Torts in the New York Court: A Dizzying Choice of Law Jurisprudence

June 2, 2010 by Leon Ruchelsman

Anyone who has dealt with New York’s tort choice of law jurisprudence can attest to how complicated and often unpredictable it can be.  The current regime is based on a series of Court of Appeals decisions which began with Babcock v. Jackson.[1]  The opinion by Judge Fuld discarded the traditional doctrine of the law that the site of the tort should govern any relief for the tort.[2]  In its place, the Court adopted the “‘center of gravity’ or ‘grouping of contacts’ doctrine . . . [which gives] controlling effect to the law of the jurisdiction which, because of its relationship or contact with the occurrence or the parties, has the greatest concern with the specific issue raised in the litigation.”[3] [....] Read More…


Your Money or Your (Religious) Life: A Back-Door Device to Extend Local Authority

June 1, 2010 by Yitzchok Adlerstein

Rabbi Yisrael Salanter, according to some accounts, worked out an unusual pre-nup with his bride-to-be.  They divided up their married life into two universes, agreeing that each should be the ultimate authority in one of them. Mrs. Salanter would direct all the pedestrian matters of the household, including raising the children that would hopefully follow.  R. Salanter, the iconic founder of the Mussar Movement[1] in 19th century Europe, would be the final voice regarding “matters of Heaven.”  Asked years later how it all had worked out, the Rebbetzin remarked wistfully, “He kept to the agreement.  Somehow, though, every decision that came up always turned into a matter of Heaven.”  Similarly, centuries earlier a number of decisors came up with a [....] Read More…


Is There an Ethic Beyond Halakhah?

June 1, 2010 by J. David Bleich

The question, as formulated, constitutes not one but at least four separate questions.  It would seem appropriate to consider those questions in serial order.             I.          Is there a standard of conduct to which persons may be held, and according to which human actions may be judged, other than the standard reflected in normative law?  The identical question may be rephrased in another form:  Is there a standard of lifnim mi-shurat ha-din or is the sole moral standard that of din itself?  The answer to the question thus formulated is obvious.  Rabbinic literature is replete with references to ethical norms described as lifnim mi-shurat ha-din.  The very juxtaposition of the two categories constitutes an acknowledgement of standards of lifnim mi-shurat [....] Read More…


The Rollover Contract: A Comparative View

June 1, 2010 by Abraham Neuhaus

The rollover contract is an essential tool for those engaged in an employer-employee relationship, as it creates a default agreement which in turn places the onus of negotiation upon those who wish to alter its paradigm.  Similarly, landlords and tenants rely on the rollover contract and its useful default practicability.  Under most legal systems, including the American common law, public policy concerns have influenced the application of the rollover doctrine in various legal relationships.  Thus, landlord tenant law and employment law currently have very little in common in their application of the rollover doctrine and have evolved into entirely separate bodies of law.              This article will demonstrate how Jewish Law draws on the same legal doctrines in its application [....] Read More…


Liabilities like Cash: Crane vs. Maimonides

May 1, 2010 by Noam Waltuch

I. The U.S. Tax System’s Treatment of Liabilities like Cash  The United States Tax system allows for deductions called ACRS (Accelerated Cost Recovery System), or otherwise known as depreciation deductions.[1]  These deductions are intended to be an allowance for the decline in the value of a building in trade or business due to wear and tear.[2]  Normally, there needs to be a realization event – either a sale or exchange – in order for a tax or deduction to be administered.[3]  Depreciation deductions are an exception to this rule. These deductions are taken by the taxpayer while he is holding the property, without a sale or exchange.[4]  The theory behind allowing depreciation deductions without a realization event is that “there [....] Read More…


Should Minors be placed on Sexual Predator Watch Lists?

May 1, 2010 by Joel Yacoob

I.                                               Background               In 1994, Congress enacted the initial piece of federal sex offender legislation, the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (the “Wetterling Act”), which requires paroled and incarcerated sex offenders to register with local authorities.[1]  At the time, twenty-four states had sex offender registration statutes, but state authorities could not effectively monitor the inter and intra-state movement of offenders.[2]  By requiring sex offenders to register whenever they establish a residence in a new state, the Wetterling Act has promoted coordination between state authorities and has created a mechanism for monitoring offenders.[3]               Rather than requiring wide dissemination of information about registered offenders, the legislation initially placed public notification at the discretion of [....] Read More…