A One Term Tort Reform Tale: Victimizing the Vulnerable

Andrew Popper


During its spring 1997 term, Congress passed the Volunteer Protection Act and considered but did not pass the Biomaterials Access Assurance Act of 1997. The Volunteer Protection Act provides a wide range of tort immunities to volunteers working for charitable organizations. The Biomaterials Access Assurance Act would have provided tort immunity to biomaterials producers. In this Article, the author examines the origins and possible implications of both these tort reform proposals from a class-based perspective and within the broader context of the ongoing tort reform debate. The author concludes that both of these proposals ultimately would harm individuals in vulnerable positions: those in need of volunteer services and those dependent on certain medical devices.