No, he's not really one. But in this interview with Notes from the Legal Underground's Evan Schaeffer, the recently named director of AEI's Liability Project offers a compelling defense of tort reform that veers awfully close to Randy Barnett's Hayek-flavored brand of anarcho-capitalism.
even though I believe that consumers as a whole would be better off with tort reform, I recognize that there exist consumers who may prefer the broader regimes of liability. Why not allow a choice? Manufacturers would be able to send signals about the safety of their product by competing on the terms for liability: why is the punitive damages option for this car so much cheaper than the same option for that car? We'll see Consumers Union rate the various liability options, and recommend cars accordingly. Hey, this surgeon doesn't cap non-economic damages, while that one insists malpractice allegations be resolved by arbitration; maybe I feel safer with the one who's more confident putting his record in the hands of a jury, and will pay the higher premium, whereas now, I don't have any real way to measure whether one surgeon is better than another. As technology improves, there are other options possible: maybe I can purchase the option to sue for punitive damages for my auto in 10,000-mile increments, and signal to a manufacturer that I'm a lower risk for a liability suit than someone who drives more than I do. In many ways, allowing these sorts of contracts is the best of all possible reforms: consumers who are unhappy with litigation reform can be satisfied at the same time as consumers who are unhappy that the current system raises prices and reduces innovation.
Sounds good to me. Of course, I'm one of the few folks who actually digs the term "polycentric constitutional order."
But I must note, for the sake of being a pain in the ass, that this conception of tort reform is quite a bit different from the one actually endorsed by the likes of ATRA. Ultimately, if a robust market in competing notions of liability is the goal, then are not pain-and-suffering caps just as arbitrary and capricious as mandatory contracts of adhesion?