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Legal-Political-Ethical Dimensions of Business

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Marianne Jennings wrote an article, “Why an International Code of Ethics would be good,” which was assigned to be read at the beginning of the course.  As you have worked throughout this session, you should have considered this article and how it may or may not have impacted different situations in the world economic/business/legal/political environments.  The essay you will write on the next question should show that you have read Marianne’s article and can apply her theories and thoughts from that article to the scenario provided.  Feel free to rely on the information you know about the situations (if real) or analogize to one that is real, if you wish. Include in your answer at least two specific concepts from Marianne’s article, and apply those concepts to your reasoning in your answer.  You will be graded on your knowledge of the article as well as the application of ethical theories to international situations.  Arguably, the United States and other countries have been experiencing one of the longest and hardest hitting economic crises since the Great Depression over the last few years.  This economic downturn is a result of multiple things, but the housing bubble burst was one major event that continues to ripple throughout the bank/lending world.  As a result of the downturn in housing sales, foreclosures, bank lending overvaluations, and bank failures, lending practice changes and bank bailouts have become the norm.
The U.S. financial crisis has not gone unnoticed in the international world.  The impact has been worldwide.  The value of securities tied to real estate fell, which damaged financial institutions globally.  New rules regarding appraisers, appraisals, and bank oversight have gone into place, but not in time to save many investors and foreign banks from huge losses.  Many people think that this crisis could have been avoided if better regulations had been in place.  Some feel that the U.S. bank/lending and borrowing ethical standards may have partially responsible for this downturn.
Argue for or against an ethical basis for housing bubble collapse.  Use Marianne Jennings’ article as a basis for a solution to avoiding a future collapse such as this.  Can you think of a way that an international code of ethics would have helped avoid this crisis or could keep another one from occurring in the future?  What challenges would there be in implementing ethical codes that may prevent such a situation in the future?  Be sure to include specific ideas from Marianne’s article along with your own thoughts, analysis, and evaluation of this essay question.  (Points: 40)

TCO A) Use the fact pattern you received in the above Marianne Jennings “International Code of Ethics” question to answer this question. Analyze and propose a solution to the problem you received above using the Professional Obligation School of Social Responsibility method. Show the steps, apply the facts, and provide a proposed solution you would suggest. (Points : 40)
(TCO I) Marianne Jennings wrote an article, “Why an International Code of Ethics would be good,” which was assigned to be read at the beginning of the course. As you have worked throughout this session, you should have considered this article and how it may or may not have impacted different situations in the world economic/business/legal/political environments. The essay you will write on the next question should show that you have read Marianne’s article and can apply her theories and thoughts from that article to the scenario provided. Feel free to rely on the information you know about the situations (if real) or analogize to another one, if you wish. Include in your answer at least two specific concepts from Marianne’s article,
In 2009–10, Toyota experienced a troubling “gas pedal” sticking issue, which impacted its global reputation and income and caused it to stagger in its, until then, position as one of the top, world-wide, respected, and best-selling car companies on the globe. Over the first few months of the crisis, Toyota waffled on its message to its customers, both denying and then accepting responsibility for the issue. Research into the situation shows that the problem had been brought to its attention for a long time and either ignored, disbelieved, or grudgingly accepted, depending on the time and place of the issue. For this question, think about the facts of the Toyota recall and its impact on Toyota car owners worldwide, including the value (or loss thereof) of customer’s trade-ins, car dealer’s business valuation losses, loss in used car sales to used car dealers and owners, and also the loss of lives and injuries to those who were grossly impacted by the gas pedal issue. Also, think about the cost to stockholders and the other stakeholders involved. Now think about Marianne Jennings’s international code of ethics article. Would an international code of ethics have impacted how this entire Toyota travesty played out in the real world? What if the “world of business” had agreed to one? Would Toyota have been somehow required to behave differently, which would have protected so many stakeholders from losses and people from injury? Or, would nothing really have changed? Feel free to argue both sides of this, and include in your answer, please, at least two or three things you would have included (or Marianne Jennings recommended to include) in an international code of ethics and how that would (or wouldn’t) really have impacted the Toyota crisis. Evaluate, analyze, and synthesize your answer using everything you have learned this session about ethics, law, politics, and business.
(TCO A) Use the fact pattern you received in the above Marianne Jennings “International Code of Ethics” question to answer this question. Analyze and propose a solution to the problem you received above using the front page of the newspaper method. Show the steps, apply the facts, and provide a proposed solution you would suggest and apply those concepts to your reasoning in your answer. You will be graded on your knowledge of the article as well as the application of ethical theories to international situations. (Points: 40)
(TCO I) Marianne Jennings wrote an article, “Why an International Code of Ethics would be good.” which was assigned to be read at the beginning of the course.  As you have worked throughout this session, you should have considered this article and how it may or may not have impacted different situations in the world economic/business/legal/political environments. The essay you will write on the next question should show that you have read Marianne’s article and can apply her theories and thoughts from the article to the scenario provided.  Feel free to reply on the information you know about the situations (if real) or analogize to another one, if you wish. Include in your answer at least two specific concepts from Marianne’s article and apply those concepts to your reasoning in your answer.  You will be graded on your knowledge of the article as well as the application of ethical theories to international situations.
An oil travesty has occurred. IN the Gulf Coast British Petroleum’s deep sea oil well has had a major malfunction and haws exploded.  The explosion killed many oil workers.  The oil well began spewing oil into the Gulf and now the entire southern portion of the United States coastal areas gas been destroyed. BP initially came out with advertisements using the CEO of the company apologizing and promising to make this right for the citizens of the USA.  Then the CEO was removed by BP from working the disaster. The crisis continues. Based on the Timing of the crisis and resolutions that have occurred at the time of your exam answer the following questions using the most relevant facts you know. Using Marianne Jennings’s article would an international code of ethics have assisted with the handling of this crisis? Would it have help BP avoid this crisis? Do you see this as an ethical issue? Support your answer with concepts from her article, as well as other ethical reasons.

(TCO A) Use the fact pattern you received in the above Marianne Jennings “International Code of Ethics” question to answer this question. Analyze and propose a solution to the problem you received above using the Blanchard and Peale method. Show the steps, apply the facts, and provide a proposed solution you would suggest.
(TCO F) Target sells bags that appear to be Prada, Gucci, and Coach handbags but are priced much lower. The brand labels on the bags say “Pardna,” “Guchy,” and “Coaching.” The prices are about 65% less than the typical brand-name bags. If the owners of the Prada, Coach, and Gucci names sue Target for palming off or counterfeiting, what would they need to prove to try to win? Do you think they would win? (short answer)
(TCO D) Barney and his 16-year-old son BamBam are riding in Fred’s car. Fred had taken some prescription medication that morning that stated on the bottle, “Warning, may cause drowsiness.” The truck in front of them suffers a blow-out, and swerves uncontrollably. The tire remnants fly into the road, Fred swerves and hits a car to his left. He avoids hitting the truck with the blow-out but suffers damage to the left side of his car. BamBam hits his head on the side of the car, getting a concussion and permanently losing the sight in his right eye. Fred has state law required auto insurance with the minimum policy limits.
Fred’s wife, Wilma, immediately calls Betty, BamBam’s mom, and apologizes when she finds out about BamBam losing his eye. Wilma says to Betty, “Please don’t worry. We will pay for anything the insurance doesn’t cover, including the loss of BamBam’s sight and anything else he needs to recover and live a normal life.” Betty sobs and says, “You are too good to us. We can’t accept that.” Wilma says, “Of course you can.” Betty cries harder and says, “Thank you so much but (unintelligible)” and hangs up. Fred and Wilma own a house worth $450,000, a car worth $20,000, a full-size T. rex skeleton for which a museum has offered $200,000 in the past, and some stocks and bonds worth $700,000.  A lawsuit ensues and a judgment against Fred and for BamBam is entered for $300,000. The insurance company paid their cap of $250,000, leaving $50,000 remaining due. Fred and Wilma immediately pay BamBam $50,000. Further, Wilma buys a designer eye-patch for BamBam made specifically by Calvin Klein with a picture of Fred and Wilma’s daughter, Pebbles, on it. Wilma hugs BamBam when she brings over his new eye patch and says, “Anything. Anything you need. We will take care of it for you.” Fred rolls his eyes at Barney, and Barney sighs and shakes his head. Betty and Wilma both cry at how adorable BamBam looks with his new eye patch. Barney buys BamBam a new car, specially designed for people with one eye. Wilma finds out and calls Betty, asking how much the car was. Betty says they are making payments on the car of $450/month for the next 4 years. Wilma writes Betty a check for $450, and sends her one every month for the next 8 months.
Eight months after the judgment was rendered, BamBam is discovered to have more damage to his head than originally thought. He loses sight in his other eye and now is totally blind. BamBam’s parents sue Fred and Wilma again for personal injury, but the case is thrown out as the first case already decided the injury case. Fred refuses to pay more to BamBam, and he takes the check book away from Wilma when he discovers she’s been making BamBam’s car payments. The two families stop speaking to each other. BamBam throws away his now useless eye patch and becomes despondent. His dreams of being a drag racer seem to be over. BamBam’s attorney refiles the case, this time on grounds that Wilma’s statement to Betty was a binding contract that requires that Wilma pay any remaining damages to BamBam, for the remainder of his life.
Was Wilma’s statement a binding contract? Using the law of contracts, explain why or why not. Does BamBam’s age have anything to do with your answer? Can Fred be bound by the potential contract Wilma may have entered into? Use the law of agency to explain your answer to that question. Did Wilma’s purchase of the eye-patch give BamBam a greater leg to stand on in court? What about the car payments she made? Explain fully your answer to these questions.
(TCO B) The “public comment” period closes on an OSHA proposed regulation, and your business had filed a public comment against the proposed regulation explaining that the regulation would not fix the problem that OSHA was trying to remedy, that the regulation would cost more than the problem itself, and that the regulation was a tax, not a safety change. List two arguments available to your company that may succeed in overturning the regulation.

 

(TCO C)  One summer, David Baxter and his wife, Melissa, were on their new boat with another couple, tubing on the Mississippi river. David and the other couple had been drinking all day, “about seven or eight beers each and some Crown Royal,” although Melissa wasn’t drinking due to being pregnant. As he prepared to jump into the water to tube, David’s feet slipped out from under him, and he fell into the water, hitting the back of his head and neck on the ladder, knocking him out cold. He slipped under the water and drowned. The other members of the party didn’t notice his absence until a passing barge pilot got their attention. He had seen the entire thing through his binoculars; he had been watching Melissa and her friend Angela (who were in bathing suits). Despite an immediate search and rescue attempt by the coast guard, David was not saved. Melissa alleged that the surface of the boat floor where David was standing and preparing to jump into the water was unreasonably slippery. In fact, at issue in the case was the manufacturing process used in coating the flooring. Melissa (and her attorney) felt that a nonslip surface should have been placed on the floor of the boat. The safety manual that came with the boat included these clauses:
“CAUTION: Wet surfaces can be slippery. Passengers should wear adequate deck shoes while boarding and underway to avoid accidental slipping and injury.”
“CAUTION: Deck areas and swim platform are slippery when wet. Passengers must be careful when passing through companionway to prevent accidental slipping or tripping. Passengers should wear adequate deck shoes at all times to prevent accidental slipping. Passengers must stay off swim platform while underway to prevent falling overboard.”
No warnings existed, however, in view of the passengers on the boat.
(25 points) What potential legal theories of recovery can and should Melissa allege against the following parties (provide support for your answer)?
I.  The boat manufacturer
II.  The boat seller
III.  The coast guard
(15 points) What legal theories of defense can and should each of the above three parties use?  Provide support of your answer.  (Points : 40)
(TCO C) Will E. Chancit, a 36-year-old attorney, was killed when his Ford Fairlane collided with some metal fence on the Harbor Freeway in Los Angeles. He was traveling at a speed between 50 and 70 mph. What happened was this: A city of Los Angeles construction crew had placed a “left lane closed ahead” sign with a “60 mph” speed limit sign under it. (The usual speed limit in that area was 70 mph.)  However, the actual closed lane was the right lane. Speculation is that Will noticed at the last minute that he was in the wrong lane and over corrected, and that’s how he slid off the road and hit the fence.
After the collision, the car spun and the driver’s door flew open. Chancit was ejected from the car and sustained fatal head injuries. Had the door stayed closed, his injuries would have been relatively minor. Chancit was not wearing his seat belt, and his wife claims he had been up all night the night before after getting food poisoning at the local Chi-Chi’s.
I. Discuss the negligence or other theory for recovery in the suit Chancit’s widow has brought against Ford Motor Company, the makers of the Ford Fairlane. (15 points)
II. Discuss all defenses Ford Motor Company might have. (10 points)
III. Discuss any liability the City of Los Angeles may have. (10 points)
IV. Discuss any liability Chi-Chi’s may have. (5 points)
Your answers:
a. Discuss the negligence or other theory for recovery in the suit Chancit’s widow has brought against Ford Motor Company, the makers of the Ford Fairlane. 
b. Discuss all defences Ford Motor Company might have.
c. Discuss any liability the City of Lost Angeles may have.
d. Discuss any liability Chi-Chi’s may have.
(TCO F) In Midler v. Ford Motor Co., Bette Midler sued Ford for unauthorized appropriation. Explain what appropriation is. Tell me what type of civil claim appropriation is and what a person has to prove to win damages for it. (short answer only).  (TCO B) Infuriated when Harry Reid is re-elected during the 2010 fall election, the Republicans in Congress decide to take matters into their own hands. In 2011, the House of Representatives passes a new “Freedom isn’t Free Act” that requires that anyone who wants to vote in the 2012 presidential election must prove that they paid at least $200 in federal income tax in the past year, including people aged 18 (who typically are deducted on their parents’ returns and do not pay income tax). Anyone who received the “earned income credit” is barred from voting unless they return the payment from the government. Proof of payment of the tax can be made by showing a copy of the prior year’s W2, a copy of the prior year’s tax return, or a signed statement from the IRS stating that the payment of more than $200 in federal income tax has been made. Citizens who do not pay taxes can still vote if they donate $200.00 to the federal government as voluntary income tax and get a statement from the IRS that they have done so. The law sunsets on December 31, 2012. List two bases under which someone impacted by this law could argue to have the law overturned. (Points: 15) (TCO C) Bud Johnson owns a General Motors dealership in Pierre, South Dakota. At the request and expense of General Motors, Bud travelled to Phoenix, Arizona, for purposes of the demonstration of a new vehicle called the Roughrider, designed to compete against the current offering of SUVs. Bud went to the proving grounds in the desert around Phoenix and spent a day watching the vehicle demonstrations. Bud and other dealers drove the vehicles and much dust resulted from their driving. A few weeks later, Bud became ill with flu-like symptoms. He was finally diagnosed as having coccidioidomycosis or “valley fever.” Valley fever is a disease well known to Arizona residents, and most have had it if they have lived there over 10 years. Newcomers are particularly vulnerable to the disease because the exposure to dust seems to build up immunity among the residents. Bud became quite ill and brought suit against the car manufacturer that invited him for its failure to warn him about the valley fever phenomenon before he came out to the testing grounds. Answer the following questions, and use cases and theories from the text to support your arguments: Was there negligence in the failure of General Motors to warn Bud? (15 points)Discuss all defenses General Motors may have. (15 points)Does strict liability in torts apply to this situation? Why or why not? (10 points) (TCO D) (This is a fictional scenario.) Billy Joel decided he wanted to learn to play the violin for his next set of concerts.   He called a violin salesman in New York and asked if he had any for sale.  The salesman stated he had a Stradivarius and a Guarnerius (two famous brands of violins) and offered to sell them to Billy for $80,000, respectively.  Billy agreed, over the phone, to purchase the violins from the salesman and told him he would be in town the next week to pick them up. Billy didn’t show up for two months, and when he entered the store, the salesman wasn’t there.  His wife, Margaret, was there in the store, however, and she had full knowledge of the deal cut between her husband and Billy.  (She’d heard her husband whining, complaining, and wailing about Billy not showing up for the last 2 months-and she was really sick of hearing about it.) Billy asked to see the violins, and Margaret showed him both of them.  Billy stated he would agree to pay $65,000 for both of them, and Margaret, knowing that there were counterfeits and only worth $2,000 AND realizing that their house was about to go into foreclosure, agreed to the reduction in price and sold Billy the two violins for $65,000.  She gave him a bill of sale that she wrote out on a note pad on the counter, which said, “Pain in full.  Stradivarius and Guarnerius $65,000.  Chk#4301 Billy Joel.  Salesperson: Margaret Madoff.” The notepad was one she had brought home from their last vacation to Las Vegas and was from the Flamingo hotel there.  Billy took home the violins and proceeded to learn to play, albeit very poorly.  Meanwhile, the salesman discovers that Margaret sold the violins for less than he had bargained for.  He sues Billy Joel for the $39,000 difference, stating that Margaret was not an employee of the store and had no authority to change the deal he and Billy had made. During the pendency of the suit, and after his next concert, the newspapers stated, “Billy Joel should give up playing the violin!  He stinks!”  Billy takes his violins to a music store to sell them and discovers they are only worth $2,000 and that they are not Stradivarius and Guarnerius violins but are instead counterfeits. He wants to countersue the salesman and asks you on what basis can he do so.  Using contract, agency, and any other legal concepts you have learned this session, on what bases can Billy sue the salesman and his wife?  Further, will Margaret’s husband (his name is Bernard) be able to collect against Billy for the difference in price from the original deal?  Explain your answer fully as to the why’s wherefores’, and why not’s for both parties.  Use bullet point and “issue spotting” to assist you in your answer.  (Points: 40)
(TCO B) After the 2010 full election, the democrats in congress decided to take matters into their own hands. During the lame duck session, they passed a new “election are free act” that required single people who make more than $75,000/year or married couples who make more than $150,000/year to provide a copy of their tax return to their local county officials before being allowed to register to vote. The return must prove that they have paid at least 15% of their total income in taxes or they are not allowed to register to vote. List two bases under which some one impacted by this law could argue to have this law overturned. (TCO D) SpongeBob is a farmer who contracted with Progresso to provide 6 tons of clams worth $3,000/ton to be delivered at Progresso each month. Progresso needs this particular amount of clams each month for their soup in order to meet their production expectations for their customers. The contract contained some very lopsided provisions that excused Progresso from purchasing the clams in the event of many outlined reasons (25 pages of the contract listed out all of the reasons why Progresso could refuse to accept the clams), but prevented SpongeBob from selling his clams elsewhere without permission. After a gulf coast oil disaster, the price of clams went up to $8,000/ton. SpongeBob delivered his clams to Progresso on time, but Progresso (who had lost a case filed against Progresso by Campbell’s for infringing on Campbell’s clam chowder soup recipe) refused to accept delivery. SpongeBob requested permission to sell the clams to Campbell’s (who had just doubled their own clam chowder sales), but Progresso refused to grant permission. The terms of SpongeBob’s contract with Progresso stated, “In no event will Progresso’s refusal to accept delivery of clams excuse SpongeBob from being required to follow all other terms of this contract, including the “no sale to competitors without written permission of Progresso” clause. Progresso may withhold permission for any reason.” Another clause says, “In the event that a court finds any portion of this contract to be illegal or void, all other portions will remain valid and enforceable.” Another clause says, “Progresso’s liability cap on this contract is no more than the total value of the contract as stated. No third party liability is assumed under this contract.” At the time of Progresso’s refusal to grant permission, Campbell’s had offered SpongeBob $8,500/ton for his 6 tons of clams. Instead, the clams rotted and had to be disposed of. An animal rights group was outraged at the waste and blew up SpongeBob’s boat, destroying it. SpongeBob wants to sue Progresso. On what bases can SpongeBob sue and recover, and what will be his damages? What defenses does Progresso have? Can Progresso include Campbell’s in the lawsuit? Is the animal rights group a potential party to the contract dispute? Can SpongeBob recover for the loss of his boat against Progresso? Why or why not? Fully explain your answer. (TCO F)When Vanna White sued Samsung for appropriation and under the Lanham Act, she won her case under California common law right of publicity claim and under the Lanham Act. List the eight sleek craft factors that are required to prove a Lanham Act complaint.

Version 2 – Taken 2013

Legal-Political-Ethical Dimensions of Business

  1. TCO B. Infuriated when Harry Reid is re-elected during the 2010 fall election, the Republicans in Congress decide to take matters into their own hands. In 2011, the House of Representatives passes a new “Freedom isn’t Free Act” that requires that anyone who wants to vote in the 2012 presidential election must prove that they paid at least $200 in federal income tax in the past year, including people aged 18 (who typically are deducted on their parents’…………………..
  2. TCO F. When Vanna White sued Samsung for appropriation and under the Lanham Act, she won her case under the California common law right of publicity claim and under the Lanham Act. List the eight Sleekcraft factors that are required to prove a Lanham Act complaint.
  3. TCO C. Bud Johnson owns a General Motors dealership in Pierre, South Dakota. At the request and expense of General Motors, Bud traveled to Phoenix, Arizona, for purposes of the demonstration of a new vehicle called the Roughrider, designed to compete against the current offering of SUVs. Bud went to the proving grounds in the desert around Phoenix……………………Was there negligence in the failure of General Motors to warn Bud? (15 points)
  4. TCO D: Barney and his 16-year-old son BamBam are riding in Fred’s car. Fred had taken some prescription medication that morning that stated on the bottle, “Warning, may cause drowsiness.” The truck in front of them suffers a blow-out, and swerves uncontrollably. The tire remnants fly into the road, Fred swerves and hits a car to his left. He avoids hitting the truck with the blow-out but suffers damage to the left side of his car. BamBam hits his head on the side of the car, getting a concussion and permanently losing the sight in his right eye. Fred has state law required auto insurance with the minimum policy…………..What about the car payments she made? Explain fully your answer to these questions.
  5. Legal-Political-Ethical Dimensions of Business
  6. TCO I. Marianne Jennings wrote an article, “Why an International Code of Ethics would be good,” which was assigned to be read at the beginning of the course. As you have worked throughout this session, you should have considered this article and how it may or may not have impacted different situations in the world economic/business/legal/political environments. The essay you will write on the next question should show that you have read Marianne’s article and can apply her theories………………..Support your answer with concepts from her article, as well as other ethical reasons.
  7. Legal-Political-Ethical Dimensions of Business
  8. TCO A. Use the fact pattern you received in the above Marianne Jennings “International Code of Ethics” question to answer this question. Analyze and propose a solution to the problem you received above using the Blanchard and Peale method. Show the steps, apply the facts, and provide a proposed solution you would suggest.

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