It was with great surprise and sadness that I learned of the sudden and unexpected passing of Vanderbilt University Law School’s Professor Richard Nagareda this weekend. Perhaps the Law School’s top professor, he was a leading expert in complex litigation (e.g., class action lawsuits), and was widely published and quoted on that and related topics. He was peerless in the classroom and demonstrated a care for and interest in students and life beyond the classroom as well.
In recent years, Professor Nagareda taught a class called Complex Litigation, which dove deep into the world of class actions, mass settlements, and other forms of aggregate dispute resolution with the goal of understanding what was happening in this constantly evolving area as a matter of constitutional rights, statutory development, and business interests. He also directed the Cecil D. Branstetter Litigation and Dispute Resolution Program, which included his leadership of the Civil Litigation Capstone Seminar for third-year law students.
In an official notice, Chris Guthrie, Dean of the Law School, said:
Richard was a personal friend as well as an esteemed colleague, and those of us who were fortunate enough to know him and work with him for the past several years are devastated by his death. The legal academy has lost a gifted scholar, and our students an extremely talented teacher. Our faculty members have lost a good friend and exemplary colleague, and his family a beloved husband, father and son.
I had the extremely good fortune to study under Professor Nagareda. Time spent in his courses is among the most valuable of my last three years. (A summary of the work I did in his seminar is available here.) For everything he taught us about law and legal practice– things that significantly advanced and changed the way I understand the law– he was always careful to remind us that what matters more than work or anything else is the opportunity to spend time with loved ones.