Business Law Case Study: SFT and ZIT

Table of Content

Members of Students for Fair Tuition (SFT) occupy Dunfee Hall, the location of GSU President Dalton Chandler’s office, in response to the increasing tuition fees at Gigantic State University. They forcefully enter the reception area and chant against the tuition increases, labeling them as fascist. Prudence Pimply, loyal secretary to Chandler, calls the campus police in response to this protest.

Steve Steel, the leader of the SFT, forcefully knocks the phone out of Prudence’s hand without physically touching her. Then, he brandishes a realistic squirt gun and threatens to shoot Prudence if she moves towards the phone or the door. Overwhelmed, Prudence crumples into a weeping mess at her desk. Unfortunately, the students discover that the only door to Chandler’s office on the third floor is locked from the inside. After a few unsuccessful attempts to break it down, they resort to barricading the door with filing cabinets and singing “We Will Overcome” until the police arrive shortly thereafter.

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Upon entering the building, it took the students ten minutes for the police to arrive. President Chandler, who was napping at the time, remained asleep throughout the incident. Prudence was extremely upset and unable to return to work for a week. She eventually went back under heavy doses of tranquilizers prescribed by her doctor, Morton Mallard.

This essay prompts us to consider various aspects of the situation: Was a crime committed? Was there negligence involved? What laws were violated? Whose rights were infringed upon? Additionally, we are asked to discuss potential tort liability such as assault, battery, infliction of emotional distress, and false imprisonment.

Initially, it appeared that no crime had taken place in this scenario. However, it later became evident that intentional infliction of emotional distress had been perpetrated against Prudence. The elements required for this particular tort include intentional or reckless actions by the defendant, conduct that is extreme and outrageous in nature, and causing severe emotional distress. All these elements can be identified here as Steve Steel forcefully knocked Prudence’s phone out of her hand and proceeded to break down her door while menacing her with force—resulting in genuine fear for her life. Negligence may have also played a role in this case since failing to exercise reasonable care breaches one’s duty towards others’ safety and property. It is clear that Steve Steel neglected his obligation towards Prudence’s well-being.

The physical and mental harm caused by Steve Steel should make him responsible, as he did not show reasonable care. In my view, assault and battery would be the suitable tort liability in this case. This is because assault includes three elements that are evident here. Assault refers to intentionally and unlawfully threatening or “offering” bodily harm to someone through force, under circumstances that create a justifiable fear of immediate danger, considering the apparent ability to carry out the act if not prevented.

A battery is the act of intentionally touching a person without their consent, either by another person or through an object or substance set in motion by that person. It should be emphasized that a battery can occur even if no injury is caused or if there was no reasonable expectation of injury. Both of these factors were present in Case study 2, which involves Steve Simple, a pledge in Zeta Iota Tau (ZIT) fraternity at Minor State Teachers College (MSTC).

As part of his pledge duties, Steve is assigned the task of painting his fraternity’s Greek letters on the campus water tower. Over the past year, the letters have faded due to graffiti left by students. Despite a thunderstorm raging that night, making the steps slippery and putting him at risk of being struck by lightning, Steve chooses to proceed with the climb. He gathers his courage with a six-pack of Hudepohl beer, purchased for $1.89 from the local convenience store.

Regrettably, Steve meets a tragic end during his climb up the tower due to a malfunction in its pumping system, resulting in electrocution. The malfunction is triggered by a short circuit, which arises from MSTC’s inadequate maintenance of the tower. This inadequacy stems from MSTC’s prioritization of higher salaries for faculty members rather than their maintenance obligations. Although similar incidents have occurred previously, only pigeons were affected on those occasions. Given these circumstances, it is crucial to compose an essay that delves into the potential legal responsibilities of all parties involved in this specific case. This essay should explore various concepts including negligence, fault, chain of causation, proximate cause, assumption of risk, contributory negligence, and comparative negligence.

Negligence, defined as the failure to exercise reasonable care or act in a manner that a reasonably prudent person would in similar circumstances, can also be seen as either not doing what a reasonable person would typically do or doing something a reasonable person wouldn’t. Furthermore, negligence can be considered deviating from the behavior of an average and reasonable member of a community. If negligence consistently leads to damage or plays a significant role in causing it, it is regarded as a “legal cause” of said harm. Hence, it is valid to state that the loss, injury, or damage would not have occurred without negligence.

Negligence, when combined with another act, natural cause, or different cause, can lead to legal responsibility for harm. However, the negligence must happen at the same time as the other cause and have a significant impact on it in order to be held responsible for causing such harm. For example, I consider climbing a tower during a thunderstorm to be unreasonably dangerous. Nevertheless, even if the school followed all necessary precautions in designing, manufacturing, and selling the product in question but neglected proper maintenance, they could still face liability.

The chain of causation is relevant in this instance as it refers to a sequence of events where each one occurs due to the event preceding it. According to this principle, if it can be proven that the outcome would not have occurred without the defendant’s actions, then the prosecution has established a chain of causation. It can be argued in this case that without the Zeta Iota Tau fraternity tradition, Steve would not have found himself in this predicament. A proximate cause is defined as the event closest or immediately responsible for bringing about a specific observed result.

The fraternity cannot be held immediately responsible for Steve’s injury in this specific scenario. The concept of Assumption of Risk applies here as Mr. Simple was fully aware of the potential consequences, possibly influenced by alcohol, but still cognizant of the risks involved. In a comparative negligence system, even if the injured individual shares some responsibility for the accident, they may still receive partial compensation for their damages. The plaintiff’s financial recovery may be reduced based on how their actions directly caused or contributed to the accident.

In states with a comparative negligence system, fault percentages are assigned to all parties involved in an incident by a judge or jury. This allows for multiple parties, such as the fraternity and the school, to be held responsible for different aspects of the incident. Conversely, in cases involving contributory negligence, if someone causes harm due to negligence but the injured party also played a part in their own suffering and injury, they cannot be held accountable. If we apply this principle to the given scenario, Steve would assume responsibility.

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Business Law Case Study: SFT and ZIT. (2018, Mar 01). Retrieved from

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