- 50th Anniversary
- Online Edition
- Print Edition
- Donahue Lecture Series
Consumers in Massachusetts have been protected from acts of unfair and deceptive trade by chapter 93A of the Massachusetts General Laws (93A) since 1967. Liability occurs under 93A only when the defendant is engaged in trade or commerce. To date, courts have held that public charities and nonprofits, while engaged in their charitable missions, are not engaged in trade or commerce, and therefore those entities have traditionally been found to be outside the reach of 93A claims. In the near future, however, the courts may have another chance to determine if, and under what circumstances, public charities may be engaged in trade or commerce. . . .
As of April 2012, 12.5 million Americans were unemployed and the domestic economy remained stagnant. While the U.S. economy struggles to pull itself out of a recession, perhaps taking a lesson from history, Congress has focused on small-business job creation as a means of stimulating the economy. The latest congressional scheme deregulates the capital markets to permit emerging growth companies (EGCs) greater access to investment funding, thereby fostering small-business growth, and ultimately creating more U.S. jobs in the process. Specifically, in 2012, Congress enacted the Jumpstart Our Business Startups Act (JOBS Act) to carry out its economic policy objectives. . . .
A trademark is a symbol that allows a consumer to distinguish a good from similar goods sold by others. As such, a trademark is a legally recognized form of intellectual property that exists solely as a manifestation of the goodwill engendered by a company or product. One of the most important properties of modern trademark law is the ability of the trademark owner to allow another party to use the trademark through a licensing agreement. This conveyance helps maximize the overall economic efficiency of the trademark. Since the adoption of the Lanham Act, the economy has experienced an expansive growth in trademark licensing agreements, raising revenues for both the licensor and licensee. . .
In 2010, federal prosecutors indicted Jason Pleau after he shot and killed a man outside of a Rhode Island bank. The indictment appeared to be a sure sign that the federal government would seek the death penalty against Pleau, given that Pleau had already agreed to plead guilty to state charges and accept a life sentence without the possibility of parole. When federal prosecutors requested Rhode Island prison officials transfer Pleau to federal custody for prosecution, however, Rhode Island Governor Lincoln Chafee responded in unprecedented fashion: Chafee refused to turn Pleau over, citing Rhode Island’s long-standing opposition to the death penalty. . .
The Second Amendment to the U.S. Constitution protects the right of an individual to possess a firearm independent of service in a militia, and to use that firearm for traditionally lawful purposes like self-defense. This right is not unlimited and does not obliterate certain prohibitions on individuals’ possession of firearms. Moreover, certain restrictions on the type of firearms individuals can possess have successfully withstood judicial scrutiny. . .
The Fourth Amendment to the U.S. Constitution prohibits searches and seizures conducted without prior approval by a judge or magistrate, but this general rule is subject to several exceptions. One such exception allows a police officer to search a person in the course of a lawful arrest. . .
The Fourth Amendment protects the right of the people to be free from “unreasonable searches and seizures.” Despite this constitutional guarantee, the Supreme Court has carved out numerous exceptions to the warrant requirement, most notably, allowances for searches made in the interest of police officer safety. In People v. Colyar, the Illinois Supreme Court confronted the issue of whether a bullet observed in a vehicle during a lawful encounter was sufficient to justify a protective sweep of the vehicle despite the fact that possessing a bullet is not per se illegal. The court held that a protective search for weapons was justified under the circumstances. . .
Under established constitutional law, a police officer’s search or seizure premised on his mistake of law is typically held unconstitutional. Some jurisdictions, however, permit an officer to base his reasonable suspicion or probable cause on a reasonable mistake concerning an ambiguous or confusing law to justify a traffic stop. In State v. Heien, the North Carolina Supreme Court considered as a matter of first impression whether a police officer’s reasonable mistake of law concerning the defendant’s one malfunctioning brake light could provide the reasonable suspicion necessary to stop and subsequently search his vehicle. . . .
One of the critical elements of any action in negligence is the existence of a duty that one party owes to another. Generally a defendant has no duty to protect someone who is at risk due to occurrences that the defendant had no part in generating, but there are exceptions to this rule where courts have imposed such a duty. In Seebold v. Prison Health Services, Inc., the court considered whether to create an additional exception to the general rule and impose a common-law duty on a physician who treats prisoners to warn guards that a particular inmate has a communicable disease. The court held that physicians do not have such a duty to warn at common law.