Document Type


Publication Date

Spring 1992


This article is from a symposium, "Five Approaches to Legal Reasoning in the Classroom: Contrasting Perspectives on O'Brien v. Cunard S.S. Co. Ltd.," 57 Missouri L. Rev. 345 (1992). The symposium contains five articles that analyze this case from, respectively, traditionalist, Law & Economics, Critical Legal Studies, Feminist, and Critical Race Theories perspectives.

This article analyzes the O'Brien case from a Law & Economics perspective. It does so in a manner suitable for presentation in a Torts class or a Law & Economics class. It explains the basic terminology and approach. It analyzes the economics underlying the vaccination requirement, whether Cunard should be liable for its physician's negligence, and the informed consent/battery issues. Its analysis includes the possible effects of various Tort decision rules on behavior modification, and it also analyzes the distributive effects of these rules on all parties involved. It does this for both the short term and the long term. It undertakes this analysis with the goal of introducing the Law & Economics approach to legal reasoning to law students.



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