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Unformatted text preview: BA 2301­501 DANIEL BUECHLER BUSINESS LAW Course Professor Term Meetings BA 2301.501 Daniel Buechler Fall 2009 Thursday - 7:00-9:45 SOM 2.112 Professor’s Contact Information Office Phone 214-871-8262 (please feel free to leave a voicemail or message with my assistant if I am out of the office) SOM 4.233 (Adjunct Professors Office) Use WebCT or [email protected] for class emails (Note: I am likely to respond more quickly to the UTDallas e-mail address since it forwards directly to my Blackberry) By appointment My UTD email address is [email protected] Please use WebCT or [email protected] for class related emails Office Location Email Address Office Hours Other Information General Course Information Pre-requisites, Corequisites, & other restrictions NONE Laws and the public policy behind our laws impact our everyday lives. The rule of law is essential for an orderly, democratic society. The business community is greatly impacted by laws, public policy, and legal regulation. Future members of the business community and future business leaders must have an understanding of the ways in which laws, public policy, and legal regulation impact the business environment. Course Description CHAPTER 1 INTRODUCTION TO LAW CLASS POLL – Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. A system of laws is essential in a democratic society. The American legal system is one of the best in the world. Lawyers are among the most dishonest people in the United States. Lawyers are paid too much. Being on a jury is a waste of time. CLASS POLL – Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? 1. 2. 3. 4. 5. Juries frequently award absurdly high judgments. It is fairly easy to manipulate the legal system. The legal system often abuses large corporations. Other nations do a better job than the U.S. of resolving disputes. The typical business executive has more integrity than the average lawyer. THREE IMPORTANT IDEAS ABOUT LAW Power Importance – Affects all people, from CEO’s to children – Affects most of life, from work to leisure – Virtually all known civilizations throughout history have had some kind of law. – But which is more important ­­ written law or the people who enforce it? Hammurabi – codification of the law Magna Carta – genesis for constitutional law THREE IMPORTANT IDEAS ABOUT LAW Fascination – Complex, but never just theoretical – Televised trials often draw a large audience ORIGINS OF U.S. LAW English Roots – Many American legal concepts come from the English system – Mediation – Collective Responsibility – – – Modern Jury of 12 Importance placed on land Precedent – Common Law Partnerships ORIGINS OF OUR LAW English Roots – Passing of statutes – Unequal access to justice – Substantive Rules of Law – State the rights of the parties – Procedural Rules – tell how a court should go about settling disputes – – Equitable powers of judges Struggle regarding power/role of judges The Oculist’s Case (1329) ORIGINS OF OUR LAW Law in The United States – Early English settlers brought English legal tradition with them – There has been an ongoing conflict since that time between historical English legal principles and the American desire for change ORIGINS OF OUR LAW Law in The United States – The United States was a nation born in revolution and created, in large part, to protect the rights of people from government – Founding Fathers created a national government, but insisted on state/local control in some areas, and certain rights were reserved to the people themselves SOURCES OF CONTEMPORARY LAW Constitutions – U.S. Constitution Supreme law of the land Establishes national government with three branches Ensures that states retain all powers not given to the federal government Guarantees many basic rights to citizens One of the most important documents ever written SOURCES OF CONTEMPORARY LAW Constitutions – State Constitutions Statutes Each state has one All states have three branches of their government – Laws passed by state and federal legislature – Also things such as city ordinances, local laws, etc. SOURCES OF CONTEMPORARY LAW Common Law – The principle that precedent is binding on later cases is stare decisis, which means “let the decision stand.” – Reliance on precedent over time is what makes the common law work. – Equity powers came along with precedent SOURCES OF CONTEMPORARY LAW Administrative Law Other Sources of Law – Treaties – Administrative agencies do the day­to­day work of the legislative and executive branches – These agencies often end up with complex legal structures of their own – Executive Orders President can enter treaties, must be ratified by the United States Senate CLASSIFICATIONS OF LAW Criminal v. Civil – Criminal – Civil Law Criminal law concerns behavior so threatening that society outlaws it altogether The government itself prosecutes the wrongdoer Can be fines, prison time or both The civil law regulates rights and duties between parties CLASSIFICATIONS OF LAW Substantive v. Procedural – Substantive – Procedural Establishes the rights of the people Establishes the process for settling disputes Public v. Private Law – Public – Private Refers to the rights and obligations of governments as they deal with the nation’s citizens Regulates the duties between individuals JURISPRUDENCE Jurisprudence – study of what law is Law and Morality – – Law is different from morality The two are linked, but don’t always overlap perfectly (slavery, segregation, no duty to rescue) – Soldano v. O’Daniels found defendant liable when he refused to allow a third party to use the bar’s telephone to report a shooting in the bar next door. Jurisprudence, or “What is Law?” Legal Positivism Natural Law “Law is what the sovereign says it is.” Decisions stand, regardless of morality. “An unjust law is no law at all and need not be obeyed.” Laws must have a good moral basis. “Enforcement of the law is more important than the law itself.” Enforcers determine if the law is applied in a fair and consistent way. Legal Realism PLAINTIFF: the party who is suing DEFENDANT: the party being sued LEGAL CITATION: where to find the case in a law library Case Analysis QUIGLEY v. FIRST CHURCH OF CHRIST, SCIENTIST 65 Cal. App. 4th 1027, 76 Cal. Rptr. 2d 792, 1998 Cal. App. LEXIS 677 California Court of Appeal, 1998 Where and when the case was decided. Facts: Gayle Quigley and James Wantland had divorced. They had joint custody of FACTS: their 12-year-old son, Andrew, who lived background with his father. James was a member of the information on Christian Science church, a religion that the case regards disease as an “error of the mind” and discourages the use of traditional ISSUE: the medicine. Members of the faith… question being decided Issue: Did the defendants have a duty to summon medical help for Andrew? Excerpts from Judge Bedsworth’s Decision: [The judge began by EXERPTS: the mentioning an earlier California case, in d court ruled that which the state’s highest ecision -- also c no duty to one person generally hasalled the protect holding -- special another from harm, unless there is aand t two, such as relationship between thehe court’s custody or control... rationale Kuehn v. Pub Zone (2003) FACTS: – Owner knew that gangs frequented bar; – Owner knew that gangs, including the Pagans, were dangerous and prone to attack customers; – Owner posted sign prohibiting gang members from entering while wearing their “colors;” Kuehn v. Pub Zone (2003) Facts – Owner allowed 2 gang members wearing colors to enter bar and remain in bar for “1 drink;” – These 2 gang members severely beat Plaintiff in the bar bathroom Kuehn v. Pub Zone (2003) Issue: – Did the Pub Zone have a duty to protect Plaintiff (another customer) from the attack? Kuehn v. Pub Zone (2003) Procedural Posture: – Plaintiff sued bar in civil court, and the case was tried before a jury; – Jury awarded $300,000 to Plaintiff; – Trial court judge overturned jury verdict citing a lack of duty to prevent the attack; – Plaintiff appealed the trial court’s “take nothing” judgment Kuehn v. Pub Zone (2003) Court of Appeal’s Holding: Why did the Court of Appeal’s return the jury verdict? – Jury’s verdict must be reinstated – Existence of duty depends on the totality of the circumstances; – Facts showing that owner was aware of gang violence give rise to duty Kuehn, 364 N.J. Super 301 James v. Meow Media (2002) Facts – 14 year old freshman committed school shooting – Shooter played violent video games and watched The Basketball Diaries James v. Meow Media (2002) Procedural Posture – Parents of victims sued the producers of The Basketball Diaries and video games for negligence – Producers defended by saying they owed no duty to the children killed by Carneal and that Carneal’s actions were unforseeable – Trial court dismissed the case, ruling that the acts of Carneal were unforseeable – Parents appealed to the Court of Appeals James v. Meow Media (2002) What are the arguments for the parents of the victims? What are the arguments for the producers? James v. Meow Media (2002) Holding of the Court of Appeals – “Does this case involve the extraordinary circumstances under which we would require the defendants to anticipate a third party's intentional criminal act?” – NO ­ “We can find nothing close to a "special relationship" in this case. The defendants did not even know James, Steger, and Hadley prior to Carneal's actions, much less take any affirmative steps that disabled them from protecting themselves.” LEGAL MISCONCEPTIONS There is always one “right” answer KEEP THIS IN MIND AS WE DISCUSS THE SUBJECT MATTER OF THE COURSE! ...
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