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Hard Body Gyms, Ron Howard, City of Universal Studios

Need some assistance in answering 3 discussion questions related to mini case studies.

Week 4, DQ#1

Flipper Underwater Tours filed suit against Seahunt Equipment Company and Lloyd Bridges alleging breach of contract, breach of warranty and fraud in connection with the sale of a modified air compressor.

Seahunt is a corporation organized under the laws of Florida and engaged in various aspect of the scuba diving business. Part of its trade includes the sale of air compressors used to fill scuba diving tanks. Flipper is a corporation organized under the laws of Virginia. It operates a dive shop in Cancun, Mexico.

Flipper learned about Seahunt from a nationally distributed magazine, Scuba Times. They telephoned Seahunt to see if they could provide a compressor that could fill 75-100 tanks an hour. Seahunt said that they could and sold Flipper a modified, super fast compressor. It didn't work as well as advertised, it was much slower. It leaked and overheated. Seahunt could not fix the problem and would not pay Flipper back their money.

At trial it was learned that Lloyd commingled Seahunt's operating funds with his personal bank accounts. Seahunt operates out of a building owned by Lloyd and his wife and the business pays the mortgage as well as paying rent to the Bridges. Lloyd testified that some years the property is carried on Seahunt's books as a corporate asset and in other years it is not. A similar arrangement exists with respect to an automobile owned by Lloyd. The corporation does not own the automobile, but it has been carried on Seahunt's books as a fixed asset. Seahunt makes the car payments.

Can Lloyd and his wife escape personal liability by asserting that the corporation is solely liable? State the reasons for your opinion.

Week 4, DQ #2
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Defendant Hard Body Gyms, Inc. owns 42 workout facilities and health clubs, each of which is supervised by an executive director, sometimes called an administrator. Each facility also has a marketing director. At some facilities, the employees are unionized.

On June 8, 2003, plaintiff Sharron Osbourne commenced employment with Hard Body, working as the marketing director at the Hollywood Facility. In that capacity, she went to various medical centers and promoted the use of Hard Body Gyms for patients who needed rehabilitation services. Osboorne was an at-will employee. She was not a union member.

In late 2003, DeGeneres asked Osbourne to be the program manager of the medi-care claims program. Osbourne agreed. After Osbourne assumed her new duties she remained the marketing director but no longer handled the paperwork for new clients.

On February 4, 2004, Osbourne attended a corporate meeting of Hard Body Gyms' marketing directors for Southern California. One of the seven directors brought up the subject of bonuses, asking, "Hey, you guys, how is your bonus structure? How is it set up?" Three or four of the directors said they received bonuses based on an increase in the number of clients or an increase in growth at their facility. One director offered to show the structure of her bonus, saying, "The bonus structure at [my facility] involves a quality mix in that each area has a dollar sign by it: HMO contracts, private contracts, the overall census of the facility, and your quality mix." The directors who did not receive bonuses were surprised to learn that the others did.

During the meeting, Osborne said she did not receive a bonus because DeGeneres "did not believe in [them]."

As Hard Body Gyms' director of human resources would later testify about the meeting, "[T]he issues were shared amongst the other marketing and admissions directors, that some had bonuses, some did not have bonuses. And generally, the conversation was 'Well, is that fair; is that not fair? Shouldn't we all have one?' And it's just generally discontent around bonuses."

The day after the meeting, one of Hard Body Gyms' executive directors, Regis Kelly, sent an e-mail to the other executive directors, stating he was "upset" that "discussions of pay and bonus went on." Kelly said that the marketing directors were "not there to be talking about money . . . ." The e-mail mentioned that Kelly's marketing director was offended by the discussion.

On February 10, 2004 - six days after the marketing directors' meeting - DeGeneres went to Osbourne's office and fired her. DeGeneres said that the discharge was based on what Osbourne had said at the February 4 meeting. When asked, DeGeneres declined to say what that was. The termination papers indicated that the discharge was based on a violation of company rules. Osbourne asked what rule had been violated. DeGeneres did not say. Toward the end of the meeting, DeGeneres said, "This is an at-will company, and I don't need a reason to fire you."

Labor Code section 232, provides: "No employer shall do any of the following: [] . . . [] . . . Discharge, formally discipline, or otherwise discriminate against, for job advancement, an employee who discloses the amount of his or her wages."

Do you believe that Osbourne has a cause of action against Hard Body Gyms for wrongful termination? Explain your position

Week 4, DQ #3b

Ron Howard was hired by the City of Universal Studios in January 2000 and entered service as an active firefighter; he was assigned to fire-suppression duties, which principally include extinguishing fires, entering burning buildings, and performing rescues. In December 2002, while off-duty, he was helping friends to remove from a house a tree that had been uprooted by a storm; the tree suddenly sprang upright, throwing Howard to the ground. He sustained injuries inducing paraplegia, and was initially paralyzed from the waist down. After undergoing physical rehabilitation, Howard is able, with the assistance of leg braces, to walk for a few hours at a time. He also uses a wheelchair, in which he can negotiate curbs and ramps; and he has a car that is outfitted with special hand controls that enable him to drive. Howard can get into and out of his car and his wheelchair without assistance. He is also able to climb and descend stairs out of his wheelchair while pulling the chair along with him.

Since his accident, Howard has remained an employee of the Department, on leave of absence with pay, thanks to contributions of accrued paid leave by his fellow firefighters. During this time, he has served as an instructor at the Hollywood Career Chiefs' Fire Academy, where he teaches fire-and-rescue-related courses to probationary firefighters from Los Angeles County. As an adjunct instructor at the University of California Fire Academy, he has taught a similar course to probationary firefighters from around the state of California.

In November 2003, Howard, who passed an examination qualifying him for promotion to lieutenant, requested that he be returned to active duty and assigned a position in which his disability could be accommodated. His request identified FAB as one possible assignment.

The City's Fire Department employs 109 firefighters. It has mutual-aid agreements with neighboring towns for assistance during multi-alarm fires. To the extent pertinent here, the Department has two "light-duty" bureaus: the Fire Alarm Bureau ("FAB") and the Fire Prevention Bureau ("FPB"). The duties of employees assigned to FAB include receiving and transmitting alarms of fires, answering telephones, and performing related paperwork; firefighters assigned to FAB assist non-firefighter dispatchers in dispatching firefighters to calls for service. The principal duties of employees assigned to FPB are enforcing the California State Uniform Fire Prevention and Building Code and the Department's Fire Prevention Code, reviewing architectural plans and designs, meeting with builders, and performing inspections of buildings. Firefighters assigned to FPB may also be called upon to serve as guides to assist mutual-aid fire companies by meeting them at the City's border and leading them to the site of the fire; the guide travels either in the visiting fire rig or in a separate car.

Howard received no response to his request. After attempting unsuccessfully to get a response, he wrote to Commissioner Tom Hanks in January 2004, renewing his requests. In May 2004, Howard was informed that he would not be accommodated and that he could not return to work because all fire fighters are expected to be able to fight fires.

Should the Fire Department accommodate Howard? What is your opinion.

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Solution Preview

The response address the queries posted in 434 words with references.

//Before discussing about the rationale for assuming that Osbourne has a cause of action against Hard Body Gyms for wrongful termination, it is essential to have knowledge about the possibility of Lloyd and his wife escape personal liability that is the main issue of the first case study.//

DQ 1

No, Lloyd and his wife can not escape from their personal liability by asserting that the corporation is solely liable. This is because; firstly, Lloyd is also responsible for the breach of contract because he could solve the problem of Flipper Corporation. Secondly, he and his wife included their personal assets such as building and automobile in the list of the company's fix ...

Solution Summary

The response address the queries posted in 434 words with references.

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