More than2,500multinationalcompanies nowrelease large quantities ofaccounting information tothe public.Internal ReportsDesigned for External ScrutinySome large companies refertotheman-agerialaccounting informationthat they release to thepublicascorporatesustainabilityreports.Dow Chemical Company,forexample, issues asustain-abilityreportannually.Other corporations calltheirpub-lisheddocumentssocialresponsibilityreports.SymantecCorporationissuescorporateresponsibilityreportstodemonstrate its focusonenvironmen-tal,social, and governanceissues.In its 2012 report,Symantec empha-sizedthat the Leadership inEnergyandEnvironmental Design(LED) program hadcertified 88 percent ofitsfacilitiesasenvironmentallyfriendly. LEED cer-tification requires theachievement of highstandards for energyefficiency,materialusageinconstruction,andother environmentalimpacts.
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•••••THE COURTS ANDALTERNATIVE DISPUTE RESOLUTIONFACING A LEGAL PROBLEMA dispute arises between HarryKoto, a resident of California, andMaria Mendez, a resident of Texas,over theownership of theFairweather, a sailboat in dry dock inSan Diego, California.Can a California state court exercise jurisdiction over the dispute?Every society needs to have an established method forresolving disputes. This is particu-larly true in thebusiness world. Nearly every businessperson will face alawsuit at some time in his or her career. For thisreason, anyone involved in business needs to have anunderstanding of court systems in the United States, aswell as of the various methods of dispute resolution thatcan be pursued outside the courts.American law is based on numerous elements, including the following:1. The case decisions and reasoning that form the common law.2. Federal and state constitutions.3. Statutes passed by federal and state legislatures—including uniform laws, such astheUniformCommercial Code—that have been adopted by thevariousstates.4. Administrative law.The function of the courts is to interpret and apply those laws. Even though there are fifty-two court systems—one for each of the fifty states, onefor the District of Columbia,plus a federal system—similarities abound. Keep in mind that the federalcourts are not superior tothe state courts. They are simply an independe
nt system of courts. Both systems are examined in this chapter. The chapter concludes with an overview of some alternative methods of settling dis-putes, including online dispute resolution.3-1 JURISDICTIONJurisdiction refers either to the geographical areawithin which a court has the right and power todecide cases or to the right and power of a court todecide matters concerning certain persons, property,or subject matter. Before any court can hear a case, itmust have jurisdiction over the person against whomthe suit is brought or over the property involved inthe suit, as well as jurisdiction over the subjectmatter.
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