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Business Law, LEB 323, 320F. Syllabus readings in-class exercises class participation Discussion powerpoint exam. This week : 7/2 : Intro to course and trial procedure 7/3am : Common law and statutes/EXERCISE 7/3pm : Constitutional and International law. Business Law, LEB 323, 320F.

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Business Law, LEB 323, 320F

  • Syllabus

  • readings

  • in-class exercises

  • class participation

  • Discussion

  • powerpoint

  • exam

This week:

7/2: Intro to course and trial procedure

7/3am: Common law and statutes/EXERCISE

7/3pm: Constitutional and International law


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Business Law, LEB 323, 320F

What is law?

How does the legal system resolve disputes?

Rules  statutes, common law, regulations

Is contract valid? Is this pollution illegal? Is this agreement criminal?

Understand how courts analyze these questions.


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Circuits in the U.S. Federal Court System

Puerto Rico is part of Circuit 1

1

2

8

3

9

Virgin Islands are part of Circuit 3

7

6

10

4

11

D.C. CircuitWashington, D.C.

5

Northern Marianna Islands are part of Circuit 9 (along with Alaska and Hawaii.)

Federal CircuitWashington, D.C.

District courts within each circuit.

State court systems mirror, or parallel, federal system.


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U.S. Supreme Court

State Supreme Court

State intermediate Federal Circuit Court appellate courtof Appeals

State Trial CourtFederal District Court

(state law matters(federal law matters)


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  • Trials/Litigation

  • U.S.: right to a jury trial

    • Rationale?

    • Role of jury?

  • On balance, is the right to a jury trial a good thing?


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Pretrial

Tension between desire to :

Save time and cost of litigation,

Preserve business relationship, and

Protect your rights

Are there ways to avoid the expense and trouble of litigation?


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Alternative Dispute Resolution

What is “ADR”?

In what ways can businesses resolve disputes (even legal disputes) without resort to litigation?


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Alternative Dispute Resolution

  • Negotiation

    • Parties make offers and counter-offers for settlements.

    • May be face-to-face or through lawyers.

  • Mediation

    • Neutral person (mediator) attempts to get parties to reach a voluntary settlement.

    • Mediation may be ordered by a judge.

    • Mediator does not render a decision.

  • Arbitration

    • Neutral person (arbitrator) is involved.

    • Arbitrator does render a binding decision.

    • Arbitration may be mandatory, if chosen in advance as the method for dispute resolution.


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Alternative Dispute Resolution(less common forms)

  • Mini-trial

    • Parties stage a short trial to a panel of three “judges.”

    • Two of the “judges” are executives of the disputing corporations; the third is a neutral party.

    • Lawyers present shortened cases; “judges” discuss settlement.

  • Summary Jury Trial

    • Initiated and supervised by a court.

    • Each side summarizes to a mock jury what witnesses would say if called before a real jury.

    • Jury deliberates and tries to reach consensus, but may vote individually if necessary.

    • Allows each side to see how a trial might turn out.


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Steps in Beginning Litigation

  • Pleadings: Papers that begin a lawsuit

1. Complaint --

Short, plain statement of the allegations and the legal claims.

This is “served” or delivered with a summons.

2a. Answer --

A brief reply to the allegations.

2b. Counter-Claim: If the accused party thinks the accusing party has contributed to the problem or has wronged them, they may file a second suit, in reverse of the first.

2c. Affirmative Defenses: reasons why defendant isn’t liable


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Steps in Beginning Litigation(cont’d)

Reply: Filed by plaintiff, responding to defendant’s counterclaims or affirmative defenses in defendant’s answer

Example: Suit vs. sports bar for injuries sustained during bar-sponsored game of “human darts”


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants

Lists a motion to dismiss on the pleadings as anAFFIRMATIVE DEFENSE

14. The Defendants aver that the Plaintiff has failed to state a cause of action upon which relief can be granted. The Defendants deny the Plaintiff is entitled to recover any sum from them as damages.


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Sample PleadingsCHRIS P. DANIEL, Plaintiff, v. CHUGGIE'S SPORTS BAR and TERRY MINETOS, Defendants

Also lists other AFFIRMATIVE DEFENSES

 15. It is averred that if there was some negligence on the part of the Defendants . . .

16. The Defendants aver that Plaintiff's negligence was equal to or greater than the alleged negligence of the Defendants and the Plaintiff therefore cannot recover.


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Discovery

Discovery allows both sides to uncover evidence, encouraging a settlement without trial or ensuring few surprises during a trial.

  • Interrogatories -- written questions that the other party must answer, under oath

  • Depositions -- interview (under oath) of other party or potential witnesses; done by opposing lawyer

  • Production of Evidence -- each side may request to see the other side’s evidence

  • Medical or Other Examinations


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Other Steps Before Trial

  • Pretrial Conference – attempt by judge to secure settlement or narrow issues for trial

  • Summary Judgment -- a ruling by the court that no trial is necessary because there are no essential facts in dispute; may be requested by either side.

  • Final Preparation -- if the case is to proceed to trial, both sides make a list of witnesses and rehearse questions with their own witnesses. Preparation is allowed, but telling the witnesses how to answer is not legal or ethical.


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Beginning a Trial

Process called voir dire

If both sides agree, they may waive their right to a jury.

  • Jury Selection:

1. Questioning --

Each potential juror is questioned, to uncover biases.

2. Challenges for Cause --

Each side can claim any juror shows significant bias.

3. Peremptory Challenges --

Each lawyer can dismiss a limited number of jurors without stating a reason.

4. Jury Chosen --

12 jurors and 2 alternates


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Procedural Rules for a Trial

  • Burden of Proof

    • The plaintiff must convince the jury that its version of the case is correct.

    • In a civil case, the proof needs to be by a preponderance of evidence (meaning at least slightly more likely to be true).

    • In a criminal case, the proof required is higher; it must be beyond a reasonable doubt.

  • Rules of Evidence

    • Lawyers are allowed to ask only questions that are relevant to the case.


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The Plaintiff’s Case

  • First, Opening Arguments

    • This is a brief summary, given by each side, of the facts they hope to demonstrate.

  • Plaintiff Calls Witnesses

    • Questions to own witnesses is direct examination.

    • Lawyer only asks questions with helpful answers.

  • Defendant Questions Witnesses

    • Questions to opposing witnesses is cross examination.

    • Again, lawyer asks questions with helpful answers.

  • Defendant Moves for Directed Verdict

    • This is asking the judge to decide that the plaintiff has no case worth proceeding with.


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The Defendant’s Case

  • Opening Arguments

    • Defendant’s opening arguments were presented earlier, before the plaintiff presented its case.

  • Defendant Calls Witnesses

    • Questions to own witnesses is direct examination.

    • Lawyer only asks questions with helpful answers.

  • Plaintiff Questions Witnesses

    • Questions to opposing witnesses is cross examination.

    • Again, lawyer asks questions with helpful answers.

  • Closing Arguments

    • Brief summary, by both sides, urging the jury to believe their side of the case.


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After Both Sides Rest (Finish)

  • Jury Instructions

    • The judge instructs the jury to evaluate the case solely on the facts of the evidence presented.

    • If the case is influenced by a certain legal presumption, the judge will summarize that for the jury.

  • Deliberation and Verdict

    • The jury discusses the case for as long as needed (anywhere from less than an hour to several weeks).

    • Sometimes the jury must be unanimous; other times only a majority (at least 7) or a 10-2 vote is required.


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The Trial is Over… or is it?

  • Motions after the Verdict

    • The loser might request a judgment n.o.v., asking the judge to overturn the verdict on a legal technicality or on a claim that the jury ignored the evidence.

    • If the judgment n.o.v. is denied, the losing side may request a new trial, on the same claims.

  • Appeal

    • The recourse for the loser is to file an appeal, a request for a higher court to examine the facts.

    • The appeals court may affirm the verdict, modify the award, reverse and remand (send it back to trial) or simply reverse (overturn) the lower court’s verdict.

  • Settlement

    • At any point, either side may offer to settle the case, even between the verdict and the beginning of an appeal.


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  • Trials/Litigation in U.S.

  • Trial Terminology:

    • PlaintiffDefendant

    • ComplaintAnswerReply

      • Motion to dismiss

    • Discovery

    • Trial

      • Summary Judgment

      • Motion for directed verdict

    • Verdict JudgmentAppeal


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