Write a 2–page executive briefing of a selected U.S. federal or U.S. state court case pertaining to the topic of tort law.
By successfully completing this assessment, you will demonstrate your proficiency in the following course competencies and assessment criteria:
• Competency 1: Articulate the importance, context, purpose, and relevance of law in a business environment.
o Summarize the facts and ruling of a legal case.
• Competency 3: Evaluate key judicial concepts that influence the decisions related to business.
o Analyze how a legal case could impact businesses.
o Explain how a legal case could impact a specific organization.
• Competency 5: Develop information literacy skills as applied to business law.
o Exhibit information literacy skills as applied to business law.
The Basis of Tort Law:
One of the most important concepts of the law is the notion that if one party damages another in a noncriminal context, then the aggrieved party is entitled to restitution, to be made whole. In a business law context, making another party whole (note: this is a fairly common term that you will hear again and again in a legal context) is the entire purpose of tort law. In other words, a judge or jury will attempt to determine exactly what needs to be done when an aggrieved party can demonstrate damages, and what those damages should be, in order to return a party to its state prior to the alleged action.
Virtually all commercial enterprises deal with the public at some point, providing products, services, or any sort of commercially relevant activities. The risk of inflicting even unintentional damages on consumers thus exposes commercial concerns to lawsuits and litigation.
Criminal penalties cannot be attached to business entities. If a crime is committed, the government charges specific individuals within the corporation who may be responsible, not the business entity. Yet, society recognizes that businesses, out of negligence, ignorance, or malfeasance, may cause injury to another party. Tort law imposes standards by which such injured parties can seek recompense from the corporation in civil court. Whereas an entire corporate entity cannot be tried in a criminal court, it can be a defendant in a civil court.
Read the Assessment 6 Context(attached) document for important information related to the following topics:
• Strict Liability and Product Liability.
• Consumer Protection.
• The Public Policy Nexus.
For this assessment, you will first select an actual business-related U.S. legal case, pertaining to the topic of U.S. tort law, based on briefly conducting associated research. Based on that, you will then select an organization that you believe would be impacted by that legal case. Having completed both of these tasks, you should assume you’re a senior manager in the organization you selected, and that you were asked to perform an analysis of the legal case and to write an executive briefing for the executive team of that same organization. Your executive briefing should include a summary of the case, as well as an evaluation of how the case impacts the organization.
The purpose of this format is two-fold:
1. To give you the opportunity to research and investigate a real court decision.
2. To challenge you to think about the business implications of the case, and specifically how the case will impact an actual organization.
In your case law analysis you must be able to navigate the court’s decision, and summarize and evaluate it. You may choose any business-related court case, either state or federal, as the basis for your case law executive briefing, as long as the case is applicable to the assessment topic. You are expected to conduct your own independent research to locate and evaluate the applicability of cases. A few appropriate case law websites are recommended for you in the Resources, but you are not limited to using cases from these sites.
For this assessment, use credible legal research databases and online resources, research federal and state court cases, and select any business-related case that has been decided by a state court, a federal court, or the United States Supreme Court. Then select an organization (potentially the organization for which you work) that you believe the selected case might impact. Write an executive briefing that addresses the following:
Research federal and state court cases pertaining to the topic of tort law. Select one court case and write an analysis that addresses the following:
1. Articulate the context and relevance of law in a business environment:
o Identify the parties who are before the court.
o Provide a brief background and context associated with the case. Summarize the facts in no more than 2–3 paragraphs.
o Identify the specific disagreement between the parties.
o Explain the ruling of the court and its business relevance in no more than 1–2 paragraphs. Was there a dissenting opinion? If so, explain why some of the judges or justices disagreed with the majority in the decision.
2. Evaluate the business impact of the case:
o Summarize your analysis of how the case will impact businesses in general, including both positive and negative impacts.
o Indicate the organization you selected as potentially impacted by the case and why you selected that organization.
o Explain how the case will impact the specific organization you selected, such that the executive team will understand the implications of the legal decision.
Based on your executive audience, your executive briefing should be no more than two pages, and should be well organized and written in clear, succinct language. Follow APA rules for attributing sources that support your analysis and conclusions.
Academic Integrity and APA Formatting
As a reminder related to using APA rules to ensure academic honesty:
1. When using a direct quote (using exact or nearly exact wording), you must enclose the quoted wording in quotation marks, immediately followed by an in-text citation. The source must then be listed in your references page.
2. When paraphrasing (using your own words to describe a non-original idea), the paraphrased idea must be immediately followed by an in-text citation and the source must be listed in your references page.
The following optional resources are provided to support you in completing the assessment or to provide a helpful context:
• Assessment 6 Context.(attached/provided)
• Analyzing a Case Law | Transcript.(attached/provided)
o This multimedia presentation points out key areas of a case law. Use this presentation to help you complete your case analyses. Refer to this media as often as you need to.
• Business Law Foundational Concepts | Transcript.(attached/provided)
o This media piece offers interactive flashcards that you can use to learn (or review) foundational terms and concepts in business law. Refer to this study aid often and as needed.
• DuBoff, L. D. (2004). The law (in plain English) for small business. Naperville, IL: Sphinx Publishing.
Access the following resources by clicking the links provided. Please note that URLs change frequently. Permissions for the following links have been either granted or deemed appropriate for educational use at the time of course publication.
• Nolo. (2013). Nolo law for all. Retrieved from http://www.nolo.com
o This resource provides helpful background on a range of legal issues. You may find the Free Legal Information section of the site particularly helpful.
• U.S. Small Business Administration. (n.d.). SBA.gov. Retrieved from http://www.sba.gov
o The U.S. Small Business Administration has a variety of resources that help to guide entrepreneurs in how to form the correct entity as they launch or formalize their business endeavors.
• Dow Jones & Company, Inc. (2013). The Wall Street Journal. Retrieved from http://online.wsj.com/home-page
o The Wall Street Journal stands as one of the best resources for tax issue reporting.
Case Law Analysis: Tort Law
Torts are civil wrongs from which other parties can experience damages or injuries. Often, the law of tort enables affected parties to receive compensation or restitution for the damages caused by others. However, the tort laws do not provide compensation in all cases; judges must determine whether the aggrieved party demonstrates adequate damages, as seen in the Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California case.
The selected case involved four parties; Tatiana Tarasoff’s parents, therapists, police, and the University of California Regents. Tatiana Tarasoff’s parents were the plaintiffs, while the other three parties were the civil suit’s defendants.
Summary and Facts
The selected case is based on the element of duty of care as used in tort law. Notably, the plaintiff sued the defendants for failure to warn their daughter about the threats made by Prosenjit Poddar, a patient at the University of California (“Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California,” n.d.). However, the defendant countered the suit, arguing that they did not owe any duty of care to the patients’ victim and thus could not be held liable for their client’s actions. Therefore, in this case, the primary issue of disagreement was whether the defendants owed a duty of care to the victim and whether the court could hold them liable for the harm caused by the patient.
In its deliberation, the Supreme Court held that there lacked a valid cause of action against the two defendants- the therapists and the Regents of the University of California for the breach of duty. Moreover, the court held that the police could not be held liable for the patient’s actions. The court analyzed the concept of a special relationship and duty of care in tort law and used it to reach this decision. Notably, an individual would only be liable for duty of care if they had a special relationship with the actor and a third partner or if the actor had a special relationship with a third party, thus granting the latter a right to protection. However, in this scenario, the court established that the police lacked a requisite special relationship with the victim; therefore, the law did not impose a duty on them to warn her of the patient’s intentions. Similarly, despite the therapist having a special relationship with the patient, there lacked a valid cause of action that could impose a duty to warn the victim. Therefore, based on this analysis, the court dismissed the plaintiff’s civil action against the defendants.
The Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California case is relevant in the business context because it shed’s light on the scope of the duty of care on businesses. As the literature suggests, defendants must breach a duty of care owed to a plaintiff and foresee the risks created by his conduct for the court to hold him liable for damage (Roynette, 2015). The Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California case exemplifies this aspect by showing the manner in which a party that is under no duty or in a position to predict damage is immune to potential liability under the law of tort.
Positive and Negative
The decision in the Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California case may have a positive and adverse impact in the business context. On the one hand, this ruling grants immunity to firms to the extent of their relationship with clients. For example, the scope of duty of care of a landlord may be limited to his relationship with tenants but not other visitors. However, the ruling also allows firms to avoid liability on the grounds of unforeseeable damages (Cassel, 2016). Notably, businesses may use the scope of a duty of care to avoid liability for their actions.
Impact on Organization
I choose my organization for this analysis because it has business relationships with other parties that can sometimes end in civil suits. The court’s ruling on Tarasoff v. Regents of the University of California may benefit the organization because it can quickly draw the line of duty of care in its dealings with other firms. In the event of damages, the firm can determine its level of duty of care and liability to other parties.
Cassel, D. (2016). Outlining the case for a common law duty of care of business to exercise human rights due diligence. Business Human Rights Journal, 1(2), 179-202. https://doi.org/10.1017/bhj.2016.15
Roynette, K. (2015). Drawing the line of the scope of the duty of care in American negligence and French Fault-based tort liability. Journal of Civil Law Studies, 8(4), 32-74. https://digitalcommons.law.lsu.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1136&context=jcls
Tarasoff v. Regents of University of California (n.d.). Justia US Law. https://law.justia.com/cases/california/supreme-court/3d/17/425.html