Tort reform through the back door: A critique of law and apologies

Yonathan A. Arbel, Yotam Kaplan

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


In this Article, we show how the biggest tort reform of the last decade was passed through the back door with the blessing of its staunchest opponents. We argue that the widely-endorsed "apology law" reform-a change in the national legal landscape that privileged apologies-is, in fact, a mechanism of tort reform, used to limit victims' recovery and shield injurers from liability. While legal scholars overlooked this effect, commercial interests seized the opportunity and are in the process of transforming state and federal law with the unwitting support of the public.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1199-1246
Number of pages48
JournalSouthern California Law Review
Issue number6
StatePublished - Sep 2017
Externally publishedYes

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
*. Yonathan Arbel is a Visiting Assistant Professor, Villanova University School of Law; Yotam Kaplan is a Private Law Fellow, Harvard Law School. We wish to thank Janet Freilich, Meirav Furth, Oren Bar-Gill, Yehonatan Givati, John C.P. Goldberg, Patrick Goold, Kobi Kastiel, Louis Kaplow, Murat Mungan, Steven Shavell, Yahli Shereshevsky, Henry E. Smith, Kathryn Spier, and Gabriel Teninbaum for insightful comments and discussions. We are also thankful for the suggestions of the participants in the Fellows Colloquium at the John M. Olin Center for Law, Economics, and Business at Harvard Law School. Generous financial support was provided by the Project on the Foundations of Private Law at Harvard Law School.


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