Sociology Index


A tort is a civil wrong in common law jurisdictions. Tort is an area of law concerned with intentional violations of the private rights of individuals or neglect of legally recognized duties of care to others. Tort can include the intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence, financial losses, injuries, invasion of privacy, and many other things. In these cases the public interest is not directly harmed. This is an aspect of civil law and is usually contrasted with criminal law, where the pubic or society is considered to be the injured party, although sociologists note that the distinction between the two is somewhat arbitrary and shifting. Tort law can be contrasted with contract law which provides a civil remedy after breach of duty, though the contractual obligation is one chosen by the parties. The obligation in both tort and crime is imposed by the state.

Managed Care Litigation: Legal Doctrine at the Boundary of Tort and Contract 
Peter D. Jacobson - Neena M. Patil, Bond, Schoeneck, & King, LLP.

This article summarizes the various approaches to how the law should assign responsibility in a system where health care financing and delivery are combined. Health law scholars have been debating whether conflicts in managed care between individual patient needs and preserving assets for the patient population should be resolved by tort or contract law.

Until recently, the literature has been dominated by scholars arguing that managed care should be guided by contractual arrangements and concepts to stimulate the market changes occurring in health care delivery. We summarize the arguments for and against both contract and tort, along with recent attempts to bridge the gap between the two approaches. Tort law retains a fundamental monitoring role in the managed care era.

Police Sexual Violence: Civil Liability Under State Tort Law 
Michael S. Vaughn. This article explores civil liability under state tort law against criminal justice personnel engaged in police sexual violence (PSV). After describing vicarious liability under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the article identifies five theories that courts use in deciding whether criminal justice agents commit PSV within the scope of employment. The article also discusses PSV cases litigated pursuant to intentional and negligence torts. It concludes that governmental entities need to systematically collect data on the prevalence of PSV, and criminal justice agencies need to monitor employees' deviant acts effectively.

Data Watch: Tort-uring the Data 
Authors: Helland, Eric; Klick, Jonathan; Tabarrok, Alexander.
Abstract: This article discusses data available for researchers interested in the U.S. civil justice system and illustrates the uses of the various datasets with some interesting findings. Our focus is on torts, defined as an injury to person or property that is not covered by contract and for which civil liability may be imposed. The most common tort is the result of an auto accident.

Public Tort Liability: An Alternative to Tort Liability and No-fault Compensation
Hassan El Menyawi LLB, BCL, Osgoode Hall Law School of York University
Abstract: In the first part of the article, the author describes two tort regimes: the no-fault compensation and tort liability. Each regime’s advantages and disadvantages are discussed. In the second part of the article, he seeks to demonstrate that it is possible to combine the advantages of no-fault compensation and tort liability in an alternative, third regime that he calls "public tort liability". The basic structure of the regime is characterized by the disassociation of the defendant and the plaintiff.