Business and Governmental Tort Liability

Section 1, Spring 23

Schedule Information

Enrollment: 24/44
Credits: 3
Days* Time Room Start Date End Date
  • MW
  • 1540-1700
  • WB103
01/23/2023 04/26/2023
*“R” means Thursday

Course Description

This course builds on the first-year Torts survey course to cover liability issues facing modern corporate, government, and non-profit entities. The course focuses on non-physical – i.e., economic and reputational – harms, especially to businesses and public figures. Specific topics include: defamation, invasion of privacy, name/likeness misappropriation, trade-secret misappropriation, liability of social-media and other online providers for user content, anti-SLAPP statutes, other intentionally and unintentionally caused economic harm, and governmental liability for negligence and violation of civil rights. Some of these cases involve First-Amendment-related questions of when speakers of harmful speech are (and should be) shielded from liability. We will study several high-profile recent and developing cases, possibly including the BP Deepwater Horizon litigation, Sines v. Kessler (the Charlottesville ’Unite the Right’ lawsuit), Jones v. Pozner (the Alex Jones/Info Wars Sandy Hook conspiracy case), Gibson’s Bakery v. Oberlin College (alleging that Oberlin officials harmed the bakery’s business by calling its owners racist), Palin v. New York Times (defamation suit over editorial linking Palin with a mass shooting), Nunes v. Lizza (Congressman Devin Nunes’s defamation suit against Esquire Magazine), and Ixchel Pharma v. Biogen.

Course Requirements

Exam Info:
Final Type (if any): Flex
Description: Flex exam at end of the semester.

Written Work Product
Written Work Product:

Other Work

Other Course Details
Prerequisites: (Torts (6007)) LLM and SJD students who have taken the equivalent of Torts elsewhere may request a waiver of this requirement with the instructor. Concurrencies: None
Mutually Exclusive With: Torts II
Laptops Allowed: Yes
First Day Attendance Required: No
Course Resources: To be announced.
Course Notes:

Graduation Requirements

*Satisfies Writing Requirement: No
**Credits For Prof. Skills Requirement: No
Satisfies Professional Ethics: No

*If “Yes,” then students are required to submit a substantial research paper in this course, which means students do not need to submit any form to SRO for this paper to meet their upper-level writing requirement. If “No,” then students must submit a “special request” e-form to SRO (available via LawWeb) no later than five weeks after the start of the term for a paper in this class to be counted toward the upper-level writing requirement.

**Yes indicates course credits count towards UVA Law’s Prof. Skills graduation requirement, not necessarily a skills requirements for any particular state bar.

Schedule No.
Law No.
Modified Type
Cross Listed: No
Cross-Listed Course Mnemonic:
Public Syllabus Link: None
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Opens: Friday, April 21, 12:01 AM
Evaluation Portal Via LawWeb Closes: Sunday, April 30, 11:59 PM