By Diandra Franks
In our current Information Age in which so much time is spent behind the surface of a screen, an enormous and ever-increasing amount of one’s assets are stored within the confines of the World Wide Web. Whether or not the online asset is sentimental or financial, these accounts (social media, email, cryptocurrency, etc.) require users to create complicated, case-sensitive passwords as protection. This practice begs questions: What happens to online accounts when someone dies? Should friends and heirs be allowed to breach traditional notions of privacy to preserve a loved one’s memory? . . . Read More
By Annie Vozar
Over the past several decades, the legal status of the use of drugs for religious purposes has fluctuated. Some religions employ various intoxicating substances to communicate with God or gods, to promote spiritual growth and contemplation, or to receive visions. Because possession of many of these drugs is criminalized, a growing number of legal cases address the opposing interests of the government and the individuals who use drugs for religious purposes. These cases have so far primarily concerned the use of psychedelic drugs such as mescaline (found in peyote) and dimethyltryptamine (“DMT”) (found in ayahuasca tea). While precedent in these cases may apply to related psychedelic drugs—such as psilocybin mushrooms—litigation concerning other substances—such as marijuana—has proven less successful. . . . Read More
By Alberto Bernabe
The general common law does not recognize a duty to help or to control the conduct of others. However, over time, courts and the Restatement of Torts have recognized limited duties in certain circumstances. Some of the most commonly accepted exceptions to the general rule are based on the existence of a special relationship between the person alleged to have a duty to help and the person in need of help. Traditionally, a special relationship exists when one party depends on the other for protection and the other party has the ability to provide the needed protection. For this reason, whether a relationship constitutes a special relationship which creates a duty to help or protect has usually been interpreted narrowly. Originally, the concept was limited to the relationship between common carriers and their passengers, and between innkeepers and their guests. Yet, for a variety of reasons, the notion of special relationships has been extended to include other types of relationships such as those between landlords and tenants, and commercial establishments and their customers.
Likewise, jurisdictions have shifted their approach on whether colleges and universities have a special relationship with their students. Before the 1960s, higher education institutions were considered to stand in loco parentis to students, and thus, as exercising control over the students who were, in turn, thought to be in the schools’ care. . . Read More