Business Law Exam 1 Notes

Topics: Supreme Court of the United States, Civil procedure, Trial court Pages: 10 (1954 words) Published: October 5, 2012
BMGT 380 Exam One
Statutory Interpretation
1. Plain Meaning Rule: Courts are supposed to apply and interpret statutes (法令) according to their usual or ordinary meanings.
2. Legislative History (when 1 conflicts with 2,consider 2 first): if legislative history suggests a different outcome than plain meaning rule, the court then will mostly likely do what the legislative history suggests.

 hearings on proposed legislation ※
 committee reports ※
 amendments (修正案) to the legislation
 proposed but defeated (废弃的,无效的) amendments -

– most useful sources

3. General Public Purpose: the courts apply the statutory in light of (考虑到;从…的 观点) various general public purposes. (widely accepted general notions of public policy)
4. Prior Interpretations: Courts sometimes follow prior cases and administrative decisions interpreting a statute, regardless of the statute’s plain meaning or legislative history. (影响因素: the # of past courts adopting the interpretation; the authoritativeness of those courts; the # of years that the interpretation has been followed)

Limits on the Power of Courts (5 条):

1> Courts generally do not issue advisory opinions (there must be existing controversies/cases)
a. Ripeness (the case has to be ripe, must be actual controversy) b. The issue cannot be moot (there has to be an ongoing dispute) c. Must have standing to sue (plaintiff must have tangible, direct, substantial stake in the outcome)

d. Exception: State and federal declaratory judgment statutes -

Allow parties to determine their rights and duties even though their controversy has not advanced to the point where harm has occurred and legal relief may be necessary


*** is awarded only when the parties’dispute is sufficiently advanced to constitute a real case or controversy

2> Precedent
3> Scrutiny of published opinions
4> Fear of reversal
5> Political factors (judges get elected)
a. Elections (judges stand for real elections, defeat their record as a judge) b. Recall (罢免) or impeachment (控告;检举;弹劾) -

special election: if lots of people are angry with the judge, 举行 special election 决定是否罢免 judge (例:加州 judge 不执行 death penalty,被 罢免,换了一个执行死刑的 judge)

c. Traditional discipline

State Courts (3 种)
1. Courts of Limited Jurisdiction (minor cases, small amount of money, specialized matters) (也叫 District Courts)

例: traffic courts; probate courts; small claims courts ($5000 limit in MD)


No Juries (陪审团); [could be] but usually no attorneys (律师) involved


Not courts of record, no transcript of the proceedings conducted

2. Trial Courts (初审法庭 deal with factual issues)
Differences between 1 and 2:
a. No restrictions on subject matters in trial courts
b. No limit on the dollar amount you can sue for in trial courts c. Trial Courts are courts of record, transcript is made of the proceedings -

Every county in the State usually have its own trial courts


Trial courts usually split into civil and criminal (but not always true)

3. Appellate Courts (上诉法院)

When case is up on appeal, CANNOT introduce new evidence, appellate courts can only review the evidences presented to the lower court, then decide if the lower court made the right decision


Usually defer to (听从; 遵从) the trial courts; typically decide whether there is legal issue, rather than factual issue


Bigger States have two level of appeals (Trial Court → Appellate Court →

State Supreme Court)

Small States have only one level of appeal (If lose trial court → appellate court or state Supreme court)

- Jurisdiction (管辖权,司法权,裁判权) and Venue (审判地点) Plaintiff must have both J and V to sue in a civil case

Jurisdiction: the court’s power to hear a case and to issue a binding decision [sue 时必须有 subject-matter J + either in personam or in rem j] Three Kinds of Jurisdictions:
1. Subject-Matter Jurisdiction
2. In Personam Jurisdiction: J over the specific person or entity who is the defendant.
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