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FSU BUL 3310 - BUSINESS LAW COURSES: OBJECTIVES

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BUSINESS LAW COURSES: OBJECTIVES1. Awareness of legal pitfalls- when its raining someone can sue for slipping in your store- use your common sense, what would store owner do?  put up sign to warm people- by giving warning, you protect yourself2. Communication with lawyers- deal with more complicated situations- what things do you have to be aware of when you talk to lawyers? a. Fee structurei. Hourly rate: provide services, charge $x/hrii. Job or taskiii. Contingent fee: conditional upon victory, if lawyer wins case, client pays fee; if lawyer loses case, no payTHE LEGAL METHOD OF THINKING1. Separate relevant from irrelevant- don’t come in to talk to your lawyer with a bunch of things that don’t have to do with your case- time is money , get to basis of matter2. Be prepared to vigorously justify your position with an arsenal of supportive data and fact- make sure you have back up or support for what you’re saying3. Develop an ability to “think on your feet”BUSINESS LAW COURSE TOOLS1. Semantics: the branch of the science of language that deals with the meaning of words- lawyers need to know what exact word to usedIn the language of lawInfant: a minor, not yet an adultReasonable: depends on the interpretation on a jury or judge, FACT specific= depends on the circumstancesIn vs On: penetration vs. molestation – if the victim herself didn’t know, how could jury decide based on requirements of law = only 15 years in jail vs rest of lifeKoikos Case – five fraternity brothers shot in his restaurant, Koikos sued 500k for each “occurrence” then Koikos turns around and sues his insurance company• “occurrence” is the word in question in this case – was the incident 1 occurrence or was each shot (5 fired) an occurrence o owner (koikos) sued because should have provided better securityo Koikos sued his insurance company for not covering enougho one occurrence, or 5 separate occurrences – ruling was 5 separateo insurance company put a cap at 5 mil. • ex: 9/11 caseo two towers, one occurrenceo more encompassing than Florida case (verdict=separate occurrences)2. Logic: extracting legal rules from past cases by inductive reasoning Ex: Law: by statute, all unsigned wills are void Facts: this will is unsigned Decision: will is voidi. Will tells who the money goes toii. Provides tax reductionsiii. Provides for guardianshipEx: Daddy’s Will – the dad died in GA, lived in FL, and owned real estate in South Carolina (conflict of law)- he signed his will Daddy- he had a witness but is “Daddy” a legitimate signature o signature – an symbol adopted by a party to authenticate a writing o Child A and B This is why it took so long . . . Decedent: (dead person)• Lives in Floridao Two witnesses need to sign• Dies in Georgiao Three witnesses need to sign• Owns real estate in South Carolinao Don’t need to signWhich law applies from which state? Developed a law called the Conflict of LawsConflict of Laws• When you live in a place, that is the law that applies• Except for real estateo Law applied for where real estate is, only for real estateDaddy’s will case• Widower• Four adult children• In will, he left half of will to child A and B, nothing to C or D• But will was signed “daddy”o Is that a signed will?Judge decided:Signature: any symbol adopted by a party to authenticate a writing• this helps the case of A and B• What does adopted mean?• Was it used before?o They would bring in birthday cards and letterso However, these are family contexts, missing official documents (checks, tax return, license) o Daddy was found to be a valid signature800,000-500,000 = 300,000 to A and B  because of LAWYERS FEESWhat the law permits vs what sound business practice dictates• The law is very liberal, lets you sign in whatever you want and however you want• But is signing in pencil smart?• Cannot disinherit wife or husband, but can disinherit childrenBUSINESS LAW COURSE TOOLS3. Stare Decisis: the doctrine of precedent (what happened before)- “Let the Decision stand” Advantages: 1. certainty in the law2. equality in the law everyone should be treated in the same way for the same violation of the law3. makes judicial decision making easier judges don’t have to reinvent the wheel go to cases from the past and use their case for guidanceDisadvantages:• Stagnation in the lawo sometimes the rules of society outpays the rules of the law• we want it to be progressive  page 39- 1988 vs 2005- one ruling that 16-18 year old could be executed in the Thompson vs. Oklahoma case- in 05 in the Roper vs. Simmons case courts ruled it was unconstitutional to execute a juvenile4. Common Sense: “the law is not an enemy of common sense”• dog hurting another persono whose fault?o Owner, he invited person overo Victim, he may have provoked the dogo Bad dog vs beware of dog, but everybody knows beware of dog clearly means bad dog = common senseo In this case owner found guilty but the victim was dumbTHE STRUCTURE OF THE FLORIDA JUDICIAL SYSTEM• Legislature decides who gets what• Need new judgeso They haven’t approved of any because of dwindling revenuesAppellate Courts• Supreme court – 7 justices - 6 year terms o 5 justices constitute a quorum • District courts of appealo Merit retention – judges are retained if the voting public thinks they deserve to be retainedo Cases are reviewed by three judge panels o 5 districts 1st district is Tallahassee – 15 judges – covers Pensacola to Jacksonville to Tally to Gainesville Trial Courts• Circuit courts (big)o Handles more serious issueso Criminals and felonies – more than a year in prison o $1500 and up o twenty judicial circuits o Judges preside individually • County courts (little)o Deal with misdemeanorso 1 year or lesso handles all disputes that are 1500 dollars or lesso at least one judge in each of all the 67 countieso judges preside individuallyCourt system is a Pyramidal System1 Supreme Court5 Court of Appeal20 Circuit Court67 County CourtCATEGORIES OF LAW• Criminal – protect society and make better citizens o deals with a wrong committed against societyo ex: shooting, hurt or killing someoneo we as a society don’t tolerate that kind of criminal behavioro punishment – deterrence o protection of society against criminal – putting him behind bars so we feel safe• Civil – resolve dispute, judge or jury will decide o Mostly about


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