A Response to Ariel Porat, Private Production of Public Goods: Liability for Unrequested Benefits, 108 Mich. L. Rev. (2009). One of the more intriguing questions in tort law is the case of joint and several tortfeasors and the dilution-of-liability puzzle. When harm materializes and there are multiple potential tortfeasors, the law tends to limit the number of joint tortfeasors, focusing the final burden on a small number of actors. This limitation is achieved by several legal mechanisms, such as a no duty rule, a narrow interpretation of negligence, a restrictive implementation of the causal link (be it the but for test, the proximate cause test or the rule of intervening cause test), and a doctrine of remoteness of damage. Thus, in the typical accident example, if A, B, and C inflicted risk upon D, often times the tort system will filter out A and B and leave only C to carry the final burden. Ariel Porat's outline of the Expanded Duty of Restitution in his article, Private Production of Public Goods: Liability for Unrequested Benefits, provides an interesting and provocative solution to the dilution of liability puzzle.
Dilution of Liability and Multiple Tortfeasors in the Context of Liability for Unrequested Precautions,
Mich. L. Rev. First Impressions
Available at: http://repository.law.umich.edu/mlr_fi/vol108/iss1/16