Automobile Claims Study records of Robert Keeton
Conditions Governing Access
Conditions Governing Use
Extent1 collection (60 boxes, 17 Paige boxes)
The Study was initiated in early 1963 with the aim of (a) making an in-depth survey of the automobile insurance system as it existed in 1963, (b) suggesting reform by introducing a new concept in regard to liability in automobile accidents, and (c) proposing legislation based on this new concept. The new form of insurance envisioned was termed "basic protection" insurance. It guaranteed speedy and direct reimbursement for actual losses sustained, below a certain maximum, thereby eliminating lengthy court proceedings or the frustrations of haggling with insurance companies. The Study focussed in particular on circumstances and needs in Massachusetts, and it led to the passage of the Massachusetts Personal Injury Protection Act of August 1970, and subsequent Acts.
Financial support for the study was provided by the Walter E. Meyer Research Institute of Law in a grant to the Harvard Law School. Professor Keeton served as Director, and Professor Jeffrey O'Connell, initially of the University of Iowa Law School, was the Associate Director.
The Papers relating to the Automobile Claims Study were organized into the following Sub-series: Plans for the study; correspondence: chronological; correspondence: alphabetical; conferences; legislative bills and hearings; "no-fault" in the 1970's; source material; and miscellany. They consist of correspondence (letters received and carbons of letters sent);reports; memoranda; agenda; minutes of meetings; lists; charts; tables; forms; receipts; drafts of writings; editorials; critiques reviews; legislative bills; newspaper and journal clippings; pamphlets; other printed items. They are in holograph, typed, printed and electrostatic copy form.
Keeton's and O'Connell's drafts of their proposal for a different type of system of automobile insurance culminated in the publication of BASIC PROTECTION FOR THE TRAFFIC VICTIM - A BLUEPRINT FOR REFORMING AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE (Little, Brown and Company, 1965). Another monograph which was the outgrowth of their Study was AFTER CARS CRASH - THE NEED FOR LEGAL AND INSURANCE REFORM (Dow Jones -Irwin, Inc., 1967). The Papers include drafts of parts of these manuscripts, correspondence re publication matters, research material, and fan mail.
Correspondence in general is with legislators and other officials in Massachusetts, other States, and the Federal government; members of professional and insurance trade organizations; members of Keeton's consultive panel; concerned citizens. Professor OO'Connell, who spent the academic year 1963/4 at the Harvard Law School collaborating with Keeton on the initial Study and the draft of their proposal, subsequently accepted a teaching position at the University of Illinois College of Law, so that the correspondence between Keeton and O'Connell is quite extensive. Among Professor Keeton's other correspondents were: Jack E. Birkinsha; Ralph S. Brown; Jack Davies; Michael S. Dukakis; James D. Ghiardi; Livingston Hall; Harriet Hardy; Frank Harwayne; Alfred Knopf, Jr.-.; -Allan H. blcCoid; Daniel Patrick Moynihan; Elliott L. Richardson; Maurice Rosenberg; John L. Saltonstall, Jr.; Donald E. Shapiro; Robert E. Slater; Robert Er. Stone; Andre" Tunc; John A. Volpe; C. Arthur Williams., Jr.
In the notes which accompany the entries in this Series, Robert E. Keeton is abbreviated REK, Jeffrey O'Connell to JO, and their joint study, BASIC PROTECTION FOR THE TRAFFIC VICTIM, to BPFTTV.
B.B.A. 1940, LL.B 1941, University of Texas; S.J.D. 1956, Harvard.
Law practice, Houston, Texas, 1941-1942, 1945-1951.
Law teaching, Southern Methodist University, Dallas, 1951-1953; Harvard University, 1953-????
Active duty, USNR, 1942-1945.
Admitted to practice, Texas, 1941; Massachusetts, 1954.
Author of law review articles, primarily in the areas of Torts and Insurance Law, and the following books: Trial Tactics and Methods (1954); Venturing to Do Justice - Reforming Private Law (1969); Basic Text on Insurance Law (1971); (co-author) Keeton & O'Connell, Basic Protection for the Traffic Victim (1965). Member Am. Bar; Am. Law Institute.
- Series I. Plans for Automobile Claims Study.
- Series II. Correspondence, chronological, 1960s.
- Series III. Correspondence, alphabetical.
- Series IV. Conferences, Meetings, Institutes.
- Series V. Legislative bills and hearings.
- Series VI. "No-fault" in the 1970's.
- Series VII. Source material.
- Series VIII. Miscellany.
Immediate Source of Acquisition
- U.S. Dent. of Transportation studies of automobile accidents, and a few other prined items
- Journals and other printed publications containing articles on no-fault and related topics
- Legal briefs etc. from REK's Texas law practice
- Uncut journals, magazines
- Automobile Clains Study printed items
- Material marked by REK: "Eventual throw-out"
- Material to go back to REK for checking and possible discarding
- Automobile Claims Study records of Robert Keeton, 1962-1977: Finding Aid.
- Harvard Law School LibraryCambridge, MA 02138
- EAD ID
Part of the Harvard Law School Library, Historical & Special Collections Repository
Harvard Law School Library's Historical & Special Collections (HSC) collects, preserves, and makes available research materials for the study of the law and legal history. HSC holds over 8,000 linear feet of manuscripts, over 100,000 rare books, and more than 70,000 visual images.
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