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Maine Law Professor Jennifer Wriggins Publishes: The Measure of Injury: Race, Gender, and Tort Law

Jennifer B. Wriggins, the Sumner T. Bernstein Professor of Law at the University of Maine School of Law, is the co-author of a new critically acclaimed book on tort law. Published by New York University Press and co-authored with Martha Chamallas of Ohio State-Moritz College of Law, The Measure of Injury is the first book to tackle the influence of race and gender on tort law. The book, using historical and contemporary examples, from the Jim Crow South to the 9/11 Victim Compensation Fund, shows how the shape of contemporary U.S. tort law is affected by the parties’ social identity and cultural views on gender and race. Chamallas and Wriggins analyze hundreds of cases brought for personal injuries related to domestic violence, sexual and racial harassment and exploitation, reproductive injuries and injuries to family members, as well as ordinary negligence and wrongful death suits requiring an assessment of damages to female and minority victims. Their findings lay bare the fact that women and minorities have been undercompensated in tort law and that traditional biases have resurfaced in updated forms to perpetuate patterns of disparate recovery based on race and gender.

Professor Wriggins is widely recognized for her work in tort law, insurance law, feminist legal theory, and critical race theory. She has published widely in all these areas. In 2008, her research was cited in McMillan v. City of New York, which held that the use of race-based life expectancy tables was unconstitutional. She was a visiting Professor at Harvard Law School and Boston University Law School, is treasurer of the AALS Torts & Compensation Section, and has received awards for her teaching and scholarship.