Texas A&M Law Review

Document Type

Arguendo (Online)


Societal problems can occasionally have legal solutions, and several tools exist to implement change, including litigation and regulation. However, what elements make a societal problem more suitable for litigation or regulation? This Article examines four different societal issues (tobacco use, obesity, opioid addiction, and climate change) to determine whether litigation or regulation is the more appropriate route for success. The tobacco litigation serves as a successful example, while the fast food litigation serves as an unsuccessful example. Six signs of success are derived from the tobacco litigation: a large settlement agreement, evidence of corporate wrongdoing, change in public opinion, the litigation inspiring regulations, new courtroom avenues, and the ability to aggregate claims. The Article concludes that opioid litigation will be more successful under the tobacco litigation model than climate change litigation, because opioid litigation adapts the tobacco model to end the opioid epidemic. Novel solutions include utilizing Multi-District Litigation and the first-ever “negotiation class” that allows all 30,000 American cities to participate in a global settlement agreement with Big Pharma.



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