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Applying Legal Principles and Ethical Considerations in Contemporary Business Contexts

Applying Legal Principles and Ethical Considerations in Contemporary Business Contexts

The contract between The Friendly Dawg and Landlord Lou

A valid contract exists between the Friendly Dawg and Landlord Lou. A valid contract has four main elements. These include an offer, consideration, acceptance, and mutuality. An offer exists when one of the parties promises to fulfill a certain obligation or avoid a specific action in the future. The value that a party gains from the offer is known as consideration. Acceptance of the offer brings a contract into existence. This can be done in words or deeds, and the party must reciprocate the initial terms of the offer. Mutuality is a clear understanding of and agreement with the contract aspects for both parties (LII, 2020).

The contract between Landlord Lou and The Friendly Dawg is considered valid because it contains the highlighted elements. First, there is a lease that states the factors of engagement. This contract highlights mutuality and has consideration in the amount of $500 monthly and indicates acceptance. The tenant’s deceased father signed the contract indicating the presence of an offer that led to the signing of the lease.

According to the signed lease, Landlord Lou is entitled to $500 each month from The Friendly Dawg. This amount is in exchange for rented space. The Friendly Dawg is entitled to space and maintenance of the property as stated in the lease. However, Landlord Lou is not obligated to maintain air conditioning for the sake of the live animals since these were not added to the existing lease. The lack of complaints from other tenants about air conditioning confirms that The Friendly Dawg raised the issue because of the animals. Landlord Lou can claim that The Friendly Dawg is violating the contract by keeping live animals, which are bringing about noise and making the unit unsafe for other residents. Just like in IBM vs. GlobalFoundries, GlobalFoundries violated its contract for failing to manufacture the promised chips (Morgan, 2021). Similarly, The Friendly Dawg is in breach of contract for failing to pay his rent, requiring that Landlord Lou repair air conditioning for his animals, and storing live animals on the premises, which increases insecurity and discomfort. The Friendly Dawg does not have the right to keep live animals or demand repair of the AC for the animals’ sake. To remedy this contract, a clause that allows The Friendly Dawg to keep live animals for retail. However, the safety of other tenants must be considered during the amendment. At the same time, the consideration is likely to increase. Alternatively, Landlord Lou can sue The Friendly Dawg and receive payment for damages.

The contract between Sunshine Yoga and landlord Lou

A valid contract exists between Sunshine Yoga and Landlord Lou. The offer in the case of the two parties was verbal, consideration was present, and acceptance is evident. Landlord Lou made the verbal offer to Sunshine Yoga. The terms of the offer stated that Sunshine Yoga would pay $300 for rent. Jasmine’s acceptance of the offer is demonstrated by moving in and paying the required rent consistently, albeit late. This signifies a mutuality in the contract, making it legal and valid.

Jasmine/Sunshine Yoga has the right to a safe and habitable residence. The presence of live animals makes it impossible to have a safe environment. As depicted, the presence of a snake in Jasmine’s premises caused her a heart attack, which could have been fatal. In addition, the noise from the live animals is causing intense disturbance and leading to business loss. As such, Sunshine Yoga could sue Landlord Lou for failing to maintain the required standards on the premises. It is his duty to ensure that other tenants do not violate their contracts or make the environment unsafe and inhabitable.

According to contract law, the implied warranty of habitability is expected from the landlord. If the landlord fails to ensure this element, the tenant can withhold their rent until repairs are made or divert their rent to the repairs. The alternative remedy is suing the landlord for damages. Therefore, the aspects related to noise and lack of safety relate to the implied warranty of habitability. Landlord Lou’s failure to ensure that The Friendly Dawg eliminates the live animals is a breach, which could attract the highlighted remedies. Sunshine Yoga’s decision to withhold rent is legal and warranted for as one of the remedies until Landlord Lou restores habitability.

Grounds to evict

Eviction is the action that a landlord takes to bar a tenant from occupying their residence. This may occur because of a breach of violation of contract or lease. Failure to pay rent as agreed can also lead to eviction. The doctrine of retaliatory eviction bars the landlord from evicting a tenant who reports violations of the housing structure or other issues within the property. The process of eviction can involve suing the tenant or compelling the tenant to leave the premises. However, the latter is not favored by most jurisdictions, which require most landlords to use judicial options. Constructive eviction can also occur when the tenant deliberately leaves the property because of the landlord’s wrongful conduct. Failure to perform as stated in the lease, allowance of nuisance-like tendencies, and failure to control and maintain common areas are some of the reasons that can lead to constructive eviction (LII, 2020).

In this case, Landlord Lou has a duty and an obligation to evict the Friendly Dawg. This eviction is legal because The Friendly Dawg has violated the terms of the lease by keeping live animals, which are a nuisance to other tenants. In addition, The Friendly Dawg has also failed to pay their rent, which is a breach of contract. Failure to evict The Friendly Dawg provides the premise for Sunshine Yoga’s constructive eviction. The constructive eviction would be legally supported by the landlord’s failure to maintain order and control the property’s habitability. In addition, the allowance of live animals, which are a nuisance to Sunshine Yoga, permits constructive eviction. Therefore, to restore the property’s habitability, Landlord Lou should sue The Friendly Dawg for eviction.

Tort Law

A tort is defined as an act or failure to take action that leads to injury or harm to another individual. This action or inaction amounts to a civil offense that attracts liability. Tort law is designed to offer relief to parties who are injured by others due to their action or inaction. Tort laws categorize torts into various categories: intentional, negligence, and strict liability. Intentional torts occur if a person deliberately commits an action that harms the other party. Negligent torts occur when an individual fails to follow regulations and causes harm to others. Strict liability torts occur when an individual’s action causes harm regardless of the degree of care. Specific torts include trespass, battery, negligence, assault, product liability, and intentionally inflicting emotional distress. Torts, unlike crimes, are intended to compensate the harmed party instead of punishing the wrongdoer. Sometimes, an action can be treated as a tort and a crime (LII, 2020).

In a business setting, economic torts can occur intentionally or due to recklessness or negligence. These economic torts are acts that are committed against businesses. Their outcome is usually manifested as financial loss. Some of the business torts include tortious interference, trade libel, theft of trading secrets, trade restraint, fraudulent misrepresentation, and commercial disparagement (Institute of Public Law, 2021). These business torts have varied effects, which amount to a loss of financial resources.

The specific case features various torts. As demonstrated, a snake escapes from the animal shelter in The Friendly Dawg’s business premises. The snake escapes through the vents and manages to enter the yoga studio. This led to Jasmine’s heart attack, which required hospitalization and/or the purchase of drugs. The situation not only caused the heart attack but also increased Jasmine’s anxiety and depression. It also led to her loss of clients due to safety concerns and noise.

This scenario shows a negligent tort and intentional tort. First, Dave, the owner of The Friendly Dawg, is negligent in his care for the animals. Once he brings the live animals to the premises, he has a duty to care for them and ensure they do not pose a danger to other tenants. The snake that escaped could have caused more damage if it bit Jasmine. The intentional tort is manifested through Dave’s knowledgeable introduction of live animals to the premise even when the lease does not allow this. He was aware that these animals could cause harm to the neighbors but still brought them to the premises. At the same time, Landlord Lou can also be charged with intentional tort alongside Dave for failing to stop Dave’s decision. He was aware that David had brought live animals to the location. Jasmine had complained about the noise severally. Still, Landlord Lou did not take any action to remedy the situation. These actions led to Jasmine losing business as clients complained about the noise from the animals. This means that Jasmine lost financial resources due to Dave’s actions and Landlord Lou’s inaction.

Legal claims

Sunshine Yoga can sue The Friendly Dawg and Landlord Lou for both intentional and negligent torts. First, Landlord Lou can be sued for both torts because he failed on several accounts. Initially, he failed to bar The Friendly Dawg from adding live animals to the premises. The lease only indicates the sale of pets but does not include live animals. He failed to uphold the lease’s terms deliberately and created an opportunity for other disturbances and tortious acts. As the sale of live animals continued at The Friendly Dawg, the noise from the parrots was unbearable. Jasmine made several complaints regarding the noise to Landlord Lou. Still, Landlord Lou did not take any action to reduce this noise or ensure that other residents could live or conduct business without disturbances. The noise led to the loss of clients at Sunshine Yoga. Therefore, this negligence led to the loss of clients who used to frequent Sunshine Yoga.

The Friendly Dawg can be sued for intentional and negligent torts because of various reasons. Firstly, The Friendly Dawg knowingly violated the lease, which did not allow live animals in the premises. The introduction of live animals endangered the other business owners by exposing them to noise and attacks. When the noise from the parrots began to cause damage to the Sunshine Yoga, Jasmine made a complaint. Dave did not do anything to change the situation. This noise costs the business clients. Due to negligence, a dangerous snake slithered out of The Friendly Dawg. This snake entered the Sunshine Yoga and caused Jasmine a heart attack. The snake could have bitten Jasmine or other clients on the business premises. The heart attack could have been fatal. Instead, it cost Jasmine money in the form of medication and/or hospitalization.

Based on the tortious acts of the landlord and Dave, Jasmine could have made claims that are related to personal and business harm. Since tort laws seek to compensate the injured party as opposed to punishing the offender, Jasmine could receive payment for the injuries that she has suffered as well as for her business. The interference of the business activities through various acts or inaction costs Sunshine Yoga beneficial relationships with the clients. This business tort can also be presented as a claim in a court of law. As such, Landlord Lou and The Friendly Dawg would be liable for paying damages to The Sunshine Yoga, as the court of law would determine. This case highlights the effects that an individual’s acts or lack of action could have on other individuals or their businesses, as well as the penalties they could attract.

References

Institute of Public Law. (2021). Common Types of Torts. Retrieved from Judicial Education Center: http://jec.unm.edu/education/online-training/torts-tutorial/common-types-of-torts

LII. (2020). Contract. Retrieved from Legal Information Institute: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/contract

LII. (2020). Landlord-Tenant Law. Retrieved from Legal Information Institute: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/landlord-tenant_law

LII. (2020). Tort. Retrieved from Legal Information Institute: https://www.law.cornell.edu/wex/tort

Morgan, T. P. (2021). Why IBM Is Suing GlobalFoundries Over Chip Roadmap Failures.

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Question 


Competencies

In this project, you will demonstrate your mastery of the following competencies:

Applying Legal Principles and Ethical Considerations in Contemporary Business Contexts

Applying Legal Principles and Ethical Considerations in Contemporary Business Contexts

Apply relevant aspects of law to current business situations

Differentiate between matters of law and matters of ethics in business situations

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