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Identified versus Statistical LivesAn Interdisciplinary Perspective$
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I. Glenn Cohen, Norman Daniels, and Nir Eyal

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780190217471

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: April 2015

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.001.0001

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Identified versus Statistical Lives in US Civil Litigation

Identified versus Statistical Lives in US Civil Litigation

Of Standing, Ripeness, and Class Actions

Chapter:
(p.161) 11 Identified versus Statistical Lives in US Civil Litigation
Source:
Identified versus Statistical Lives
Author(s):

I. Glenn Cohen

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780190217471.003.0012

This chapter examines the way the identified versus statistical lives problem manifests itself in civil litigation in US federal courts. In section 1, it argues that federal courts push for litigants to assert claims on behalf of identified and not statistical victims because of two prerequisites for the justiciability of a controversy—standing and ripeness. In section 2, it discusses a partial solution offered by the procedural rules of civil litigation: the class action device. The class action allows for the adjudication of harms to statistical victims through the litigation of a representative identified claimant, or a “representative life”: a middle concept between identified and statistical lives where an identified life stands in for a much larger number of (as yet) statistical lives.

Keywords:   class actions, standing, justiciability, ripeness, federal courts, litigation

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