Vanderbilt Law Review

First Page



As the old saying goes, hard cases make bad law. But hard cases also reveal the limits of legal doctrine. In this Article, I turn to a class of hard cases--mass torts--to rethink the law of procedural due process under the Due Process Clause. Mass torts have long perplexed courts and scholars. They include torts caused by asbestos and other toxic chemicals, pharmaceuticals, oil spills, and other mass-produced products and services. The plaintiffs not only suffer significant injuries, but the sheer number of plaintiffs, each with claims that raise unique fact and legal issues, stretch judicial resources to the limit. Not surprisingly, the Supreme Court has concluded that mass torts "def[y] customary judicial administration and call] for national legislation."