Chapter 24 (Intellectual Property)
Chapter 25 (Property)
Chapter 26 (Consumer Law)
1. Analyze each of these three cases in your mind and then state the legal issues to be considered.
2. Evaluate the legal issues in this case and determine the strengths and weaknesses of (a.) the suit by the Plaintiff against the defendant. List the strengths and weaknesses you identify.
3. Deduce logical and specific arguments based on the information you have learned in Chapters 1, 4, and 6 of your textbook and what you have learned in this course. (I am looking for verifiable deductions from the material we have covered and not just your opinion). You also must cite the source which is the basis for your deduction such as the cases or the writings that are similar which we have covered. You may also seek and cite outsource reputable sources.
4. Infer and state your logical legal conclusions based on your analysis, evaluations, and evidence you have previously stated. This legal conclusion should include (a.) who should win the law suit, and legally why and (b.) who should win the law suit.
Case #1 – The San Antonio Retail Merchants Association (SARMA) maintained credit reports on consumers. In 1974, William Daniel Thompson allowed his account at a jewelry store to become delinquent. SARMA placed a derogatory credit rating into Thompson’s file but failed to include his Social Security number. In 1978, William Douglas Thompson applied for credit with Gulf Oil Corporation and Montgomery Ward in San Antonio. SARMA erroneously reported to Gulf Oil and to Montgomery Ward the bad debt record of William Daniel Thompson. As a result, both Gulf and Montgomery Ward denied credit to William Douglas Thompson. Initially, William Douglas Thompson believed he had been denied credit because of his 1976 burglary conviction. In 1979, he learned the true reason. After discovering the error, William Douglas Thompson attempted to get SARMA to correct the error. SARMA, however, repeatedly sent him letters addressed to William Daniel Thompson and failed to correct the erroneous credit report. William Douglas Thompson sued SARMA, and the lower court ruled in favor of him. The court further awarded him $10,000 in damages for mental distress plus attorney’s fees. SARMA appealed to the higher court and also appealed on the grounds that Thompson failed to prove any actual damages. Should SARMA be liable to William Douglas Thompson, and if so, under what legal theory? What legal statute would this come under. Explain the legal terms relied upon in this case. What is the legal basis for the Plaintiff’s (William DouglasThompson) case? Substantiate your answer by legal reasoning. What is the legal basis for the defendant (SARMA)? Explain this defense. Substantiate your answer by legal reasoning. Explain your answer fully. Thompson v. San Antonio retail Merchants Association, United States Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit, 682 F.2d 509 (1982)
Case #2 -– In the late 1960s and early 1970s, AT&T Corporation developed and started using “YOU HAVE MAIL” in its e-mail ***
Case #3 – – In 1936, Margaret Mitchell wrote the very famous book entitled Gone With The Wind. Since its release, it has become the second highest sale of a book second only to the Bible. The award wining movie of the same name stared Clark Gable and Vivien Leigh won 8 Academy Awards. Hattie McDaniel was the first Black woman to win an Oscar and she did so for her roll as “Mammy.”
In 2000, Alice Randall of Nashville, Tennessee decided that she was going to write a similar book which she entitled “The Wind Done Gone.” She used the same setting, the same time frame of the old South before and during the Civil War, and the same characters. However, Randall changed the plot to revolve around not the slave owner’s perspective but the slaves themselves that lived on “Tara,” the plantation in Margaret Mitchell’s original story. The owners of the original copyright of the first book (Suntrust Bank as trustees for the estate of Margaret Mitchell) then sued Randall and her publishers, Houghton Mifflin Company for copyright infringements. Randall defended on the Fair Use exception to the copyright laws of the United States and in particular, that her book was a parody.
The trial court held that the new book, The Wind Done Gone, was an infringement and barred its further distribution. Randall then appealed to the higher court. What should the higher court hold and what would be the legal reasoning for the higher court. Explain the defenses argued by Randall. What should be the ultimate outcome? (Hint) Ultimately, this case was settled. Can you find the outcome that actually happened? Suntrust Bank, as Trustee of the Stephen Mitchell Trusts v. Houghton Mifflin Company, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 268 F.3d 1257 (2001).
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