Legal Issues and their Resolutions
In this assignment, you will consider many of the legal concepts addressed in this course and apply them to relevant scenarios.
You are currently a third year law student working as a summer intern for the largest law firm in Atlantic City, New Jersey. Your mentor and senior attorney introduces you to a new client, Ronald Crump, the owner of Crump International, a large multinational organization with diverse businesses in real estate, construction, travel, entertainment, media, and other communication networks. As the owner of this large organization, Crump is looking to your firm to handle all of his legal needs.
You learn the following from your meetings with Crump:
- The construction division recently hired a former high-ranking official from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to ensure environmental regulations are followed. Crump is concerned about the EPA's proposed rule that will require the construction division to obtain additional permits and conduct more frequent inspections. The agency published the rule in the Federal Register last week. These new permits will create more work and expense for Crump. The former EPA employee indicated that he knows people at the EPA who might be able to make the proposed rule disappear in exchange for contributions to fund the newly created environmental training facility in California.
- The Crump Resort in Allentown, Pennsylvania (CRAP) is being sued by Josie McDonald for premise liability (negligence) and emotional stress due to bedbug bites during her stay at CRAP. Crump maintains that his resort properties are held to the highest standards and that he intends to file a countersuit because McDonald created a blog where she made false statements about the CRAP being infested with bedbugs. McDonald made similar disparaging remarks to the local television station in Allentown.
- Crump is famous for his reality show called "The Intern" as well as his favorite phrases "You're Fired" as he sends interns packing and "You're Hired" for those who survive the grueling business boot camp. Crump wants to make sure his phrases are protected from use by others without permission. Crump reminds you that this protection should extend use in the United States and in other countries.
- Instead of working for her father, Crump's daughter Erica applied for a position as associate attorney with the firm of Slippe, Faul, & Sioux, a law firm specializing in personal injury law in Atlantic City, New Jersey. On September 15, the firm offered Erica an employment contract for one year with a yearly salary of $75,000 starting on October 1. The contract contained the following provisions.
- Erica could not be terminated during the term of employment unless she committed an illegal act.
- Any disputes would be resolved using mediation selected by the law firm.
- Erica would not be permitted to work for any law firm within a 100-mile radius of Atlantic City for two years after leaving the firm.
- Erica accepted the job and signed the contract the same day. Erica decided to keep the news secret until she returned from vacation the following week. On September 17, Crump offered to give Slippe all of his legal business related to personal injury if the law firm hired Erica. The firm accepted. When Erica told her father the news about getting the job on September 15, Crump refused to transfer any legal work to the firm. The law firm filed a suit against Crump, citing the parties had a contract. When Erica showed up for work on October 1, the law firm informed her that they no longer needed her services. One week later, Erica found another job with Tweady & Byrd, a firm specializing in entertainment law located about five miles from Slippe, Faul, & Sioux.
- Mark Holmes, a director in the real estate division, met with Ben Franklin, 80-years-old, about purchasing a large tract of land owned by Franklin in New Jersey. Crump International planned to bulldoze the acreage to create a new golf resort. During the meeting, Holmes noticed several brochures about Alzheimer's as well as several prescription bottles sitting on the table. After discussing the good old days for several hours, Holmes and Franklin agreed on the sale of the land for $1,500,000. Since Holmes brought a blank copy of a contract with him, he helped Franklin complete the paperwork and both parties signed. Unbeknownst to either party, the purchase price was written as $150,000. On the day before the closing, Holmes called Franklin to remind him of the location. Holmes said he didn't know anything about selling that land and he had no intention of selling his land to some big city slicker.
Based on the scenario, create a 8- to 9-page Microsoft Word document. The document should serve as an interoffice memorandum to the firm's senior attorney. In addition, the document should address the following and any others issues you may discover:
- What happens when a government agency proposes a rule? What would you recommend Crump do in response to the EPA's proposed rule that was published last week?
- Should Crump make a contribution to the environmental training center? Why or why not?
- Will Crump win the negligence lawsuit filed by McDonald? Why?
- Should Crump file the countersuit for the blog and remarks McDonald made on television? If yes, on what basis? If not, why not?
- Are the phrases "You're Fired" and "You're Hired" considered intellectual property? If yes, what type? If not, why not? Are there any issues with protecting these phrases in the U.S. and in foreign countries?
- What is the status of the employment contract between Erica and Slippe, Faul, & Sioux?
- Will the noncompete provision be enforceable? Why or why not?
- What is the status of the agreement between Crump and Slippe, Faul, & Sioux?
- Do Holmes and Franklin have a valid contract? What are the basic requirements for contract formation? What defects in the contract formation process may have occurred?
In addition to the above, identify the legal issue, information that may be missing in order to provide an appropriate answer, and possible solutions. Also, address any potential ethical issues that you identify.
Support your responses with examples.