Philip Howard’s Work Cited in Second Circuit Decision

In a decision certifying two questions to the Connecticut Supreme Court, the United State Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit cites Philip Howard and his 2001 book The Collapse of the Common Good. The case involves, in part, whether a Connecticut school was negligent in not warning students of the possibility of contracting encephalitis during a school trip to China. In discussing the public policy implications of such a duty, the court writes on pp. 20-21:

Defining the scope of a school’s duty when it leads an international trip could have significant consequences for negligence litigation in Connecticut, which is home to many private and public schools. Although cost-benefit analysis in most cases assumes that all interested parties are represented in the case, this is not so here. The societal impact of finding a duty here extends far beyond Hotchkiss. To impose a duty on Connecticut schools to warn about or protect against risks as remote as tick-borne encephalitis might discourage field trips that serve important educational roles. See generally Philip K. Howard, The Collapse of the Common Good (2001). If the costs imposed on schools and non-profit organizations become too high, such trips might be curtailed or cease completely, depriving children of valuable opportunities. Public policy may thus require that participants bear the risks of unlikely injuries and illnesses such as the one that occurred in this case so that institutions can continue to offer these activities.

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