o Research noncompete agreements in Internet related jobs and discuss whether these agreements make sense given the inherent nature of the Internet, and should be enforced, or should be prohibited.

Week 1

Discussion 1

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

    1. Research the Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015 and the Main Street Fairness Act and discuss:
      • Why do you think the Microbead Act became law so quickly (especially in our legislative system) while the Main Street Fairness Act has yet to be passed?
      • If you were a Senator, which law(s) would you have voted for/against?  Explain your reasoning.
      • Do you think the Main Street Fairness Act will ever become law?  Explain your position.

Microbeads are non-biodegradable polyethylene or polypropylene
microspheres frequently added to cosmetics. Six states and four countries
have banned them so far. Industry Tap, Sept. 2015

Microbead-Free Waters Act resources: Microbead-Free Waters Act of 2015, The Verge microbead article,

S.B. 1452 and H.R. 5660 Main Street Fairness Act resources: Main Street Fairness Act, AboutMoney article

  1. You’ve just graduated from college and have been offered your first “real” job at StuffMart! The HR department asks you to come in 1 week before your start date to fill out paperwork, authorize a background check, etc. You arrive to find a stack of papers and forms and start completing them when you come across a form entitled “Social Media Policies.”

Much to your surprise, the form contains blanks for you to fill in your login ID and passwords for all social media sites that you use (like Twitter and Facebook). Under these lines, the form explains that as an employee of StuffMart, you authorize the company to monitor your social media, authorize the company to have access to your login/passwords, and expressly agree that you will not post any negative or derogatory statements about StuffMart or its employees on any social media site.

    • Discuss what legal issues are presented here and whether you do or don’t have a constitutional basis to refuse to comply with StuffMart’s Social Media Policies. The post should be a minimum 2 paragraphs and incorporate 2 different terms/phrases from this week’s constitutional reading (in all CAPS).

 

WEEK 2 Discussion 2

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Using the Internet or other sources, research the actual facts of Stella Liebeck vs. McDonald’s and then discuss:
    • Based upon your research, explain whether you would have found the plaintiff proved all, some, or none of the elements for negligence (see page 230). Incorporate 3 different key terms or phrases from this week’s text readings (in all CAPS).
    • Discuss whether you think McDonald’s assumption of risk defense should have been applied in this case.
    • Make a list of your research sources and save as a document (last name.sources). Then upload your sources document to the Week 2 Dropbox by 11:59 pm Friday. If you fail to post sources in the dropbox, points will be deducted from your discussion grade. Do not post sources in your discussion.

I have students provide their sources as one way to help insure that everyone does his/her own research. I do recommend, however, that if you use the Internet for your research, you should, at a minimum, compare information from at least 3 Internet sources. Also note that the best discussion postings are usually from those students who have read information from multiple sources and apply the legal concepts in their own writing style (not just reiterating the article you read).

A drug-sniffing police dog checks a vehicle.
Image courtesy of The Missoulian.

The Miami Beach police department is sick and tired of the college and high school students coming to town for Spring break and bringing drugs and alcohol with them. So, they’ve devised a plan, Operation Intercept, to stop the flow of drugs.

First, the Police Chief orders random check points on all the highways leading into town. Each check point will have a drug dog that will go around the outside of the vehicle and alert the handler if there is a “hit.”

Second, to help stop the flow of drugs entering the city via the waterways and ports, the Chief has ordered the use of drones. He instructs his officers to conduct drone “flights” in the areas where the drug dealers often use speedboats for drug trafficking.

As expected, Operation Intercept is successful. The Department makes a number of arrests based upon both the traffic stops and the drones.

    • Based only on the readings for this week (no outside research), discuss whether drug dogs at the traffic stops and the drones are constitutional under the 4th Amendment.

 

Week 3 Discussion 3

Have you ever experienced buyer’s remorse?
You’ll discuss the pros and cons of contracts that
do allow cancellations.
Image by Rosa G., some rights reserved.

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. As you hear and read the news this week, find a contract case/story to share with the class that pertains to this week’s readings. You may use a personal example or one from a family member or friend. Feel free to search the Internet for stories, but you cannot use the text website or cases in the textbook. Cases should be within the last 10 years. Check out the Columbia College Library’s resources including Lexis/Nexis (legal database) for additional research sources.
    • In 2 or more paragraphs, describe the case to the class using at least 3 different key terms/phrases from this week’s readings (in ALL CAPS). Provide a link or source for your case. Finally, tell the class your impression of the case/issue.
  2. Respond to discussion question 5 in chapter 11 (page 300).  Restated here for your convenience:

Some states give consumers the right to cancel certain contracts for any reason within a short period of time after entering into them. For example, consumers in California can get out of gym membership contracts by sending the gym a cancellation notice within five business days of joining. Similar statutes cover insurance, weight loss services, door-to-door sales, and home repair contracts. If these agreements meet all of the requirements for a contract, why would a state allow people to get out of them so easily? Is this good policy? Alternatively, if consumers can cancel these contracts, why not allow everyone to cancel any contract within a few days?

 

Week 4 Discussion 4

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Research and discuss one of the following:
    • The use of noncompete agreements in a media job contract and discuss whether these agreements make sense, should be enforced, or should be prohibited.
    • Research noncompete agreements in Internet related jobs and discuss whether these agreements make sense given the inherent nature of the Internet, and should be enforced, or should be prohibited.
    • If you have a noncompete with your employer, research state law where your employer has an office. Did you understand the terms of the noncompete before signing it?  Did you receive separate compensation for the noncompete?  What are the terms of the noncompete?  Do you feel this noncompete is valid and enforceable under the state law you researched?

You must post your sources in the Dropbox for Week 4 by 11:59 pm Friday. Failure to post your sources will result in a deduction of points. Do not post the sources in your discussion.

  1. Respond to chapter 16 discussion question 3,  p. 411 (restated here for your convenience):
    A disc jockey named Z-Trip made a remix of a Beastie Boys song with the hip-hop group’s permission. Monster Energy (ME), an energy drink company, wanted to use the remix as part of a video promotion. ME sent an email asking Z-Trip to approve the video. In an email, Z-Trip responded “Dope!” When the Beastie Boys sued ME for copyright infringement, ME claimed that Z-Trip’s reply was a contract granting it approval to use the remix. Is there an enforceable contract between Z-Trip and ME?

    • Provide a legal analysis of your decision using key concepts and terms from this week’s readings.

 

Week 5 Discussion 5

The rule of substantial performance is often
applied in construction contracts.

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Read Chapter 18 and pick one of the cases discussed in this chapter to discuss in class. Share with the class your impression of the case and why you agree or disagree with the court’s holding.
  2. Discuss chapter 19 discussion question 4 on page 478 (restated here for your convenience):

Walgreens operated a pharmacy in the Sara Creek mall. As part of this long-term lease, Sara Creek agreed not to lease mall space to another pharmacy. During an economic recession, Sara Creek’s largest tenant left and the landlord informed Walgreens that it intended to rent that space out to a “deep discount” store that would contain a pharmacy. It was the only way to remain profitable, according to Sara Creek. Walgreens sued for an injunction against Sara Creek until its contract expired in 10 years. Should a court hold Sara Creek to its contract, even if this decision means bankrupting it?

    • Provide a legal analysis of your decision using key concepts and terms from this week’s readings.

 

Week 6 Discussion 6

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Applying concepts of agency law, discuss StuffMart’s liability for employee torts in the following case study. Be sure to incorporate 2 key terms to explain your analysis. Put the terms in all caps so they stand out.

Marty Mad is an employee of StuffMart. When Marty was hired, StuffMart was in a jam to get more workers, so it did not do a background check. Marty works as a stocker and occasionally as a checker. One night, Marty is furious at his supervisor for refusing his vacation request. He storms to his checkout line, still upset, and begins to help a customer by slamming groceries into the bags, throwing items in the cart, and yelling at the customer to hurry and pay. When the customer asks, “What is wrong?” Marty walks around from the register, punches the customer in the arm, and pushes the cart into the customer’s stomach with such force that the customer falls to the floor injured. The customer sues StuffMart. You review the facts and Marty’s employment file. Since there was no background check, you order one and find that Marty does not have a criminal record.

According to the SBA, the number of small businesses
in the U.S. has increased 49% since 1982.

  1. Most everyone has had a thought of owning a business or buying a franchise.  Pretend you are starting your own small business. After reading Chapters 31 and 32, explore the business resources on your Secretary of State’s website. Based upon your readings and research:
    • What name will you use for your business?  Conduct a “name” search for your business on the Secretary of State’s website.  Share with the class your findings.
    • What type of business entity will you elect?  Explain why.
    • What did you learn from the Secretary of State’s website that will help you get your business started?
    • Provide a link to the Secretary of State’s website at the end of your discussion.
    • Provide a legal analysis of your decision using key concepts and terms from this week’s readings.

 

Week 7 Discussion 7

This week we will learn about a business’
obligations when closing or filing bankruptcy.

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Discuss chapter 33 discussion question 3 on page 876 (restated here for your convenience):

When Facebook went public, its disclosure document said:

As a board member and officer, Mr. Zuckerberg owes a fiduciary duty to our stockholders and must act in good faith in a manner he reasonably believes to be in the best interests of our stockholders. As a stockholder, even a controlling stockholder, Mr. Zuckerberg is entitled to vote his shares in his own interests, which may not always be in the interests of our stockholders.

Should corporate laws permit Zuckerberg to control the company without imposing a duty to act in the best interests of the other shareholders?

  1. Discuss chapter 34 case question 2 on page 899 (restated here for your convenience):

Both Viacom and Paramount owned a diverse group of entertainment businesses. QVC was a televised shopping channel. The Paramount board of directors accepted a merger offer from Viacom at a price of $69 per share. QVC and Viacom then entered a bidding war for Paramount. QVC ultimately made the highest offer, at $90 per share. The Paramount board rejected QVC’s bid on the grounds that a Viacom merger would be more in keeping with Paramount’s business strategy. Was the board in violation of the business judgment rule?

 

Corporations Essay

The purpose of this assignment is to research and analyze real-world examples of corporate wrongdoing. In this essay, you will research and write about a specific corporation. (You will be provided with a list of corporations to select from.) Your research should focus on the potential or actual criminal and civil liability of the corporation and its officer or directors resulting from its legal wrongdoings. Summarize and explain the issues in your own words in a least 10 paragraphs. A minimum of 3 reputable sources must be used. In addition, incorporate a minimum of 6 key terms from this week’s readings. Highlight the key terms by using all caps.

The essay should be written using MLA style and include a works cited page. Use double spacing with size 12 pt. Times New Roman font.

 

Corporations Essay

Instructions

Given all the corporate scandals in recent years, there are ample real world examples of corporate wrongdoing to study. The focus of this assignment is to apply the corporate concepts from the text to the “real world.”

1.      Select a Corporation

You are required to select one of the following corporations:

    • Adelphia Communications
    • WorldCom

2.      Research the Corporation

The purpose of this assignment is to locate firsthand information about what happened to the company you’ve selected (remember how researching can be enlightening given the McDonald’s assignment). You may use the Internet and other research sources such as Stafford Library’s online resources for this assignment. A minimum of 3 different resources are required. The use of multiple sources helps ensure that you have reliable information and a comprehensive view of the case.

Your research should focus on the potential or actual criminal and civil liability of the corporation and its officers and directors. For example, what did the officers or directors do wrong? What duties were breached? What has happened with the criminal and civil lawsuits so far? Who filed the suits and what claims were filed? Were there conflicts of interest present here? How did these activities affect the shareholders and/or the company as a whole? What did the officers and directors do that was a criminal or civil wrongdoing? What duties did the officers/directors breach? What has happened in the civil and criminal suits?

3.      Write Your Essay

Once you have found relevant material write your own summary. The minimum length requirement is 10 paragraphs but most students have much more than this. Your essay should also incorporate at least 6 different key terms and phrases from this week’s readings. Write them in all caps so they will stand out in your paper.

When writing, keep in mind that your research should explain and discuss concepts as though your reader knows nothing about them. Analyze and summarize your findings using your own words and also incorporating terms from the textbook readings. Excessive quoting from your sources is not desired, and will cause you to lose points.

    • Use MLA citation style: double spaced, Times New Roman 12 pt. font
    • Include a Works Cited page
    • Review the MLA citing resources in the Week 7 Content area.

 

Week 8 Discussion 8

Answer both questions 1 and 2 below in this same discussion.

  1. Research and discuss landlord/tenant laws from your home state:
    • Visit one of the landlord tenant links provided in this week’s Content section (which includes a list of state statutes) or do your own research.
    • Share with the class which state you researched and discuss three (3) things you learned incorporating at least 3 different terms from Chapter 42. Put your terms in all caps so they will stand out. Write a minimum 2 paragraphs.
    • Post your resources/links in the dropbox by Thursday at 11:59pm (this ensures everyone does his/her own research). MLA format is not required. Posting sources in the dropbox is part of your discussion grade. Failure to submit sources will result in a deduction of points from your discussion grade. Do not post sources in your discussion.

Personal property is any asset other than real estate.

  1. Chapter 43 covers personal property concepts. After reading the chapter, discuss three (3) legal terms/concepts that you’ve learned. Explain how you can use these concepts in your personal and/or professional life. Put the legal terms/concepts in all caps so they stand out.

 

 

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