Business Law BMGT380 Spring 2023 Exam 1

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Statutory Law (Statute)

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Statutory Law (Statute)

Law passed by the U.S. Congress or state legislatures

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Common Law

Law Created by Judges, an important type is a precedent (such as supreme court decisions)

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Administrative Regulations

Similar to statutes & laws, but issued by administrative agents

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SEC (Security Exchange Commission)

Appointed by president with 5 spots. If you are lib/woke, you can appoint 3 libs max and 2 reps. Same goes other way for republicans.

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Agency Decision

Like a decision from a supreme court judge, but comes from an agency, (ex. SEC). Requires an investigation and proceeding.

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formal agreements between nations. In order for one to be pass, 2/3 of congress must vote and agree on it.

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Local Laws, (ex. Zoning ordinance)

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Executive Order

A rule issued by the president or state governor that has the force of law. Reversible by next elected president or state governor, and must not be unconstitutional.

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Priority Rules, (when laws conflict)

  1. Federal Constitution > Everything

  2. Federal Statutes > State Statutes & Constitutions

  3. Statutes > Common Law & Administrative Regulations

  4. Administrative Regulations > Common Law

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Criminal Law

A law that defines crimes against the public order.

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Civil Law

A law that governs relationships between individuals and defines their legal rights.

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Public Law

Person v. Government (Criminal)

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Private law

Person v. Person (Civil)

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Peacekeeping Law

Criminal Laws made to keep societal peace

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Control & Gov't Power Laws

Making it so the government has some power, but not too much power

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Protecting People's Reasonable Expectations

Purpose of law - such as contract law

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Laws to promote free competition (purpose)

Ex. anti-monopoly laws

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Promoting social Justice (purpose)

Ex. laws that prevent employer discrimination

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protecting the environment

Purpose of law - Such as EPA Regulations

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Precedent (stare decisis)

a legal norm established in court cases that is then applied to future cases dealing with the same legal questions.

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statutory interpretation

  • the process by which courts interpret and apply legislation.

  • Statutes are written incompetently by congress and left to interpretation purposely due to being difficult issues

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Plain Meaning Rule

if the words in a statute have clear and widely understood meanings, the conventional interpretation should be used

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Legislative history of a statute

  • Judges should look at legislative history, (reports, amendments, and defeated amendments)

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-ask "why did congress pass this law?" In order to enforce it properly

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General Public Purpose

Judges are supposed to look at statutes and ask, "what was the general purpose?" And enforce it this way.

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Prior interpretations and precedent

If something is ambiguous, judges should look at prior interpretations and precedents

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5 Limits on Power of Judges

  1. Courts & Other Judges

  2. Public Review of Public Decisions

  3. Fear of Public Reversal

  4. Political Factors

  5. Censure

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Limit 1 - Courts & Other Judges

Are not supposed to issue "advisory opinions"

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  • case must be ripe or dismissed

  • defined as genuine, legitimate, and relevant

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  • A moot case must be dismissed

  • Moot = already been resolved

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  • Plaintiff must have standing or case must be dismissed

  • Standing is defined as a tangible state in the case

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Public Review of Public Decisions

People will publicly review a judge's decisions, and they are subject to ridicule

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Fear of Public Reversal

It is embarrassing to have a decision reversed by another judge

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Political Factors

A. elections - poor judges may not be re-elected B. Impeachment - poor judges may be impeached C. Recall - states that elect their judges may recall

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If you're a judge and misbehave, other judges may launch an investigation

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Courts of Limited Jurisdiction

  • Certain courts can only handle certain cases

  • Subject matter limits this

  • Ex. Small claims court limited to $5k in MD & VA, 10k in DC

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Trial Courts

courts that listen to testimony, consider evidence, and decide the facts in a disputed situation

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Appeals Courts *(Will NOT look at new evidence)

  • court that reviews decisions made in lower district courts.

  • "State Supreme Court"

  • MD has Court of Special appeals & Court of appeals

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venue of a case (where?)

  • Wherever most convenient for defendant

  • typically where they live, sometimes where employed

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The authority of a court to hear a case. Must at least have two of these three:

  1. Subject Matter Jurisdiction

  2. In Persona Jurisdiction

  3. In Rem jurisdiction

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Subject Matter Jurisdiction

  • is it relevant to a court's normal hearings?

  • court will throw a case out if its wrong or correct venue

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In Persona Jurisdiction (any of the 4 types)

  1. Defendant is a resident of the state

  2. Consent from defendant to be sued (rich people)

  3. Plaintiff physically serves defendant the complaint while they're in that state

  4. Defendant does business or has wrongdoing in that state

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forum-selection clause

A provision in a contract designating the court, jurisdiction, or tribunal that will decide any disputes arising under the contract.

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concurrent jurisdiction

  • Two or more courts have concurrent or simultaneous jurisdiction to decide a case

  • ex. When a crime begins in one state and continues in multiple, this occurs

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writ certiorarian

  • Supreme court decides which cases to take

  • ~80 a year accepted, thousands of requests

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original and exclusive jurisdiction

  • A case that ONLY gets seen by supreme court and not taken to it from earlier levels

  • Ex. Two states suing each other

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Original but not exclusive jurisdiction

  • Case could be started in supreme court but doesn't have to

  • ex. Citizen sues citizen of other state, state sues federal gov

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Appointment and removal of federal judges

  • US president nominates you

  • Senate must confirm by majority vote

  • house of reps not involved

  • lifetime job, unless impeached or retired

  • if impeached, ONLY 2/3 senate vote will convict and remove you.

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Burger King Case

  • Two guys in michigan enter franchise agreement

  • dispute over venue

  • Franchise sues them in FL, not MI, due to their HQ/significant connection to FL

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Civili Procedure

  • rules that define how a case makes it way through courts

  • 52 sets of rules for each state, all very similar

  • plaintiff has to prove case by preponderance of evidence and:

  1. Electronically file complaint

  2. serve defendant by handing them complaint

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If sued, defendant has the 4 following options:

  1. Motion to Dismiss

  2. Default Judgement

  3. Counterclaim

  4. List legal defenses to claim

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motion to dismiss definition

  • asking to throw a case out

  • when the plaintiff doesn't appeal, case is thrown

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default judgement scenario

  • plaintiff wins a case because defendant ignores it

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Suing somebody back for a reason in the same case, after they sue you

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List legal defenses to plaintiffs claim (meaning)

  • Some valid legal defense, invalidating the plaintiff's case

  • ex. Time expiration

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4 Types of Discovery

  1. Depositions

  2. Requests for Admissions

  3. Requests for Documents

  4. Interrogatories

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a witness's testimony given under oath

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A series of written questions for which written answers are prepared by a party to a lawsuit, usually with the assistance of the party's attorney, and then signed under oath.

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Requests for Admission (RFAs)

Similar to interrogatories, but questioning only has yes/no answers

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Request For Documents (RFDs)

send a request or a list of documents that you would like to receive from the other side

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2 Discovery Misbehavior types

  1. Destroying Documents

  2. Non-cooperation in the discovery process

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4 Types of Punishment for discovery misbehavior

  1. Criminal Prosecution for obstruction of justice

  2. Judge tells jury that you destroyed documents

  3. Judge can prevent you from using arguments

  4. Judge can give jury instructions on how to approach case

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Motion for Summary Judgement (MSJ)

After discovery, you review evidence & write up a motion

  • you attach the motion to relevant evidence, tell the judge you won the case before it starts

  • either or both sides may do this

  • often filed, rarely granted (25% of the time)

  • if judge grants this, case is over. Other party may appeal as well.

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Civil Trials

  • often good for lawyers (+$ fees), not great for either p/d party

  • Loser pays other parties lawyer fee $

  • no lawyer has to be involved unless one or party has one. Once one is involved, there must be one on both sides

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5 step Trial Process

  1. Lawyers give opening statements

  2. Plaintiff puts on witnesses, and defendant cross examines

  3. Defendant puts on witnesses, and plaintiff cross examines

  4. Rebuttal witnesses come on

  5. Closing statements

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motion for a directed verdict

  • After cross examination occurs, defendant may say that plaintiffs witnesses did not prove plaintiffs case, or vice versa

  • easy to do, so usually both parties will

  • rarely granted

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Delivery of Case Decisions (with NO jury)

  • Judge makes the decision

  • May be quick or instantaneous, but the judge typically takes time to think it out

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Delivery of Case Decisions (With Jury)

  • Judge will instruct Jury how to deliver verdict

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  • Jury will make a decision in private, will come back and deliver verdict via either option that they select before the case:

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  1. General Verdict form

  2. Special Verdict form

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General Verdict Form

Says who won the case & how much money is awarded

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Special Verdict Form

Says who won the case, how much money is awarded, & how the decision was made

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Motion: JNOV - Judgment not withstanding the verdict

Asking the Judge to throwout the jury's decision

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Appeals court will not...

Locate or accept new evidence

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3 ways of Enforcing The Judgement

  1. Writ of Execution

  2. Order of Wage

  3. Bank Garnishment

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Writ of Execution

Sheriff seizes property and sells to satisfy judgment

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Order of Wage

order to defendant's employer to pay a certain percentage of income until judgement is satisfied

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Bank Garnishment

Judge orders defendant's bank to pay you a certain percentage of their money every month

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class action lawsuit

  • lawsuit brought on behalf of a class or group of people against a defendant

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-ex, lawsuits brought by those who have suffered from smoking against tobacco companies.

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Why is class action useful?

  • Efficiency

  • improved chances of winning

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What 3 things must be true in order to pursue class action?

  1. Does everybody in class have common questions of law and fact? (Did everybody actually get wronged and was the wronging legitimate)

  2. Class has to be big enough, (minimum 25-50 people)

  3. The class representatives must accurately represent the class

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What happens if class representatives don't accurately represent the class?

They must be removed or the case is thrown out

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Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Alternative ways to handle disputes rather than going to court

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  1. Arbitration

  2. Mediation

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settling a dispute by agreeing to accept the decision of an impartial outsider, (usually 1-3, almost always 3 arbitrators involved)

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Arbitrators will...

  • Have industry expertise

  • hold a hearing at their office

  • make a decision within 30 days

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Pros of Arbitration

  • Quicker & Cheaper than court

  • less complicated than court

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Cons of Arbitration

  • virtually impossible to appeal if you lose

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Mediators will...

  • Hold a hearing at their office

  • Try to negotiate a decision but do NOT have authority to make a decision, unlike arbitrators

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  • A method of settling disputes outside of court by using the services of a neutral third party, called a mediator.

  • 85-90% of mediations come to an agreement, 10-15% do not

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State Regulatory Power (US Constitution)

  • US constitution does not say what states cannot do, but says what congress can do

  • State and US constitutions can both apply and be concurrent, (ex. CA has stricter environmental laws)

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Federal Regulatory Power (US Constitution)

  • article 1 section 8 of US Constitution limits what congress can make laws about in 3 basic ways:

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  1. Regulating commerce amongst the states

  2. Taxation

  3. Spending our Money

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Congress can regulate intrastate business if...

It has a big effect on interstate business

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Gonzalez Case

  • Controlled Substances Act (CSA) - criminalizes cannabis and classifies drugs based on how dangerous they are

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  • FBI plans to seize backyard plants from two women in CA, even though CA permits this

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  • Supreme court agrees with FBI because backyard plants can translate to interstate drug distribution

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Lopez Case

  • Bringing unloaded gun into high school can't be regulated by Gun-Free School Zones Act

  • Ruled unconstitutional because not interstate commerce

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Morrison Case

  • Violence Against Women Act - states you can file damages in federal court if victim of a gender related violent crime

  • Supreme Court rules unconstitutional because it doesn't deal with interstate commerce

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