One of the nice things about living in the same area as one of your co-bloggers is the ability to have actual face-to-face discussions once in a while. Or even to collaborate on teaching, scholarship, and other projects. Today, Al Brophy and I had a great time with my Business Associations students debating the Hershey Trust case, which is included in Al’s forthcoming casebook, Integrating Spaces: Property Law and Race (Aspen, 2011), co-authored with Alberto Lopez and Kali Murray.
Al thinks that the decision has at least some redeeming features. I don’t see any. So the students got to see both sides of the coin today.
For those not familiar with the case, the Hershey Trust “was established by Milton Hershey in 1909 to provide a school for orphan boys.” (quoting Integrating Spaces). The Pennsylvania Orphan’s Court Division granted the Attorney General’s request for a temporary restraining order against the Hershey Trust’s contemplated sale of its controlling interest in the Hershey Chocolate Company to the Cadbury Company. The court held that the Attorney General had “sufficiently carried his burden of proving the potential harm that he seeks to prevent, namely, the adverse economic and social impact against the public interest if a sale of Hershey Foods takes place, particularly in its effect on employees of the Corporation and the community of Derry Township.” The Commonwealth Court upheld the decision, ruling, “we cannot conclude that no reasonable grounds exist to support Judge Morgan’s order.”
The notes and questions that accompany the case are also well done and likely to provoke good classroom discussion. Some may remember that Jonathan Klick and Robert Sitkoff wrote about the case a few years back, in “Agency Costs, Charitable Trusts, and Corporate Control: Evidence from Hershey's Kiss-Off.”
In any event, thanks Al for a fun morning!