BUS LAW 1: Chapter 6 Notes
BUS LAW 1: Chapter 6 Notes 2030-H1522
Oakland Community College
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Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Business Law 1 Notes ______________________________________________________________________ From previous sections - Last week we learned about the Bill of Rights and The Constitution and how it benefits Businesses. ______________________________________________________________________ Chapter 6: Torts Tort Law: o Designed to compensate the injured parties for the damages suffered. o Two Notions: Wrongs Compensation Compensatory Damages: often broken down into special damages and general damages. The goal is to make the Plaintiff whole or to put them in the same they were in if the tort never happened. Punitive Damages: Punishment to the wrongdoer and deter others from doing the same action. Intentional Tort Actions: The person meant to do the wrongful act. Gross Negligence: Intentional failure to perform a manifest duty in reckless disregard of the consequences of such a failure for the life or property of another. o Subject to limitations under Due Process Clause: U.S. Constitution (Ch. 4). o Appellate court can sometimes reduce the punitive damages if excessive (violates Due Process Clause). Tort Reform: Federal and State Governments are taking steps towards Tort Reform. o Limiting the amount of both punitive damages and general damages awarded. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 o Capping contingency fees Attorneys can collect o Requiring losing party to pay both Plaintiff and Defendant Expenses. Class Action (Federal Level): lawsuit in which a large number of plaintiffs bring the suit as a group. o EX: Enron (2006), Settled $7.2 Billion. The lawsuit’s primary contention was that Enron engaged in fraud by concealing from investors losses by Enron-controlled special purpose entities (the Raptors). Because Enron’s primary corporate losses were attributed to these entities, those losses were not disclosed in annual reports or SEC filings. Product Liability: lawsuit that involves the manufacture, sale, and distribution of a dangerous or defective good. o EX: GM defective parts (ignition switch etc.) Product Liability (State Level): More than 25 states have placed (especially in medical malpractice) a cap on noneconomic general damage awards (pain and suffering) and more than 30 states have limited punitive damages. Intentional Torts: results of intentional violation of person or property. Unintentional Torts: result of negligence of the duty to act reasonability. Defenses: reasons why plaintiff should not obtain charges. Assaults: intentional and unexcused threat of immediate harmful or offensive content. o Words or Action that create reasonable, or believable threat. NO ACTUAL ACTION COMES FROM THIS Battery: the act in the apprehensions is completed and results in harm to the plaintiff. PHYSCIAL INJURY NEED NOT TO OCCUR Wednesday, September 21, 2016 False Imprisonment: intentional confinement or restraint of another’s activities without justification. o “Privilege to Detain”: Merchants are allowed to use “reasonable force” to delay or detain a shoplifting subject (in some states). Must be conducted in a reasonable manner and for a reasonable length of time. Intentional Infliction of Emotional Distress: o Involves: An intentional act that results in severe and emotional distress to another. Actionable: capable of serving ground for a lawsuit. Defamation: of character involves wrongful hurting of a person’s reputation. o Breaching this duty in written or other permanent form involves the tort Libel. o Breaching this duty orally involves the tort Slander. To Establish Defamation a Plaintiff must prove: o The defendant made a false statement of fact. o The statement was understood as being about the plaintiff and tended to harm the plaintiff’s reputation. o The statement was published to at least one person other than the plaintiff. o If the plaintiff is a public figure he/she must prove actual malice. State of Fact Requirement: o In most case statements can be questioned as state of opinion or state of fact Most state of opinions are not actionable because they are protected under the First Amendment. EX: Lane cheat’s on his taxes. If found to be true- it is a state of fact. EX: Lane is a jerk. Whether his is a jerk or the nicest person ever there is really no fact here so this is a state of opinion. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Slander Per Se: o Is actionable with no proof of specialty damages required. Four Types of Slander: Statement that another has a particular disease. o EX: Mental Illness, STD etc. Statement that another has committed improperties while engaging in a profession or trade. Statement that another has been imprisoned or committed a crime. Statement that another (usually unmarried persons or women) is unchaste or has engaged in serious sexual misconduct. Actual Malice: (usually with public figures) statement made with either knowledge of its falsity a reckless disregard of the truth communicated via public medium. Invasion of Privacy Common Law: Four Acts that qualify under Common Law: o Intrusion into an individual’s affairs or seclusion. EX: Searching someone’s property without authority, eavesdropping, unauthorized scanning of bank accounts, peeping etc. o False Light: Publication of information that places a person in False light. EX: Writing a story about a person that attributes ideas and opinions not held by that person. o Public Disclosure of Private facts: Public embarrassment (or display) of an individual’s sex life, financial affairs etc. EX: If you are a public figure – personal life is not actionable, because as pubic figures behavior is a public concern. o Appropriation of Identity: using a person’s name, pictures or other identifiable characteristics for commercial purposes without permission. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Fraudulent Misrepresentation o Involves intentional deceit for personal gain. Elements of Fraudulent Misrepresentation o Misrepresentation of facts (material), conditions with knowledge that they are false or reckless disregard for the truth. o An intent to induce another party to rely on the misrepresentation. o Justifiable reliance on the misrepresentation by the deceived party. o Damages suffered as a result of that reliance. o Casual connection between misrepresented and the injury suffered. Wrongful Interference with a Contractual Relationship: o 3 Elements that must occur: A valid, enforceable contract must occur/exist between two parties. A third party must know that the contract exists (witnesses). The third party must intentionally induce a party to the contact to breach the contract. o Defenses to Wrongful Interference: A person will not be liable for the tort of wrongful interference with a contractual or business relationship if it can be shown that the interference was justifiable, or permissible. Trespass to Land: o Occurs when a person, without permission, does any of the following actions: Enters onto, above, or below the surface of the land that is owned by another. Causes anything to enter onto land owned by another. Remains to land owned by another of permits anything to remain on it. Signs must be posted and visible in order to establish trespassing. If someone is invited into your home as a guest – Wednesday, September 21, 2016 and you ask them to leave and they don’t – this is trespassing. Conversion: any act that deprives an owner of personal property or of the use that property without the owner’s permission and without just cause. o Civil cases of theft, but not limited to theft. Disparagement of Property: occurs when economically injuries falsehoods are made about another’s product or property rather than about another’s product or property rather than about another’s reputation. Negligence: occurs when someone suffers injury because another’s failure to live up to a required duty of care. To succeed in a negligence action a plaintiff must prove: o Duty: The defendant owned a duty of care to the plaintiff. o Breach: The defendant breached that duty. o Causation: The defendant’s breach caused the plaintiff’s injury. o Damages: The plaintiff suffered a legally recognizable injury. Duty of Care: The basic principle underlying the duty of care is the people are free to act as they please so long as their actions do not infringe on the interest of others. Reasonable Person Standard: In determining whether a duty of care has been breached, the courts ask how a reasonable person would have acted in the same circumstances. Duty of Landowners: Landowners are expected to exercise reasonable care to protect individuals coming onto their property. o EX: Common areas are stairways, entryways, and laundry rooms (in leasing options). Causation: another element necessary to a negligence action. Wednesday, September 21, 2016 Courts must answer the following questions: o Is there causation in fact? Causation in Fact: usually can be determined by use of the “but for” test. “But for” the wrongful act, the injury wouldn’t have occurred. o Was the act of proximate, or legal cause of the injury? Proximate Cause: (legal cause) exists when the connection between an act and an injury is strong enough to justify imposing liability. Negligence Per Se: occurs when an individual violates a statute or an ordinance providing for a criminal penalty and that violation causes another to be injured. Good Samaritan Statues: Under these statutes someone who is aided voluntarily by another cannot turn around and sue the “Good Samaritan” for negligence. Dram Shop Acts: Under which a bar’s owner or bartender may be held liable for injuries caused by a person who became drunk while drinking at the bar, the owner or the bartender may also be held responsible for continuing to serve a person who was already intoxicated. Assumption of Risk: A plaintiff who voluntarily enters into a risky situation, knowing the risk involved, will not be allowed to recover. o Defense Requires: Knowledge of the risk. Voluntary assumption of risk. Contributory Negligence: a plaintiff who was also negligent could not recover anything from the defendant. Under this rule, no matter how insignificant the plaintiff’s negligence was relative to the defendant’s negligence, the plaintiff would be precluded form recovering any damages. Comparative Negligence: both the plaintiff’s and the defendant’s negligence are computed, and some of the liability for damages is distributed accordingly.