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COURSE NAME: "Business Law"
SEMESTER & YEAR: Fall 2023

INSTRUCTOR: Chiara Magrini
EMAIL: [email protected]
HOURS: TTH 3:00 PM 4:15 PM
PREREQUISITES: Prerequisite: Junior Standing
OFFICE HOURS: By appointment

This course is intended to allow students to explore basic legal principles with reference to business conduct; to provide students with an overview on the law of contracts, beginning with the introduction on contract law, and the implementation of the legal rules; to address some legal issues of corporate law and bankruptcy; to examine aspects of business in a challenging and practical context, taking advantage of the different backgrounds of students.

After an introduction to the law and the legal system, the first part of the semester will be totally focused on Contract Law (definition of a contract; the basic requirements of a contract; types of contracts; requirements of the offer and of  the acceptance; consideration; capacity (minors, intoxicated persons, mentally incompetent persons); legality (contracts contrary to statute, contracts contrary to public policy, the effect of illegality); voluntary consent; mistakes; fraudulent misrepresentation; undue influence; duress; the statute of frauds; the parol evidence rule; assignments and delegations; third party beneficiaries; contract discharge and remedies). 

The second part of the semester will firstly deal with performance and breach of an obligation, warranty and product liability, and then it will be focused on Corporate Law (sole proprietorships; partnerships and limited liability companies: advantages and disadvantages of each form of business and  formation, rights, duties, termination of each form of business; formation, termination, management and ownership of a corporation); finally it will be treated at the end the very challenging topics of Secured Transactions and Bankruptcy.


On successful completion of the course, students will understand the common law of contracts (offer and acceptance, consideration, capacity, legality, voluntary consent, mistakes and other contract defects, written contracts, third party rights, contract discharge and remedies). Students will also know the main issues linked to performance and breach, warranties and product liability, and the legal characteristics of partnerships, limited partnerships, and corporations (including limited-liability companies).  Finally, students will be familiar with secured transactions and the law of bankruptcy.

Each lecture includes several hypothetical questions which students are called on to answer and weekly quizzes to verify the ability of students to connect a variety of facts to the theoretical issues, and students are expected to prepare oral presentations of cases.  In this way, students learn to apply legal concepts to actual situations, and to structure transactions to obtain desired results.  In addition, students (in groups) will investigate a specific area of law of interest to them, write a research paper on that topic, and make a class presentation at the conclusion of the course.  Furthermore, students will work in small groups to prepare a team presentation on an assigned topic/case study. Finally, upon successful completion of the course students shall be able to read a case and analyze the facts from the legal point of view, trying to solve the case applying the principles of law discussed in class.

Book TitleAuthorPublisherISBN numberLibrary Call NumberCommentsFormatLocal BookstoreOnline Purchase
Business Law: Text and Cases, 15th EditionKenneth W. Clarkson, Roger LeRoy MillerCengage Learning• ISBN-10: 0357999894     

Class participation Active participation in class is essential. Persistent absence or tardiness precludes satisfactory performance in the course, and jeopardizes this part of the grade. After the first TWO UNEXUSED ABSENCES, the students will lose 10% points of this part of the grade for each subsequent absence. The Dean of Academic Affairs Office may grant exemptions from this specific attendance policy in the case of a chronic medical condition or other serious problem, or in the case of exceptional students pursuing high-level activities in such areas as champion level competitions or professional artistic pursuits. Students seeking such an exemption must they must submit the Petition: Exemption from Instructor's Attendance Policies (link on Moodle).5%
Class presentationThe class presentations will be assigned as the term progresses, but it will generally consist of cases/articles presented in the textbook or provided by the professor. The presentation could be individual or by a team of 2/3 students, according to the professor's choice.10%
Research paperThe research paper, that will be a group reserach paper depending on the number of students in the class, shall be on a subject of interest of the students not necessarily included in the ones treated in the course but related to Business Law, and it shall be presented to the class. Bibliography and footnotes are compulsory for a sufficient paper.20%
Midterm examThe midterm exam will consist of presenting the student with a case or set of facts, and requesting an analysis of the situation or transaction and possibly requesting a proposed solution or prediction of the outcome of the case. More general essay-type questions, in which the student is asked to discuss a particular area covered by the syllabus, may also appear. True/False questions and choice the best answer questions may appear (but not more than 10% of weight). 25%
Final examthe final exam is (partly) cumulative. The final exam will consist of presenting the student with a case or set of facts, and requesting an analysis of the situation or transaction and possibly requesting a proposed solution or prediction of the outcome of the case. More general essay-type questions, in which the student is asked to discuss a particular area covered by the syllabus, may also appear. True/False questions and choice the best answer questions may appear (but not more than 10% of weight). 35%
QuizzesDuring the semester quizzes will be assigned to students on material covered in class and on real case law. Perform quizzes in class when assigned is essential to succed in the Midterm and in the Final exams. After the first TWO UNTAKEN QUIZZES the students will lose 10% points of this part of the grade for each subsequent untaken quiz. Unless specific exemptions (granted by the Dean of the Academic Affairs) apply, quizzes MUST be taken in class.5%

AAt the end of the term, students with 94-100 points will receive an A; 90-93 an A-; it is unlikely that more than a few students will fit into the A category. Work of this quality directly addresses the question or problem raised and provides a coherent argument displaying an extensive knowledge of relevant information or content. This type of work demonstrates the ability to critically evaluate concepts and theory and has an element of novelty and originality. There is clear evidence of a significant amount of reading beyond that required for the course
BStudents who receive 87-89 points will receive a B+; 83-86 a B; 80-82 a B-; students who are better than average, but not excellent, will fit into the B category.This is highly competent level of performance and directly addresses the question or problem raised.There is a demonstration of some ability to critically evaluatetheory and concepts and relate them to practice. Discussions reflect the student’s own arguments and are not simply a repetition of standard lecture andreference material. The work does not suffer from any major errors or omissions and provides evidence of reading beyond the required assignments.
CStudents who receive 77-79 points will receive a C+; 73-76 a C; 70-72 a C-; average students will fit into the C category.This is an acceptable level of performance and provides answers that are clear but limited, reflecting the information offered in the lectures and reference readings.
DStudents who receive 67-69 points will receive a D+; 63-66 a D; 60-62 a D-; below average students will fit into the D category.This level of performances demonstrates that the student lacks a coherent grasp of the material.Important information is omitted and irrelevant points included.In effect, the student has barely done enough to persuade the instructor that s/he should not fail.
FStudents who receive fewer than 60 points will fail. This work fails to show any knowledge or understanding of the issues raised in the question. Most of the material in the answer is irrelevant.



You cannot make-up a major exam (midterm or final) without the permission of the Dean’s Office. The Dean’s Office will grant such permission only when the absence was caused by a serious impediment, such as a documented illness, hospitalization or death in the immediate family (in which you must attend the funeral) or other situations of similar gravity. Absences due to other meaningful conflicts, such as job interviews, family celebrations, travel difficulties, student misunderstandings or personal convenience, will not be excused. Students who will be absent from a major exam must notify the Dean’s Office prior to that exam. Absences from class due to the observance of a religious holiday will normally be excused. Individual students who will have to miss class to observe a religious holiday should notify the instructor by the end of the Add/Drop period to make prior arrangements for making up any work that will be missed. 

 Persistent absence or tardiness precludes satisfactory performance in the course, and jeopardizes that part of the grade which is based on class participation. Students are expected to arrive at class on time; students are responsible for all material covered by the syllabus and/or discussed in class, whether or not they are actually present in class. Only two unjustified abcences will be excused. Starting from the third unjustified absence onwards, the part of the grade referring to class partecipation will be decreased of 5% for each absence.

As stated in the university catalog, any student who commits an act of academic dishonesty will receive a failing grade on the work in which the dishonesty occurred. In addition, acts of academic dishonesty, irrespective of the weight of the assignment, may result in the student receiving a failing grade in the course. Instances of academic dishonesty will be reported to the Dean of Academic Affairs. A student who is reported twice for academic dishonesty is subject to summary dismissal from the University. In such a case, the Academic Council will then make a recommendation to the President, who will make the final decision.
John Cabot University does not discriminate on the basis of disability or handicap. Students with approved accommodations must inform their professors at the beginning of the term. Please see the website for the complete policy.


WEEK 1 – Introduction to the law and our legal system, introduction to contracts -  chapters 1 and 11

 Sources of American law, civil law versus criminal law, international law, definition of a contract, the basic requirements of a contract, types of contracts.


WEEK 2 – Offer and acceptance, consideration – chapters 12 and 13

Requirements of the offer, termination of the offer, acceptance, legal sufficiency of consideration, adequacy of consideration, preexisting duty, past consideration, problems concerning consideration. 


WEEK 3 – Capacity, legality, voluntary consent, mistakes and other contract defects – chapters 14 and 15

Minors, intoxicated persons, mentally incompetent persons, contracts contrary to statute, contracts contrary to public policy, the effect of illegality, mistakes, fraudulent misrepresentation, undue influence, duress.


WEEK 4Written contracts, third party rights – chapters 16 and 17

The statute of frauds, the parol evidence rule, assignments and delegations, third party beneficiaries.


WEEK 5 – Contract discharge and remedies – chapters 18 and 19

Contract discharge, contract remedies, sales of goods, leases of goods, sales and lease contracts


WEEK 6 – Performance and breach, warranties and product liability – chapters 7, 22, and 23

Good faith and commercial reasonableness, obligations of the seller or lessor, obligations of the buyer or lessee, anticipatory repudiation, remedies of seller or lessor, remedies of buyer or lessee, statute of limitations, warranties, product liability.


WEEK 7 – Review and Midterm - chapters 1, 7, from 11 to 19, 22 and 23


WEEK 8 – Business organizations: sole proprietorships, partnerships and limited liability companies – chapters 36, 37 and 38

Advantages and disadvantages of each form of business, formation, rights, duties, termination.


WEEK 9 – Formation and termination of a corporation – chapter 39

 Classification of corporations, corporate formation, corporate powers, corporate financing


WEEK 10 - Management and ownership of a corporation – chapters 40 and 41

 Corporate management: directors and officers; corporate ownership:  shareholders.


 WEEK 11 – Secured transactions – chapter 29 and 39 

The terminology of secured transactions, creating a security interest, perfecting a security interest, the scope of a security interest, priorities among security interests, rights and duties of debtor and creditor, default.


WEEK 12 – The extent to which we can cover the material of week 12 will depend on the number of students in the class and the number of research paper presentations (Bankruptcy – chapter 31) 

(The bankruptcy code, Chapter 7 liquidation, Chapter 11 reorganizations, Chapter 13 adjustments).


WEEKS 13 and 14– class presentations of research papers and review


Final exam (partly) comulative