Court Cases

Summary of Opinion

The Plaintiff was injured while snowtubing at the winter resort and thereafter sued the Defendants operating the snowtubing facilities, claiming that his injury resulted from their negligence. For their part, the Defendants claimed that the Plaintiff’s suit is ungrounded as he read and signed the required “Waiver, Defense, Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreement, and Release of Liability” (agreement), releasing the defendants from liability. While the trial court ruled in the Defendants’ favor, this court has decided that the previous solution was unfounded and ruled in favor of the Plaintiff.

Text of Opinion

The dispositive question in this case is whether the act of signing of the agreement identified by the Defendants as “Waiver, Defense, Indemnity and Hold Harmless Agreement, and Release of Liability”, would preclude the Plaintiff from invoking the compensation for the damages incurred. The Plaintiff appeals from the judgment that gave the Defendants their motion for summary judgment, noting that a recreational operator cannot receive itself from liability for its own negligent conduct if the facilities under issue operate for the public, for a fee, and without any additional ability restrictions/examinations.

As the case under question would fall under the category described in Connecticut General Statute §52-557p, it is to be concluded that the Defendants violated the public policy provisions regulating the recreational activities. Specifically, Connecticut General Statute provides that the person engaged in recreational activities is to bear the risk and legal responsibilities inherent in hazards, which may result from the respective sports activities. Exceptions apply to cases when “the injury was proximately caused by the negligence of the person providing the horse or horses to the individual engaged in recreational equestrian activities or the failure to guard or warn against a dangerous condition, use, structure or activity by the person providing the horse or horses or his agents or employees” (Conn. Gen. St., §52-557p).

However, in this case, the operators invited the public to their facilities without regard to the former’s ability in terms of security. The operators were assumed to supervise the participants’ action in the snowtubing facilities, and no provision for the purchase of negligence protection for an additional fee was included in the waiver agreement. Hence, in this case, the standard exculpatory agreement offered to the patrons by the Defendants could not release the latter from their liability for damages as the patrons were not supposed to be in full control of snowtubing facilities and could not bear any risks from their failure by themselves.

Question # 2

Examining the case presented in this Question demonstrates evidence that a mutual mistake doctrine may be applied hereto. Seline’s basic assumption of the applicability of the discount to the couch in question was based on the lack of awareness on this matter, as she might not suppose that her opinion may be wrong. This means that the defendant party may not bear the risk of mistake as provided in Section 152 of the Second Restatement. Similarly, Dr. Byer was mistaken as to her assumption to the time it would take her to return from her vacation; she, on the other hand, might have implicit knowledge of the possibility of her mistake.

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Given that no prepayment was provided by Dr. Byer, and no fee was charged upon her for taking the fabric cloth samples, no imbalance may be registered in the intended transaction between the two parties. While the defendants may claim that the transmission of fabric samples for free to Dr. Byer may, in fact, be more advantageous to her than to Interior Design, it is obvious that Dr. Byer did not have any excessive material gain. Consideration of this issue allows decide on the fabric best applicable to her waiting room’s future couch. The court may decide by proceeding from such considerations that no party was adversely affected by this contract due to its impracticability. Hence, this contract is voidable by both parties, and no damages compensation is to be awarded to Dr. Byer.

Question # 3

Having reviewed the case presented in this question, one may reasonably conclude that an apparent authority principle is applicable here. The apparent authority refers to the business transactions conducted by one of the partners in the partnership if he/she appears to be carrying them out within the confines of the partnership’s business or even similar business, provided that the profits may go to the partnership, as a whole. The partner may be assumed to be acting as the partnership’s fiduciary, and neither the duty of care nor duty of loyalty have been breached by him as he exercised an amount of care appropriate to improving the partnership’s sales and did not carry out the respective transaction for his own monetary gain. Thus, even though Spoetzel Brewing Co. was unaware that Gus was the Randy’s partner, he may still be assumed to be acting within a business similar to the one of the partnership.

On the other hand, the reference to the fact that Randy’s did not previously sell and order any alcoholic beverages does not exclude the similar observation that other groceries in the area do routinely sell such products; therefore, Spoetzel Brewing Co. may reasonably expect that the same would be true in Randy’s case. When proceeding from these two considerations, one should unambiguously conclude that the plaintiff (i.e. Spoetzel Brewing Co.) is entitled to proper compensation for breach of contract on behalf of the partners running Randy’s.

Question # 4

The legal forms of sole proprietorship and general partnership are, technically speaking, not regulated by the business law as such. A person who wants to establish his/her own business is not required to file with the applicable authorities for any form of a permit or statutory papers. A sole proprietorship is not taxable as such; the owner had only to pay his/her personal taxes. However, the company’s losses are personally incurred by the owner. The sole proprietor has unlimited and personal liability, so the creditors would expect to enforce their payments from the owner’s personal assets. Hence, any financial problems of the company would impact upon the owner’s personal revenues, making the sole proprietorship a potentially unstable business form.

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A partnership shares the same number of advantages and disadvantages as the sole proprietorship, with the partners’ equal right to decision making being the only relevant distinction between these two forms. The partners bear joint, and several liability with respect to the firm’s assets and obligations; in this case, each partner is regarded as a fiduciary to the partnership and the other partners in question. On the other hand, the authority clause implies that each partner is viewed as authorized to perform certain business transactions in the course of the firm’s activities. This means that possible discrepancies may arise with regard to the individual partner’s liability.

The corporation form is the most regulated one so that its legal status is best explored. The key advantages of the corporation are the shareholders’ limited liability, which means that the damages or debts incurred are surcharged from the corporation’s statutory capital, rather than from the shareholder’s personal assets, and the stock marketability and ownership transferability make the corporation’s business proceedings more flexible than those of partnerships. On the other hand, the shareholders lack direct control over the corporation’s daily proceedings, which is entrusted to the board of directors and the other salaried corporate officials. Further, financial reporting requirements make the corporate, business transactions subject to public scrutiny, and the double taxation of corporate profits and shareholders’ dividends may make the corporation form unappealing to some prospective entrepreneurs.

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