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248.3 sec. 1 - Business Torts (Fall 2011)
Instructor: Patrick Hanlon (view instructor's teaching evaluations | profile)
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Meeting Time: TuTh 8:35-9:50
Meeting Location: 134
Course Start: August 25, 2011
Course Control Number (Non-1Ls): 49694
This course covers business and media torts. These torts are basic for the commercial litigator and often involve astronomical stakes. The course will be divided into three main sections. The first will examine classic economic torts: (a) doctrines like tortious interference and bad faith, which regulate commercial relationships alongside (and sometimes in an uneasy relationship with) contract and (b) fraud and misrepresentation. After considering these common law wrongs, we will turn to statutory tort regimes like the False Claims Act (which is especially critical in the health care and defense sectors), civil RICO, and consumer protection statutes. The second section examines defamation law, which is not only a central concern of media companies but an important element in business litigation generally. This part of the course will consider constitutional limitations on libel law and the impact of so-called “SLAPP” statutes. The third section of the course examines the right to privacy. We will survey the right to privacy generally and then zero in on the "right to publicity", which usually involves a celebrity’s right to control the commercial exploitation of his or her own identity or image.
In order to place doctrine in a real life context, we will examine illustrative litigation, including the Toyota economic damages litigation and the obesity lawsuits filed against McDonald’s over its advertising to children.
This course will be useful to students interested in commercial litigation; policing business frauds and abuses; and the interplay between tort and contract and constitutional law in regulating business conduct.
Students may meet the course requirements either by completing a page-limited take-home examination or by writing a substantial paper (30 pages). This course may satisfy the Writing Requirement.
This course may satisfy the Writing Requirement.
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Instructor has indicated that no books will be assigned.