Hamline student Kris-Ann Norby-Jahner is the 2009 Equal Justice Award recipient. The award, which was presented by Associate Dean Marie Failinger at a luncheon sponsored by the Minnesota Women Lawyers (MWL), reflects the MWL's commitment to social justice by honoring a Minnesota law student who has most effectively addressed an important and timely legal and social issue of justice and equality.
Kris-Ann is a third year law student at Hamline while simultaneously pursuing her Ph.D. in English at Kent State University, where her dissertation focuses on sexual harassment in law and literature. A member of Minnesota Women Lawyers, she has been recognized for the pro bono work she has done in law school as a volunteer mediator, Street Law instructor and clerk for the Volunteer Lawyers Network. At Hamline, she has served as managing editor of the Hamline Law Review, a National Moot Court participant and best brief finalist and has been an active member of Minnesota Justice Foundation, Hamline Women's Legal Caucus, the Alternative Dispute Resolution organization, and Delta Theta Phi Fraternity. In her "spare time," Kris-Ann has clerked for Mansfield, Tanick and Cohen and served as a judicial extern for 10th District Court Judge Tammi Fredrickson.
Kris-Ann's paper, which will be published in the Hamline Law Review, is entitled, "'Minor' Online Sexual Harassment and the CDA section 230 defense: New Directions for Internet Service Provider Liability." In this paper, Kris-Ann takes on the growing problem of sexual harassment of minors in the Internet, effectively illustrating how email or postings on popular sites like MySpace and Facebook have cause severe emotional harm to young women and gay and lesbian youth with no existing legal redress. She proposes that Internet Service Providers can and should be held liable for failing to monitor and prevent online sexual harassment because they are in the best position to be aware of and stop the extensive harm caused by such online predatory behavior.
"We commend her clear, compelling and comprehensive analysis of the problem, her careful statutory analysis of existing legal solutions including the Communications Decency Act, and her creative and balanced proposed statutory solution to this problem," said Associate Dean Failinger.