In Memoriam: Dan B. Dobbs

April 10, 2024
Dan Dobbs headshot

The University of Arizona James E. Rogers College of Law mourns the loss of our esteemed former colleague, Regents Professor Emeritus, Dan B. Dobbs who passed away on March 21, 2024, at the age of 91. 

Dobbs left an indelible mark on the study and practice of law over the course of his illustrious career which spanned five and a half decades. His influence on the law was profound and far-reaching. After writing a number of influential articles in Tort law, Dobbs’ co-authorship of "Prosser & Keeton on Torts” solidified his reputation as a leading authority in the Torts field. He later wrote the leading contemporary Torts treatise, “The Law of Torts.” His third treatise, “The Law of Remedies,” defined that field. Written as sole author and with coauthors, his treatises and hornbook have become essential texts in legal practice, and the many editions of his casebooks in Torts, Economic and Dignitary Torts, and Remedies, have become essential texts in legal education. 

Beyond his prolific writing, Dobbs was celebrated for his unwavering dedication to excellence. Colleagues and students alike revered his meticulous approach to scholarship, often beginning his workday as early as 4:00 a.m. to ensure the utmost precision in his research and writing. His scholarship garnered recognition from courts and legal professionals worldwide, with thousands of judicial opinions citing his work, including more than one hundred acknowledgments from the United States Supreme Court alone. He received the William L. Prosser Award for outstanding contributions to Torts scholarship, teaching and service. He also served as a member of the American Law Institute and the European Group on Tort Law. His commitment to advancing principles of fairness in the law, and his passion for teaching, inspired countless individuals within the legal community. 

In recognition of his outstanding contributions, Dobbs was named Regents Professor of the University of Arizona, the highest academic honor bestowed by the institution. 

Ellen Bublick, his Arizona Law colleague and coauthor wrote: “Through his prolific and revered scholarship and his rigorous teaching, Dan’s name became synonymous with excellence. He set high standards for his students, his colleagues, and himself—a confidence and challenge that made us all better. He was a wise person, always willing to share an insight or illuminating story. It was the honor of a lifetime to work alongside him and to be the first holder of the Chair in his name. I am so lucky to have had Dan as a beloved colleague, coauthor and friend for thirteen years, and after his retirement, as a dear friend for fourteen years more.” 

"Dan was not only a true giant in the field of tort law but also a cherished member of our academic community,” said Marc Miller, dean of University of Arizona Law. “His passion for scholarship and dedication to teaching left an indelible mark on all who had the privilege of knowing him. As we mourn his loss, let us also celebrate his remarkable legacy, which has shaped the lives of so many Arizona graduates, and which will continue to inspire future generations of legal scholars and practitioners."