The Federalism Project

American Enterprise Institute

The Federalism Project
Tort Reform

Statement of Purpose

Substantial empirical evidence indicates that state judges and juries, in awarding damages in products liability cases, systematically redistribute wealth from out-of-state corporations to in-state plaintiffs. Plaintiffs’ lawyers defend this ostensibly "federalist" regime. Corporate attorneys and leading academics have criticized cross-border exploitation as a cause of excessive liability verdicts, and have advocated national products liability standards as the only viable solution.

AEI’s Federalism Project and the newly formed Liability Project are exploring legal and institutional mechanisms that would curb the states’ race towards ever-more expansive liability, without leading to a wholesale—and, probably, equally inefficient—nationalization of tort law. One such device is a choice-of-law regime that would compel states to consider the costs and the benefits of liability rules. See the Liability Project's website for more information.