The below is the abstract of “Hard Battles over Soft Law: The Troubling Implications of Insurance Industry Attacks on the American Law Institute Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance,” featured in the Cleveland State Law Review.

ALI Restatements of the Law have traditionally exerted significant influence over court decisions and the development of the common law. During the past two decades, however, the ALI has seen an upsurge in interest group activity designed to shape or even thwart aspects of the Institute’s work. Most recently, the Restatement of the Law of Liability Insurance (RLLI) has been the focus of not only criticism of particular provisions but a concerted effort by members of the insurance industry to demonize the project as a whole and bar use of the document by courts.

The vehemence of insurer opposition seems odd in that the RLLI is a mainstream document that leans in favor of insurers on several important issues. Why have insurers been so vehemently opposed to the RLLI? Have previously non-partisan law reform efforts now become afflicted with the same interest group muscle flexing that pervades modern electoral politics? And if so, what are the implications for the future of this aspect of American law? This Article examines not only the background of and debate over the RLLI but also addresses the evolution of special interest group interaction with law reform organizations in order to offer an explanation for the increasing politicization of what historically has been largely non-partisan creation of “soft law.”

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Jeffrey W. Stempel

University of Nevada Las Vegas William S. Boyd School of Law

Professor Jeffrey Stempel is a 1981 graduate of Yale Law School, where he was an editor of the Yale Law Journal and co-founder of the Yale Law and Policy Review. He spent two years as a law clerk to a federal district court judge in Philadelphia and three years in private practice with a firm in Minneapolis before entering the teaching profession. Professor Stempel served on the faculty at Brooklyn Law School and the Florida State University College of Law. Professor Stempel has numerous publications to his credit, including books, treatise chapters and supplements, and law review articles. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the State Bar of Nevada, and the Minnesota Bar. Professor Stempel teaches Civil Procedure/Alternative Dispute Resolution, Evidence, Professional Responsibility, and Insurance Law.

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