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BA 233 – Legal Environment of Business



BA 233 Fall 2016

Legal Environment of Business

Section 004:  Monday 8:00 – 9:50

    Section 005:  Monday 10:00 – 11:50

Section 001:  Monday 4:00 – 5:50

Austin Hall Room 100

Instructor:  David J. Feeney

Email:  Email:

Office:  Austin Hall, Room 483

Office Hours:   Tuesday:  11:00 am – 12:00 pm

                          Wednesday: 10:00 am – 12:00 pm

If you are not available during these times, please do not hesitate to

contact me to schedule office hours during another time.


Course Description and Objectives

The purpose of this course is provide a business student an introduction and understanding of the legal environment and an appreciation of how business is affected by legal concepts and application.   Many of the legal topics discussed apply on an individual level as well.  This course has two major objectives:  (i) develop the ability to think critically and reason logically, using cases, text, and other sources to illustrate how legal thought is developed; and, (ii) acquisition of knowledge about legal issues to assist in making effective business decisions, as employees, employers, government agents, business partners, etc. 


A student who successfully completes this course should be able to:


  1. Recognize, assess, and analyze important legal issues affecting business.
  2. Understand and explain the structure, powers, organization and jurisdiction of the federal and state court systems.
  3. Explain the key provisions of the U.S. Constitution that impact business and the concepts of federalism and separation of powers.
  4. Know the role of administrative agencies as a source of American law and be able to describe the three functions of the administrative process.
  5. Understand the various forms of alternate dispute resolution.
  6. Have an awareness of and the ability to analyze ethical and social responsibility issues in the business context.
  7. Identify and explain the most critical elements of valid and enforceable contracts, including offer and acceptance, consideration, mutual assent, capacity, legality, and the Statute of Frauds, as well as legal issues involving performance, breach and remedies for non-performance.
  8. Understand and explain the concept of criminal liability, common crimes, defenses, and basic criminal procedure.
  9. Identify and explain the most common torts against persons, businesses and property as well as the concept of negligence and other forms of tort liability.
  10. Understand the basic concepts of an agency relationship and employment relationship.






Text:  The required textbook is The Legal Environment of Business, Frank B. Cross and Roger LeRoy Miller (9th Edition, Cengage Learning 2015). 


Read assigned materials before class.  Class attendance is important.  Much of this course content will be discussed in class.  Therefore, come to class prepared.  Preparation means giving your full attention, volunteering answers, ideas, thoughts and constructive suggestions during discussion. 


Be on time.  If you arrive to class late, please join the class in progress.  If you need to leave the class early, please advise the instructor in advance, if possible.  No tape recordings of lectures permitted.  Course schedule is subject to change.  There may be additional photocopied readings compiled and distributed.  You will be required to study these as well as any other assigned readings as part of your preparation for class.  Foreign language dictionaries may be used at any time, including during exams.


Sustainability: Consistent with the College of Business’s sustainability efforts, you may make the sustainable choice to use an electronic resource without making a paper copy. Students may not use copies of assigned readings, PowerPoint slides, or class handouts on in-class exams, so there is no exam benefit to making a paper copy of these course supplements.




            Component                  Possible Points, Each    Quantity           Total Possible Points

  Quizzes                                    10                        5                                 50

  Midterm Exam                       100                        1                               100

  Short Essays                              25                        1                                 25

  Court Visitation                        25                        1                                 25

  Final Exam                              100                        1                               100

Course Total                                                                                          300


Grading Expectations. An “A” is earned by excellent students who consistently outperform their peers.  A “B” is earned for average work relative to peers. A “C” is earned for work that meets minimal requirements. A “D” or “F” is earned for work that fails to meet minimal requirements.


You may calculate an estimate of your course grade at any time during the term by adding up the points you have received.  Available points to earn the applicable grade as follows:






93.0% – 100%


73.0% - 76.9%


90.0% - 92.9%


70.0% - 72.9%


87.0% - 89.9%


67.0% - 69.9%


83.0% - 86.9%


63.0% - 66.9%


80.0% - 82.9%


60.0% - 62.9%


77.0% - 79.9%


Below 60.0%




**Unless there is a calculation error, grades are final unless questioned within one week of receiving the grade and before the last day of class.


Quizzes and Assignments: In addition to the assigned reading, you will have 5 quizzes to be completed on Canvas (see Class Outline and Assignment schedule (last page of syllabus for due dates – quizzes are due by 8:00 pm on their respective due dates).  The quizzes will focus mostly (but not exclusively) on those topics covered in the previous classes.  If you do not complete the work on time and do not have an acceptable excuse, you will receive zero points.


Midterm: A midterm covering multiple chapters from your text and lecture material will be given approximately half way through the term. 


Short Essays:  There will be 5 short essay questions.  Each essay will be valued at 5 points for a total of 25 points.  Your answers to the essay questions must be in the IRAC format (see below).  The essays are to be completed outside of the classroom.  They are individual assignments.  The essays are due no later than Monday, November 28, 2016 at 5:00 pm on Canvas; however you may turn your essays in any time throughout the term. 


The short essay questions are as follows found on pages (in parenthesis) in the text:



IRAC is the method in which most courts write decisions. It was extremely helpful to me in law school. I also think it helps solve problems in other disciplines as well. It certainly helps students begin to learn logical thinking.

I = Issue
R = Rule
A = Analysis / Application
C = Conclusion

Issue - What is the legal issue or question raised by the facts of a case. Said in another way, what is the legal issue or question the court (you) are trying to answer? Often, the chapter question provides you with the legal issue. Sometimes, you should try to be more specific. For instance, some questions ask at the end: “How should the court decide this case?” Of course, that is the general question of every single case ever tried in court. It isn't specific enough. Instead, a more specific way to state the issue might be, for instance, “Did the plaintiff breach the contract?” or “Is X Corporation liable for a defective product that injured a 3rd party?”

Rule - State and explain or define the law or rule that applies to this case. You will have read the rule somewhere in the chapter. As an example:  Hearsay is testimony someone gives in court about a statement made by someone else who was not under oath at the time of the statement.”  “Hearsay is not admissible as evidence.”  In this section, you do not discuss the facts of the case - you just state the rule that would apply in any case involving this particular issue. Make sure you include an explanation of the rule - not just the name.
Application / Analysis Here you apply the rule you've identified above to the facts to reach a conclusion. Said another way, you analyze the facts according to the law to reach a conclusion. There are always two sides to each case. While sometimes one side has a much stronger argument than the other, and obviously the court will decide the case based on the strongest argument, that does not mean the other's argument is necessarily invalid. Assuming you've identified the correct issue and rule, your conclusion will usually not be “wrong” provided your analysis is logical.  The majority of the class may not subscribe to your conclusion; however, what I am looking for is whether you support your conclusion with sound reasoning.

Conclusion -
This can be a one sentence statement. Carrying forth with the example above:  the witness’ testimony was hearsay (for the reasons set forth in your application) therefore the court shall exclude it as inadmissible evidence.”


Late Assignments:  Five points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late.  Any assignment submitted after Friday, December 2, 2016 at 5:00 pm will receive zero credit. 


Court Visitation:  Attend any court hearing/case of your choice during this term.  The project is to be completed outside of the classroom.  This is an individual assignment.  The essays are due no later than Monday, November 7, 2016 at 5:00 pm on Canvas; however you may turn your essays in any time throughout the term. 


Caption:  who:  the parties in the dispute; name of the judge

                            where:  name and location of the court

                            when:  date of the hearing/case

                            what:  civil or criminal hearing/case


            Facts:  Act as a court reporter. 

·         Why is there a hearing/case? 

·         What was/were the issue(s), the cause(s), the matter(s), etc. before the court? 

·         What did the parties or their attorneys say or how did they act? 

·         What did the judge say or how did he/she act?

·         Were there witnesses, was there evidence discussed?  Explain how they were presented, how the parties responded, why you think they were presented. 


Your reaction:  Describe your thoughts of being in court.  Was this your first visit to a courthouse?  Did your experience differ from other court experiences or what you thought would occur in the courthouse.  What did you find unique, shocking, interesting, frustrating, etc.?


Learning experience:  What did you learn from a legal perspective?  Explain what you observed as it relates to class.  For example:  standard of proof, witness testimony, jurisdiction, cross-examination, judges application of the law to the hearing/case, etc.


Late Assignments:  Five points will be deducted for each day an assignment is late.  Any assignment submitted after Friday, November 11, 2016 at 5:00 pm will receive zero credit.   


Proper grammar insisted to all written assignments.

Final Exam: The final exam is non-comprehensive and may test any material (lecture, text, class problems, etc.) covered in the course since the midterm exam.  The final exam will be given at the date and time assigned by the University.


Written Petition for Exceptions to Syllabus Rules


You may make a written petition for an exception to the syllabus rules if you have a serious emergency or other extreme circumstances that prevent you from complying with the rules in this syllabus or the Instructor’s Additional Requirements that supplement this syllabus.  No make-ups of the midterm or the final exam will be allowed unless arranged in advance or due to an emergency or other extreme situation. The following circumstances generally are not adequate reasons to support a make-up of a missed test or exam: illnesses not requiring hospitalization, doctor’s appointments, work schedule conflicts, lateness due to over-sleeping, conflicts with class schedule and travel home for a holiday or break or travel delays upon returning to campus.


Petition format/Time to Appeal: You must make your petition in writing and state the circumstances and reasons you believe that an exception should be made for you.  Include your name, email address, and class number (BA 233) and your class section number (1 or 2) on the petition. Petitions regarding late homework or a missed midterm will not be considered unless received by me within one week of the due date for the homework or test date.  Petitions to take the midterm or final exam on a date different than the scheduled date must be made to me in advance, at least two weeks in advance except for emergencies, and will be granted only for extreme circumstances.  You must deliver your petition to me in person or by email. Do not deliver petitions to my office, faculty services, or through the mail. If you are unable to take the midterm or final exam on the scheduled date for any reason other than a conflict between two or more exams, I reserve the right to substitute a 1000 word, research paper on an assigned legal topic in lieu of the scheduled exam.


Class Participation


I highly encourage questions to be asked in class regarding material that you may not understand or need clarification.  Additionally, I consider such questions relevant to the course material as class participation. 

The class discussions should be a safe haven within which individuals can discuss the issues without fearing retribution, ridicule, or attack.  For this to happen, we must assume that we are all persons of intelligence and good will who may disagree.  The single absolute rule is that you cannot be disrespectful, no matter how deeply you may hold your beliefs and opinions.  Your opinions will not affect your grade in any way.


Academic Dishonesty:


According to OSU student conduct regulations, academic dishonesty is defined as an intentional act of deception in which a student seeks to claim credit for the work or effort of another person or uses unauthorized materials or fabricated information in any academic work. Refer to the OSU Student Conduct code (576-015-0020) for a comprehensive definition of academic  dishonesty. All cases of suspected academic dishonesty will be handled in strict accordance with OSU policy and College of Business policy.


COB Code of Honor:

A code of honor represents the moral commitments of those abiding to it. While each person lives by his or her personal code, the establishment of collective values creates a universal goal to which we can aspire. It is through the pursuit of these professional attributes that we reduce the possibility of immoral actions ourselves.

In order to uphold our personal character and the organization that we proudly call our own, we take this oath.

The quality of being honest and having strong moral principles, integrity stands as the backbone of character and is essential for success.

Respect for others and yourself is a commitment to the fair treatment of and the fair competition with others. Through respect we embolden the character of others and ourselves.

We are held accountable for our words and actions as professionals to embed a steadfast commitment to honor in our decisions.


Make-up exams


Make-up exams will not be given without a proper excuse.  As an example, if you are ill and unable to sit for the midterm when scheduled, I will require a note from your doctor.  In the event a justified excuse is determined the student and instructor shall find a suitable time for the midterm to be made up.  If the midterm cannot be made up, the final will be weighted at 200 points for the terms total grade.  Barring exceptional reasons, no make-up exam for the final will be given unless the student has received advanced permission.


Extra Help


The study of law is very interesting but can also be challenging.  My goal is to assist each student in getting the most out of this class as possible.  Please do not hesitate to meet me outside of class for any additional help.  You can reach me by email as well and I will try to respond as timely as I can.  However, generally, on weekends I may be unavailable. 

Disability Accommodation: 

Accommodations are collaborative efforts between students, faculty and Services for Students with Disabilities (SSD). Students with accommodations approved through SSD are responsible for contacting the faculty member in charge of the course prior to or during the first week of the term to discuss accommodations. Students who believe they are eligible for accommodations but who have not yet obtained approval through SSD should contact SSD immediately at 737-4098.




The use of laptops, netbooks or PDAs in class to take class notes, view power points or work on class projects is allowed.  However, please do not use laptops, netbooks or PDAs in class for any other non-class related activity (including instant messaging, web-browsing, etc.) unless specifically permitted by the instructor.  For those students using laptops, netbooks or PDAs, please sit toward the back of the classroom so as to provide as little possible disturbance to other students.


BA 233 Fall 2016
Class Outline and Assignments





The Legal Environment of Business


September 26


Chapter 1

Introduction to the Class; Legal Reasoning.


October 3

Chapter 2

Quiz #1 – 8:00 pm

Overview of  the Legal System and the Courts


October 10

Chapter 5


Constitutional Law and Authority


October 17

Chapters 7

Quiz #2 – 8:00 pm

Criminal Law


October 24

Chapter 6 & 3

Quiz #3 – 8:00 pm

ADR & Administrative Law


October 31


Midterm Exam


November 7

Chapter 9

Court Visitation – 5:00 pm

Contract Formation


November 14

Chapter 10

Quiz#4 – 8:00 pm

Contract Performance, Breach and Remedies


November 21

Chapter 4


Legal Ethics



November 28

Chapter 12

Short Essays Due – 5:00 pm

Torts:  Sections 1-3



Quiz #5 – 8:00 pm


Final Exam

December 5 - 9


Final Exam:  Date/Time/Location TBD


The syllabus is a guide, not a contract, and therefore may be changed as necessary.  If changes are made, I will announce them in class and place them on the board, generally at least one class in advance of the due date for an assignment, etc.