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Vanderbilt Law Review

Article Title

Recent Cases

First Page

173

Abstract

Constitutional Law-First Amendment-School Authorities May Prohibit High School Student's Distribution of Sex Questionnaire to Prevent Possible Psychological Harm to Other Students Robert Edward Banta

Plaintiff, editor of a high school publication,' brought suit in federal court seeking an order compelling defendant school officials to allow the student publication to distribute a sex questionnaire,to students in the high school and to publish the results. Plaintiff claimed that defendants had not shown that the planned distribution would disrupt school activities and that, therefore, defendants'prohibition of the questionnaire violated 42 U.S.C. § 19831 and the first and fourteenth amendments. Pointing to potential psychological harm to students, defendants argued that the state's interest in protecting the students' emotional well-being outweighed plaintiffs interest in distributing the questionnaire. The trial court held that defendants could prohibit distribution of the questionnaire to ninth-and tenth-grade students but not to eleventh- and twelfth-grade students. On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, held, reversed in part' and remanded with instructions to dismiss the complaint. If school officials reasonably believe that distribution on school grounds of a high school student's questionnaire soliciting information about the sexual habits of his fellow students might cause psychological harm to other students, then prohibition of the questionnaire does not violate the right to freedom of expression of the student seeking to distribute the questionnaire. Trachtman v. Anker, 563 F.2d 512 (2d Cir. 1977).

Corporations--Freeze-Out Mergers--The Delaware Supreme Court Requires Majority Shareholder Proof of a Valid Business Purpose As a Component of Entire Fairness in Freeze-Out Merger Challenges Oby T. Brewer, III

Recent declines in stock market averages' accompanied by costly disclosure requirements imposed under the federal securities laws have prompted many companies to reconsider their positions as publicly held corporations. In response to the resulting minimal benefits of public ownership, many controlling shareholders now seek to increase their control and participation in a corporation's future profits by going private.' One means of going private is the freeze-out merger, by which a parent company forces the liquidation of minority interests in a publicly held subsidiary through a merger of the subsidiary with the parent. By complying with applicable state merger statutes, the parent may eliminate the minority's shares by tendering a cash-out price, which the minority either must accept or have appraised judicially." The merger statutes thus represent a legislative compromise between total majority control and the single vote veto available to the minority at common law.

Criminal Procedure--Prosecutorial Immunity-Federal Prosecutor Is Not Absolutely Immune From Suit for Alleged Perjury Cornelia Anne Clark

Plaintiffs' brought a civil action in tort charging that defendant federal prosecutor's alleged perjury at a hearing incident to a grand jury investigation of plaintiffs' activities' violated their constitutional rights. On motion to dismiss, defendant contended that he enjoyed absolute quasi-judicial immunity because he had been acting at the hearing in his official capacity as a special federal prosecutor. The district court' denied the motion, holding that the doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity does not apply when the prosecutor is alleged to have committed perjury. On interlocutory appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, held, affirmed. Because a federal prosecutor's perjury during a court hearing incident and prior to a grand jury investigation falls within his investigative duty rather than his advocatory duty,the prosecutor is entitled only to a qualified immunity.' Briggs v.Goodwin, No. 75-1642 (D.C. Cir. Sept. 21, 1977).

Securities Law--Rule 10b-5-Defense of In Pari Delicto Bars Private Damage Action Brought Against Tipper by Tippee Who Fails to Disclose Before Trading Terry Currie

Tippees' brought a private action for damages under section 10(b) of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934 and rule 10b-53 charging that defendant tippers disseminated false and misleading material inside information in advising plaintiffs of an imminent merger between two corporations that would result in appreciated stock values.' In reliance on this information, plaintiffs purchased stock in one of the corporations and subsequently incurred substantial losses on the stock when the proposed merger did not occur. Defendants moved for summary judgment, claiming that the doctrine of in pari delicto barred plaintiffs' recovery because plaintiffs also had violated rule 10b-5 by failing to make full disclosure of the inside information before trading on the open market.' The district court granted the tippers' motion for summary judgment." On appeal to the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, held, affirmed. When a tippee violates rule 10b-5 by failing to make full disclosure to the investing public of material inside information prior to trading on the open market, the defense of in pari delicto bars a rule 10b-5 private damage action by the tippee against the tipper.

Torts--Negligence--Child Has Cause of Action for Preconception Medical Malpractice Douglas William Ey, Jr.

Plaintiff, claiming that she suffered permanent physical injuries' as a result of defendants' conduct prior to her conception,sought to recover damages in a negligence action.2 In 1965 plaintiffs mother,who had Rh negative blood, was given two transfusions of incompatible Rh positive blood in defendant hospital where defendant physician was director of laboratories.' Plaintiff's mother did not discover that these transfusions had sensitized her blood until shortly before plaintiffs birth in 1973. Defendants moved to dis-miss for failure to state a cause of action, arguing that because plaintiff had not been conceived at the time of the alleged negligent conduct, defendants owed no duty of care to plaintiff. The trial court granted defendants' motion, but the Illinois Appellate Court reversed and remanded the case for further proceedings." On appeal to the Supreme Court of Illinois, held, affirmed. A child injured by the negligent acts of a physician and a hospital committed against his mother prior to his conception has a cause of action based on negligence. Renslow v. Mennonite Hospital, 367 N.E.2d 1250 (Ill.1977).

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