MGMT 520 Legal, Political and Ethical Dimensions of Business

Week 1

Week 1 DQ 1 (Graded)

National and International Ethics (Patent Rights)

Week 1 DQ 2 (Graded)

Disbarment of Lawyers

Read the "Disbarment of Lawyers" case on pages 225 and 226 in the Kubsek text and frame your answer around the four questions for the case study which are located on page 226.  In evaluating this scenario, focus upon the question of what you would do if you are directed to do something that  you believe  is illegal or unethical?  What if that person has the power to terminate your employment?  What if you have a high level government job, and that person is the President of the United States!

Week 2

Week 2 DQ 1 Chapter 5 Problems (Graded)

What compelling governmental interests would have to exist for these laws to be sustained?  How else could the government justify their enactment?  How could the laws be modified so as not to be a deemed an unlawful seizure or taking? Please study the following problems:

Chapter 5, problems 5-16 and 5-17

Week 2 DQ 2Chapter 19 Problems (Graded)

Did the agencies involved violate Due Process or other Constitutionally mandated safeguards? What type of evidence would the agencies need to justify their actions. How might the aggrieved parties demonstrate that the agencies were acting in an arbitrary and capricious manner? How might the agencies defend against such a charge?
Please study the following problems:

Chapter 19, problems 19-13 and 19-18 

Week 3

Week 3 DQ 1 Breach of Warranty (Graded)

Arvo Lake, a retired 71-year-old man, bought an air conditioner in May. The unit was installed and operated according to the manufacturer's specifications. Unbeknownst to Lake, the unit contained a hole in the refrigeration system that allowed Freon, the coolant, to escape from the unit. By August, the unit had ceased cooling, and Lake's residence reached a temperature of at least 96 degrees Fahrenheit. The heat caused Lake to suffer from hyperthermia, which caused circulatory failure and then death. The executor of Lake's estate sued the manufacturer of the air conditioner for damages resulting from breach of warranty.

Which warranties, if any, has the manufacturer of the air conditioner breached?
For a manufacturer to be liable for consequential damages caused by a breach of warranty, the consequential damages must be foreseeable to the manufacturer.
Was Lake's death a foreseeable consequence of the air conditioner's failure to operate properly? 

Week 3 DQ 2 Environmental Liability and Due Process (graded)

In 1979, Paul and John Reardon purchased 16 acres of land located next to a manufacturing plant in Massachusetts. In 1983, a state environmental agency, responding to a citizen's report, tested soil samples from both properties and discovered extremely high levels of polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) on the plant site and on the Reardons' property where it bordered the site. Shortly thereafter, the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) cleaned up the contaminated areas. In 1985, the EPA notified the Reardons that they might be liable for clean-up costs. An EPA investigation of the property in 1987 revealed that some soil was still contaminated. This time, the Reardons cleaned up the property themselves. 

Week 4

Week 4 DQ 1 Shirley Parker v. Twentieth Century

Our textbook discusses monetary and equitable remedies in the event that a contract is breached. These issues presented themselves in the case Shirley Parker v. Twentieth Century Fox Film Corp. (Case 11-4) on page 297 of your eBook. Read Case problem 11-8 on page 307 of your e-book. What were the various parties obligations under the employment contract? 

Week 4 DQ 2 Larry Podder or Harry Potter? (Graded)

Disclaimer: This is a fictional story. It did not happen.

You are a newly promoted supervisor for Playing with God, a company that makes computer games for a Christian bookstore. One of the directors on the corporate board is Jon Bakker, a long-lost nephew of TV evangelists Jim and Tammy Faye. Jon’s son, Larry Bakker, is a member of your department. He writes the story lines that go into the different games. He has very little computer expertise, but he does have a creative writing degree and writes really great Bible-based game stories. One of his games has won an award in the Christian Video Game arena.

Week 5

Week 5 DQ 1 Pusey v. Bator (Graded)

Please read Case problem 16-13 at the end of Chapter 16 in your eBook regarding the lawsuit by Pusey in the case Pusey v. Bator. Under what theory might Ms. Pusey argue that Greif Brothers Corporation is liable for the death of her son by the security guard? Would the plaintiff be successful under the theory you chose? Why or why not?

Week 5 DQ 2 The Lemon Tree Dilemma (Graded)

The website should be a bookmarked site for any individual who is working as or plans to work as a manager in a business with more than one (i.e., the owner) employee. This website contains the information that the federal government expects companies and businesses to use and follow with respect to hiring, firing, and disciplining its employees. It explains disabilities, how to handle them, and when to use them in making hiring decisions. It also provides information about "protected classes," in which people must be a member before they can claim "discrimination."

Week 6

Week 6 DQ 1 Restraint of Trade and Antitrust (Graded)

Look at problem 25-14 found on page 718 of your eBook. We will begin our discussion this week by working through this "credit card" problem to help us understand "per se" violations and how they affect how antitrust suits are brought and proven. To get started, let's answer the following questions about the problem:

Was Visa's and Mastercard's conduct illegal under the Sherman Act? Under the Clayton Act? Why or why not?

Week 6 DQ 2 Consumer Protections (Graded)

In Week 1, we covered ethics and the role law and politics play with it. As we have discussed this week, the government has attempted to protect consumers against unethical loan practices, collection of debt practices, and product costs will continue to make it more difficult to be profitable.

To start our discussion this week - let's review Case problem 26-17 on page 761 of your eBook. In addition to the question presented by the problem:

1. What responsibilities did Easton and Source One Associates, Inc. have to the individuals and businesses that were the targets of these information requests?

2. What responsibilities did the clients of Easton and Source One Associates, Inc. have to (a) its clients that made the information/inquiry requests and (b) to the individuals and businesses that were the targets of these information requests?

3. Explain the remedies available to the individuals and businesses that were the targets of these inquiries.

Week 7

Week 7 DQ 1 Multinational Companies (Graded)

Let's finish up this term with a discussion about moving our personal and business ethics into the international business realm. Let's look at how ethics and laws span the concepts of all of our TCOs to date and discuss them in a realistic perspective, with particular emphasis on the multinational company and the effects of laws in other countries on business in the United States, and vice versa. The TCO topics have been the following:

A: Ethics
B: Governmental regulation
C: Warranties and product liability
D: Contract law
E: Employment law and vicarious liability
F: Intellectual property
G: Antitrust and fair trade activities
H: Corporate activities and the SEC
I: International ethics

Do you see any of our TCOs in a different light now at the end of the term than you did at the beginning of the term? If so, which one(s), and why?

Week 7 DQ 2 SOX and Insider Trading (graded)

Review problem 24-15, found on page 677 of your eBook. Let's look at corporate malfeasance, both specifically as it is seen in the case of Mr. Bleakney and NMC, and more generally, at companies across the country. It seems as though there is an outbreak of corporate "bad ethics" that is translating into escalating costs for compliance and policing.

Along with the SEC and their policing and efforts at ending bad business practices that relate to the stock market, we also have the Sarbanes-Oxley Act, also known as SARBOX, or SOX, which is becoming a big buzzword in the business world. We will look at that here and in the other topic. As part of that discussion, start thinking about the different ways different officers of the company will look at and use or follow SOX (i.e., the CEO, CIO, and CFO).

To start this discussion, let's look at the conduct of Mr. Bleakney. Was his conduct illegal under the Securities and Exchange Act, and more specifically, Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5? If so, how? If his conduct was not illegal under Section 10(b) and Rule 10b-5, explain why not.

Was his conduct unethical? Why or why not?


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