University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law


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Donald Gifford

Jacob A. France Professor of Torts

Phone: (410) 706-1843
Fax: (410) 706-0407
dgifford @

Office: 237

BA, 1973, College of Wooster
JD, 1976, Harvard University

Curriculum Vitae

Biography | Selected Publications | In the News

Donald G. Gifford is the Jacob A. France Professor of Torts at the University of Maryland Carey School of Law. His teaching and research interests include Torts, Products Liability, Advanced Torts, and Legal Negotiation.

Professor Gifford is the author or co-author of five books, including both a torts casebook and a legal negotiation text, and numerous articles about topics including mass torts, products liability, comparative fault and the liability of joint tortfeasors, how race affects the substantive law of torts, and medical malpractice. Along with Professor Emeritus Oscar S. Gray and Professor Christopher Robinette, Gifford prepares semi-annual updates to Harper, James, and Gray on the Law of Torts, the definitive five-volume torts treatise. Gifford’s book, Suing the Tobacco and Lead Pigment Industries, features a critical analysis of government tort litigation against manufacturers of products that cause public health problems such as cigarettes and lead pigment. Watch Professor Gifford discuss this book.  In addition, Professor Gifford and five other faculty members recently published Get a Running Start: Your Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum.  Gifford’s current research interests include liability arising from the operation of autonomous vehicles and other cyber-physical systems.

Professor Gifford served as Dean on the University of Maryland School of Law from 1992 through 1999. He initiated the efforts to build the current law school building, obtained the legislative approval and funding for the building, raised most of the private contributions for it, and saw the building project through its initial architectural design phases. Under his leadership, the level of private giving to the law school quadrupled.  Professor Gifford served both as co-chair of the American Bar Association Deans’ Workshops in 1995 and 1996 and as co-chair of the ABA Law School Development Conference in 2001.

Professor Gifford served as Chair of the Maryland Lead Paint Poisoning Commission from 1992 until 1995, and in that role was a principal architect of Maryland’s Lead Poisoning Prevention Act. Later, Gifford promoted legislation designed to eliminate or reduce childhood lead poisoning in ten other states and in the United States Congress. He is a member of the American Law Institute.

Before coming to Maryland, Professor Gifford was the Dean of the West Virginia University College of Law and earlier a professor at the University of Florida and the University of Toledo. His students at Florida twice recognized Gifford with awards for outstanding teaching. While at Florida, Professor Gifford worked with the Florida legislature on issues of tort and insurance reform and was the principal draftsman of the Medical Incident Recovery Act of 1988. Gifford, an Ohio native, is a graduate of the College of Wooster, where he was valedictorian, and a cum laude graduate of the Harvard Law School.


Legal Negotiation: Theory and Practice (3d ed. 2017) (with Robert J. Rhee). [Abstract]

Harper, James & Gray on Torts (Supp. 2017) (with Oscar Gray).

Get a Running Start: A Comprehensive Guide to the First Year Curriculum (2016) (with others). [Abstract]

Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts (6th ed. 2015) (with Oscar S. Gray).

Suing the Tobacco and Lead Pigment Industries: Government Litigation as Public Health Prescription (2010). [Abstract]

Cases and Materials on the Law of Torts (4th ed. 2003; 5th ed. 2010) (with Oscar S. Gray and others). [Abstract]

Legal Negotiation: Theory and Applications (1989; 2d ed. 2007). [Abstract]

A Comparative Study of Liability Law and Compensation Schemes in Ten Countries and the United States (co-editor and contributing author, 1992). [Abstract]

Book Chapters

Torts, in American Governance (Stephen L. Schetcher ed., 2016).

Tort Reform as a Two-Way Street, in Andrew F. Popper, Tort Reform: Commentary and Other Materials (2010).

Tort, in The Oxfor Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2d ed. 2004).


Technological Triggers to Tort Revolutions: Steam Locomotives, Autonomous Vehicles, and Accident Compensation, 11 Journal of Tort Law (forthcoming 2018). [Full Text]

Keeping Cases from Black Juries: An Empirical Analysis of How Race, Income Equality, and Regional History Affect Tort Law, 73 Washington & Lee Law Review 557 (2016). [Full Text]

Apportioning Liability in Maryland Tort Cases: Time to End Contributory Negligence and Joint and Several Liability, 73 Maryland Law Review 701 (2014) (with Christopher J. Robinette). [Full Text]

What's on First? Organizing the Casebook and Molding the Mind, 45 Arizona State Law Journal 97 (2013) (with Joseph L. Kroart III, Brian Jones, and Cheryl Cortemeglia). [Full Text]

The Death of the Common Law: Judicial Abdication and Contributory Negligence in Maryland, 74 Maryland Law Review Endnotes 1 (2013). [Full Text]

The Supreme Court, CAFA, and Parens Patriae Actions: Will it be Principles or Biases?, 92 North Carolina Law Review Addendum 1 (2013) (with William L. Reynolds). [Full Text]

A Case Study in the Superiority of the Purposive Approach to Statutory Interpretation: Bruesewitz v. Wyeth, 64 South Carolina Law Review 221 (2012) (with William L. Reynolds II and Andrew M. Murad). [Full Text]

The Constitutional Bounding of Adjudication: A Fuller(ian) Explanation for the Supreme Court's Mass Tort Jurisprudence, 44 Arizona State Law Journal 1109 (2012). [Full Text]

Climate Change and the Public Law Model of Torts: Reinvigorating Judicial Restraint Doctrines, 92 South Carolina Law Review 201 (2011). [Full Text]

Impersonating the Legislature: State Attorneys General and Parens Patriae Product Litigation, 49 Boston College Law Review 913 (2008). [Full Text]

The Peculiar Challenges Posed By Latent Diseases Resulting From Mass Products, 64 Maryland Law Review 613 (2005). [Full Text]

The Challenge to the Individual Causation Requirement in Mass Products Torts, 62 Washington & Lee Law Review 873 (2005). [Full Text]

Public Nuisance as a Mass Products Tort, 71 University of Cincinnati Law Review 741 (2003), translated and reprinted in 7 Beijing Law Review 318 (trans. by Chen Xin). [Full Text]

How Does the Dean Resemble the Islets of Langerhans?, 31 University of Toledo Law Review 599 (2000). [Full Text]

What are Professional Skills and Why Should Law Schools Teach Them?, 19 New Mexico Law Review 14 (1989). [Full Text]

The Myth of the Insurance Claims Explosion, 41 Vanderbilt Law Review 909 (1988) (with David J. Nye). [Full Text]

The Causes of the Medical Malpractice Crisis: An Analysis of Claims Data and Insurance Company Finances, 76 Georgetown Law Journal 1459 (1988) (with others). [Full Text]

The Synthesis of Legal Counseling and Negotiation Models: Preserving Client-Centered Advocacy in the Negotiation Context, 34 UCLA Law Review 811 (1987). [Full Text]

Litigation Trends in Florida: Saga of a Growth State, 39 University of Florida Law Review 829 (1987) (with D. Nye). [Full Text]

A Context-Based Theory of Strategy Selection in Legal Negotiation, 46 Ohio State Law Journal 43 (1985). [Full Text]

A Constitutional Analysis of Ohio’s New Drunk Driving Law, 15 University of Toledo Law Review 133 (1983) (with Howard Friedman). [Full Text]

Meaningful Reform of Plea Bargaining: The Control of Prosecutorial Discretion, 1983 University of Illinois Law Review 37. [Full Text]

Equal Protection and the Prosecutor's Charging Decision: Enforcing an Ideal, 49 George Washington Law Review 659 (1981). [Full Text]

Recent News featuring Donald Gifford

April 26, 2018

Professor Donald Gifford reflects on new Maryland Court of Appeals ruling on contributory negligence in automobile accidents in The Daily Record.

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Copyright © 2018, University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. All Rights Reserved