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3 - Commentary on Walkovszky v. Carlton

from Part II - Legal Personality, Identity, and Limited Liability of Corporate Entities

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  15 January 2023

Anne M. Choike
Affiliation:
Michigan State University
Usha R. Rodrigues
Affiliation:
University of Georgia School of Law
Kelli Alces Williams
Affiliation:
Florida State University
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Summary

The plaintiff, John Walkovsky, was struck by a taxi owned by Seon Cab Corporation while walking in New York City. Seon Cab Corp. was one of the ten cab companies owned by a group of shareholders, including William Carlton. The case highlights the harms visited on innocent parties by limited liability and shareholders’ focus on profit. A feminist rewrite would examine the costs visited upon vulnerable groups such as tort victims with limited access to the legal system, children who are likely to be more severely injured if harmed by corporate activity or by the loss of a parent so injured, and immigrants and lower-income Americans who may not have health insurance to cover the physical harms caused by corporate business. Intentional undercapitalization of corporations and an adherence to minimum insurance requirements externalizes the costs of doing business onto the rest of society. This externalization of costs is particularly harmful when it causes physical injury or death to portions of the population who cannot absorb the costs ducked by the corporation. A feminist perspective could consider the interests of these vulnerable populations in designing a limited liability doctrine that encourages entrepreneurial risk-taking while balancing it against the cost of significant corporate externalities.

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Publisher: Cambridge University Press
Print publication year: 2023

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