Class No. 9 (meet the interns)

Welcome back from Spring Break! For our next class, we’re going to go back in time, back to the summer of ’04. That’s when Mark Zuckerberg relocated his new company to Northern California and brought along Facebook’s first two interns, Stephen Dawson-Haggerty and Erik Schultink, for the ride. Legally speaking, what do James Bond, Rich Paul, and Facebook’s interns have in common? In a word, they’re all “agents,” i.e. persons who are authorized to work on behalf of another, the principal. (FYI: Rich Paul works for LeBron James as his sports agent, while the fictional James Bond works for MI6, the British Secret Intelligence Service.) Principal-agent relationships are very common in the business world, so we will spend an entire lecture on the law of agency in our next class. Why? Because whenever a principal-agent relationship exists, the following fundamental legal question often arises: When is the principal legally liable for the acts committed by its agents? Under the doctrine of respondeat superior, the answer to this question depends in large part on whether the agents are employees or independent contractors (see chart below). Accordingly, although we have been focusing mostly on the founding of Facebook this semester, we will take a time out from the movie The Social Network and focus on the fictional world of secret agent #007 James Bond instead. In particular, we will debate whether Mr Bond is an employee or an independent contractor.

Image result for bond james bond


Credit: Kim Owens



About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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