In a 1976 book edited by Ralph Nader, two class-action enthusiasts sketched out a visionary scheme to sue American business over just about every ill known to mankind. Their plan, though almost delirious in its ambition, perfectly captured the pro-litigation mood that had begun to spread far and wide in the American legal establishment -- and foreshadowed many of the mass tort developments since then.
January 1991 Archives
The case of the Ford Pinto, and its alleged tendency to explode in rear-end collisions, provided the occasion for what is universally hailed as our product liability system's finest triumph. Everyone knows that Ford engineers realized the car was defective but decided (in a smoking-gun memo unearthed by trial lawyers) that it would be cheaper to pay off death claims than to change the design. There�s just one problem: what "everyone knows" turns out to be false.