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Jean Eggen

Distinguished Emerita Professor of Law

A.B., Connecticut College
M.A., Michigan State University
J.D., Syracuse University College of Law



Phone: 302.477.2155


Jean Macchiaroli Eggen is Distinguished Emerita Professor of Law at Delaware Law School. Professor Eggen specializes in toxic torts, torts, and civil procedure.  After joining the law faculty in 1986, she became one of the first legal academics to create the new discipline of toxic torts and introduce it into the legal curriculum of a law school.

Professor Eggen received an A.B. from Connecticut College and an M.A. from Michigan State University, and was a Ph.D. Candidate (ABD) at the University of Michigan. She received a J.D., magna cum laude, from Syracuse University College of Law, where she served as Editor-in-Chief of the Syracuse Law Review, held the prestigious Syracuse University Graduate Fellowship, and received awards for published writing. Following law school, she worked as a tort and environmental litigation attorney at the law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King in Syracuse, New York. She is admitted to practice in New York. 

Professor Eggen teaches in the areas of toxic torts, civil procedure, torts, and science and the law. She writes in the areas of toxic torts, law and medicine, and neuroscience and tort law. Her publications include a book, Toxic Torts in a Nutshell, now in its 5th edition, and numerous articles on topics such as federal preemption, toxic reproductive and genetic hazards, scientific evidence, mass torts, medical device and tobacco litigation, and the potential impact of functional neuroscience on tort doctrine.  Her articles have been cited by the highest courts of numerous states and by a Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

At Delaware Law School, Professor Eggen is a member of the Global Environmental and Natural Resources Law Institute and has been a two-time recipient of the Douglas E. Ray Excellence in Faculty Scholarship Award. She writes legal analysis on the health risks and regulatory aspects of nanotechnology at her blog.  She is a member of the Special Committee on Congressional Relations of the ABA Section on Environment, Energy, and Resources (SEER) and has co-authored a SEER white paper on preemption and the modernization of the Toxic Substances Control Act.  In 2013, she received an ABA award for the “Best Paper” of the SEER 21st Fall Conference.

What inspires me to teach?

My primary goals as a professor are to stimulate critical legal thinking in my students and provide them with a strong grounding in legal doctrine and the practical and ethical skills to serve the community. My research and scholarship in toxic torts and neuroscience and the law inspire me to help students develop creative solutions to emerging legal problems. It makes me very proud when I hear of the successes of my former students. Teaching allows us to touch the future, and I can think of nothing more satisfying and inspiring than seeing my students succeed in the legal profession and pass along their knowledge to the next generation.


Torts, Toxic Torts, Civil Procedure II


Publications on Selected Works

Publications on SSRN


Toxic Torts in a Nutshell (West Nutshell Series, 5th ed. 2015).

Toxic Torts in a Nutshell (West Nutshell Series, 4th ed. 2010).

Toxic Torts in a Nutshell (Nutshell Series, Thomson West 3rd ed. 2005).

Toxic Torts in a Nutshell (Nutshell Series, West Publishing Co. 2d ed. 2000).

Toxic Torts in a Nutshell (Nutshell Series, West Publishing Co. 1995).

Book Chapter

Punitive Damages and the Public Health Agenda, in RECONSIDERING LAW AND POLICY DEBATES: A PUBLIC HEALTH PERSPECTIVE 220 (Cambridge U. Press 2010).


Mental Disabilities and Duty in Negligence Law:  Will Neuroscience Reform Tort Doctrine?, 12 IND. HEALTH L. REV. (forthcoming 2015).

Being Small in a Supersized World: Tackling the Problem of Low-Level Exposures in Toxic Tort Actions, 44 ENVT’L L. RPTR. 10630 (2014).

Navigating Between Scylla and Charybdis:  Preemption of Medical Device “Parallel Claims”, 9 J. HEALTH & BIOMED. L. 159 (2013).

Medical Malpractice Screening Panels:  An Update and Assessment, 6 J. HEALTH & LIFE SCI. L. 1 (June 2013).

Implied Preemption of Medical Device “Parallel Claims,” 40 Prod. Safety & Liab. Rep. (BNA) 1052 (Sept. 17, 2012).

Toward a Neuroscience Model of Tort Law:  How Functional Neuroimaging Will Transform Tort Doctrine, 13 COLUM. SCI. & TECH. L. REV. 235 (2012) (with Eric J. Laury).

Insight: Nanotechnology and the Environment: What’s Next?, 26 NAT. RESOURCES & ENV’T 51 (2012).

Proposed Disease Cluster Legislation: What’s Nanotechnology Got To Do With It?, 1 THE FORUM 13 (Oct. 2011).

Federal Preemption of Claims Based on Cell Phone Hazards: Farina v. Nokia and the Road to the U.S. Supreme Court, 39 Prod. Safety & Liab. Rep. (BNA) 871 (Aug. 8, 2011). Also printed in 26 Toxics L. Rep. (BNA) 949 (Aug. 11, 2011) and 80 U.S.L.W. 321 (Sept. 13, 2011).

The Mature Product Preemption Doctrine: The Unitary Standard and the Paradox of Consumer Protection, 60 CASE W. RES. L. REV. 95 (2009).

The Synergy of Toxic Tort Law and Public Health:  Lessons From a Century of Cigarettes, 41 CONN. L. REV. 561 (2008).

Toxic Torts at Ground Zero, 39 ARIZ. ST. L.J. 383 (2007).

Punitive Damages and the Tobacco Industry: New Guidelines from the U.S. Supreme Court, 2 FORUM  (Widener Health Law Institute) 1 (Fall, 2007).

The Normalization of Product Preemption Doctrine, 57 ALA. L. REV. 725 (2006).

Daubert and Its Progeny: Expert Scientific Evidence in Massachusetts Personal Injury Cases, J. OF THE MASS. ACAD. OF TRIAL ATT’YS 22 (Fall 2005/Winter 2006).

The Impact of the Class Action Fairness Act on Plaintiffs in Mass-Tort Actions, 12 ANDREWS CLASS ACTION LITIG. RPTR 17, Apr. 21, 2005, also printed in 20 ANDREWS TOBACCO INDUS. LITIG. RPTR 8 (April 15, 2005).

Toxic Exposures at Ground Zero: Is There a Role for the Tort System?, 1 WIDENER HEALTH L. TODAY 1 (Fall 2005).

Public Nuisance Claims Against Gun Sellers: New Insights and Challenges, 38 U. MICH J.L. REFORM 1 (2004) (with John G. Culhane).

Toxic Exposures and Workers Compensation, 14 J. WORKERS COMP. 9 (2004).

Shedding Light on the Preemption Doctrine in Product Liability Actions: Defining the Scope of Buckman and Sprietsma, 6 DEL. L. REV. 143 (2003).

Toxic Torts and Causation: The Challenge of Daubert After the First Decade, 17 NAT. RESOURCES & ENV’T 213 (2003).

Gun Torts: Defining a Cause of Action for Victims in Suits Against Gun Manufacturers, 81 N.C. L. REV. 115 (2002) (with John G. Culhane).

Defining a Proper Role for Public Nuisance Law in Municipal Suits Against Gun Sellers: Beyond Rhetoric and Expedience, 52 S.C. L. REV. 287 (2001) (with John G. Culhane).

Clinical Medical Evidence of Causation in Toxic Tort Cases: Into the Crucible of Daubert, 38 HOUS. L. REV. 369 (2001).

Sense or Sensibility?: Toxic Product Liability Under State Law After Cipollone and Medtronic, 2 WIDENER L. SYMP. J. 1 (1997).

Foreword, Current Issues in Toxic Torts, 2 WIDENER L. SYMP. J. i (1997).

The Proposed Tobacco Settlement: “Bitter Pill” or Sweet Deal?, WIDENER U. SCH. L. MAG., Winter 1997, at 38.

Understanding State Contribution Laws and Their Effect on the Settlement of Mass Tort Actions, 73 TEX. L. REV. 1701 (1995).

Toxic Torts, Causation, and Scientific Evidence After Daubert, 55 U. PITT. L. REV. 889 (1994).

Toxic Reproductive and Genetic Hazards in the Workplace: Challenging the Myths of the Tort and Workers’ Compensation Systems, 60 FORDHAM L. REV. 843 (1992), reprinted in 6 NAT’L INS. L. REV. 567 (1993).

“The Orwellian Nightmare” Reconsidered: A Proposed Regulatory Framework for the Advanced Reproductive Technologies, 25 GA. L. REV. 625 (1991).

Medical Malpractice Screening Panels: Proposed Model Legislation to Cure Judicial Ills, 58 GEO. WASH. L. REV. 181 (1990).

United States v. Havens: Impeachment By Illegally Obtained Evidence, 32 SYRACUSE  L. REV. 637 (1981).


ABA Section on the Environment, Energy, & Resources, TSCA Preemption of Private Rights of Action Under TSCA and TSCA Legislation Briefing Paper, Toxic Substances Control Act (TSCA) Reform White Papers (2014) (with Charles L. Franklin, Lynn Bergeson, Lawrence E. Culleen, Mark N. Duvall, Maureen F. Gorsen, Eric P. Gotting, Martha E. Marrapese, Joanne Thelmo, Kirk Tracy, and Jim Wedeking).

Gun Makers Seek to Bar Justice (with John G. Culhane), SUNDAY NEWS JOURNAL, Wilmington DE (June, 2003), at A15.