Winter Snowmobiles Inc. Sales and Legal Liability
1. Winter Snowmobiles Inc. had two snowmobiles for sale at the end of the snow season. The company advertised them in a local newspaper. While both were current year racing models, one was relatively new, being only used as a demonstration. The second machine had been raced for most of the season, and had seen some very hard use. At a local snow festival, the company had both machines on display. The racing machine was displayed on a raised platform with the numerous trophies that it had won. The other machine had been displayed along with other models and equipment in the Company display area.
In response to the newspaper advertisement, a prospective purchaser called the company. He referred to the advertisement, and asked if the advertised machines were still for sale. The Company salesman said “yes”, and added that one had seen some use as it had been raced during the season. The prospective purchaser then asked if the machine was the one that the company had in its display at the local winter festival. The salesman replied ‘yes’. The prospective purchaser then offered to buy the machine for $8,000, and the salesman accepted his offer. The purchaser provided his credit card number to cover the purchase price. The company prepared the raced snowmobile for the customer and marked it with a ‘sold’ label. Later that day, it sold the demonstrator model.
The next day, the purchaser arrived to pick up the snowmobile, only to discover that it was the machine that had been raced, and not the demonstrator.
The purchaser demanded his money back, and when the Company refused to do so, he instituted legal proceedings.Discuss the nature of the purchaser’s claim and the arguments of the parties. Render a decision
2. Betty Melnik, or “Blue Sky Betty” as she is called by fellow flight staff, is employed as a flight attendant with Uplands Airlines. She has twelve years experience with the airline, and maintains a blog on her home computer under the blogname “Blue Sky Betty”. On her blog she relates her funny experiences as a member of the cabin crew of “Upchuck Airlines, as she calls it. She has thumbnail pictures of herself in uniform, a fairly industry standard light blue suit and tie. Close inspection shows the red collar piping used by Uplands Airlines. Some of the “funny” things Blue Sky Betty reported are drinks spilled over passengers, a runaway food trolley on take-off, and late arrivals causing stampedes of passengers for connecting flights. An executive of Uplands Airlines discovers the blogsite and immediately has Betty Melnik fired, “for just cause”. Discuss the issues surrounding Melnik’s dismissal.
3. Local Delivery Ltd. operated a local package delivery service, and engaged the services of Margo to assist in parcel delivery. Margo was expected to provide her own truck, but would be paid on a per-kilometer basis for its use. In addition, Margo would be paid at an hourly rate for her services. Local Delivery Ltd. would provide magnetic signs that Margo was expected to attach to the sides of her vehicle while engaged in delivery work for Local Delivery Ltd.
Margo agreed that she would work exclusively for Local Delivery Ltd, and would be expected to send Local Delivery Ltd. invoices for her work hours and truck use on a monthly basis.
Margo delivered parcels for three years for Local Delivery Ltd. At the end of the third year, she received a written notice that stated that her services would no longer be required, effective in one month’s time. The letter also required her to return the magnetic signs on the expiry of the notice period.
Margo objected to the short notice of the termination of her services, and took the position that she was an employee. Discuss the position of the parties in this case, and the arguments that each may raise to support their position. Speculate as to how the matter may be decided if the case should come before the court.
4. An international contract of sale calls for a shipment of 1,000 cases of walnuts (with a value of $100 per case) from Shanghai China to Vancouver, Canada with payment made in advance. The ship’s captain (on behalf of his employer, the carrier) issues a bill of lading in Shanghai for 1,000 cases, but only 700 are received and loaded, with the balance overlooked on the dock. The shipper (the seller) sends the bill to the buyer in Vancouver, who obtains the shipment on arrival. There, the shortage is discovered, and moreover, the 700 cases are found contaminated with seawater and are ruined.
Discuss the position each party may take with respect to the others. What are the potential liabilities in this case?
5. Erhardt was engaged by O’Malley family to use a bulldozer to excavate around the foundation of an old farmhouse they had just purchased. Unknown to all, the bulldozer smashed off the valve to a forgotten underground furnace oil tank, which discharged 1000 liters of oil into the groundwater. This contaminated the production of a local spring-water bottling company, causing over $1,000,000 in damage. Who should be responsible (if anyone) for the losses of the water-bottling company – Erhardt, O’Malley or the previous owner of the farmhouse? Justify your assignment of liability using tort and environmental law principles.
6. A large department store that was located in a metropolitan shopping center employed a staff of 90 full-time and part-time employees. The store was required to remain open for business for all of the hours stipulated by the shopping center management, which meant that the store was to remain open on a six day, Monday to Saturday basis. To meet the six day time schedule, all full-time employees were required to work on a 5 day rotation that included two Saturdays each month, with a week-day off when Saturday work was scheduled.
Laura S. had been employed by the department store for many years in the drapery department of the store, and over the years had acquired an extensive knowledge of the materials and goods carried by the store. A second employee, who was also the Department Manager, was the only other employee with equivalent knowledge, as the remaining employees worked only on a part-time basis in the department, and were frequently assigned work elsewhere in the store if sales were ‘slow’ in the department.
Until very recently, Laura willingly worked her Saturday shift, but then joined a religious denomination that considered Saturday as their holy day. As a result, Laura wished to devote her Saturdays to the religious activities at her place of worship, and requested her manager to change her work schedule to a 5 day, Monday to Friday work week, with no Saturday work. Laura’s manager explained to her that she could not change her Saturday work schedule, because her expertise was required on Saturdays, and the part-time staff lacked her skills. Laura’s response was that she would not work on Saturdays, and when she failed to report for work on the next scheduled Saturday, her employment was terminated. Discuss the issues raised in this case, and speculate as to the outcome of the dispute