The Increasing Use of Compensation Funds
posted by Gerard Magliocca
I’ve taught Torts for many years, but I’ve never found a research subject in that area that grabbed my attention. One possibility, though, is the growing trend to create a fund (usually run by Ken Feinberg) to compensate victims of a disaster in exchange for their decision to forego litigation. This was done for 9/11, for the BP oil spill, for the stage collapse at the Indiana State Fair this summer, and for other situations.
There are several interesting features to what is, in essence, an ad-hoc move to a workers-compensation/no fault system for these alleged wrongs. First, why do lawmakers sometimes choose to create a fund and sometimes not? Second, do these funds work well? Third, to what extent does the existence of a fund undermine (at least with a jury) litigation claims by people who refuse to submit their claims to the fund? Fourth, should these funds be converted from a voluntary to a mandatory system?
Perhaps someone has written a good article on this development already. If so, please let me know.