Part I—Case Studies
Select one of the three case studies given below. Analyze the facts in the scenarios and develop appropriate arguments and recommendations using case law and scholarly sources.
Scenario 1: Criminal Law
Hank’s Hunting & Fishing Supply, with stores located throughout the state of Utopia, sells a wide variety of sporting goods, including guns. Section 323.45 of the Utopia Penal Code requires every seller of guns to verify that the purchaser has not committed a felony in any state within the past five years. If the purchaser has committed a felony within the past five years, the seller is not allowed to complete the sale. Selling a gun to a felon is considered a misdemeanor and is punishable by up to one year in jail and/or a maximum $10,000 fine.
Wayne Carver, who was convicted of a felony under Utopia’s penal code four years ago, purchased a gun at one of the Hank stores. Mel Loew, a salesman, sold Carver the gun without asking for identification or checking Carver’s criminal background. Loew never checked whether any of the customers to whom he sold guns were felons. He was not aware of the law requiring him to check on every customer’s prior criminal history. However, Warren Peace, Loew’s supervisor, knew of the law and also knew that Loew never checked whether a customer was a felon. Hank, the sole shareholder and director of Hank’s Hunting & Fishing Supply, knew about the law but did not know that Loew did not check on any customer’s prior criminal history.
Carver used the gun in a bank robbery and shot a police officer and a bystander during his getaway. Carver has not been apprehended.
Can Loew be punished under Section 323.45 of the Utopia Penal Code?
What are the potential causes of action for Peace, Hank, or Hank’s Hunting & Fishing Store?
What penalties should be assessed?
Does your state have a process that restores a felon’s rights to own firearms? If so, provide the law and a short description of the process. Do you feel the process is legal and ethical?
Scenario 2: Employment Law
Sarah Franklin, an Apostolic Christian, worked as an overnight stocker at SaveMore. One night, during a break, Franklin participated in a conversation about God, homosexuality, and same-sex marriages. The next day, an employee told the manager that Franklin made inappropriate comments about gays to Casey, a gay employee. Over the next six weeks, SaveMore investigated the incident by interviewing and obtaining statements from employees who were present during the conversation. In his statement, Casey reported that Franklin pointed her finger and said that God does not accept gays, that gays should “not be allowed to marry,” and that they will “go to hell.” Four employees confirmed that Franklin said that gays “are going to hell.”
SaveMore terminated Franklin’s employment after concluding she had engaged in serious harassment in violation of its Discrimination and Harassment Prevention Policy. This policy, of which Franklin was aware, prohibits employees from engaging in conduct that could reasonably be interpreted as harassment based on an individual’s status, including sexual orientation, and provides that employees who violate the policy will receive “coaching and/or other discipline, up to and including termination.” SaveMore has “zero tolerance” for harassment “regardless of whether such conduct rises to the level of unlawful discrimination or harassment” and treats serious harassment as gross misconduct and grounds for immediate termination.
Franklin filed suit, alleging that terminating her for stating that gays should not marry and will go to hell—a belief that she maintains is an aspect of her Apostolic Christian faith—constitutes unlawful discrimination under Title VII. Is she correct?
Would the outcome be different if Franklin posted the same information on her Facebook page but omitted references to the specific employee?
Scenario 3: Professional Torts
Medical malpractice is negligence committed by a physician or a pharmacist. Present a case of medical malpractice from your state by researching the South University Online Library or a scholarly source on the Internet.
Accordingly, respond to the following questions:
Summarize the facts of the case.
Provide your state’s law or regulation relating to malpractice by physicians or pharmacists.
Discuss the outcome of the case.
Explain whether you agree with the verdict. Why or why not?