R.I.P. Jeffrey O’Connell

The “father of no-fault,” who died on Sunday at age 84, was an eminent torts professor at the University of Virginia, a public-spirited advocate of reform over many decades, and a renowned teacher. A valued friend and mentor, he was one of the most personally gracious and generous academics I’ve ever known. The New York Times has a good obituary. Just last year New Hampshire enacted an “early offers” statute encouraging prompt settlement of medical malpractice disputes partly inspired by Prof. O’Connell’s work. More: University of Virginia, Christopher Robinette/TortsProf.

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  • Professor O’Connell (or Mr. O’Connell in the Jeffersonian, University of Virginia tradition) was my first-year torts professor, and was truly a giant in the law. He was a remarkable classroom instructor; one who taught with great wit, wisdom, humor, intellect and experience. And, he was a scholar who had a profound impact on so-called “real world” with his views on tort reform and public policy. The University and the profession has lost one of our best.