Richard Peltz-Steele

Richard Peltz-Steele

Chancellor Professor

Law School / Faculty




UMass School of Law 227


Duke UniversityJD
Washington & Lee UniversityBA


  • Tort law
  • Comparative law
  • Media law (free speech, access to information, defamation, privacy, copyright)



A study of the law, policy, and theory of civil wrongs not arising from contract, including intentional assault, battery, false imprisonment, infliction of emotional distress, trespass, and conversion; negligence concepts, including duty, fault, causation, and injury; defenses, such as consent, assumption of risk, and comparative fault; strict and product liability; and other liability theories, such as nuisance, defamation, invasion of privacy, misrepresentation, and interference with economic relations.

Examination of citizen access to government under state and federal sunshine laws, and under common law and constitutional doctrines. Study begins with historic access to courts and juries, with emphasis on the limited access doctrine of the First Amendment, then examines access to the executive branch with special attention to problems such as national security, electronic media, and personal privacy. Course concludes with broad-perspective issues such as separation of powers and privatization.


Research interests

  • Civil/human rights and freedom of expression
  • Mass communication and journalism
  • Social and economic development
  • Sport and society

Professional background

Peltz-Steele received his law degree from Duke University and a bachelor’s in journalism and Spanish from Washington & Lee University. Peltz-Steele has won awards in teaching, research, and public service. He practiced commercial law in Baltimore and Washington, D.C., and taught law for more than thirteen years before coming to UMass Law in 2011.

Peltz-Steele is author or co-author of qualitative and quantitative research articles in law and mass communication journals, as well as book chapters, a treatise in the law and mass communication field, a casebook in tort law, and a casebook in freedom of information law and policy. He is especially active in international media law and policy, having presented papers in Europe, Asia, Africa, and South America, and having published in international and foreign journals. His current research focuses on comparative access to information law, especially in developing nations. Peltz-Steele serves in various capacities for the American Bar Association, including the legal education committee of the Section of International Law.

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