California Supreme Court Justice Roger J Traynor entered the debated between pragmatists and formalists, siding with the former in both his scholarly writings and in his judicial opinions, especially in torts. In this Article, I explore what I have identified as the leading torts decisions of the California Supreme Court involving personal injury or death in the past twenty years. I first provide background on the rise of strict product liability and an explanation of what I see as the current California Supreme Court’s misguided reliance on the Rowland factors, which promote the treatment of “no breach” cases as “no duty” cases. In Part II, I demonstrate the prominence of pragmatism in the Court’s recent decision-making, but not the sort of pragmatic thinking that Traynor expressed. In Part III, I speculate as to how Traynor might have wanted these recent cases resolved based on his pragmatic endorsement of enterprise liability.
Stephen D. Sugarman,
Justice Roger J. Traynor, Pragmatism, and the Current California Supreme Court,
71 Hastings L.J. 975
Available at: https://repository.uchastings.edu/hastings_law_journal/vol71/iss4/5