QUEENS COLLEGE OF THE UNIVERSITY OF NEW YORK
DEPARTMENT OF ACCOUNTING & INFORMATION SYSTEMS
ACCOUNTING 261 – BUSINESS LAW I
TH TEXT: WEST’S BUSINESS LAW 11 EDITION
Authors: Clarkson, Miller, Jentz and Cross
The introductory course in law is a PLAS course for numerous reasons. The key reason is that the legal system of
a country is a mirror of its society’s culture and values. In fact, the legal system of a country can have a profound
influence on such principles as rights of women, freedom of speech, intellectual property rights, and minority rights.
One important goal of a liberal arts education is to teach students the importance of integrity and justice. A course
in law is the foundation on which a liberal arts education can build an appreciation of ethics and other important
values. By discussing various cases, students will develop an understanding of the importance of not only the law,
but of being ethical. Students will recognize the effects of crime on business and society and learn the various
remedies available in the event of a breach of contract. Clearly, a course in law is an ideal PLAS course.
I. Philosophies of Law – A discussion of the schools of Jurisprudential thought including “The Natural
Law School”, “The Positivist School”, “The Historical School” and “Legal Realism”. Law as a set of
regulations versus Law as a process for social change. The great American cultural experiment and its
sources of law from the English common law to the US Constitution, Common Law, Statutory Law,
and Regulatory Law. Morality and the Law including the right of the government to legislate cultural
values and beliefs.
Assignments: Text – Chapter 1 – Introduction to Law and Legal Reasoning
Cengage Learning – Internet Exercise 1-1 – Legal Perspective –
Internet Sources of Law
II. Culture, Ethics, and Business Decision Making – The development of cultural values and its
relationship to current day business making decisions. Making the right decision versus the
profitable one. The concept of business ethics and distinguishing right and wrong. The effect of ethical
conflicts on society and culture.
Assignments: Text – Chapter 5 – Ethics and Business Decision Making
Case Study: Baum v. Blue Moon Ventures, LLC.
III. The US Constitution and Society - The powers of the government to regulate society and its
effect on cultural values. The relationship between the federal government and state and local
governments as it relates to the regulation of society and its culture. The historical perspective of The
Bill of Rights and its role in the development of cultural values. The concept of the “Living
“Constitution and the ability for it to adopt to cultural changes in society.
Assignments: United States Constitution – Text – Appendix B
Text – Chapter 4 – Constitutional Authority to Regulate Business
Case Study: Lott v. Levitt
IV. The Role of the Court System in Regulating Society – The structure of the federal and state court
systems and their inter-relationships. How court decisions affect the development of society and
culture. The concept and limitations of obtaining justice and the right decision in a litigious society.
The development of alternative dispute resolution systems and its pragmatic effect on business and
Assignments: Text Chapter 2 – Courts and Alternative Dispute Resolution
Text Chapter 3 – Court Procedures
Cengage Learning – Internet Exercise 2-2 – Resolve a Dispute Online
V. Intellectual Property and the Distribution of Wealth in our Society – How our culture rewards
those who are creative and produce literary works, new inventions, works of art, etc. Discussion of
Copyright Law, Trademark Law, Patent Law and their evolvement in a cyber space society. How wealth
is transferred from one generation to another and its effect on our cultural values. Discussion of Wills, Trusts,
Intestate Succession, and Elder Law. Society’s view of The Right to Die problem and a discussion of
Living Wills and Health Proxies. Who should make life and death decisions in our culture.
Assignments: Text Chapter 8 – Intellectual Property and Internet Law
Text Chapter50 – Wills and Trusts
Case Problems – 50-1, 50-2 – Requirements for a valid Will
Vi. Protecting Citizens in our Society from Crimes and Breaches of Duties by its Businesses and/or
Citizens - An overview of tort law, negligence, strict liability, and criminal law. Constitutional
protections and limitations and balancing the rights of the individual with the rights of society as a whole.
Governmental efforts to protect its citizens through legislation and regulatory authority.
Assignments: Text Chapter 6 – Intentional Torts
Text Chapter 7 – Negligence and Strict Liability
Text Chapter 9 – Criminal Law and Cyber Crimes
Text Chapter 43 – Administrative Law
Text Chapter 44 – Consumer Law
Text Chapter 45 – Environmental Law
Case Study: Miranda v. Arizona
VII. The Foundation of a Democratic Society – The Freedom of Contract – The concept of permitting
two or more people to enter into an agreement that is enforceable in a court of law. Without such a basic
tenet of law, our society would collapse. Topics will include, the nature and terminology of contracts;
offer and acceptance; consideration; capacity and legality; the reality of assent including fraud, mistake,
and duress; the Statute of Frauds and the writing requirement; third party rights; performance and
discharge; breach of contract and remedies; E contracts and E signatures.
Assignments: Text – Unit 3 – Contracts – Chapters 10-19
Case Studies: 10 Cases – One per chapter as assigned by instructor
related to how society accepts the sanctity of contract law and
Its effect on cultural values.
Grading will be based on the following:
Midterm Exam (Units 1-3) 30%
Final Exam (Units 4-7) 30%
Written Briefs of 2 Assigned Cases 10% (See instructions below)
Oral Presentation of 1 Assigned Case 10% (See instructions below)
Class Participation 20%
Instructions for Written Briefs:
Cases are assigned by the professor from the text. The student is directed to a web site wherein the full written
decision of the court is set forth. The student brief is divided into the following four parts: 1) Facts: What is the nature of
the dispute? 2) Legal Issue: What is the legal issue before the appellate court? 3) Holding: What was the decision of the court? Was the lower court decision affirmed, reversed, remanded, etc.? 4). Legal Reasoning and Effect on our Society: What is the legal justification for the court to rule as they did? What societal issues and cultural values are reflected in the decision, e.g., ethics; minority and civil rights; environmental issues; freedom of religion; constitutional issues; individual privacy rights; etc. Briefs average 2-3 typewritten pages.
Instructions for Oral Presentation:
The oral presentation consists of a student summarizing one of their written briefs to the class and being prepared to accept questions from the students and/or professor concerning its contents.