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BLAW 251 - Course Syllabus

Ernest C. Trefz School of Business 
BLAW 251 - Business Law I
Spring 2014 Term

BLAW 251-11
Mondays and Wednesdays - 4:30-5:45 P.M.
MAN 310

BLAW 251-6M1
Mondays and Wednesdays - 6:00-7:15 P.M.
MAN 310

Prerequisite:  Sophomore status

BLAW 251 site to find this BLAW 251 syllabus and extra credit cases:


Prof. William E. Greenspan
Phone: (203) 576-4378
E-mail: profweg@bridgeport.edu
Web Page: https://sites.google.com/site/profweg2013

Office Hours in MAN 309:
Mon: 7:30 - 10:30 P.M.
Tue: 4:00 - 9:00 P.M.
Wed: 7:30 - 10:30 P.M.
Thu: 4:00 - 9:00 P.M.

Mailing Address:
Prof. William E. Greenspan
University of Bridgeport
School of Business
Mandeville Hall
230 Park Avenue
Bridgeport, CT 06604

Topics Covered:
Court systems, sources of law in the United States, the constitutional basis of the legal system, government power to regulate business, the types and powers of administrative agencies, civil dispute resolution and alternatives to civil litigation;

The law of Contracts, fairness and good faith in interpretation of contracts, and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods;

Problems in Agency and Employment, the ethical implications of business decsions, the broad functions of criminal and tort law, the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act, and the constitutional limitations on criminal procedure.

Expected Knowledge and Learning Outcomes:

Knowledge Outcomes: After you have taken this course, you should be able to:
1. Explain how the court system works in the United States, how law is made in the United States, the types and powers of administrative agencies, and some aspects of the extent of extraterritorial reach of United States law on activities in international commerce.
2. Identify the elements of a binding contract, and the impact of statutory law (U.C.C.) on fairness and good faith in interpretation of contracts.
3. Distinguish between torts and crimes and their functions in the legal system.
4. Describe the relationship of agency law to business transactions and the ethical implications of business decisions made by fiduciaries.

Learning Outcomes: As a result of taking this course you should be able to:
1. Recognize and understand the legal significance of business transactions occurring around you and in which you will participate, and to know when to call a lawyer.
2. Appreciate and understand the language of actual court cases, and the "feel" of a court's thinking, using legal principles in live situations.
3. Apply facts to legal scenarios in acceptable written language.

BUSINESS LAW - The Ethical, Global, and E-Commerce Environment; Mallor (author); Fifteenth Edition, 2013; McGraw Hill/Irwin (publisher); ISBN 978-0-07352498-6

There will be two tests and a final exam. Each test counts 30% and the final exam counts 30%. Class attendance and performance counts 10%. I expect students to be on time for class and remain in the classroom for the full class period. Using a cellphone during class (including surfing, e-mailing, texting, or reading e-mails or text messages) will result in a reduced class performance grade. 

Tests are short essays based upon the text reading and class discussions.

Grading Scale:
93-100 A
90-92 A-
87-89 B+
83-86 B
80-82 B-
77-79 C+
73-76 C
70-72 C-
67-69 D+
63-66 D
60-62 D-
Below 60 F

Make-up Test Policy:
You are expected to take the tests on the dates indicated. If you miss a test, you must take a make-up. If you miss one test, you will receive a ten-point penalty on the make-up. (e.g.  If you earn a grade of 90% on a make-up, you will receive a grade of 80% on that test.) If you miss two tests, then not only will you receive a ten-point penalty on the first missed test, but also a twenty-point penalty on the second missed test. All make-up tests must be completed by the last day of class, before final exams begin.

Briefing Cases:
Selected cases are assigned for almost every class to be briefed as follows:

1. Name of the case and citation
2. Statement of the facts
3. Issue(s) or question(s) of law
4. Plaintiff's arguments
5. Defendant's arguments
6. Opinion and decision of the court
          Who won?
          Explain the relevant law
          Apply the facts to the law

Legal Sites on the Internet: Some of my favorite sites on the Internet for legal research are listed below:


Go to: www.bridgeport.edu/myub

Click on "Log in to https://myub.bridgeport.edu."

Enter your user name and password.

Click on "Eureka Digital Library."

Click on: "Online Databases."

Scroll down to and click on: "Westlaw Campus Research." 

Click on "Law" at the left top of the page, just to the right of "News & Business." 

In the left column under "FIND" you may find a document (case) by citation or by title.

To find a document by citation, type in the citation for the case you wish to find (e.g. 101 S.Ct. 1048 or 56 F.3d 1373), and then hit the "Enter" button on your keyboard. 


Go to: www.law.cornell.edu

Click on: 
"U. S. Code" (USC) which contains the United States Statutes.

"U.C.C." which contains the full Uniform Commercial Code.


Go to: www.lectlaw.com

In the left column, under SOME MAIN ROOMS click on "Free Legal Forms," and then click on: "Business & General Forms" where you will find free Legal and Business Forms: General Forms, Personal & Corporate Credit & Debt Forms, Powers of Attorney Forms, Trusts & Wills Forms, General Business Forms, Business Entity Forms, Contract Forms, Employment & Contracting Forms, Promissory Note Forms, and Real Estate Forms.


The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) is the federal administrative agency that prevents unfair or deceptive acts or practices in interstate commerce.

Go to: www.ftc.gov, click on "Actions," and then click on "any Commission action" for decisions of the FTC. Select any case, and then click on "News Release" for a summary of the case.


Go to: www.nolo.com for hundreds of useful articles on everyday topics such as Business Formation; DUI/DWI; Employment Law; Immigration; Patent & Trademark; Personal Finance; Retirement; Small Claims Court; Taxes; and Wills, Trusts & Estates. 


Go to: www.fraud.org

Its mission is to give consumers the information they need to avoid becoming victims of telemarketing and Internet fraud and help them get their complaints to law enforcement agencies quickly and easily. 

You may fill out and submit the online fraud report form.


Go to: www.state.ct.us/dcp/

The Department is here to make the marketplace in Connecticut as fair as possible for consumers and for those businesses that play by the rules. Check out this Web site to learn more about consumer programs and issues.

To file a complaint, click on "Complaint Center."


Study Hours:
Typically it will take you approximately two hours to prepare for each class.

Special Accommodations:
The University of Bridgeport is committed to providing services to qualified students with disabilities so that they receive an equal educational opportunity. In compliance with Section 504 of the Rehabilitation Act, the American with Disabilities Act and the Connecticut State Laws, we provide reasonable accommodations to reduce the impact of disabilities on academic functioning or upon other life activities in a University setting. All accommodations are determined on an individual basis. If a student with a disability would like to be considered for accommodations, he/she must initiate the request, prior to or at the beginning of the academic semester and provide supporting documentation. For further information call 203 576-4454 or email counselingservices@bridgeport.edu

Academic Honesty Standards:
It is the student's responsibility to familiarize himself or herself with and adhere to the standards set forth in the policies on cheating and plagiarism as defined in Chapters 2 and 5 of the Key to UB http://www.bridgeport.edu/pages/2623.asp or the appropriate graduate program handbook. 

Electronic Devices:
You are not permitted to use any electronic devices during a test or exam. You may use notebook computers and electronic dictionaries during class sessions when no test or exam is given. Cell phones must be turned off and out of site during all class sessions. 

Mode of Instruction:
Each class session will consist of a review of the assigned text material, allowing for questions and answers, as well as case examples for class discussion.

From the Key to UB student hand book: 
A high standard of ethical conduct is expected of students in their academic activities. The University does not tolerate cheating in any form. This term is used to include dishonest use of another individual's aid in preparation of written, oral, and artistic assignments, as well as during a classroom testing period. The standard procedures for the preparation of term papers and the like, as established by the English Department, form the basis for decisions in cases of plagiarism (See "Definition of Plagiarism"). The student must be familiar with those regulations. Disciplinary action will be imposed not only in cases of detected cheating, but also for violations of such regulations mentioned above. In the latter, a violation of the regulation without consideration of the motive involved will be deemed sufficient cause for action. A student accused by an instructor of academic dishonesty will have his or her name forwarded to the Committee on Academic Honesty. If the student declares innocence, he or she will have a hearing before this Committee, whose ruling will be final. The penalty for a first offense is F for the assignment; for a second offense, F in the course; and for the third offense, separation for one year or expulsion, as the Committee on Academic Honesty may determine. The instructor, or the Committee on Academic Honesty, will forward the name of a student guilty of academic dishonesty to the Provost to be recorded and made available to faculty and advisors as necessary. 

Definition of Plagiarism: 
Students are responsible for distinguishing clearly between their own facts, ideas, and conclusions and those of other sources. To use someone else's words, opinions, or conclusions without giving them credit is plagiarism. Students must be able to distinguish their own ideas, conclusions, discoveries, etc., from those read or heard. Check with your professor(s) for the appropriate guidelines that should be followed. 


Earn Extra Credit - Click Here

Assignments:  The assignments due for each class are listed below. Cases are assigned to be briefed for almost every class. You brief cases for your own use for class discussion and for reviewing for tests. You are not required to submit to me your written briefs unless you have missed a class. If you are absent from a class, then you must hand in to me a copy of your briefed cases for the class you missed. Such submission must be made to me at or before the next class meeting. Failure to do so will result in a five-point penalty on your next test. Of course I expect you to attend every class.

1. Wednesday, January 22, 2014 - Introduction to Law and the Legal System. No assignment due for this class.

2. Monday, January 27 - Sources of Law in the United States, the Constitutional Basis of the Legal System, the Types and Powers of Administrative Agencies. Read Chapter 1 (pages 2 - 9 [up to Jurisprudence], and pages 12 [Legal Reasoning] - 13). Also Read Chapter 47 (pages 1222 - 1226) and page 1228 [Separation of Powers]. No cases to be briefed for this class.

3. Wednesday, January 29 - Civil Dispute Resolution and Alternatives to Civil Litigation; Government Power to Regulate Business. Read Chapter 2. Also Read Chapter 3 (pages 55 - 59). No cases to be briefed for this class.

4. Monday, February 3 - Introduction to Contracts, the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), and the United Nations Convention on Contracts for the International Sale of Goods. (CISG). Read Chapter 9 (pages 316 - 326 [up to "Non-contract" Obligations]). Brief the case beginning on page 323.

5. Wednesday, February 5 - Contracts; Offer. Read Chapter 10 (pages 334 - 343 [up to Termination of Offers]). Brief the case beginning on page 337.

6. Monday, February 10 - Contracts; Termination of Offers. Read Chapter 10 (pages 343 - 347). Brief the case beginning on page 346.

7. Wednesday, February 12 - Contracts; Acceptance. Read Chapter 11. Brief the case beginning on page 353.

8. Monday, February 17 - Contracts; Consideration. Read Chapter 12 (pages 371 - 378. Brief the case beginning on page 373.

9. Wednesday, February 19 - Contracts; Consideration. Read Chapter 12 (pages 379 - 381) [up to Exceptions to the Consideration Requirement]). No cases to be briefed for this class.

10.  Monday, February 24 - Quasi Contract; Promissory Estoppel. Read Chapter 9 (pages 326 ["Non-contract" Obligations] - 330). Also Read Chapter 12 (pages 381 - 384). Brief the cases beginning on pages 327 and 382.

11. Wednesday, February 26 - Test #1 on the reading assignments in Chapters 1, 2, 3, 9, 10, 11, 12, and 47.

12. Monday, March 3 - Contracts; Capacity; Minors. Read Chapter 14 (pages 402 - 409). Brief the case beginning on page 407.

13. Wednesday, March 5 - Contracts; Fraud, Mutual Mistake, Duress. Read Chapter 13. Brief the case beginning on page 391.

14. Monday, March 10 - Contracts; Illegality. Read Chapter 15. Brief the cases beginning on pages 421 and 426.

15. Wednesday, March 12 - Contracts; Writing; Statute of Frauds. Read Chapter 16 (pages 434 - 441) [up to Sale of Goods for $500 or More]). Brief the case beginning on page 437.

16. Monday, March 24 - Contracts; UCC Statute of Frauds; Parol Evidence Rule. Read Chapter 16 (pages 441 - 452). Brief the case beginning on page 446.

17. Wednesday, March 26 - Contracts; Rights of Third Parties. Read Chapter 17. Brief the case beginning on page 458.

18. Monday, March 31 - Test #2 on the reading assignments in Chapters 13, 14, 15, 16 and 17.

19. Wednesday, April 2 - Agency Relationship. Read Chapter 35 (pages 916 - 919). Brief the case 
beginning on page 917.

20. Monday, April 7 - Agency; Fiduciary Duties. Read Chapter 35 (pages 922 - 931). Brief the case beginning on page 925.

21. Wednesday, April 9 - Agency; Contracts with Third Persons. Read Chapter 36 (pages 934 - 944). Brief the case beginning on page 937.

22. Monday, April 14 - Agency; Tort Liability. Read Chapter 35 (pages 919 - 921). Also Read Chapter 36 (pages 944 - 949). Brief the cases beginning on pages 920 and 946.

23. Wednesday, April 16 - Crimes; White-Collar Crimes and the Dilemmas of Corporate Control. Read Chapter 5 (pages 126 - 139, and pages 158 - 169). Brief the case beginning on page 165.

24. Monday, April 21 - Constitutional Limitations on Criminal Procedure. Read Chapter 5 (pages 139 - 158). Brief the case beginning on page 144. 

25. Wednesday, April 23 - Intentional Torts. Read Chapter 6 (pages 176 - 201). Brief the case beginning on page 187.

26. Monday, April 28 - Intentional Torts. Read Chapter 6 (pages 201 - 210). Brief the case beginning on page 207.

27. Wednesday, April 30 - Negligence. Read Chapter 7. Brief the case beginning on page 236.

28. Monday, May 5, at 4:00 P.M. (BLAW 251-11), 6:00 P.M. (BLAW 251-6M1) - Final Exam on the reading assignments in Chapters 5, 6, 7, 35, and 36.