THE FATE OF THE GENERAL CLAUSE IN A CROSS-CULTURAL SETTING:
The Tort Experience of Louisiana

Vernon Valentine Palmer

This paper considers the fate of the general clause on delictual responsibility in the Louisiana Civil Code and the interweaving of civil law and common law traditions in the Louisiana experience. The original wording of Article 2294 enshrined the civilian principle: 'Every act whatever of man that causes damage to another obliges him by whose fault it occurred to repair it.' But patterns of legal reasoning became progressively Americanized from the mid-nineteenth century onwards, and the general clause experienced progressive legislative transformation. The author traces these developments and examines why, despite a civilian revival in the closing years of the twentieth century, the cultural conditioning of the common law tradition has ultimately prevented the general clause from surviving as the organizing principle of Louisiana tort law.

Cite as: V.V. Palmer, The Fate of the General Clause in a Cross-Cultural Setting: The Tort Experience of Louisiana, vol 5.2 ELECTRONIC JOURNAL OF COMPARATIVE LAW, (May 2001), <http://www.ejcl.org/52/art52-1.html>

Contents
Introduction
1. Penetration and patterns in mixed jurisdictions
2. The Civil Code's delictual structure
3. The institutional surroundings: The architects of the mixed system
4. Things fall apart: The principle cannot hold
5. The legislative transformation of the general clause
6. The reception from within
En guise de conclusion
Notes

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