Sources of law. This Chapter discussed a number of sources of American law. Which source of Law takes priority in the following situation, and Why? (see Sources of American Law)
a) A federal statute conflict with the U.S. Constitution.
b) A federal statute conflict with a state constitutional provision
c) A State statue conflicts with the common law of that state
d) A state constitutional amendment conflict with the U.S Constitution
Stare Decisis: In this chapter, we stated that the doctrine of stare decisis “became a cornerstone of the English and American judicial systems”. What does stare decisis mean, and why has this doctrine been so fundamental to the development of our legal tradition? (See the common law tradition)
Standing. Jack and Maggie Turton bought a house in Jefferson county, Idaho, located directly across the street from a gravel pit. A few years later, the county converted the pit to landfill. The landfill accepted many kinds of trash that caused harm to the environment, including major appliances, animal carcasses, containers with hazardous content warnings, leaking car batteries, and waste oil. The Turtons complained to the county, but the county did nothing. The Turtons then filled a lawsuit against the county allegation violations of federal environmental laws pertaining to groundwater contamination and other pollution. Do the Turtons have standing to sue? Why or Why Not? (See the basic judicial requirements).
Venue: Brandy Austin used powered infant formula manufactured by Nestle USA, Inc., to feed her infant daughter. Austin claimed that a can of formula was contaminated with Enterobacter sakazakii bacteria, causing sever injury to her infant. The bacteria can cause infections of the bloodstream and central nervous system on particular, meningitis. Austin field an action against Nestle in Hennepin County District Court in Minnesota. Nestle argued for a change of venue because alleged harm had occurred in South Carolina. Austin is a South Caroline resident and had given birth to her daughter in that state. Should the case be transferred to South Carolinas venue? Why or why not? (See the basic judicial requirements).
Discovery: Advance Technology Consultants, Inc. (ATC), contracted with RoadTrac, LLC, to provide software and clients software system for the products of global positioning satellite (GPS) technology being developed by RoadTrac. RoadTrac agreed to provide ATC with hardware with which ATC’s software would interface. Problems soon arose, however. ATC claimed that RoadTrac hardware was defective, making it difficult to develop the software. RoadTrack contended that its hardware was fully functional and that ATC had simply fail to provide supporting software. ATC told RoadTrac that it considered their contract terminated. RoadTrac filed a suit in a Georgia state court against ATC alleging breach of contract. During discovery, Roadtrac requested ATC’s customer list and marketing procedures. ATC objected to providing this information because RoadTrac and ATC had become competitors in the GPS industry. Should a party to a law suit have to hand overs its confidential business secrets as part of a discovery request? Why or why not? What limitations might court consider imposing before requiring ATC to produce this material? (see pretrial procedures).
Jury Misconduct. Michelle Fleshner worked for Pepose Vision Institute (PVI), a surgical practice. She was fired after she provided information to the U.S. Department of Labor about PVI’s overtime pay policy. She sued for wrongful termination, and the jury awarded her $125,000 after the trial, a juror told PVI’s attorneys that another juror had made anti-semitic statements during jury deliberations. The comments concerned a witness who testified on PVI’s behalf. According to the juror, the other juror said, about the witness: “she is a Jewish witch.” “she is a penny-pinching Jew.” “she was such a cheap Jew that she did not want to pay Plaintiff unemployment compensation.” Another juror confirmed the remarks. PVI filed a motion for a new trial on the basis of juror misconduct. The trial judge held that the comments had not prevented a fair trail from occurring. PVI appealed. Do you think such comments are sufficient to require a new trial, or must juror’s bias be discovered during voir dire for it to matter? Explain (see the trial).
Spotlight on Plagiarism-due Process. The Russ College on Engineering and Technology of Ohio University announced in a press conference that it had found “rampant and flagrant plagiarism” in the theses of mechanical engineering graduate students. Faculty singled out for “ignoring their ethical responsibilities” included Jay Gunasekera, chair of the department. Gunasekera was prohibited from advising students. He filed a suit against Dennis Irwin, the dean of Russ Collage, for violating his due process rights. What does due process require in these circumstances? Why? (see process and equal protection)’
A question of ethics- Defamation. Aric Toll owns and manages the Balboa Island Village Inn, a restaurant and bar in Newport Beach, California. Anne Lemen lives across from irnn. Lemen complained to the authorities about the inn’s customers, whom she called “drunks” and “whores”, she referred to Aric’s wife as “madam whore” and told neighbors that the owner were involved in illegal drugs and prostitution. Lemen told Ewa Cook, told a bartender at the Inn, that Cook “worked for Satan”. She repeated her statements to potential customers, and the inn’s sales dropped more than 20%. The inn filed a suit against Lemen. (see business and the Bills of right)
A) are lemen’s statement about the inn’s owners, customers, and activities protected by the U.S. Constitution? Should such statement be protected? In whose favor should the court rule? Why?
B) Did Lemen behave unethically in the circumstance of this case? Explain
Business Ethics. Jason Trevor owns a commercial bakery in Blakely, Georgia, that produces a variety of goods sold in grocery stores. Trevor is required by law to preform internal test on food produced at his plant to check for contamination. On three occasions, the test of food products containing peanut butter were positive for salmonella contamination. Trevor was not required to report the results to U.S. Food and Drug administration officials, however, so he did not. Instead Trevor instructed his employee to simply repeat the test until the results were negative. Meanwhile, the products that had originally tested positive for salmonella were eventually shipped out to retailers.
Five people who ate Trevor’s baked goods that year became seriously ill, and one person die from salmonella infection. Even though Trevor’s conduct was legal, was it unethical for him to sell goods that had once tested positive for salmonella? Why or why not? (see business ethics)
Business ethics on global scale. After the fall of the Soviet Union, the new government of Azerbajan began converting certain state-controlled industries to private ownership. Ownership in these companies could be purchased through a voucher program. Frederic Bourke, Jr. and Viktor Koseny wanted to purchase the Azerbajani oil company, SOCAR, but it was unclear whether the Azerbajani president would allow SOCAR to be put up for sale. Kozeny met with one of the president of SOCAR (who was also the son of the president of Azerbajani) and other Azerbajani leaders to discuss the sale of SOCAR. To obtain their corporation, Kozeny set up a series of parent and subsidiary companies though which the Azerbajani leaders would eventually receive two-thirds of the SOCAR profit without ever investing in their own funds. In return, the Azerbajani leaders would attempt to use their influence to convince the president to put SOCAR up for sale. Assume that Bourke and Kozey are operating out of U.S. Company. Discuss the ethics of this scheme, both in terms of the Foreign Corrupt Practice Act (FCPA) and the general ethical issue. What duties did Kozeny have under the FCPA? (see making ethical business decisions)