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Federal History


The political movement of the early 1980s that sought to increase manufacturer liability for defective products by converting state tort law into federal law raised core questions about federalism. The effort at wholesale federalization failed, and tort law has been (and largely remains) within the purview of the states. However, the tort federalization movement of the early 1980s, which by the end of that decade would become popularly known as" tort reform, did result in federal legislation affecting tort law in America. This article attempts to explain why tort law was never fully federalized during this period and how the legislation that was enacted reduced the chances of tort law ever being federalized.

Published Citation

Drake, Ian J. "Federalism and the Limits on Regulating Products Liability Law, 1977-1981." Fed. Hist. 13 (2021): 104.