David F. Partlett

Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law

Curriculum Vitae



Areas of Expertise

Torts, Judicial Remedies, Professional Liability


David F. Partlett is Asa Griggs Candler Professor of Law, having served as dean of Emory Law from 2006 to 2011. Before that he served as vice president, dean and professor of law at Washington and Lee University School of Law for six years. He joined the faculty of the Vanderbilt University Law School in 1987. He was a fellow in the Institute for Public Policy Studies and was acting dean from 1996-1997. Partlett held positions in the Australian government as a senior legal officer for the Commonwealth Attorney-General's Department in Canberra, where he was responsible for policy advice on the Racial Discrimination Act and other related human rights and racial discrimination legislation. He later was appointed to the Australian Law Reform Commission.

From 1978-1987, Partlett was a member of the faculty of the Australian National University, and he served as associate dean from 1982-1985. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the American Society of Law and Medicine and the Selden Society. He currently teaches torts and has taught courses on torts, judicial remedies and professional liability. He has written books on torts, defamation and free speech, child mental health and medical malpractice.

A native of Australia, Partlett earned his LLB degree from the University of Sydney School of Law in 1970, an LLM from the University of Michigan Law School in 1974 and an SJD. from the University of Virginia School of Law in 1982. He remains an active scholar, with recent work focused on tort law, as well as defamation and free speech, child mental health and tort theory.


David F. Partlett


Books Authored

With Weaver and others: The Right to Speak Ill: Defamation, Reputation and Free Speech, (Carolina Academic Press, Durham, NC, 2006).

With Schwartz and Kelly, Prosser et al., Torts: Cases and Materials, 11th Edition, with Teacher’s Manual (Foundation Press, New York, New York, 2005). (Co-author of last three editions.)

With Weaver and others: Modern Remedies: Cases, Practical Problems and Exercises (2nd Edition, West Publishing Co., St. Paul, MN, 2004; 1st Edition, 1997).

With Nurcombe, Child Mental Health and the Law (Macmillan Free Press, New York, 1994).

With Sloan and others, Suing for Medical Malpractice (University of Chicago Press, Chicago, 1993).

Professional Negligence (Law Book Company, Methuen, Sydney, 1985).

Books Edited

With J. Goldring, R. Hamilton, and N. Gunningham, "Access to Justice" (A.N.U. Press, 1979).

With J.L.R. Davis "Compensation for Personal Injuries" (A.G.P.S., 1985).


“The Libel Tourist and the Ugly American: Free Speech in an Era of Modern Global Communications,” 48 U. Louisville L. Rev. (forthcoming 2009) (Keynote Address, U. Louisville L. Rev. Symposium: First Amendment Issues in Emerging Technology).

“A Tribute to Harold Berman,” 22 Emory Int’l L. Rev. [i] (2008) (Remarks at A Conference on World Law and World Health).

With Russell Weaver, “Remedies as a ‘Capstone’ Course,” 27 Rev. of Litigation 269 (2008), (Essay for AALS Workshop on Remedies).

"“Defective Structures and Economic Loss in the United States; Law and Policy, Emerging Issues in Tort Law, J. Neyers, Ed. (Hart Pub. 2007).

With Russell Weaver, “Remedies, Neutral Rules and Free Speech,” 39 Akron L. Rev. 905 (2006) (Essay for Fourth Remedies Discussion Forum.)

With Russell Weaver, “Defamation, Free Speech, and Democratic Governance,” 50, New York L. Rev., 2005-2006.

“Of Law Reform Lions and the Limits of Tort Reform,” 27 Syd. L. Rev. 417 (2005).

“Defamation Law and Free Speech: Reynolds v. Times Newspapers and the English Media,” 37 Vand J. Trans. Law 1255 (2004).

“The Republican Model and Punitive Damages,” 41 San Diego L. Rev. 1409 (2004).

With Russell Weaver, “Defamation, the Media and Free Speech: Australia’s Experiment with

Expanded Qualified Privilege,” 36 Geo. Washington Univ. J. of Interna. Law 377 (2004).

“Misuse of Genetic Information: The Common Law and Professionals’ Liability,” 42 Washburn Law Journal 489 (Spring 2003); republished in Panorama Assicurativo (2004).

With Russell Weaver, "Restitution: Ancient Wisdom," 36 Loyola of Los Angeles L. Rev. 975 (Winter 2003).

"Introduction to Administrative Law Discussion Forum," 54 Admin. L. Rev. 565 (2002).

"Equity," The Oxford Companion to American Law, (Oxford University Press 2002).

With Russell Weaver, “Filling Cavities,” 39 Brandeis Law Journal 677 (Spring 2001).

With Barry Nurcombe, "Recovered Memories of Child Sexual Abuse and Liability: Society, Science, and the Law in a Comparative Setting," 4 Psychology, Public Policy, and Law 1253 (1998).

“Punitive Damages: Legal Hot Zones,” 56 La. L. Rev. 781 (1996).

"Roaming in the Gloaming: The Liability of Professionals", 14 Sydney L. Rev. 261 (1992).

"From Victorian Opera to Rock and Rap: Inducement to Breach of Contract in the Music Industry," 66 Tulane L. Rev. 771 (1992).

With Eric Szweda, "An Embattled Profession: The Role of Lawyers in the Regulatory State," 14 University of New South Wales L.J. 8 (1991).

"From Red Lion Square to Skokie to the Fatal Shore: Racial Defamation and Freedom of Speech," 22 Vand. J. Trans. Law 431 (1989), reprinted in updated, revised, and expanded form in Freedman and Freedman (ed.) Group Defamation and Freedom of Speech (Greenwood Press under the auspices of Hofstra University 1995), 135.

"Professional Negligence in America," in P.D. Finn (ed.) Essays on Torts (Law Book Company, 1989), 98-149.

With Jeffrey O'Connell, "An America's Cup for Tort Reform? Australia and America Compared," 21 Michigan Journal of Law Reform 443 (1988).

With Gregory Burton, "The Share Repurchase Albatross and Corporation Law Theory," 62 Australian Law Journal 139 (1988).

With J. Handmer, "Flood Warnings and Legal Liability: The Georges River Floods August 1986," CRES Working Paper 1988/8 ISBN 0-86740-331-4.

"Forecasts, Warnings and Legal Liability: High Pressure and Gale Warnings for Weather Forecasting," CRES Working Paper 1987/7, ISBN 0-86740-283-0.

"Liability for Floods and Failing Dams," CRES Working Paper 1986/41, ISBN 0-86740-266-0.

"Recovery of Damages for Loss of Future Earnings," in Tay (ed.) Law and Australian Legal Thinking in the 1980's, p.195 (1986), 12th International Congress of Comparative Law, Sydney & Monash Universities, 18-27 August 1986.

"Economic Loss and the Limits of Negligence," (1986) 60 Australian Law Journal 64.

"The Implications of Sutherland Shire Council v. Heyman for Building and Design Professionals," 2 Building and Construction Law 33 (1986).

"Attorney-Client Privilege, the Professions, and the Common Law Tradition," 10 The Journal of the Legal Profession 9 (1986).

With Jeffrey O'Connell, "No-Fault Insurance for Australians? A Package of Possibilities," in Davis and Partlett, Compensation for Personal Injuries, (A.G.P.S. 1985).

"Economic Analysis and Some Problems in the Law of Torts," 13 Melbourne University Law Review 398 (1982).

"Economic Analysis in the Law of Torts," in Cranston and Schick (ed.), Law and Economics, (A.N.U. Press, 1982).

"Does the Racial Discrimination Act adequately Fulfill Australia's obligations under the International Convention on the Elimination of all Forms of Racial Discrimination?," in Nettheim, Legislating for Human Rights (U.N.S.W., Faculty of Law, 1981).

"The Caltex Case: Recovery of Economic Loss in Negligence," 9 Sydney Law Review 121 (1980).

"Benign Racial Discrimination: Aborigines & Equality," 10 Federal Law Review 238 (1979).

"Subrogation in Accommodation Bills of Exchange," 53 Australian Law Journal 699 (1979).

"Recovery of Economic Loss in Negligence: The Australian High Court Strikes a New Trail," 9 California Western International Law Journal 563 (1979).

"Liability of Auditors to Third Parties in Negligence," 17 Law Society Journal 93 (1979).

"The Racial Discrimination Act, 1975 and the Anti- Discrimination Act 1977: Aspects and Proposals for Change," 2 University of New South Wales Law Journal 152 (1977).

"Can You Legislate for Equality?," Proceedings of the Australian Institute of Criminology 1975.

Scholarly Book Reviews and Commentaries

“Foreword: David Fischer, the Fox,” 73 Mo. L. Rev. 281 (2008) (Essay for Symposium: A Tribute to Professor David Fischer).

“The American Dean Goes Abroad,” 31 University of Toledo Law Review 689 (2000).

‘Legal Language,” 38 Judges’ J. Spring 1999, at 32. [This is an ABA publication.]

“Tort Liability and the American Way: Reflections on Liability for Emotional Distress,” 45 Am. J. Comp. L. 601 (1997). [This is a book review for Tort Liability for Psychiatric Damage: The Law of ‘Nervous Shock’.]

“A Careful Exposé: A Review of Civil Juries and the Politics of Reform, by Stephen Daniels and Joanne Martin,” 79 Judicature 288 (1996).

"The Common Law As Cricket: A Review Essay of Form and Substance in Anglo-American Law by Patrick S. Atiyah & Robert S. Summers," 43 Vand. L. Rev. 1401 (1990).

"Child Abuse," 24 The Vanderbilt Lawyer 4 (1993).

"Medical Malpractice," 19 The Vanderbilt Lawyer 9 (1988).

"Law, Medicine, and the American Way," Centre for Independent Studies Policy Report, 1987.

Case Note, Mahony v. J. Kruschich (Demolitions) (High Court June 1985) 59 A.L.J. 621 (1985).

Case Note, Sidaway v. Bethlem Royal Hospital (The Times, February 22, 1985) 59 A.L.J. 341 (1985).

Case Note, Gould v. Vaggelas ((1984) 58 A.L.J.R. 560) 59 A.L.J. 228 (1985).

Case Note, Jaensch v. Coffey ((1984) 58 A.L.J.R. 426) 59 A.L.J. 44 (1985).

"Economic Analysis of Law," by R. Posner (2nd Ed), 11 Federal Law Review 239 (1980).

"A Matter of Justice," by C.D. Rowley, 10 Federal Law Review 108 (1979).


David F. Partlett

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