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Room 263 College of Law
(859) 257-3840

Professor Ausness received his B.A. degree in English from the University of Florida in 1966 and his J.D. from that institution as well. He also received an LL.M. from the Yale Law School in 1973. 

Professor Ausness began his law teaching career at the University Of Florida College of Law in 1968. He has been a member of the faculty of the University of Kentucky College of Law since 1973. He served as Associate Dean of Research at UK Law from 2015-2018.

He has visited at Indiana University, Washington University in St. Louis and the University of Iowa. He had been a member of the Florida Bar since 1968. He is a co-author of A Model Water Code (University of Florida Press 1973) with Frank Maloney and Scott Morris, as well as Florida Water Law in 1979. In addition, he has published more than 60 articles on various subjects, such as products liability, trusts and estates, property, torts, environmental law and water law.

Professor Ausness currently teaches Property, Trusts & Estates and Products Liability. His other teaching interests include legal history, land use planning, water law and environmental law.


  • Property
  • Trusts & Estates
  • Products Liability
  • Water Law


  • Law 876 Trusts and Estates
  • Law 807 Property
Books & Book Chapters
  • Florida Water Law (Fla. Water Resources Research Ctr. 1980) (with Frank E. Maloney, S. Jay Plager & Bram Canter).
  • A Model Water Code: Text and Commentary (Univ. of Florida Press 1972) (with Frank E. Maloney & J. Scott Morris).
  • Consumptive Water Rights in Kentucky, in 1 Kentucky Mineral Law 119 (Banks Baldwin 1986). 
Scholarly Articles

Scholarship is available for download at Richard C. Ausness' SelectedWorks page.

  • Discretionary Trusts: An Update, 43 ACTEC L.J. 231 (2018).
  • Gun Control Through Tort Law: A Reply to Professor McClurg, 68 Fla. L. Rev. Forum 89 (2017).
  • Non-Charitable Purpose Trusts: Past, Present and Future, 51 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 321 (2016).
  • Planned Parenthood: Adult Adoption and the Right of Adoptees to Inherit, 41 ACTEC L.J. 241 (2016).
  • Sherlock Holmes and the Problem of the Dead Hand: The Modification and Termination of "Irrevocable" Trusts, 28 Quinnipiac Pro. L.J. 237 (2015).
  • "Danger is My Business”: The Right to Manufacture Unsafe Products, 67 Ark. L. Rev. 827 (2014).
  • When Is a Trust Protector a Fiduciary?, 27 Quinnipiac Pro. L.J. 277 (2014).
  • The Role of Litigation in the Fight Against Prescription Drug Abuse, 116 W. Va. L. Rev. 1117 (2014).
  • "The Disorderly Conduct of Words": Civil Liability for Injuries Caused by the Dissemination of False or Inaccurate Information, 65 S.C. L. Rev. 131 (2013).
  • The Supreme Court and the PPL Montana Case: Examining the Relationship Between Navigability and State Ownership of Submerged Lands, 31 Va. Entvl. L.J. 168 (2013).
  • "Fasten Your Seat Belt, Orville!": Exploring the Relationship Between State-of-the-Art, Technological and Commercial Feasibility, and the Restatement's Reasonable Alternative Design Requirement, 45 Ind. L. Rev. 669 (2012).
  • Risky Business: Liability of Product Sellers Who Offer Safety Devices as Optional Equipment, 39 Hofstra L. Rev. 807 (2011).
  • The Role of Trust Protectors in American Trust Law, 45 Real Prop. Tr. & Est. L.J. 319 (2010).
  • The Impact of Wyeth v. Levine on FDA Regulation of Prescription Drugs, 65 Food & Drug L.J. 247 (2010).
  • Product Liability’s Parallel Universe: Fault-Based Liability Theories and Modern Products Liability Law, 74 Brook. L. Rev. 635 (2009).
  • “There’s Danger Here, Cherie!”: Liability for the Promotion and Marketing of Drugs and Medical Devices for Off-Label Uses, 73 Brook. L. Rev. 1253 (2008).
  • Providing a Safe Harbor for Those Who Play by the Rules: The Case for a Strong Regulatory Compliance Defense, 2008 Utah L. Rev. 115 (2008) (with H. Lee Barfield II, David A. King, Joshua R. Denton, & Stephen J. Jasper).
  • Conspiracy Theories: Is There a Place for Civil Conspiracy in Products Liability Litigation?, 74 Tenn. L. Rev. 383 (2007).
  • The Offshore Asset Protection Trust: A Prudent Financial Planning Device or the Last Refuge of a Scoundrel?, 45 Duq. L. Rev. 147 (2007).
  • The Welding Fume Case and the Preemptive Effect of OSHA’s HazCom Standard on Common Law Failure-to-Warn Claims, 54 Buff. L. Rev. 103 (2006).
  • “After You, My Dear Alphonse!”: Should the Courts Defer to the FDA’s New Interpretation of § 360k(a) of the Medical Device Amendments?, 80 Tul. L. Rev. 727 (2006).
  • Tell Me What You Eat, and I Will Tell Whom to Sue: Big Trouble Ahead for “Big Food?", 39 Ga. L. Rev. 839 (2005).
  • Public Tort Litigation: Public Benefit or Public Nuisance?, 77 Temple L. Rev. 825 (2004).
  • Preemption of State Tort Law by Federal Safety Statutes: Supreme Court Preemption Jurisprudence Since Cipollone, 92 Ky. L.J. 913 (2003-2004).
  • Tort Liability for the Sale of Non-Defective Products: An Analysis and Critique of the Concept of Negligent Marketing, 53 S. C. L. Rev. 907 (2002).
  • Will More Aggressive Marketing Practices Lead to Greater Tort Liability for Prescription Drug Manufacturers?, 37 Wake Forest L. Rev. 97 (2002).
  • The Application of Product Liability Principles to Publishers of Violent or Sexually Explicit Material, 52 Fla. L. Rev. 603 (2000).
  • “Waive” Goodbye to Tort Liability: A Proposal to Remove Paternalism from Product Sales Transactions, 37 San Diego L. Rev. 293 (2000).
  • When Warnings Alone Won’t Do: A Reply to Professor Phillips, 26 N. Ky. L. Rev. 627 (1999).
  • Toward Justice in Tobacco Policymaking: A Critique of Hanson and Logue and an Alternative Approach to the Costs of Cigarettes, 33 Ga. L. Rev. 693 (1999) (with Paul A. LeBel).
  • Replacing Strict Liability with a Contract-Based Products Liability Regime, 71 Temple L. Rev. 171 (1998).
  • Paying for the Health Costs of Smoking: Loss Shifting and Loss Bearers, 27 Sw. U. L. Rev. 537 (1998).
  • Product Category Liability: A Critical Analysis, 24 N. Ky. L. Rev. 423 (1997).
  • An Insurance-Based Compensation System for Product-Related Injuries, 58 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 669 (1997).
  • The Case for a "Strong" Regulatory Compliance Defense, 55 Md. L. Rev. 1210 (1996).
  • Learned Intermediaries and Sophisticated Users: Encouraging the Use of Intermediaries to Transmit Product Safety Information, 46 Syracuse L. Rev. 1185 (1996).
  • Regulatory Takings and Wetland Protection in the Post-Lucas Era, 30 Land & Water L. Rev. 349 (1995).
  • Tort Liability for Asbestos Removal Costs, 73 Or. L. Rev. 505 (1994).
  • Wild Dunes and Serbonian Bogs: The Impact of the Lucas Decision on State Shoreline Protection Programs, 70 Denv. U. L. Rev. 437 (1993).
  • The Impact of the Cipollone Case on Federal Preemption Law, 14 J. Products & Toxics Liability 1 (1993).
  • Federal Preemption of State Products Liability Doctrines, 44 S. C. L. Rev. 187 (1993).
  • Compensation for Smoking-Related Injuries: An Alternative to Strict Liability in Tort, 36 Wayne L. Rev. 1085 (1990).
  • Unavoidably Unsafe Products and Strict Liability: What Liability Rule Should Be Applied to the Sellers of Pharmaceutical Products?, 78 Ky. L.J. 705 (1989-90).
  • Cigarette Company Liability: Preemption, Public Policy and Alternative Compensation Systems, 39 Syracuse L. Rev. 897 (1988).
  • The Influence of the Model Water Code on Water Resources Management Policy in Florida, 3 J. Land Use & Envtl. L. 1 (1987).
  • Strict Liability for Chattel Leasing, 48 U. Pitt. L. Rev. 273 (1987).
  • Surrogate Immunity: The Government Contract Defense and Products Liability, 47 Ohio St. L.J. 985 (1986).
  • Water Rights, The Public Trust Doctrine, and the Protection of Instream Uses, 1986 U. Ill. L. Rev. 407 (1986).
  • Retribution and Deterrence: The Role of Punitive Damages in Products Liability Litigation, 74 Ky. L.J. 1 (1985).
  • Water Rights Legislation in the East: A Program for Reform, 24 Wm. & Mary L. Rev. 547 (1983).
  • The Right of Publicity: A "Haystack in a Hurricane", 55 Temple L.Q. 977 (1982).
  • Putting the Genie Back into the Bottle: U.S. Controls Over Sensitive Nuclear Technology, 16 Geo. Wash. J. Int'l. L. & Econ. 65 (1981).
  • High-Level Radioactive Waste Management: The Nuclear Dilemma, 1979 Wis. L. Rev. 707 (1979).
  • Reclaiming Coal Surface Mines in Central Appalachia: A Case Study of the Benefits and Costs, 54 Land Economics 472 (1978) (with Alan Randall, Oren Grunewald, Sue Johnson & Angelos Pagoulatos).
  • Water Use Permits in a Riparian State: Problems and Proposals, 66 Ky. L.J. 191 (1978).
  • The Use and Significance of the Mean High Water Line in Coastal Boundary Mapping, 53 N.C. L. Rev. 185 (1974) (with Frank Maloney).
  • Land Use Controls in Coastal Areas, 9 Cal. W. L. Rev. 391 (1973).
  • A Survey of State Regulations of Dredge and Fill Operations in Nonnavigable Waters, 8 Land & Water L. Rev. 65 (1973).
  • From Caveat Emptor to Strict Liability: A Review of Products Liability in Florida, 24 U. Fla. L. Rev. 410 (1972).
  • The Effect of Sovereign Immunity on Environmental Protection Suits Against Government Officials, 6 Val. U. L. Rev. 1 (1971).
  • Administering State Water Resources: The Need for Long-Range Planning, 73 W. Va. L. Rev. 209 (1971) (with Frank E. Maloney).
  • A Modern Proposal for State Regulation of Consumptive Uses of Water, 22 Hastings L.J. 523 (1971)  (with Frank E. Maloney).
  • Water Quality Control: A Modern Approach to State Regulation, 35 Alb. L. Rev. 28 (1970) (with Frank E. Maloney).
  • Libel Per Quod in Florida, 23 U. Fla. L. Rev. 51 (1970).
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