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Harvard News In Brief

HLS To Host Conference on Tort Law

By Elizabeth S. Zuckerman

Assistant Professor of Law Jon D. Hanson will host a day-long conference on July 31 to examine the proposed national tobacco settlement currently being considered by Congress.

The aim of the conference is to focus attention on how the settlement may impact tort law, Hanson said. Tort law deals with civil wrongs such as personal injury which are tried in civil court.

Hanson said his idea for the conference grew out of his perception that the pace of the settlement negotiations was "incredibly fast" and primarily behind closed doors.

"There was a strong sense that things were happening quickly and there were many people with strong views about the settlement from a tort law perspective that weren't being heard," he said.

While much attention has been given to the effects which the settlement may have on the FDA's authority to regulate, little has been devoted to the consequences for tort law, Hanson said.

Matt Myers of the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, who has, according to Hanson, played an integral role in the negotiations, will speak at the conference. Hanson is also expecting Elizabeth Cabraser, an attorney who tried the Castano class action case and David Kentoff, who represents Phillip Morris.

Congressional staffers as well as journalists and public health professionals are expected to be among the attendees.

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