In the aftermath of one of the most highly publicized trials in product liability annals-the celebrated Pinto case-the legal question raised by that litigation remains unresolved. Controversy continues as to whether a corporation should be convicted of homicide when it knowingly markets an unsafe product that results in death. Today the answer is a resounding "no", in light of state statutes defining homicide as the killing of one human being by another, difficulties in finding the requisite criminal intent; and the practical problems of placing a legal fiction behind bars. However, there are recent indications that these present obstacles to a corporate homicide conviction appear to be dissolving. The author explores the theories of corporate criminal liability as they relate to homicide and examines the attitudes and policies upon which those theories are predicated. Finally, the author examines legislative proposals which attempt to expand present liability schemes aimed at deterring individual acts of reckless disregard for human life to include similar acts inflicted by the corporate body.
Douglas S. Anderson
Corporate Homicide: The Stark Realities of Artificial Beings and Legal Fictions ,
8 Pepp. L. Rev.
Available at: http://digitalcommons.pepperdine.edu/plr/vol8/iss2/3