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75 Tex. L. Rev. 1765 (1996-1997)
Common Sense of Cause in Fact

handle is hein.journals/tlr75 and id is 1781 raw text is: The Common Sense of Cause in Fact

David W. Robertson*
[Cause in fact] is a question of fact. It is, furthermore, a fact
upon which all the learning, literature and lore of the law are
largely lost. It is a matter upon which any layman is quite as
competent to sit in judgment as the most experienced court. For
that reason, in the ordinary case, it is peculiarly a question for
the jury.1
This question of fact ordinarily is one upon which all the
learning, literature and lore of the law are largely lost. It is a
matter upon which lay opinion is quite as competent as that of the
most experienced court. For that reason, in the ordinary case,
it is peculiarly a question for the jury.2
I.  Introduction
In the early spring of 1965, Dean Page Keeton hired me to teach law
at the University of Texas. I was scheduled to start teaching that summer.
But shortly after the deal was struck, I telephoned Dean Keeton to ask for
a postponement so that I could accept an opportunity to teach torts for a
year at Leeds University in England. Page grumbled, gave me the leave,
accepted me warmly on my belated arrival in Austin in the summer of
1966, and proceeded to nurture me through several early rough years. I
love and admire the man from the bottom of my heart. It is truly hum-
bling to hold the chair that bears his name.
During all his years running this law school, Dean Keeton was an
avowed and for the most part consistent meritocrat, but he was first and
foremost what he called an umbrella dean. Umbrella deans shelter their
faculty members, particularly the young ones, from career pressures stem-
ming from political or social opposition or bigotry. Dean Keeton got
* W. Page Keeton Chair in Tort Law, The University of Texas School of Law. David Anderson
and Gary Schwartz made very helpful suggestions.
1. WILLIAM L. PROSSER, THE LAW OF TORTS § 41, at 237 (4th ed. 1971).
2. W. PAGE KEETON ET AL., PROSSER AND KEETON ON THE LAW OF TORTS § 41, at 264-65 (5th
ed. 1984) (emphasis added) [hereinafter KEETON E AL., PROSSER & KEETON].
3. Accounting for a wish to spend a year in Leeds is beyond the scope of this Paper.

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