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Hastings International and Comparative Law Review

Abstract

Although it may seem counterintuitive, wrongdoers are not liable for most of the damage they cause. The law leaves most of the burden of torts on the victims because it would be neither just nor practical to hold culpable defendants liable for all the harm they cause. The difficult task for any legal system is to define the criteria that determine the limits of liability and to prescribe the procedures for applying those criteria.

This Article will explore the problem in both the American and Jewish legal systems and suggest ways in which the American system can be reformed. First, the Article discusses the proximate cause rules in American law. The Article then covers the Talmudic sources on indirect damage, and focuses on a case that arose out of the Venetian Inquisition in the late Sixteenth Century. The author concludes by examining lessons that can be drawn from a comparison of Jewish and American law on the issue of proximate cause.

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