Jones v. Robbins: The Rhyme and Reason of Duty–
Thomas E. Richard
We start with Leon’s1 learned books2
That prompted Wex3 to take a look4
At negligence analysis,
And what we know as duty–risk.5
The teachings of these pedagogues
Spawned David6 and his Dialogues7
Copyright 2014, by THOMAS E. RICHARD.
∗ Clyde C. Tidwell Endowed Professor of Law, Southern University Law
Center. The author greatly appreciates the kind support and encouragement of
Hodge O’Neal, III of the Monroe, Louisiana Bar, Professor Paul R. Baier of the
Louisiana State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, and Professor Baier’s
wife, Barbara Baier, of the Baton Rouge, Louisiana Bar who read an earlier draft
of this work.
1. Leon A. Green (1888–1979), late Professor of Law, University of
Texas, and former Dean, Northwestern University School of Law, is the creative
force behind the dut y–risk analysis.
2. See generally LEON GREEN, RATIONALE OF PROXIMATE CAUSE (1927);
LEON GREEN, JUDGE AND JURY (1930); LEON GREEN, THE JUDICIAL PROCESS IN
TORT CASES (1931).
3. Wex S. Malone (1906–1986), late Boyd Professor of Law, Louisiana
State University Paul M. Hebert Law Center, espoused and refined the duty–risk
analysis and enriched the lives of his torts students through his instruction.
4. By letter dated January 13, 1936, to Leon Green, a copy of which is in
the author’s possession, Wex Malone, a young torts professor at the University
of Mississippi, acknowledged having met Leon Green at the 1936 Association of
American Law Schools meeting in New Orleans and expressed a desire to adopt
Green’s casebook for use in his torts class.
5. Leon Green’s method of negligence analysis utilizes cause in fact, duty,
scope of duty, breach, and damages to eliminate the obfuscatory language of
proximate cause. James M. Treece, Leon Green and the Judicial Process:
Government of the People, by the People, and for the People, 56 TEX. L. REV.
447, 459 (1978); William L. Crowe, Sr., The Anatomy of a Tort—Greenian, as
Interpreted by Crowe Who Has Been Influenced by Malone—A Primer, 22 LOY.
L. REV. 903–06, 912, 916 (1976), reprinted in William L. Crowe, Sr., The
Anatomy of a Tort—Greenian, as Interpreted by Crowe Who Has Been
Influenced by Malone—A Primer, 44 LOY. L. REV. 647 (1999); Leon Green, The
Causal Relation Issue in Negligence Law, 60 MICH. L. REV. 543, 546 (1962).
6. David W. Robertson, W. Page Keeton Chair in Tort Law, University
Distinguished Teaching Professor, University of Texas School of Law, is a
former student of Wex Malone, a former colleague of Leon Green, and a
renowned torts scholar in his own right.
7. David W. Robertson, Reason Versus Rule in Louisiana Tort Law:
Dialogues on Hill v. Lundin & Associates, Inc., 34 LA. L. REV. 1 (1973).