Business Law Week 1 Notes
Business Law Week 1 Notes BL 2413
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This 5 page Class Notes was uploaded by Emily Green on Wednesday January 20, 2016. The Class Notes belongs to BL 2413 at Mississippi State University taught by Stephanie Mallette in Summer 2015. Since its upload, it has received 194 views. For similar materials see Legal Envt Business in Business Law at Mississippi State University.
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Date Created: 01/20/16
Chapter 1: Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning • Laws and regulations aﬀect all business activities in some way • Knowledge of 'black-letter' is not enough - business now assumes an ethical dimension ◦ you have a duty to behave ethically by law along with doing your job ‣ you will be held criminally responsible if you do not maintain ethical behavior ◦ lawyers are experts you go to for advice outside of search engines ‣ they are held liable for the advice they give you • Many diﬀerent laws may aﬀect a single business transaction ◦ businesses need advice on taxes both with income it earned or the business's spendings ◦ other laws and legal reasons as well ‣ contracts ‣ sales ‣ negotiable instruments ‣ creditors' rights ‣ intellectual property ‣ internet law, social media, and privacy ‣ product liability ‣ torts ‣ agency ‣ business organizations ‣ environmental law sustainability ‣ courts and court procedures • Sources of American Law ◦ Constitutional Law ‣ always trumps statutory law ◦ Statutory Law ‣ all of the laws within a speciﬁed area such as a state ‣ ordinances • local rules that only apply within a city ‣ uniform laws • NCCUSL • ‣ uniform commercial code • transaction laws need to be uniform (or as close as it can get) throughout the US ◦ the states' laws are similar across the country ◦ Administrative Law ‣ "fourth branch of government" ‣ power of statute ‣ some have criminal penalties ‣ federal agencies ‣ state and local agencies ◦ Case Law and Common Law Doctrines • Common Law Tradition ◦ American law is based largely on English Common Law which was based largely on traditions, social customs, rules, and cases dating back to 1066 A.D. ◦ when the British came over, they brought their law with them but took out the parts they didn't like ‣ Louisiana had French Law, not included in this history ◦ Early English Courts ‣ at common law, there were two separate court systems • COURTS OF LAW ◦ monetary relief for any situation ◦ also called "king's courts" ‣ judges were appointed by the king ◦ remedies limited to those provided at law ◦ judges resolved disputes by application of rules of law to the facts of the case before the court ◦ harsh results ‣ example: if someone goes to trial in Mississippi who committed the crime, there is no mercy- they go to jail for the written amount of time (or have the predetermined punishment) ‣ no matter how "bad" the crime was, they still committed the crime • COURTS OF EQUITY ◦ non-monetary relief, want something taken care of ‣ such as divorce, adoptions, land disputes, etc. ◦ based on "notions of justice and fair dealing" ◦ branch of law founded on what is fair and just ◦ were administered by chancellors appointed by the king ◦ equitable remedies include: speciﬁc performance, injunctions, rescissions ‣ example: if you pay someone to pour concrete in your driveway and they do half of the job, you can sue them and make them ﬁnish their job ◦ dual court system becomes very pricy because you are paying for two of everything ◦ Equity Maxims ‣ whoever seeks equity must do equity • anyone who wishes to be treated fairly must treat others fairly ‣ where there is equal equity, the law must prevail • the law will determine the outcome of a controversy in which the merits of both sides are equal ‣ one seeking the aid of an equity court must come to the court with clean hands • the plaintiﬀ must have acted fairly and honestly ‣ equity will not suﬀer a wrong to be without a remedy • equitable relief will be awarded when there is a right to relief and there is no adequate remedy at law ‣ equity regards substance rather than form • equity is more concerned with fairness and justice that with legal technicalities ‣ equity aids the vigilant, not those who rest on their rights • equity will not help those who neglect their rights for an unreasonable period of time ◦ Legal and Equitable Remedies Today ‣ federal and state courts have consolidated remedies at law and equity ‣ generally, the same court order includes both damages and equitable or injunctive relief ‣ Stare Decisis • stand on decided cases • judge-made law ◦ not every case is the same, some need more certainty in their decision- making process ◦ certainty of outcome is very important, especially with expensive contracts and cases • Case Precedents & Reporters ◦ each decision and interpretation becomes a legal precedent ◦ cases are now published in national and regional "reporters" • The Common Law Tradition ◦ courts are obliged to follow precedents within their jurisdictions ◦ courts should not overturn their own precedents without compelling reasons • Controlling Precedents ◦ referred to as "binding authorities" ◦ include the Constitution, Supreme Court cases, federal appellate cases, federal and state statutes ◦ when there was a similar case before yours that had a certain or diﬀerent outcome than what are you receiving • Departures from Precedent ◦ in cases of "ﬁrst impression" where there is no precedent, the court may refer to positive law, public policy, and widely held social values in order to craft the best new precedent • Legal Reasoning ◦ basic steps for appeals (IRAC format) ‣ read the real facts, not the rumors in headlines on newspapers or magazines ‣ key facts and issues • what are the questions to be answered? ‣ rules • what laws governs this matter? ‣ IRAC • Issue, Rule, Application, and Conclusion ◦ there is no one "right" answer ‣ good arguments are made for diﬀerent sides ‣ judges have personal beliefs that can aﬀect decisions • who the lawyer is and their relationship ‣ outcomes to lawsuits cannot be predicted with certainty ‣ The Common Law Today • restatements of the law ◦ summarize the common law of most states ◦ published by the American Law Institutes • Schools of Legal Thought ◦ The Natural Law School ‣ assumes law, rights and ethics are based on universal moral principals inherent in nature discoverable through human reason • belief that there is a fundamental, natural, basic set of rights by being a living human being • inalienable rights ◦ it makes sense to have clean air and water for everyone, so if someone pollutes a community, they get in trouble for it ‣ the oldest view of jurisprudence dating back to Aristotle ‣ the Declaration assumes natural law, or what Jeﬀerson calls "the law of nature" ‣ Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr. • "There are two types of laws: just and unjust laws. ...A just law is a man-made code that squares with the moral law ... An unjust law is a code that is out of harmony with the moral law. ...An unjust law is a human law that is not rooted in eternal and natural law." ◦ The Positivist School ‣ law is the supreme will of the State that applies only to the citizens of that nation at that time ‣ law is not universal • whether it is moral or immoral, ethical or unethical, it is still the law ◦ The Historical School ‣ emphasizes the evolutionary process of law ‣ concentrates on the origins of the legal system • goes back to cases in the Bible and brings them up to cases today ‣ law derives its legitimacy and authority from standards that have withstood the test of time ‣ ration and reason will prevail over time ◦ Legal Realism ‣ the law is not just written law, but a product of the views of judicial decision makers, as well as social, economic, and contextual _____ • Classiﬁcations of Law ◦ every type of law will be either ‣ Civil or Criminal • Civil Law ◦ deﬁnes the rights between individuals or individuals and governments ◦ between individuals • Criminal Law ◦ deﬁnes an individual's obligations to society as a whole ◦ someone goes to jail ‣ Substantive vs Procedural • substantive law deﬁnes or creates the rights and obligations of persons and governments ◦ "what to do" • procedural law provides the steps one must follow in order to avail oneself of one's legal rights or enforce another's legal obligations ◦ "how and when to do it" ‣ Public vs Private • How to Find Primary Sources of Law ◦ citation ‣ identiﬁes a legal publication in which legal authority is found ◦ ﬁnding statutory law and administrative law ‣ US code online ‣ administrative rules ◦ ﬁnding case law ‣ state court decisions • regional reporters • case citations ‣ federal court decisions • US Supreme Court decisions are published online • How to Read & Understand Case Law ◦ legal cases are identiﬁed by a "legal citation" ◦ the ﬁrst party stated is the plaintiﬀ ◦ the second party stated is the defendant ◦ parties are either underlined or italicized
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