISBN: 0190866322

Category: LAW

Page: 376

View: 9841

"In this fifth edition of his bestselling classic, Jay Feinman provides an authoritative and up-to-date overview of the American legal system. The book covers all the main subjects taught in the first year of law school, and discusses every facet of the American legal tradition, including constitutional law, the litigation process, and criminal, property, and contracts law. Above all, Feinman reveals to readers of all kinds that despite its complexities and quirks, the law can be understood by everyone"--

The Failure of Corporate Law

Fundamental Flaws & Progressive Possibilities (Large Print 16pt)

Author: Kent Greenfield

Publisher: ReadHowYouWant.com

ISBN: 1459606167

Category:

Page: 560

View: 3799

When used in conjunction with corporations, the term ''public'' is misleading. Anyone can purchase shares of stock, but public corporations themselves are uninhibited by a sense of societal obligation or strict public oversight. In fact, managers of most large firms are prohibited by law from taking into account the interests of the public in decision making, if doing so hurts shareholders. But this has not always been the case, as until the beginning of the twentieth century, public corporations were deemed to have important civic responsibilities. With The Failure of Corporate Law, Kent Greenfield hopes to return corporate law to a system in which the public has a greater say in how firms are governed. Greenfield maintains that the laws controlling firms should be much more protective of the public interest and of the corporation's various stakeholders, such as employees. Only when the law of corporations is evaluated as a branch of public law - as with constitutional law or environmental law - will it be clear what types of changes can be made in corporate governance to improve the common good. Greenfield proposes changes in corporate governance that would enable corporations to meet the progressive goal of creating wealth for society as a whole rather than merely for shareholders and executives.