Business Law and Ethics

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Business Law and Ethics
04.02.2020
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Business and ethics issues occur due to various aspects including the case that will be considered within the framework of this paper, which refers to the tragedy that has happened to the Buffalo Creek. The paper will specifically cover almost all the concepts that have been learned during the course with specific references to the case. It is assumed that the learning and application of these concepts on the basis of the case study will contribute to the better absorption as well as the improved further application of these concepts. The paper in question will draw attention to the tragedy that has occurred in Buffalo Creek and explain the business law and ethics issues that have been involved in the case.

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The list of the key participants of the process includes plaintiffs, defendants, the mining company, jurors, judges, and many others. All of them have been analyzed and the findings are presented below. First, it is necessary to discuss the concept of motion. The motion refers to the official charges that are pressed by one of the parties to the case that is filed to the court that should decide on the case and pass the final decision. The motions are important for the furthering and resolving of the case. Additionally, they are crucial for the consideration of the essential issues of the case (Stern, 1976). In this case, both parties have filed the motions. The plaintiffs asserted the following requirements. First, they demanded to keep the deposits in Charleston as they considered it to be the best option in the given situation. The court did not grant that motion, though, it stressed that Pittson would not have to cover the travel expenses. Furthermore, the motion provided also for adding 200 plaintiffs that decided to join the case. Apart from that, it also required the court to have the medical records examined and provided, to make the case open to the general public as well as to disclosure the insurance documents of Pittson (Stern, 1976). On the other hand, the defendants have also filed the motion claiming that the case should be dismissed as wrong people were accused of all that had happened. Moreover, they asserted the ignoring of the claims regarding the injuries related to the “Absent Patient.” They also asked the court to provide them with more resources and time to the discovery process.

As to the jurisdictions, there is a number of them as it has been discussed during the course. In particular, there are some issues that fall under the jurisdiction of the state, federal courts, and the Supreme Court of the United States. The jurisdictions are determined by the laws of the states, federal laws, and the U.S. Constitution. In this case, the parties filed the suits to the federal court due to the different citizenship and the rules of the concurring jurisdiction. Additionally, such a choice of the court and the jurisdiction ensures that the case is handled fairly. In case the plaintiffs had filed the motion to the state court, they would have to accept the risks related to the bias of judges and jurors that could have been bribed by the mining company (Stern, 1976). In such cases, corporates are usually more powerful than individuals and, thus, they can influence the court system in a non-legitimized way. Furthermore, the choice of the federal jurisdiction has been in favor of plaintiffs since the number of damages that could be sought at the state court are rather limited. At the same time, plaintiffs should have had at least the concurring jurisdiction so that they needed to file the suit against Pittson, not the Buffalo Mining Company (Stern, 1976).

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The corporate veil has also been covered in the course. This term refers to the amount of responsibility that is shared between the company and stakeholders. In certain cases, stakeholders are completely separated from the organization’s responsibilities whereas in others they might carry full responsibilities for the duties of the company. The concrete amount of accountability usually depends on the legal form of the business entity. For example, in the case of the limited liability company, the stakeholders are only responsible for the stake that they have invested in the company. In order to ensure the corporate veil that company has to hold the meetings of the stakeholder, to run the separate bookkeeping and to establish the independent legal entity. There are, basically, a few factors for the pierced corporate veil in this case. First of all, Pittson’s president claimed that the VP of the company acted as the agent representing the interests of Pittson. Moreover, the sign of the BCMC demonstrated the division of the Pittson (Stern, 1976). Pittson has not provided the initial capital to the BCMC and the meetings of the shareholders were fudged. The company did organize them in fact.

A more precise analysis of the case study allows one to suppose that there are a number of ethical issues. The first of them refers to the responsibility of various people involved in the process. Indeed, the lawyers have failed to follow the rules whereas they are in fact obliged to follow the regulations set by the Bar Association. Such a requirement applies also to the following of the ethics code of the Association. The judges are requested to follow all the rules established by the Bar Association (Stern, 1976). Moreover, the issue of corporate responsibility appears in this case. It should be stressed that the managers are expected to consider the results of the actions that are beyond the established interests of the shareholders (Stern, 1976). At the same time, in accordance with the approach that has been established by the Institutional School of Responsibility and which has been covered by the course, managers should have also considered the possible effects of their behavior on the public.

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The lawyers of the case have faced a number of dilemmas as well as the other participants of the process. In accordance with the ambulance-chasing theory, the lawyers cannot solicit the clients. The local lawyers were chosen to satisfy the interests of third parties. Judge Christie was biased as he had close friendly relations with Pittson. However, he recognized that, in this case, he was exposed to the conflicts of interest and, therefore, he resigned eventually. On the other hand, the managers of the company refused to accept the responsibility for the effects of the decisions that they had made. They were aware of the fact that the levees did comply with the state but failed to do anything.

The plaintiffs have been awarded to the number of compensations that could be identified as injunctive, punitive, and compensatory. Additionally, they have been provided with compensation for the emotional distress and survivor’s syndrome. Compensatory damages are awarded to restore the previous positions. In other words, all plaintiffs should be provided with repayments for cars, houses, and personal items that belonged to them. The punitive damages are assigned to punish the defendant. They were awarded since the gross negligence was admitted (Stern, 1976). Pittson was previously warned of the state of the dam, yet no actions were undertaken. The injunctive orders of the court limit the company’s activities partially or fully. They frequently prohibit certain actions. Injunctive damages, in this case, were awarded to restrain the company from the further building dams in Buffalo Creek. Finally, the emotional distress or survivors’ syndrome compensations are provided to the plaintiffs that have been affected non-physically by the event. In this case, the first time non-physical injuries were covered by the defendant (Stern, 1976). The plaintiffs, in general, proved that they suffered from psychological trauma.

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In conclusion, it should be stressed that there have been a number of business law and ethics issues that have been covered by the course. In particular, they involve the corporate veil, the importance of the motions, and the types of the compensations that are awarded by the court to the plaintiffs. The possible ethical dilemmas related to the bias of the lawyers, judges, and managers have been covered as well. The questions of the jurisdictions have also been reflected in the case and subsequently in the paper. Overall, identification and analysis of the business and ethical issues in regard to the particular case study contribute to the better understanding and application of the terms and concepts learned during the course. Moreover, while working on the case study, I have had the opportunity to distinguish many similar concepts and to determine their essential features.

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