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Alex, Engineer
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Experience:  BS in Business Administration with a major in MIS. 15+ years experience in software design and development.
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The Supreme Court's decision in New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company v United States is a landmark decision on the subject of corporate criminal liability. Summarize briefly the facts of the case. What was the issue before the Court? What was the resolution and what reasoning did the Court consider in reaching the decision?

My answer:

New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company v. United States

Facts of the Case: New York Central and Hudson River Railroad Company and Fred Pomeroy (assistant traffic manager) were convicted for the payment of rebates to American Sugar Refining Company on shipments between New York to Detroit. Indictment was upon seven counts against the company and assistant traffic manager and 6 counts were the final conviction. Convicted assistant traffic manager was fined $1000 upon each of the counts and railroad company was fined $18,000 on each of the counts.

Issue Before the Court. The Issue before the court was constitutional validity of Elkins act which is an act that pertaining to corporate liability. It was disputed whether Congress has authority to impute punishement to a corporation of criminal offenses or criminal prosectution. One argument is that punishing corporation is punishing stock holders which the coproration is deprived presumption of innocence and since corporation could not authorize a crime like this then they shouldnt be punished criminally how they are being. The other argument is that a corporation is responsible for acts of which the agent has performed by employing corporate powers that they are authorized. This case is one where corporate responsibility comes into play for acts done while an authorized agent is exercising there authority. In this case the traffic manager and assistant traffic manager were authorized to establish rates at which freight should be carried.

Resolution and Reasoning. Resolution is that corporations are held responsible and can be convicted as seen in this case for knowledge or purpose of agents acting within authority. Otherwise employees/ agents could be used as instruments and act and be charged without penalty to the corporation. Corporations must be responsible for the authority that they provide to employees. Another issue/resolution of this case is that the government saw the need to regulate interstate commerce as companies can not just simply charge whatever they want.
Submitted: 4 years ago.
Category: Homework
Expert:  Alex replied 4 years ago.

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