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.

A continuation of LAW 515, Torts I

Exploration of legal methods and institutions comparing United States with other regions of the world. The course addresses major global legal traditions with emphasis on classical distinction between civil law and common law. Students are exposed to basic sources in key foreign jurisdictions, such as the EU, and foreign law questions that arise in domestic legal proceedings. Final paper.

The specific topic is stated when the course is scheduled. May be repeated with change of topic.


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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