Law of Torts by Tim Kaye
In the first Webby Book to be published, Dr. Tim Kaye takes an entirely fresh approach to the casebook medium.
Unlike so many other casebooks, this is not just a series of case extracts cut-and-pasted together with minimal editorial input. On the contrary, Kaye provides both a helpful introduction to, and commentary on, each topic addressed. He also begins at the beginning — with a proper introduction to the common law: how and why it was created, its reasoning techniques, and the various purposes to which it is ostensibly put.
He then shows how these techniques and purposes play out in the context of vicarious liability: a topic that is frequently under-analyzed, despite the fact that its very existence is what enables most plaintiffs to bring torts actions.
With this sound theoretical and practical framework in place, Kaye moves on to the tort of negligence. He rejects the notion that claims for economic losses or emotional distress are somehow “special cases” and instead locates them alongside traditional claims involving personal injury or property damage. But, with the aid of numerous tables, flowcharts, and other diagrams, he goes on to explain why and how each type of claim is treated differently.
The same approach is followed in the rest of the book, which then goes on to tackle torts of strict liability, torts involving the actor’s state of mind, and property torts. Great care has been taken over the cases chosen for inclusion in the Webby Book, so that they both highlight the basic doctrine and provide dissenting judgments that give plenty of pause for thought.
Every chapter concludes with a series of questions, usually including hypotheticals, which can be used either for self-testing by students, or (as the author himself uses them) as the basis for classroom teaching. Multiple-choice quizzes are also available for every chapter.
Particular emphasis is placed on distinguishing questions of law or policy for the court from questions of fact or conventional morality for the jury. Similarly, great stress is laid on distinguishing each doctrine from others with which it is often confused. Duty of care in negligence, for example, is carefully disentangled from both breach and scope of liability (proximate cause), while causation is broken down into its various constituent doctrines, and the distinction between scope and the eggshell-skull rule is carefully explained.
The deliberately recursive nature of the Webby Book, coupled with the exceptional clarity of writing, the many visual aids and glossary entries, and all the other typical features of a Webby Book, make this a uniquely effective casebook for teaching and learning the law of torts.