1. Anticipation of legal problems. Should legal problems be anticipated? Why and why not? (see business activities and the legal environment.)
2. Good faith. Good faith is a concept that applies in most, if not all, areas of the law. Persons generally expected to act in good faith, which means being honest and observing reasonable commercial standards of fair dealing. Those who do not act in good faith are often considered to be in violation of the law. Why should good faith determine whether an act is legal or illegal? (see sources of American law.)
1. Ethical workplace. What factors help to create an ethical workplace? (see setting the right ethical tone.)
2. Social responsibility. Government entities spend time and money to find and destroy the labs in which methamphetamine is made, imprison meth dealers and users, treat addicts, and provide services for affected families. Meth cannot be made without ingredients that are also used in cold and allergy medications. To recoup the cost of fighting the meth epidemic, twenty counties in Arkansas field a suit against Pfizer, Inc., which makes cold and allergy medications. What Pfizer’s ethical responsibility here, and to whom is it owed? Why? [Ashley county, Arkansas v. Pfizer, Inc. 552 f.3d 659( 8th Cir. 2009)] (see approaches to ethical reasoning)
1. To sue or not to Sue? What ethical considerations might affect a decision in court?
2. The ethics of Arbitration. Nellie Lumpkin, who suffered from dementia, was admitted to the Picayune Convalescent Center, a nursing home. Because of her diminished mental condition, her daughter, Beverly McDaniel, signed the admissions agreement. It included a clause requiring the parties to submit any dispute to arbitration. After Lumpkin left the center two years later, she field a suit against Picayune to recover damages for mistreatment and malpractice. Is it ethical for this dispute to go to arbitration? [Covenant Health & Rehabilitations of Picayune, LP v. Lumpkin, 23 So.2d 1092 (Miss.App. 2009)] (see alternative dispute resololutions.)
1. The establishment clause. Do religious displays on public property violate the establishment clause? Discuss. (See business and the bill of rights.)
2. Free speech. Aric Toll owns and manages the Balboa Island Village Inn, a restaurant and bar. Anne Lemen lives across from the inn. Lemen complained to the authorities about inn’s customers, who she called “drunks” and “whores.” Lemen told the inn’s bartender Ewa Cook that Cook “worked for Satan.” She repeated her statements to potential customers, and then inn’s sales dropped more than 20percent. The inn field a suit against Lemen. Are her statements protected by the U.S. Constitution? Did she act unethically? Explain. (See the constitutional powers of government.)
1. Duty of care. Does a person’s duty of care include a duty to come to the aid of a stranger in peril? (see negligence)
2. Trespass to personal property. Who should be liable for computer viruses? Why? (see intentional Torst against property.)
1. Copyright Infringement. Custom copies, Inc., prepares and sells coursepacks, which contain compilations of readings for collage courses. A teacher selects the readings and delivers a syllabus to the copy shop, which obtains the material from a library, copies them, and bind the copies. Blackwell Publishing, Inc., which owns the copyright to some of the material, field a suit, alleging copyright infringement. Does the “fair use” doctrine apply in these circumstances? Discuss. (see copyrights)
1. File-sharing. From an ethical perspective, is it important to protect copyrighted music from unauthorized file-sharing and other forms of distribution online? Why or why not? (see internet law)
2. Criminal litigation and investigations. After the unauthorized release and posting of classified U.S government documents to wikileaks.org, involving Bradley Manning, a U.S. Army private first class, the U.S government began a criminal investigation. The government obtained a court order to require Twitter, Inc., to turn over subscriber information and communications to and from the e-mail addresses of Birgitta Jonsdottir and others. The court sealed the order and the other documents in the case, reasoning that “there exists no right to public notice of all the types of documents field in a…..case.” Jonsdottir and the others appealed this decision. How does the law enforcement use social media to detect and prosecute criminals? Is this use of social media to detect and prosecute criminals? Is this use of social media an unethical invasion of individual’s privacy? Discuss. (see Social media).
1. Informing suspects of the rights. Should there be any exceptions to the rule that suspects be informed of their rights? Discuss. (see constitutional safeguards.)
2. Identity theft. Twenty-years-old Davis Omole worked at a cell phone store. He stole customers’ personal information and used the stolen identities to create a hundred different accounts on eBay. Omole held more than three hundred auctions on eBay, listing sale items that he did not own. From these auctions, he collected $90,000. Charged with identity theft, Omole displayed contempt for the court and ridiculed his victims, calling them stupid for having been cheated. What does this behavior suggest about Omole’s ethics? Discuss. (see cyber crime.)
1. Quasi Contract. Should any enrichment always be considered unjust? Discuss. (see types of contracts).
2. Unilateral contract. International business machines corp. (IBM) hired Niels Jensen as a software sales representative. According to IBM’s “sales Incentive Plan” (SIP), “the more you sell, the more earnings for you.” But “the SIP program does not constitute a promise by IBM. IBM reserves the right to modify the program at any time.” Jenses closed a deal worth more than $24 millions to IBM. When IBM paid him less than $500,000 as a commission, Jensen field a suit. He argued that the SIP was a unilateral offer that became a binding contract when he closed the sale. Would it be fair to rule in Jensen’s favor? Discuss. (see types of contracts)
1. Intent. Should promises of prices in ads and circulars always be enforced? Discuss. (see requirements of the offer.)
2. Definiteness. Kenneth McMillan obtained a judgment against Laurence Hibbard for $52,972.74. When Hibbard did not pay, McMillan offered him an option. He could pay the judgment outright, or he could maintain an insurance policy on McMillan’s life and the policy’s proceeds would pay the debt. Hibbard agreed. More than a year later, however, Hibbard had not pay the debt or maintained the policy. McMillan field another lawsuit against him. Hibbard argued that the terms of the option agreement were not sufficiently definite or fair. Is he correct? Discuss. See requirements of the Offer.
1. Legally sufficient value. Can a moral obligation satisfy the requirements of consideration? Why or why not? (See elements of consideration)
2. Promissory estoppel. Claudia Aceves borrowed from U.S Bank to buy a home. Two years later, she could not longer afford the monthly payments. The bank notified her that it planned to foreclose on the home. Aceves field for bankruptcy. The bank offe3red to modify Aceves’s mortgage if she would forgo bankruptcy. She agreed. Once she withdrew the filing, however the bank foreclosed. Could Aceves succeed a claim of promissory estoppel? Why or why not? Did Aceves or U.S Bank behave unethically? Discuss. (see problems with consideration)
1. Minors. Should the goal of protecting minors from the consequences of unwise contracts ever outweight the goal of encouraging minors to behave in a responsible manner? Discuss. (see minors).
2. Capacity. Joe Riley shattered the bones above his left ankle in an accident at Ingalls Shipbuildings, Inc. in the hospital, Riley met with Caty Suthoff, an insurance claims adjuster, Riley answered her questions about his injury accurately and clearly, and signed a form consenting to release of his medical records. Later, Riley complained of back pain, which he blamed on the accident, but his physician made a not that the pain was not work related. To prevent the insurance company from seeing this note_which would reduce the amount of his monetary recovery- Riley field a suit against the adjuster. He contended that he had signed the consent form while incapacitated by medications. Did Riley show a lack of capacity when he signed the form? Did he show a lack of ethics when he filed the suit? Discuss. (see mentally incompetent persons).
1. Gambling. How can states enforce gambling laws in the age of the Internet? (see contracts contrary to statute)
2. Contracts in restraint of trade. Brendan Colrmsn created and market Clinex, a software-billing program. Later, Retina Consultants, P.c., a medical practice, hired Coleman as a software engineer. Together, they modified the Clinex program to create Clinex-RE. Coleman signed an agreement to the effect that he owned clinex, Retina owned Clinex-RE, and he would not market Clinex in competition with clinex-RE. After Coleman quit Retina, he withdrew funds from a Retina Bank account and marketed both forms of the software to other medical practices. Was the covenant not to complete in this case enforceable? Was Colemans’s behavior after leaving Retina unethical? Explain. (see contracts contrary to public policy)
1. Fraudulent Misrepresentation. Is honesty an implicitly duty of every employee? Discuss. (see fraudulent misrepresentation).
2. Fradulent misrepresentation. Radiah Givens was involved romantically with Joseph Rosenzweig. She moved into an apartment on which he made the down payment. She signed the mortgage, but he made the payment and paid household expenses. The later married. She had their marriage annulled, however, when she learned that he was married to someone else. Rosenzweig then field a suit against her to collect on the mortgage. Did Rosenzweig commit fraud? Was he deceitful? If so, should his deceitfulness affect the decision in this case? Discuss. (see fraudulent misrepresentation).
1. Prenuptial agreements. Should prenuptial agreements be enforced if one party did not have the advice of counsel? Discuss. (see the statue of frauds__writing requirement)
2. The parol evidence rule. Robert shelborne asked William Williams to represent him in a deal with Robert Tundy. Shelborne expected to receive $31 million from the deal and agreed to pay Williams a fee of $1 million. Tundy said that a tax of $100,000 would have to be paid first. Shelborne asked James Parker to loan him $50,000. Parker, Shelborne, and Williams wired the found to Tundy. They never heard from him again. No $31 million was transferred. Shelborne then disappeared. Parker field a suit against Williams, alleging breach of contract. Parker offered as evidence a recording of a phone conversation in which Williams guaranteed Shelborne’s loan. Does Williams have a defense under the Statute of Frauds? In this case, who, if anyone, behaved ethically? Discuss. (see the Parol evidence rule).
1. Incidental beneficiaries. Should incidental beneficiaries have any legal recourse against parties who do not perform their contracts? Why or why not? (see third party beneficiaries).
2. Notice of assignment. James Grigg’s mother was killed in a car accident. As the beneficiary of her insurance policy, Grigg was entitled to a payment of $50,000 from Safeco Life Insurance Co. Grigg assigned this payment to Howard Foley. Neither Grigg nor Foley notified Safeco. Later, Grig assigned the payment to Settlement Capital Corp., which filed notice with a court, still later, Grigg assigned the payment to Timothy Johnson, who assigned it to Robert Chris, who was used it as collateral for a loan from Cano Credit Union. Under the rule most often observed in the United States, who is entitled to the $50,00? Regardless of this rule, has a violations of ethics occurred? Explain. ( see assignments and delegations.)
1. Impossibility of performance. Should the courts allow the defense of impossibility of performance to be used more often? (see contract discharge).
2. Liquidated damages. Should liquidated damages clauses be enforced when no actual damages have been incurred? (see contract remedies)
Discharge by performance. On a weekday, Tamara Cohen, a real estate broker, showed a townhouse owned by Ray and Harriet Mayer to Jessica Seinfeld, the wife of comedian Jerry Seinfeld. On the weekend, Cohen was unavailable because her religious beliefs prevented her from working, but the Seinfelds revisited the townhouse on their own and agree to buy it. The contract stated that the “buyers will pay buyer’s real estate brokers’s fee”. Is Cohen entitled to payment eve though she was not available on the weekend? What obligation do parties in business owe to each other with respect to their religious beliefs? How might the situation in this case have been avoided? (see contract discharge)