By Todd Costa
In the spring of 2011, a shocking scandal broke out at Penn State University, when it was discovered that long-time assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky had molested a number of boys on the school’s campus. Though a Pennsylvania court sentenced Sandusky to a maximum of 60 years in prison in October of 2012, a number of legal questions still linger today, especially regarding the culpability of the university itself.
One of the anonymous victims of Sandusky’s actions who did not settle with the university outside of court and referred to as ‘John Doe 6’, filed a claim against Penn State in the United States District Court For the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. The charges include vicarious liability, intentional infliction of emotional distress, and civil conspiracy. The university then filed a motion to specifically dismiss the former and latter charges.
This brings up the interesting question of responsibility for employee misconduct in the workplace. Vicarious liability is a form of guilt that arises when a third party has the duty to prevent another party from committing an unlawful activity. Furthermore, under the doctrine of respondeat superior, an employer is oftentimes liable for the actions of its employee. Naturally in the case of Penn State, questions have surfaced regarding the university’s responsibility to prevent the Sandusky’s actions.
By Davis Berlind
The past decade has seen little to no substantive action from the Trade Negotiations Committee (TNC) at the World Trade Organization (WTO). The Doha negotiation round is now dragging into its thirteenth year, and a successful conclusion to negotiations still appears to be a distant pipedream. In the absence of a multi-lateral deal on tariff reduction, protection of trade related intellectual property rights, and the elimination of domestic barriers to trade (specifically with regard to agriculture), the dispute settlement branch of the WTO is taking on an increasingly activist role in the adjudication of international trade disputes. Specifically, the Appellate Body is the new venue of rule making and enforcement at the WTO, and it is effectively using its authority to liberalize global trade between otherwise rigid member nations.
The regulatory shift from legislative to judicial intervention that is currently occurring within the WTO can be traced to the increase in WTO membership; in particular, the increasing membership of less developed countries (LDCs). Since the end of the Uruguay round in 1994, LDCs have begun to bundle their trade interests (e.g., elimination of agricultural subsidies in developed nations) and form voting blocs so as to successfully dismantle coercive and unilateral undertakings by the US and EU during multilateral negotiations. The resulting gridlock keeps legislative channels at the WTO locked down, but the stalemate has a second unintended effect: total judicial autonomy.
By Matthew Caulfield
The day that the Supreme Court struck down Section 3 of the 1996 Defense of Marriage Act was a day that would change the lives of millions of Americans, LGBTQI, and heterosexual alike. It was a historic decision and a step in the direction of equality that will continue to define American jurisprudence as it relates to federal marriage recognition for years to come.
The US v. Windsor (2013) decision raised questions on issues ranging from American federalism to the ethics of what some would call “legislating love.” But one subject, in particular, has always been a grey area: the issue of qualified pensions. Admittedly, pension benefits are not the first thing that comes to mind when many think of the burgeoning egalitarianism in our society, but, according to the U.S. Department of Labor, as of 2011, assets in US pension plans total more than 6.3 trillion dollars.