Business Law Study Set 14

Business

Quiz 4 :

Constitutional Authority to Regulate Business

Quiz 4 :

Constitutional Authority to Regulate Business

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A QUESTION OF ETHICS: Defamation. Aric Toil owns and manages the Balboa Island Village Inn, a restaurant and bar in Newport Beach, California. Anne Lemen owns the "Island Cottage," a residence across an alley from the Inn. Lemen often complained to the authorities about excessive noise and the behavior of the Inn's customers, whom she called "drunks" and "whores." Lemen referred to Theresa Toll, Aric's wife, as "Madam Whore." Lemen told the Inn's bartender Ewa Cook that Cook "worked for Satan," was "Satan's wife," and was "going to have Satan's children." She told the bin's neighbors that it was "a whorehouse" with "prostitution going on inside" and that it sold illegal drugs, sold alcohol to minors, made "sex videos," was involved in child pornography, had "Mafia connections," encouraged "lesbian activity," and stayed open until 6:00 a. m. Lemen also voiced her complaints to potential customers, and the Inn's sales dropped more than 20 percent. The Inn filed a suit in a California state court against Lemen, asserting defamation and other claims. [ Balboa Island Village Inn, Inc. v. Lemen, 40 Cal.4th 1141, 156 P.3d 339 (2007)] (a) Are Lemen's statements about the Inn's owners, customers, and activities protected by the U.S. Constitution Should such statements be protected In whose favor should the court rule Why (b) Did Lemen behave unethically in the circumstances of this case Explain.
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(a) Protection of Lemen's Statements:
All citizens have a right to the freedom of speech. Freedom of speech allows people to speak openly and critically about their political views and government action.
However, there is a restriction of reasonableness in regards to free speech.
For instance, certain speech may have slight benefit if it is not true and it aimed at harming an individual. In that case, it is defamation and is not entitled to the same protection as traditional political free speech.
In this case, it seems that the defendant was targeting the Inn with blatantly untrue claims of illegal activity that resulted them losing business. In this case, the court should enjoin the behavior of the defendant.
(b) Acts of Lemen:
The defendant did act unethically.
By calling patrons and employees names and claiming they were evil or engaging in illegal activities with no grounding in reality, the defendant was lying.
Her behavior resulted in the loss of profits to a business that was acting in a perfectly legal fashion.
The harm caused to the business based on lies emphasizes the unethical nature of the defendant's behavior.

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Equal Protection With the objectives of preventing crime, maintaining property values, and preserving the quality of urban life, New York City enacted an ordinance to regulate the locations of commercial establishments that featured adult entertainment. The ordinance expressly applied to female, but not male, topless entertainment. Adele Buzzetti owned the Cozy Cabin, a New York City cabaret that featured female topless dancers. Buzzetti and an anonymous dancer filed a suit in a federal district court against the city, asking the court to block the enforcement of the ordinance. The plaintiffs argued, in part, that the ordinance violated the equal protection clause. Under the equal protection clause, what standard applies to the court's consideration of this ordinance Under this test, how should the court rule Why
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Case introduction:
To protect the public life and reduce the crime rate, the city NY passed regulations on the adult entertainment establishments. The ordinance covers only female in the topless entertainment. AB, owner of a cabaret and an anonymous dancer filed suit in the district court against the city to prevent the enforcement as it violated the equal protection clause.
The Equal Protection Clause ( EPC ) of the 14 th amendment to the constitution entitles every citizen for equal treatment to the laws. The laws should not be different the individuals who are in similar situations.
If the law prevents the exercise of rights or actions of some persons but not all the persons, it is called violation of the equal protection law.
Case analysis:
When there is any suit on violation of equal protection clause, the court uses the intermediate scrutiny if the case includes gender discrimination. The selection of the group of individuals who are prevented from exercising their laws should be based on the government objectives.
In this case, the ordinance is to reduce crime rate and preserve the quality life. The public reactions are different for male and female topless dancers as there are differences between the genders. So, the conduct or the entertainment which may have negative impact on the public should be controlled.
The ordinance did not prevent the females from all the adult entertainment but only topless performance.
Therefore, it cannot be considered as violation of equal protection law.

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Suppose that most "small" wineries, as defined by the 2006 Massachusetts law, were located out of state. How could the law be discriminatory in that situation
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In the case where most small wineries are located out-of-state and thus, out-of-state wineries reap a competitive advantage over in-state wineries, the law would still be discriminatory.
The law allows out-of-state wineries to market to wholesalers as well as directly to consumers, whereas the large in-state wineries would not have that ability.
This would not violate the traditional Commerce Clause, as the state is not reaping any benefit by affording preferential treatment to out-of-state wineries.

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Freedom of Speech Henry Mishkoff is a Web designer whose firm does business as "Webfeats." When Taubman Co. began building a mall called "The Shops at Willow Bend" near Mishkoff's home, Mishkoff registered the domain name "shopsatwillowbend.com" and created a Web site with that address. The site featured information about the mall, a disclaimer indicating that Mishkoff's site was unofficial, and a link to the mail's official site. Taubman discovered Mishkoff's site and filed a suit in a federal district court against him. Mishkoff then registered various other names, including "taubmansucks.com," with links to a site documenting his battle with Taubman. (A Web name with a "sucks.com" moniker attached to it is known as a complaint name, and the process of registering and using such names is known as cybergriping. ) Taubman asked the court to order Mishkoff to stop using all of these names. Should the court grant Taubman's request On what basis might the court protect Mishkoff's use of the names [Taubman Co. v. Webfeats, 319 F.3d 770 (6th Cir. 2003)]
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QUESTION WITH SAMPLE ANSWER: Freedom of Religion. Thomas worked in the nonmilitary operations of a large firm that produced both military and nonmilitary goods. When the company discontinued the production of nonmilitary goods, Thomas was transferred to a plant producing military equipment. Thomas left his job, claiming that it violated his religious principles to participate in the manufacture of goods to be used in destroying life. In effect, he argued, the transfer to the military equipment plant forced him to quit his job. He was denied unemployment compensation by the state because he had not been effectively "discharged" by the employer but had voluntarily terminated his employment. Did the state's denial of unemployment benefits to Thomas violate the free exercise clause of the First Amendment Explain.
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CASE PROBLEM WITH SAMPLE ANSWER: Privacy. To protect the privacy of individuals identified in information systems maintained by federal agencies, the Privacy Act of 1974 regulates the use of the information. The statute provides for a minimum award of $1,000 for "actual damages sustained" caused by "intentional or willful actions" to the "person entitled to recovery. " Buck Doe filed for certain disability benefits with an office of the U.S. Department of Labor (DOL). The application form asked for Doe's Social Security number, which the DOL used to identify his claim on documents sent to groups of claimants, their employers, and the lawyers involved in their cases. This disclosed Doe's Social Security number beyond the limits set by the Privacy Act. Doe filed a suit in a federal district court against the DOL, alleging that he was "torn … all to pieces" and "greatly concerned and worried" because of the disclosure of his Social Security number and its potentially "devastating" consequences. He did not offer any proof of actual injury, however. Should damages be awarded in such circumstances solely on the basis of the agency's conduct, or should proof of some actual injury be required Why [ Doe v. Chao, 540 U.S. 614, 124 S.Ct. 1204, 157 L.Ed.2d 1122 (2004)]
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Due Process In 2006, at the Russ College of Engineering and Technology of Ohio University, a university investigative report found "rampant and flagrant plagiarism" in the theses of mechanical engineering graduate students. Faculty singled out for "ignoring their ethical responsibilities and contributing to an atmosphere of negligence toward issues of academic misconduct" included Jay Gunasekera, professor of mechanical engineering and chair of the department. These findings were publicized in a press conference on May 31. The university prohibited Gunasekera from advising graduate students. He filed a suit in a federal district court against Dennis Irwin, the dean of Russ College, and others, for violating his "due-process rights when they publicized accusations about his role in plagiarism by his graduate student advisees without providing him with a meaningful opportunity to clear his name" in public. Irwin asked the court to dismiss the suit. What does due process require in these circumstances Why [ Gunasekera v. Irwin, 551 R3d 461 (6th Cir. 2009)]
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Commerce Clause Under the federal Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), sex offenders must register as sex offenders and update their registration when they travel from one state to another. David Hall, a convicted sex offender in New York, moved from New York to Virginia, lived there for part of a year, and then returned to New York. When he returned, he was charged with the federal offense of failing to register as a sex offender while in Virginia, as required by SORNA. In his defense, he claimed that SORNA was unconstitutional because Congress had no authority to criminalize interstate travel where no commerce was involved. The federal district court dismissed the indictment. The government appealed, contending that the statute is valid under the commerce clause. Does that contention seem reasonable Why or why not [ United States v. Hall, 591 F.3d 83 (2d Cir. 2010)]
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Supremacy Clause The Federal Communications Act of 1934 grants the right to govern all interstate telecommunications to the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and the right to regulate all intrastate telecommunications to the states. The federal Telephone Consumer Protection Act of 1991, the Junk Fax Protection Act of 2005, and FCC rules permit a party to send unsolicited fax ads to recipients with whom the party has an "established business relationship" if those ads include an "opt-out" alternative. Section 17538.43 of California's Business and Professions Code (known as "SB 833") was enacted in 2005 to provide the citizens of California with greater protection than that afforded under federal law. SB 833 omits the "established business relationship" exception and requires a sender to obtain a recipient's express consent (an "opt-in" provision) before faxing an ad to that party into or out of California. The Chamber of Commerce of the United States filed a suit against Bill Lockyer, California's state attorney general, seeking to block the enforcement of SB 833. What principles support the plaintiff's position How should the court resolve the issue Explain. [ Chamber of Commerce of the United States v. Lockyer, 463 F.3d 1076 (E.D.Cal. 2006)]
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Commerce Clause A Georgia state law requires the use of contoured rear-fender mudguards on trucks and trailers operating within Georgia state lines. The statute further makes it illegal for trucks and trailers to use straight mudguards. In approximately thirty-five other states, straight mudguards are legal. Moreover, in Florida, straight mudguards are explicitly required by law, There is some evidence suggesting that contoured mudguards might be a little safer than straight mudguards. Discuss whether this Georgia statute violates any constitutional provisions.
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The court held that the Massachusetts statute discriminated against out-of-state wineries "by design" (intentionally). How can a court determine legislative intent
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Freedom of Speech For decades, New York City has had to deal with the vandalism and defacement of public property caused by unauthorized graffiti. Among other attempts to stop the damage, in December 2005 the city banned the sale of aerosol spray-paint cans and broad-tipped indelible markers to persons under twenty-one years of age and prohibited them from possessing such items on property other than their own. By May 1, 2006, five people-all under age twenty-one-had been cited for violations of these regulations, and 871 individuals had been arrested for actually making graffiti. Artists who wished to create graffiti on legal surfaces, such as canvas, wood, and clothing, included college student Lindsey Vincenty, who was studying visual arts. Unable to buy her supplies in the city or to carry them in the city if she bought them elsewhere, Vincenty and others filed a suit in a federal district court on behalf of themselves and other young artists against Michael Bloomberg, the city's mayor, and others. The plaintiffs claimed that, among other things, the new rules violated their right to freedom of speech. They asked the court to enjoin the enforcement of the rules. Should the court grant this request Why or why not [ Vincenty v. Bloomberg, 476 F.3d 74 (2d Cir. 2007)]
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