NYU Stern School of Business

Undergraduate College

SOIM-UB.0006.001 (C40.0006): LAW, BUSINESS & SOCIETY

Spring 2013

Instructor Details

Patterson, Maria


MON & WED, 11:00 -12:30 and 1:30-3:00

Tisch 435








TA Office Hours:      THURS, 4:00-5:00, BY APPOINTM’T, E&Y LEARNING CTR.


TA email:                   nur202@stern.nyu.edu


Course Meetings

MW, 9:30am to 10:45am

Tisch T-UC15

Final Exam:

Schedule exceptions
    Class will not meet on:
    Class will meet on:


Social Impact Core Curriculum

In the Social Impact Core Curriculum, NYU Stern undergraduate students: 


Course Description

The Law, Business and Society course builds on prior coursework within the Social Impact Core Curriculum by challenging students to think about legal systems and appreciate how they have evolved and continue to evolve in relation to business and society. The interaction between law and business is multi-dimensional involving social, political, ethical and technological considerations. Students will examine how key areas of business law influence the structure of domestic and international business relationships, while honing their analytical, communication, conflict resolution and team problem solving skills. The students will learn how businesses play an active role in shaping the very laws that govern them through lobbying, public relations and the media.

The learning objectives of this course are: 

1) to familiarize students with some of the legal dilemmas that can arise in the course of business practice;

2) to introduce students to how professionals effectively navigate complex problems that lack a clear right answer; and

3) to provide students with the opportunity to articulate and defend courses of action that are coherent with their own values. 

These themes are developed in reference to a series of readings drawn from judicial decisions, statutes, recent news reports, multimedia (videos, podcasts, etc.) and materials specifically drafted for this course by NYU Stern faculty. The course readings are posted on Blackboard, and students are expected to come to class having read the assigned readings for that class session and reflected on their meaning. Class discussion is a critical component of this course. 

Each class session may include a variety of activities, including:  discussion, in-class reading and writing, role-playing, and other participatory exercises.  These activities will be designed and facilitated by the professor to allow students to engage in reflective dialogue with each other. The overarching themes of this dialogue include: the relationship between law, business and society; the foundations of individual rights; and the role each of society’s stakeholders play in infringing or protecting such individual rights.

Written assignments build upon the classroom discussion. Each assignment requires that the students assume a hypothetical role such as a legislative assistant, editorial writer, advocate or judicial clerk and present persuasive arguments justifying a position on a particular issue. In some assignments students will argue opposing positions in order to encourage debate.


Course Requirements

1. Individual Legal Assignments

Students will complete three written assignments, 3 to 5 pages in length (typed in 12-point font and double spaced with 1” margins), which analyze specific issues introduced in the course, synthesize these issues in reference to the cases and the readings, and present reflective arguments about legal issues within the context of business and society. Each of these assignments will be completed individually.

All students are required to submit their papers using the Assignments tab on Blackboard.  Integrated within Blackboard is Turnitin, an online plagiarism prevention and detection software that enables faculty to compare the content of submitted assignments to data on the Internet, commercial databases, and previous papers submitted to the system. Additional information about expectations regarding academic integrity appears below.

2. Group Work Assignment: U.S. Supreme Court Debate


In addition to the Legal Assignments, students will work in groups to debate pending U.S. Supreme Court cases. Students will present their team’s legal position as either appellant or appellee (or petitioner or respondent) to the class. Students will work together and share the responsibility for the debates. Debate preparation will take place throughout the second half of the semester. The debates will take place during the last 2 days of class.


3. Final Exam


4. Classroom Participation & Homework

Classroom participation, attendance and daily homework assignments will be computed into an overall grade.  Attendance will be taken since a portion of the class participation grade will be determined by attendance in class.  There will be written homework assignments due for most class sessions consisting of case briefs for each assigned case.


NYU Stern Grading Policies

At NYU Stern we seek to teach challenging courses that allow students to demonstrate differential mastery of the subject matter. Assigning grades that reward excellence and reflect differences in performance is important to ensuring the integrity of our curriculum.  In core courses, our faculty adopted a standard of rigor for teaching where: 

Note that while we use these ranges as a guide, the actual distribution for this course (as well as each individual grade) will depend upon how well each student actually performs in this course.  Please see www.stern.nyu.edu/undergraduate/grading"Teaching and Grading at the NYU Stern Undergraduate College” for more information. 

In line with Grading Guidelines for the NYU Stern Undergraduate College, the process of assigning of grades is intended to be one of unbiased evaluation. This means that students are encouraged to respect the integrity and authority of the professor’s grading system and discouraged from pursuing arbitrary challenges to it.  If a student feels that an inadvertent error has been made in the grading of an individual assignment or in assessing an overall course grade, a request to have that grade re-evaluated may be submitted. Students should submit such requests in writing to the professor within 7 days of receiving the grade, including a brief written statement of why he or she believes that an error in grading has been made. 


Course Grades and Evaluation Criteria

Grade Breakdown

Classroom Participation


3  Written Legal Assignments                            

45% (15% each)

US Supreme Court Debate


Final Exam


Classroom Participation Criteria




A student receiving an A/A- comes to class prepared; contributes readily to the conversation but does not dominate it; makes thoughtful contributions based on the assigned readings that advance the conversation; and demonstrates an excellent understanding of the course readings.


A student receiving a B+ comes to class prepared; makes thoughtful comments when called; contributes occasionally without prompting; and demonstrates a very good understanding of the course readings.


A student receiving a B comes to class prepared, but does not voluntarily contribute to discussions and gives only minimal answers when called upon.  Such student shows interest in the discussion, listening attentively and taking notes. 

B- & below

A student that fails to satisfy the requirements outlined above will receive a B- & below in class participation. The most likely way to receive this grade is by failing to be prepared, frequent class absences (unless excused by professor), and demonstrating a lack of knowledge of the course readings when called upon in class.

Criteria for Written Legal Assignments

Your Teaching Assistant (TA), who is a student at NYU Law School, will provide students with feedback to improve their legal writing skills.  Prior to each paper deadline, students will have the option to present a draft to their TA for guidance.   

Once the papers are submitted via Blackboard, the TA, in conjunction with the Professor, will read and evaluate them in terms of the following criteria: 


Course Materials

All course materials are located on the Blackboard page for this course. Individual professors may supplement these materials with additional handouts and readings. 


Academic Integrity

Integrity is critical to the learning process and to all that we do here at NYU Stern. All students are expected to abide by the NYU Stern Student Code of Conduct. A student’s responsibilities include, but are not limited to: 

Please see www.stern.nyu.edu/uc/codeofconduct for more information.


Students with Disabilities

Students whose class performance may be affected due to a disability should notify the professor early in the semester so that arrangements can be made, in consultation with the Henry and Lucy Moses Center for Students with Disabilities, to accommodate their needs. 

Please see www.nyu.edu/csd for more information.


NYU Stern Course Policies


Course Schedule

For every class session, students are expected to read the assignments and be prepared to discuss them in class. Being unprepared does not excuse an absence, and students are expected to be present even if unprepared. If the student is unable to prepare for a class, he or she should notify the professor via email or in person prior to that class.


The schedule set forth below is subject to change as the need arises.  Students will be notified of any changes on Blackboard or via email.





January 28

Sources of Law, Federal & State Courts, Stare Decisis & Precedent


January 30

Jurisdiction, Litigation & Alternative Dispute Resolution


February 4

US Constitution, Federal, State & Individual Rights


February 6

US Constitution, Federal, State & Individual Rights


February 11

Criminal Law


February 13

Agency Law & Fiduciary Duty

Assignment #1

Handed Out

February 18

No Class – Presidents’ Day


February 20

Employment Law


February 25

Employment Law

(Employment Debates)


February 27

Introduction to Contracts

Assignment #1 Due

March 4

Agreement & Consideration

Assignment #2

Handed Out

March 6

Legality, Capacity, Statute of Frauds & Parol Evidence Rule


March 11


(Contracts Debate)


March 13

Performance & Conditions, Remedies

Assignment #2 Due on Friday, March 15, by Noon

March 18 - 24



March 25

Introduction/Intentional Torts


March 27

Negligence/Strict Liability & Defenses

Assignment #3

Handed Out

April 1

Product Liability


April 3

Tort & Product Liability Debates


April 8

Property Rights: Real & Personal


April 10

Intellectual Property

Assignment #3 Due

April 15

Intellectual Property


April 17

Business Organizations: Introduction


April 22

Business Organizations: Corporation Law Issues


April 24

Securities Law


April 29

Catch Up


May  1

Debate Preparation


May 6



May 8



May 13 

Last Day of Classes-Exam Review & Preparation


May 15-21

Final Exams

Exam currently scheduled for Wed., 5/15, 8-9:50AM








COURSE READINGS: all readings are on Blackboard unless otherwise noted


*********************************************************************SOURCES OF LAW, FEDERAL & STATE COURTS,


Monday, Jan. 28

Section Outlines: “Introduction to the American Legal System” & “Sources of Law”

Folders: Relationship between Federal and State Courts; Stare Decisis and Precedent

How to Read a Case: Homework Worksheet

Citation Guide



Wed., Jan. 30

Section Outlines: Jurisdiction”,Chart of General Litigation Process

Folders: Civil vs. Criminal Litigation; Mediation and Arbitration

Cases:  Brown v. Board of Education, 347 U.S. 483 (1954); International Shoe v. Washington 326 U.S. 310 (1945)

“Legal Options Limited for Alumni Who Told of Abuse at Horace Mann”, New York Times, June 12, 2012

“Loser Pays” Doesn’t, Legal Affairs Magazine

“U.S. Nears BP Settlement”, Wall Street Journal, June 2012

*********************************************************************THE U. S.CONSTITUTION, FEDERAL, STATE AND INDIVIDUAL RIGHTS

Mon., Feb. 4 and Wed., Feb. 6

Section Outline:US Constitution, Federal, State & Individual Rights” (For Feb. 4)

 The Constitution of the United Sates & Amendments (For Feb. 4)

Cases:  McDonald v. Chicago 561 U.S. 3025 (2010); United States v. Lopez, 514 U.S. 549 (1995);Roe v. Wade, 410 U.S. 113 (1973) (For Feb. 6)

 “Benched: The Supreme Court and The Struggle For Independence”, The New Yorker, June 18, 2012 (For Feb. 4)

The Creation of the US Constitution, National Archives (For Feb. 4)



*********************************************************************CRIMINAL LAW

Mon., Feb. 11

Section Outline: “Criminal Law”

Criminal Procedure Overview

Cases:  Board of Education V. Earls, 536 U.S. 822 (2002); McBoyle v. United States, 283 U.S. 25 (1931)

“US Argues to Preserve GPS Tracking”, Wall Street Journal, May 31, 2012

“Making Us Safer, One iPad at a Time”, New York Times, December 15, 2012



Wed., Feb. 13

Section Outline: Agency & Fiduciary Duty

Cases: Edgewater Motels v. Gatzke, 277 N.W. 2d 11 (1979); Riviello v. Waldron, 47 N.Y.2d 297 (1979); Edinburg Volunteer Fire Company v. Danko Emergency Equipment Company, 55 A.D. 3d 1108 (3rd Dep’t 2008)



Wed., Feb. 20 and Mon., Feb. 25 – All readings to be done for Feb. 20

Section Outline:Employment Law; Key Federal Employment Discrimination Statutes (For Feb. 20)

Federal Discrimination Laws Enforced by the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) (For Feb. 20)

Cases: Harris v. Forklift, 510 U.S. 17 (1993); Chadwick v. Wellpoint, 561 F.3d 38 (2009); Sullivan v. Harnisch, 19 N.Y.3d 259 (2012) (For Feb. 20)

 “The Smokers’ Surcharge”, New York Times, Nov. 16, 2011 (For Feb. 20)

“Even If It Enrages Your Boss, Social Net Speech Is Protected,” New York Times, Jan. 22, 2013 (For Feb. 20)



Introduction to Contracts – Wed., Feb. 27

Section Outline:Contracts

The Common Law, Oliver Wendell Holmes, Jr.

Cases:  Marvin v. Marvin, 557 P.2d 106 (1976);Hoffman v. Red Owl Stores, Inc., 26 Wis.2d 683 (1965);Lucy v. Zehmer, 84 S.E.2d 516 (1954)

Agreement and Consideration – Mon., March 4

Section Outline:Agreement & Consideration”

YouTube: Pepsi Commercial http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZdackF2H7Qc

Cases: Leonard v. Pepsico, 88 F. Supp. 2d 116, (1999); Hamer v. Sidway, 27 N.E. 256 (1891);Osprey LLC v. Kelly-Moore Paint, 984 P.2d 194 (1999)

Legality, Capacity, Statute of Frauds & Parol Evidence Rule – Wed., March 6

Section Outlines:Capacity; Illegal Contracts; Statute of Frauds & Parol Evidence Rule

Cases: Jones v. Star Credit Corp., 59 Misc.2d 189 (1969);Dodson v. Shrader, 824 S.W.2d 545 (1992);Michel v. Bush, 146 Ohio App. 3d 208 (2001)

Defenses to Contract Enforcement –Mon., March 11

Section Outline:Defenses to Contract Enforcement

Cases: Raffles v. Wichelhaus, 2 Hurl. & C. 906 (Court of Exchequer 1864);Donovan v. RRL Corp, Corp., 27 P. 3d 702 (Cal: Supreme Court 2001); Vokes v. Arthur Murray, 212 So. 2d 906 (Fla: Dist. Court of Appeal, 2nd Dist. 1968);Stambovsky v. Ackley, 169 AD 2d 254 (N.Y. Sup.Ct, App. Div., 1st Dept. 1991)

“Buying a Trump Property or So They Thought, New York Times, May 12, 2011


Performance, Conditions and Remedies – Wed., March 13

Section Outlines:Performance & Conditions; Remedies

Cases: Jacob and Youngs v. Kent, 129 N.E. 889(Court of Appeals, NY 1921); Parker v. Twentieth Century Fox, 474 P.2d 689(1970); Hadley v. Baxendale, Court of Exchequer, All ER Rep 461 (1854); 135 East 57th Street v. Daffy's, Inc., 2011 Slip Op. 08497 (1st Dep't Nov. 22, 2011)


Introduction and Intentional Torts – Mon., March 25

Section Outline: Intentional Torts

“To Singers, Ad Sounds Too Familiar”, New York Times, June 7, 2012

“A Victim, Her Pictures and Facebook”, New York Times, 3/29/2011

The Right to Privacy, Justice Brandeis

Cases: Howard Stern v. Roach, 675 N.Y.S. 2d 133 (1998);Vanna White v. Samsung, 971 F.2d 1395 (1992);Carafano v. Metrosplash, 339 F.3d 1119 (9th Cir. 2003)

Negligence, Strict Liability and Defenses – Wed., March 27

Section Outline:Negligence

Cases: Palsgraf v. LIRR, 248 NY 339, (1928);Zambo v. Tom-Car Foods, Inc., 2010-Ohio-474 (2010); James v. Meow Media, 300 F.3d 683 (2002); Walt Disney World v. Wood, 515 So.2d 198 (1987);Zokhrabov v. Park, 2011 Ill. App. (1st) 102672

*********************************************************************PRODUCT LIABILITY

Mon., April 1

Section Outline: Product Liability

Cases: MacPherson v. Buick, 217 N.Y. 382 (1916);Ward v. Arm and Hammer, 341 F. Supp 2.d 499 (2004); Greenman v. Yuba Power Products, Inc., 59 C.2d 57 (1963); Voss v. Black & Decker, 59 N.Y. 2d 102 (1983)

Express & Implied Warranties under the Uniform Commercial Code

YouTube: Wendy's Finger In Chili April 2008; Tylenol Cyanide Deaths 1982



Wed., April 3 – Debate topics to be assigned; all students to read all materials

“Hazing Confessions of a Dartmouth Alum”, Ravital Segal, Huffington Post, April 9, 2012

“Confessions of An Ivy League Frat Boy: Inside Dartmouth’s Hazing Abuses,” Janet Reitman, Rolling Stone, March 28, 2012

Brueckner v. Norwich University, 730 A.2d 1086 (1999); Walker v. Phi Beta Sigma Fraternity, 706 So. 2d 525 (1997)

Legal Myths: The McDonald's Hot Coffee Case



Mon., April 8

Section Outline:  To be Posted

Cases: Poyck v. Bryant, 2006 NY Slip Op 26343, 13 Misc. 3d 699 (Civ. Ct., N.Y. Co. 2006)

“If Things Fall Apart, Who Gets the Ring?” New York Times, October 5, 2008

“The Return of Engagement Gifts”, New York Law Journal, October 27, 1998



Wed., April 10 and Mon., April 15

Section Outlines: Intellectual Property Comparison Chart; Intellectual Property; America Invents Act of 2011 (For April 10)

Patents, Cornell Legal Information Institute (For April 10)

Cases: Mattel v. MCA Records, 296 F.3d 894 (2002); MGM Studios v. Grokster, 545 U.S. 913 (2005); Suntrust Bank v. Houghton Mifflin Co., 268 F.3d 1257 (11 Cir. 2001); Salinger v. Colting, 607 F.3d 68 (2nd Cir. 2010) (For April 15)

Site to Resell Music Files Has Critics”, NYTimes, 11/14/11 (For April 15)

“Apple-Samsung Case Shows Smartphone as Legal Magnet”, New York Times, August 25, 2012 (For April 10)

“Trademarks Take on New Importance in Internet Era”, New York Times, February 20, 2012 (For April 10)

“The Seven Iconic Patents That Define Steve Jobs”, Techcrunch.com, August 25, 2011 (For April 10)

“Why Imitation Is the Sincerest Form of Fashion”, New York Times, 8/12/2010 (For April 10)


“Don't Stop Believing in Risk of Song Sharing”, Wall Street Journal, 11/5/2010 (For April 10)

*********************************************************************BUSINESS ORGANIZATIONS

Introduction, Wed., April 17

Section Outlines: Partnership; Limited Partnership; Corporations; Limited Liability Companies

Cases: Holmes v. Lerner, 88 Cal.Rptr.2d 130 (1999)Meinhard v. Salmon, 249 NY 458 (1928)

“Making the Breakup Much Easier”, New York Times, 2/20/2008

“OK, Partner, We Better Sign A Prenup”, Wall Street Journal, 5/11/2008

Corporate Entities, Fred Wilson, Venture Captalist

Pros and Cons of the LLC Model

Corporation Law Issues, Mon., April 22

Fiduciary Duties of a Director & Conflicts of Interest

 “With New Law, Profits Take a Back Seat”, New York Times, January 19, 2012

"Down with Shareholder Value," NY Times, Aug. 10, 2012

Cases: Smith v. Van Gorkom, 488 A.2d 858 (Supreme Court of Delaware 1985); Geringer v. Wildhorn Ranch, 706 F.Supp. 1442 (1988); Citizens United v. Federal Election Commission, 130 S. Ct. 876 (2010)




Wed., April 24

Section Outline: Securities Fraud

The Laws That Govern the Securities Industry. http://www.sec.gov

What Is Fair Disclosure? http://www.sec.gov

Insider Trading http://www.sec.gov

Cases: SEC v. Dirks, 463 US 646 (1983); United States v. O'Hagan, 521 US 642 (1997); Martha Stewart

“Financial Reform Law: What’s In It and How Does it Work?” Christian Science Monitor, 7/21/2010

“Confessions of an Inside Trader”, Wall Street Journal, 4/16/2011

“Fund Titan Found Guilty”, Wall Street Journal, 5/12/2011

 “How Wall Street Lawyer Turned Insider Trader Eluded the FBI”, Bloomberg, July 31, 2012

Folder: Mark Cuban Case



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