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Christopher J. Robinette

Professor of Law

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Phone: 717.541.3993

"As a teacher, the most gratifying experience is to see your former students succeed in the profession you helped them understand." 

Christopher Robinette is one of the nation’s leading torts scholars. He has received both the Teacher of the Year award and the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award.

Professor Robinette writes in the areas of tort law and theory. His work has appeared in the nation’s leading law reviews. He is a contributor to the leading treatise on insurance law, and he co-authored the book A Recipe for Balanced Tort Reform. Professor Robinette’s scholarship focuses on the justifications for tort liability and the conditions which would make an alternative compensation program preferable. Elected to the American Law Institute in 2012, Professor Robinette is actively involved in the institute’s mission of clarifying and improving the law.

Professor Robinette litigated tort and contract cases for several years prior to becoming a law professor, experiences he uses to engage students in his classes.

  • Torts
  • Products Liability
  • Insurance
  • Evidence
  • Professional Responsibility
  • Contracts

Selected Publications

Books
  • 6 New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition: Motor Vehicle Insurance (Christopher J. Robinette ed., LexisNexis 2011).
  • & Jeffrey O’Connell, A Recipe for Balanced Tort Reform (Carolina Academic Press 2008).
Chapters
  • & Jessica Smeriglio, The Optimal Resolution of Intra-Policy UM/UIM Stacking,  New Appleman on Insurance: Current Critical Issues in Insurance Law (LexisNexis Fall 2014).
  • General Principles and Introductory Matters in Motor Vehicle Insurance Law, in 6 New Appleman on Insurance Law Library Edition: Motor Vehicle Insurance, Chapter 61 (LexisNexis 2011).
Articles
  • The Prosser Letters: 1917-1948, 101 Iowa L. Rev. 1143 (2016).  
  • Party Autonomy in Tort Theory and Reform, 6 J. Tort Law 173 (2015).  
  • & Stefanie Pitcavage, No-Fault Automobile Insurance in Malaysia:  Lessons from the U.S. Experience, 11 UiTM Law Rev.___(forthcoming 2015).
  • & Donald G. Gifford, Apportioning Liability in Maryland Tort Cases: Time to End Contributory Negligence and Joint and Several Liability, 73 Md. L. Rev. 701 (2014).
  • Two Roads Diverge for Civil Recourse Theory, 88 Ind. L.J. 543 (2013).
  • Why Civil Recourse Theory Is Incomplete, 78 Tenn. L. Rev. 431 (2011).
  • The Prosser Notebook:  Classroom as Biography and Intellectual History, 2010 U. Ill. L. Rev. 577.
  • The Synergy of Early Offers and Medical Explanations/Apologies, 103 Nw. U. L. Rev. 2007 (2009).
  • Peace:  A Public Purpose for Punitive Damages?, Symposium: Punitive Damages, Due Process, and Deterrence:  The Debate After Philip Morris v. Williams,  2 Charleston L. Rev. 327 (2008), reprinted in Punitive Damages:  New Dimensions (M. N. Bhavani, ed., Amicus Books of Icfai University Press  2008).
  • Torts Rationales, Pluralism, and Isaiah Berlin, 14 Geo. Mason L. Rev. 329 (2007).
  • Can There Be a Unified Theory of Torts?  A Pluralist Suggestion from History and Doctrine, 43 Brandeis L.J. 369 (2005).
  • & Paul G. Sherland, Contributory or Comparative:  Which is the Optimal Negligence Rule?  24 N. Ill. U. L. Rev. 41 (2003).
  • & Jeffrey O’Connell, The Role of Compensation in Personal Injury Tort Law:  A Response to the Opposite Concerns of Gary Schwartz and Patrick Atiyah, 32 Conn. L. Rev. 137 (1999).
  • & Jeffrey O’Connell, “Choice Auto Insurance”:  Do Theories of Justice Require Linkage Between Injurers and the Injured?  1997 U. Ill. L. Rev. 1109.
Other
  • et al., Harper, James and Gray on Torts, Cum. Supp. (Wolters Kluwer 2016).
  • Perspectives in Mass Tort Litigation Introduction, Part II, in Mass Tort Litigation Symposium, 23 Widener L.J. 633 (2014).
  • Perspectives in Mass Tort Litigation Introduction, in Mass Tort Litigation Symposium, 23 Widener L. J. 47 (2013).
  • Tort Law’s Flaws, in Popper’s Materials on Tort Reform (Andrew Popper, ed., West 2010, available at West Academic Publishing Law School Exchange, http://exchange.westlaw.com).
  • Introduction, Crimtorts Symposium, 17 Widener L.J. 705 (2008).

 Education

BA, College of William & Mary, cum laude
JD, University of Virginia School of Law
LLM, Temple University School of Law

Experience

Honorable Abraham L. Freedman Fellow and Lecturer in Law, Temple University School of Law
Tremblay & Smith, LLP, Charlottesville, Virginia

Bar Admissions

Virginia
United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
United States District Courts for the Western and Eastern Districts of Virginia

Memberships

American Law Institute, Elected Member
Association of American Law Schools
New Appleman on Insurance Advisory Board
Executive Committee, AALS Torts & Compensation Systems Section

Media Coverage

Central Pennsylvania Business Journal
Christopher Robinette provided expert commentary on 11/25/16
Regulation is dead; long live litigation?

Bloomberg Law
Chris Robinette provided expert commentary on 10/13/16
Quiet Settlements Close Out Many Theme Park Ride Cases

Bloomberg Law
Chris Robinette provided expert commentary on 10/6/16
Theme Park Accidents Spur Lawsuits, Safety Concerns

WCPO Cincinnati
Christopher Robinette provided expert commentary on 7/27/2016
How Proctor & Gamble Co. (PG) defends its brands against litigation

The News Journal
Christopher Robinette, quoted on 08/18/14
DNREC cites landowners for I-495 dirt pile

The Washington Post
Chris Robinette, quoted on 07/10/14
5 things learned from Giants fan beating verdict

Presentations

Faculty Colloquium, Pluralism in Tort Theory and Reform, Iowa College of Law; Iowa City, Iowa; November 22, 2013

Invited Participant, “An Injury Law Constitution by Marshall Shapo,” Searle Center Conference; Northwestern University School of Law; Chicago, Illinois; March 14-15, 2013

Panelist, Twenty-First Century Tort Theories:  A New Audit of Civil Recourse Theory, Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting; Torts & Compensation Systems Section; Washington, D.C.; January 5, 2012

Presenter, Automobile No-Fault in Malaysia:  The Proper Relationship with Tort Liability, International Conference on Public Law 2011; Universiti Teknologi MARA; Shah Alam, Selangor, Malaysia; December 13-14, 2011

Editor, TortsProf Blog, (2007-Present)

faculty directory a-d e-k l-p q-z