A) The supervising attorney has been asked to respond to a building survey. The attorney is busy, and asks the paralegal to “take care of it.” The paralegal writes a letter to the building management, and also circulates it among the other tenants of the building. Please read the following letter, and identify and discuss any violations of ethics. Please also respond to the following questions:
Does it make a difference if the letter is written on letterhead?
Does it make a difference if the paralegal signs the attorney’s name to the letter?
Does it make a difference if the paralegal signs the letter without identifying himself or herself as a paralegal?
Does it make a difference if the letter is signed with the attorney’s name with notation that it was signed “by” the paralegal?
Does it make a difference that paralegal does not show the letter to the supervising attorney before giving it to the management?
To: XXXXX XXXXX Stinky Towers
Re: Your survey on smoking
After much consideration, I feel that I must respond at length to the inquiry from your office regarding whether the building should be designated a “smoke-free” environment. I do not believe that you have the option to insist on any such policy according to the lease agreement we have with you. In the event that you feel you must pursue such a policy, I do think that you must renegotiate each and every existing lease, lowering rents to offset lost business. At the time we signed our lease, we did not anticipate having to meet anxious, distressed, SMOKING clients in the parking lot, and of course we expect to be compensated for being unable to use the space we are renting under our existing lease. One of our biggest clients, Mr. John Puffer, is a chain-smoker, and we cannot afford to insult him by demanding that he not smoke. I am giving a copy of this letter to other tenants and will be talking with them, so that they may be made aware that they have legal recourse against you.
Further, should such a policy be implemented, I will likewise insist that the building be declared a perfume-free facility, and I am prepared to pursue such a policy to the bitter stinking end! Government studies have shown that spray perfumes help to deplete the ozone layer, and because of the depletion of ozone, we are all at greater risk of skin cancer. May I suggest that you hire a person to check for offending perfumes and cologne at the entrance of the building? This may be expensive, but in the long run it will be cheaper than defending skin cancer litigation you will face if you do not make arrangements to clean up the building’s air quality by banning perfumes.
If something is not done about this danger within twenty days of the date of this letter, I intend to file a complaint with the building safety inspectors, and will bring suit. On the other hand, if you would be interested in re-writing the leases to ban perfume, please let me know, and I am sure we could provide sample leases that you may use to change the terms of the signed leases, for a flat fee of about $500 per tenant, or we may be able to discount the fees if there are more than ten.
Very truly yours,XXXXX
B) Using your knowledge of valid contract formation, use the information in the following scenarios to determine whether there is a valid contract, and if so, identify the offer, the acceptance, and the consideration for each:
1. You have visited a neighbor’s garage sale, and have asked the neighbor to put aside a television because you want to buy it. The neighbor agrees and puts aside the television.
2. You want to sell an undeveloped piece of swampland that you have inherited. While talking on the telephone with a friend, he agrees to buy the land for $450.00.
3. You have decided to purchase a pet horse. You agree on a price and the seller writes out a bill of sale and signs it.
4. Your son has been in college and has a large balance on his credit card that was used for school supplies, books, and tuition. You want to help him out since he has done very well in school. You write a letter to the credit card company stating that you will be paying the bill in the future. The credit card company agrees.
5. You have ordered a black sweater from an Internet source, but received a pink one instead. The website states that there are no returns or exchanges accepted.
6. You have purchased a super-sonic vacuum cleaner from a company who advertises that “your money will be refunded if not satisfied.” The vacuum does not perform well, and when you call to get a refund, the company refuses. You remind the company that the ad states that your money will be refunded if not satisfied, and the company tells you that is correct, but they are satisfied, so there will be no refund!
7. You have received an advertisement in the mail from a major appliance store, for the sale of a stereo system for $200.00 if you purchase it by February 1st.
8. You have agreed to watch your neighbor’s home while he is away on vacation. Your neighbor often watches your home while you are away and promises to watch your home the next time that you leave town.
9. You have been harassed by an ex-partner who will not leave you alone. In desperation, you have agreed to pay another friend $50.00 plus mileage to go to the home of the ex-partner and threaten bodily harm.
10. While it is unethical for an attorney to share fees with a paralegal, your supervising attorney has proposed to pay you a percentage of the firm’s gross income based on the number of hours you have billed and clients that you have referred to the firm. You agree.
1. Name a tort which may be also prosecuted as a crime.
2. Name a tort for which there must be an intent to harm
3. Name a tort which there does not have to be an intent to harm
4. If a runner for a law firm causes a wreck and injures others while delivering documents to the courthouse, who may be liable and why?
5. If a passerby is injured in an attempt to help a child who is being attacked by a neighbor’s dog, who is liable and why?
6. If while in store, a patron ignores a “wet floor” caution sign, and slips and falls, injuring himself, who may be liable?
7. If the same person is blind, does it make a difference?
8. If a person is injured at a swimming pool when hit by another swimmer doing a “ cannonball” into the pool, and there are signs warning that no lifeguard is on duty, who may be liable and why?
9. Can gossiping be a tort? How and why?
10. Can talking a friend into breaking he lease on an office building be a tort? How and why?
FROM: Supervising Attorney
Date: _______, 20___
RE: People v. Sam Kant
ASSIGNMENT: Sam Kant has requested that our office represent him in his defense against shoplifting charges. Please review the following facts of the case and the legal authority that I have provided to determine the strengths and weaknesses of Mr. Kant’s case. In preparing your memorandum, please consult the sample Legal Memorandums in PCD and Statsky. Discuss whether or not you think Mr. Kant could be convicted of shoplifting pursuant to the law provided.
Please note, this is a closed memo. Therefore, it is important that you do not conduct any outside research or apply any outside law in your analysis/conclusions. Apply the law as provided.
FACTS: Our client, Sam Kant, was arrested for shoplifting at Bilmart, a national department store. At his wife’s request, Mr. Kant went to Bilmart on Wednesday, ______, 20___, and purchased a case of six 4 oz. cans of Hoover’s Baked Beans with Bacon. Upon returning home, his wife chastised him for once again failing to purchase what she had requested. Apparently, Mrs. Kant can’t stand the taste of Hoover’s Beans, but is very fond of the Handell’s brand, and was planning to serve them to her book club when she hosted them for lunch the following afternoon. Mrs. Kant ordered her husband to return to Bilmart to exchange the Hoover’s beans for Handell’s beans.
Upon arrival at the store early the next morning, Mr. Kant found that the line for customer service was extremely long due to Bilmart’s annual sponsorship of a major community food drive. In an effort to save time, and thinking the line might be shorter upon his return, Mr. Kant placed the case of Hoover’s beans into a shopping cart, made his way through the store to the bean shelf, and then added the case of Handell’s beans to the cart. However, upon his return, the line had not diminished and it was obvious that Sam would be waiting a considerable amount of time to formalize the exchange. Fearing the wrath of his wife should he not return in time for lunch, Sam placed the case of Hoover’s beans inside a cart filled with what appeared to be merchandise returns in need of re-stocking. With the desired case of Handell’s beans remaining in the shopping cart, Mr. Kant then proceeded to the store’s exit. As he neared the doors, Mr. Kant was approached and detained by store security, who witnessed Sam’s actions, and police were called to the store. Apparently, the cart into which Sam had placed the Hoover’s Beans did not contain returned items to be shelved, but rather, donations to the Bilmart Community Food Drive. Officers Kopp and Slickman questioned Mr. Kant and then cited him for Shoplifting.
Criminal Statute § 142.33 Shoplifting
A person is guilty of shoplifting when he takes away, moves, or removes merchandise, in a manner that causes the merchant to be permanently deprived of that merchandise.
Shoplifting is a class A misdemeanor.
In People v. Stealer (2001) the defendant was charged with shoplifting when she placed several pairs of socks into her coat pocket, conducted a formal exchange between 2 pairs of earrings, paying the difference in cost between the originally purchased earrings and the earrings subsequently desired, and then approached the exit of the store while the socks remained in the pocket without being purchased. The trial court held that: (1) a “taking” cannot occur until the suspect has left the store, and (2) until the suspected shoplifter has left the premises, mere possession of the merchandise fails to prove guilt beyond a reasonable doubt.