San Diego Law Review


Richard Abel

Library of Congress Authority File


Document Type



This Article addresses the question of whether tort law should protect property interests against unintentional interference. The author argues that tort damages for accidental harm to property violate the fundamental values of autonomy, equality, and community, and that tort law recognizes that property is less important than personal integrity. The author further argues that state action, including judicial decision-making that seeks to protect property against inadvertent damage either, is unprincipled and arbitrary. The author concludes that tort liability for accidental injury to property cannot be defended as a means of reducing secondary accident costs, it entails very high transaction costs, and it has little or no proven value as a deterrent of careless behavior, and thus, courts should cease to recognize a cause of action in tort for accidental damage to property.

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Torts Commons