On Race, Gender, and Radical Tort Reform: A Review of Martha Chamallas & Jennifer B. Wriggins, The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender, and Tort Law

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On Race, Gender, and Radical Tort Reform: A Review of Martha Chamallas & Jennifer B. Wriggins, The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender, and Tort Law
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On Race, Gender, and Radical Tort Reform: A Review of Martha Chamallas & Jennifer B. Wriggins, The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender, and Tort Law

Vincent R. Johnson

17 Wm. & Mary J. Women & L. 591 (2011).

    The Measure of Injury is an intellectual tour de force of gender and race-based jurisprudence applied to critical issues in the law of torts.  In this volume, Martha Chamallas and Jennifer B. Wriggins shed light on numerous issues related to law governing accidents and intentional injuries, while offering insights into the American tort system and the challenges it faces.

Chamallas and Wriggins draw upon the feminist theory, critical race theory, and general critical theory in analyzing tort doctrines and evaluating potential reforms.  The authors explore how racial perceptions can distort even seemingly neutral inquiries, such as those related to factual causation.  In their review of tort precedent related to race and gender, the authors explore a number of important historical topics: the doctrine of coverture, the “nervous-shock” cases, wrongful-death cases, and wrongful-birth cases.  Viewed in all of its complexity, the authors’ argument seems to be that matters of race should be taken into account by tort law when cognizance will benefit persons who are members of classes that have historically suffered from discrimination, but not otherwise.  To the extent that the author’s arguments are found to be persuasive, The Measure of Inquiry may play a key role in revolutionizing the compensation of intentional injuries and accidents.

Keywords: The Measure of Inquiry, Martha Chamallas, Jennifer B. Wriggins, law of torts, race, gender, feminist theory, critical race theory, general critical theory, factual causation, doctrine of coverture, “nervous-shock,” wrongful-death, wrongful-birth, intentional injuries and accidents, legal discrimination, gender-based jurisprudence, race-based jurisprudence, selective perception, domestic violence, reproductive injuries, emotional distress.

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