LEGAL ENVIRONMENT OF BUSINESS: FINANCE 240 SEMESTER PROJECT The impressions that most people have of the law are influenced not so much by actual experience but by the way the law is portrayed in television and movies. Although the ordinary applications of law are not quite as exciting as a television drama, every lawsuit starts with a story, or what we lawyer-type people refer to as a fact pattern. The Semester Project requires you to analyze a fact pattern related to a topic we will cover in class.
You can choose one of the scenarios below. You may work alone or with a group of up to four (4) students, who will turn in a single project. Please make sure to include your name and class section on your submission. Work Product: You will turn in a 500 to 1000 word analysis using the IRAC method, discussed in class. The taped lecture on IRAC and IRAC instructions are available on Canvas. Grading: This assignment makes up 20% of your course grade. I will be grading it out of 200 points distributed as follows: Facts: Summarize the relevant facts (This section does not count toward the word count). /20 Issue: Identify the legal issue that must be answered. /20 Rule: Identify the case, code, legal principle that applies. /40 Analysis: Apply the rule to the facts. In other words, interpret the facts based on the legal question and rule that are at play.
/100 Conclusion: Decide how a court would likely rule. /20 Total /200 Due Dates: The assignment is due on Monday April 26th. You must upload it on Canvas by 11:59 p.m. on the due date for you to receive full grades. I reserve the right to not accept late assignments or take off points, depending on the reason for the late submission. Page 1 of 4 Academic Honesty: As stated in the syllabus, the University adheres to a strict policy regarding cheating and plagiarism. Become familiar with the policy. Any cheating or plagiarism will result in failing the course. Examples of Plagiarism include but are not limited to: • Using sources verbatim or paraphrasing without giving proper attribution (this can include phrases, sentences, paragraphs and/or pages of work) • Copying and pasting work from an online or offline source directly and calling it your own • Using information you find from an online or offline source without giving the author credit • Replacing words or phrases from another source and inserting your own words or phrases
• Submitting a piece of work you did for one class to another class Unauthorized recording or dissemination of virtual course instruction or materials by students, especially with the intent to disrupt normal university operations or facilitate academic dishonesty, is a violation of the Student Conduct Code. This includes posting of exam problems or questions to on-line platforms. Violators may be subject to discipline. Fact Patterns: Please choose ONE (1) of the following fact pattern options for your project. Each of these fact patterns has at least three legal issues. Please assume the facts are correct, however, if the rule and its application requires further details or facts not stated, you can note that in your analysis.
Option 1 (Contracts, Torts) Buyer, who was in the market for a car, heard that Seller wanted to sell his car for $5,000. On June 1, Buyer visited Seller and saw the car. Buyer asked Seller about the car’s condition. In response, Seller said, “The car is in tip-top shape—the brakes and clutch were replaced in the last six months. It’s in beautiful shape for a vehicle of this age. Good for another 100,000 miles easy.” Seller agreed to sell the car to Buyer for $5,000. They both signed the following document: “Seller agrees to sell, and Buyer agrees to buy, Seller’s car for the price of $5,000. Buyer will pick up the car at Seller’s home on June 2 and pay Seller $5,000 in cash at that time.” On June 2, Buyer came to Seller’s home. Before handing the payment to Seller, Buyer said, “I’d like my mechanic to look at the car to make sure that it is as you represented it.” Seller responded, “Don’t waste money on a mechanic. The car is exactly as I described it.” Even though Buyer, while at Seller’s home, had no way to tell if the brakes and clutch were as represented, Buyer thought that it would be a waste of time and money to visit a mechanic and thus decided to proceed with the transaction.
Accordingly, after briefly inspecting the car, Buyer gave Seller $5,000 in cash. Seller handed Buyer the keys to the car, and Buyer left with the car. On June 10, the car broke down and Buyer had it towed to a mechanic’s shop. After looking at the car, the mechanic accurately told Buyer that the clutch had failed because it was old and needed to be replaced. The mechanic also warned Buyer that the brakes were unsafe and that the engine needed a complete overhaul or it would not last another 10,000 miles. The mechanic told Buyer that if the car had been as represented by Seller, it would have had a market value of $5,000, but in its current condition the car was worth only about $500—its value as salvage for parts. Page 2 of 4 On June 11, Buyer hand-delivered a letter to Seller. The letter informed Seller that Buyer was revoking his acceptance of the car and that Seller could recover his car at the mechanic’s shop.
What rights, if any, does Buyer have against Seller? Explain. (200 Points) Option 2 (Intellectual Property) While he was in high school, Barry Glibb downloaded numerous songs to his smartphone from an unlicensed file-sharing service. He used portions of the copyrighted songs when he recorded his own band and posted videos on You Tube and Facebook. Glibb also used Bit Torrent to download several movies from the Internet. Now Barry has applied to University of Southern California (USC). The USC admissions office has requested access to his Facebook password, and he has complied. In light of the foregoing, respond to each of the following:
1. What laws, if any, did Glibb violate by downloading the music and videos from the Internet? (50 points)
2. Was Glibb’s use of portions of copyrighted songs in his own music illegal? Explain. (50 points)
3. Can individuals legally post copyrighted content on their Facebook pages? Why or why not? (50 points)
4. Did USC violate any laws when it asked Joel to provide his Facebook password? Explain (50 points)
Option 3 (Contracts) On April 1, Ann Star, a young television personality, signs a contract with Bland Television Network to perform May 1 in a one-hour “live” TV show from 8 to 9 p.m. Bland agrees to pay Star $1,000 for this performance. The contract also provides that if for any reason Star does not appear as scheduled, she will “forfeit the sum of $25,000 to Bland as liquidated damages.” • On April 10, Star informs Bland that she is suffering from acute fatigue and that her physician probably will not allow her to appear as scheduled. Bland immediately urges her in writing to fulfill her contractual obligations. • On April 15, Star tells Bland that she has miraculously recovered and will appear as scheduled on the May 1 show. Page 3 of 4 • On April 23, Bland informs Star that, due to her unpredictability, it has hired actress Prima Donna of that date and will not require Star’s services. • On April 28, Prima Donna breaks her leg in an accident.
Bland immediately wires Star that it has reconsidered the whole matter and will hold her to the original contract to perform on May 1. On the evening of May 1, Star appears at the studio ready to perform, but Bland, acting under orders from the Federal Communications Commission, cancels the show in order to broadcast a special address by the President of the United States. • Discuss the legal implications of the foregoing events. (200 Points) Page 4 of 4
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