Ellen Wertheimer

Professor Emeritus


Ellen Wertheimer retired as professor of law in 2022 after 40 years of service to Villanova Law.

Her scholarly interests have focused on product liability and tort law generally, with an emphasis on the healthcare professions. Her articles include: The Force Awakens: Tincher, Section 402A and the Third Restatement in Pennsylvania, 27 Widener Law Journal (2018), The Biter Bit: Unknowable Dangers, The Third Restatement, and the Reinstatement of Liability Without Fault, 70 Brooklyn L. Rev. 889 (2005) and [We] Shall Not Look Upon His Like Again: The Career of Jerry Phillips, 72 Tenn. L. Rev. 871 (2005). Her other articles include: The Bitter Pill of Empiricism: Health Maintenance Organizations, Informed Consent, and the Reasonable Psychotherapist Standard of Care, 46 Vill. L. Rev. 260 (2001); Death by Definition: The Exclusion of Product Category Liability from the Third Restatement, 10 Kansas Journal of Law and Public Policy 122 (2000); Shakespeare in Law: The Use of History in Shattering Student Credulity, 45 Vill. L. Rev. 463 (2000); Liability Without Defect: The Final Frontier, 29 Toledo L. Rev. 667 (1998); Calabresi’s Razor: A Return to Responsibility, 28 Stetson L. Rev. 105 (1998); Ockham’s Scalpel: A Return to a Reasonableness Standard, 43 Vill. L. Rev. 321 (1998); and Pandora’s Humidor: Tobacco Producer Liability in Tort, 24 N. Ky. L. Rev. 397 (1997). Her article The Smoke Gets in Their Eyes: Product Category Liability and Alternative Feasible Designs in the Third Restatement, 62 Tenn. L. Rev. 1429 (1994), has been excerpted in two leading products liability casebooks, and her article Unknowable Dangers and The Death of Strict Products Liability: The Empire Strikes Back, 60 U. Cinc. L. Rev. 1183 (1992), has been excerpted in a leading torts casebook. Professor Wertheimer has co-authored two casebooks, Torts: Cases and Problems (Michie 1997, Lexis 2003/2012, and Carolina Academic Press 2018) with Professors Vandall and Rahdert, and Products Liability: Cases, Materials, Problems (Second Edition, Michie 2002) with Professors Terry, Phillips, and Vandall.

Wertheimer received her undergraduate degree from Yale College, from which she graduated summa cum laude and with distinction in English; while there, she was elected to phi beta kappa. She received her law degree from Yale Law School, where she was an editor of the Yale Law Journal. Following graduation, she was a law clerk to the Honorable Frank A. Kaufman, United States District Judge, United States District Court for the District of Maryland; and then to Honorable James Hunter III, United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. She also worked as an associate with the law firm of Pepper, Hamilton & Scheetz between her two clerkships. 

Practice Experience

  • Law Clerk to The Honorable James Hunter III, United States Circuit Judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Associate, Pepper Hamilton, Philadelphia
  • Law Clerk to The Honorable Frank A. Kaufman, United States District Judge States District Court for the District of Maryland
  • Joined the Villanova Law faculty in 1982


Previous Courses and Seminars

  • Law and Medicine
  • Products Liability
  • The Supreme Court
  • Torts I
  • Torts II  


  • Yale Law School, JD
  • Yale College, BA