Alumni Notes


Gary Schwartz ’62
Law Professor, Scholar

“To his students, he was boyish, endearing, encyclopedic, and brilliant,” saidJonathan D. Varat, dean of the UCLA School of Law School. Gary Schwartz, a UCLA law professor for 30 years, was a nationally recognized scholar of personal injury cases and other forms of tort whose commentary on trend-setting cases was sought by the news media. He died of a brain tumor July 31, 2001, at his Los Angeles home at age 61.
Widely respected for his for his expertise, Mr. Schwartz was a consultant to several private and governmental groups, including the Rand Corp. Institute for Civil Justice, the Committee for Economic Development, the California Legislature Joint Committee on Tort Liability, the Association of Bay Area Governments, the California Citizens Commission on Tort Reform, and the Los Angeles Neighborhood Legal Services Society. He was able to explain law in down-to-earth terms and once explained the legal definition of “nuisance” to a Los Angeles Times reporter inquiring about a suit over neighbors’ smoking, as “loosey-goosey,” meaning it can expand to cover almost any situation where an annoying activity interferes with a neighbor’s use of property.
He made clear for laymen complex legal issues in cases involving cigarette smoking, auto manufacturers’ liability for car crashes, and other torts. Although noted for his high level of scholarship, Mr. Schwartz loved faculty tennis games, faculty-student softball games, theater, opera, books, fine arts photography, and good food. A Clevelander by birth, he was deeply loyal to the Cleveland Indians, but nevertheless always bought season tickets to the Los Angeles Dodger games.
After Oberlin, Mr. Schwartz attended Cornell University and earned his law degree at Harvard, working first for the U.S. Department of Transportation and Neighborhood Legal Services in Washington before teaching at UCLA.
He is survived by his mother and a brother, Ken Schwartz ’67.

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