Montana’s Article to be Published in Cleveland State Law Review

Professor Patricia Montana’s article, Watch or Report? Livestream or Help? Good Samaritan Laws Revisited: The Need to Create Duty to Report, will be published in the Cleveland State Law Review.

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Patricia Montana

Recent cases, like the one in Florida in July 2017, where a group of five teenagers taunted a drowning disabled man while filming his death on a cell phone, rather than coming to his aid or reporting his drowning, have sparked a renewed debate over whether Good Samaritan laws adequately serve the public’s interest.

In this article, Professor Montana explores whether states should penalize a person’s failure to aid when another person is clearly in danger of physical harm or death. She argues that the need is particularly great given the power of social media and its intersection with a bystander’s ability and decision to help. As technology advances, relationships have become increasingly impersonal, thereby wearing at an individual’s connection to and compassion for others. Social media has added a new dimension to the longstanding debate of whether laws should impose on bystanders a duty to help. In cases where a bystander is observing a crime online, the duty can be met quite simply by alerting authorities to the crime or danger. And in cases where a bystander might be tempted to use social media rather than help, the legal duty could compel the more moral choice. Accordingly, the Article proposes that states should adopt duty to aid statutes mandating that bystanders give aid or call for help when they can.

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