In all of Anglo-American law, there is no concept that has been as been so pervasive - and yet so elusive - as the causation requirement; and even today this causation requirement in American law has resisted all efforts to reduce it to a useful, understandable, and comprehensive formula regarding its underlying nature, content, scope, and significance. Indeed, no less an authority than William Lloyd Prosser has stated that there "is perhaps nothing in the entire field of the law which has called forth more disagreement, or upon which the opinions are in such a welter of confusion" than legal causation issues, "despite the manifold attempts which have been made to clarify the subject."' Accordingly, various commentators over the years have analyzed, criticized, and discussed legal causation issues from a traditional negligence perspective, from a law and economics approach, and even from the framework of chaos theory. Most research and analysis into causation has occurred in the context of tort law, and since insurance law is something of a hybrid between tort and contract, a number of courts traditionally applied "classic tort" causation principles to insurance contract disputes as well. However, in recent years, causation in insurance law has evolved dramatically from a traditional "classic tort" causation framework to take on a separate interpretive life of its own. Indeed, if the concept of proximate cause "so nearly does the work of Aladdin's lamp"' then Justice Benjamin Cardozo arguably was the Genie in Aladdin's lamp, in creating magnificent and wondrous principles of legal causation in tort law" and insurance law as these two interpretive roads diverged in the challenging and foreboding bramble bush forest of insurance coverage disputes.
This Article will analyze the highly significant evolution of legal causation from its hybrid tort and insurance law origins, and discuss the dramatic effect that Benjamin Cardozo's seminal landmark causation decisions still have on present-day insurance law.
Peter Nash Swisher, Insurance Causation Issues: The Legacy of Bird v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 2 Nev L. J. 351 (2002) .