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In Memoriam: Justice Allen M. Linden

From Pepperdine Law Dean Paul L. Caron:

It is with a heavy heart that I share news of the passing of our dear friend Allen Linden. Justice Linden died peacefully in his Toronto home at the age of 82. As a long-time member of our Board of Visitors and Distinguished Visiting Professor, Allen was beloved by faculty, staff, and students.

Senior Vice Chancellor and Dean Emeritus Ron Phillips said: “When Justice Allen Linden began spending half of the year in Malibu and half in Toronto, he made himself known to us, and he quickly became a member of our Pepperdine family. Among many admirable characteristics, he seemed to wear a perpetual smile. Inasmuch as his wife, Marjorie, had managed the Smothers Brothers comedy team, his sense of humor seemed quite natural and befitting. Adding a preeminent expert in the field of Tort Law to our adjunct faculty, and adding a distinguished international jurist from our neighbor to the North to our Board of Visitors, was was a double win for us. Allen attracted friends and admirers quite naturally, and we were blessed by his time with us. We would have loved for it to have been extended a few more decades.”

Dean Emeritus Deanell Tacha stated: “Allen Linden was a brilliant scholar known around the world as one of the leading experts in tort law. He was also a distinguished jurist known for thoughtful, insightful, and pragmatic decision making. I had the privilege of teaching with ‘Ma Lord’, as we affectionately called him. His engaging personality combined with his powerful intellect made him an extraordinary teacher and role model for students. He will be greatly missed in the legal profession.”

Pepperdine torts professor Rick Cupp said: “Overstating the admiration and respect Allen earned among students, torts scholars, and jurists around the world would be difficult. I have not encountered a more beloved person in the legal academic community. Years ago a group of torts scholars contributed essays to a book honoring Allen, and they entitled the book The Joy of Torts. The title was perfect. It reflected Allen’s inspirational personality, which seemed always buoyant even when dealing with serious tort issues. Along with his keen intellect and wisdom, Allen embodied joy, and his joy was warmly contagious. He made everyone he met a better person. His friendship and his years of service to Pepperdine deeply blessed us.”

UC-Berkeley law professor Steve Sugarman wrote after Allen’s death about his strong relationship with Pepperdine: “After his retirement from the bench, Allen became a visiting professor at Pepperdine Law School every spring where he felt that, as a Jewish, liberal, foreigner, he nicely added diversity to his new and very welcoming community — which, among other things, hosted a marvelous international conference a few years ago honoring his contributions to tort law.”

Allen earned his a BA from the University of Toronto, LLB from Osgoode Hall Law School, and JSD from UC-Berkeley, where he studied under the renowned torts scholar William Prosser. He then was an associate at Levinter, Grossberg, Dryden & Co., and he served as a member of the Osgoode Hall Law School faculty from 1961 to 1978. In 1978, he was appointed to the Superior Court of Ontario. He was president of the Law Reform Commission of Canada from 1983 to 1990 and then was appointed to the Federal Court of Appeal. Allen taught law at Pepperdine for many years after his retirement from full-time judicial service. He also lectured and taught courses at law schools across the US, UK, and Australia. Allen was named an officer of the Order of Canada in 2015, one of the country’s highest civilian honors.

A funeral was held on Friday in Toronto. Our prayers are with the family of our dear friend, “Ma Lord,” Justice Allen Linden.