From: Donal Nolan <>
To: Robert Stevens <>
Volokh, Eugene <>
Date: 08/07/2022 10:26:01 UTC
Subject: RE: Kinsey identifying dissident for Saudi government isn't negligent

The language of ‘injury’ here seems obscure to me, but if we focus not on the action but on the end result that grounds the claim (ie the damage, physical ‘injury’, etc) then I think this boils down to a causation argument (the defendant did not commit a wrong because in some sense the defendant didn’t cause the damage). I agree with that. And I think it explains why the defendant is a wrongdoer if they give the gun to a young child, who is not responsible for their actions. But it does need to be explained, even if it is difficult.


All best





From: Robert Stevens <>
Sent: 08 July 2022 11:09
To: Donal Nolan <>; Volokh, Eugene <>;
Subject: RE: Kinsey identifying dissident for Saudi government isn't negligent



“Presumably those Rob puts in the Donoghue/MacPherson camp think that there are two wrongs in some cases of this kind even though there was no assumption of responsibility, and it is not self-evident (to me anyway) why that is not the case.”


If we think (as some do) that the wrong/tort is constituted by exposing others to the risk of injury, then the social host, the gun seller and McKinsey all committed a wrong. As did the driver, shooter and Saudi government.


If we think the wrong/tort is constituted by the injury (being run over, being shot etc) that gives us a different answer, as the social host, gun seller and McKinsey didn’t do those things. Rather, they did something that caused someone else to do those things.


On either view, there may be another kind of wrong constituted by the breach of an assumed duty to take care.


Whether torts are wrongs at all (many academics at least purport to think that torts can’t be defined or are liability formulas or something else) and what those wrongs are constituted by are Big Difficult Questions.