Case Briefing and Problem Solving

Topics: U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, Insider trading, Supreme Court of the United States Pages: 17 (6653 words) Published: March 21, 2013
Issue Spotters
Delta Tools, Inc., markets a product that under some circumstances is capable of seriously injuring consumers. Does Delta owe an ethical duty to remove this product from the market, even if the injuries result only from misuse? Why or why not? I think Delta Tools, Inc. doesn't owe an ethical duty to remove the product from the market unless the company doesn't warn its customers of the danger they can meet upon misuse of the product. If the company takes all the measures to warn their customers of the danger of the product once it's misused, customers have knowledge of the risk and voluntarily assume it. For example, the use of any antibiotics with the alcohol can lead to many harmful processes and activities. Nevertheless, pharmaceutical companies don't remove these products from the market because of that. It's a customer's responsibility to use the product properly.

Case problems
8–1 Business Ethics. Jason Trevor owns a commercial bakery in Blakely, Georgia, that produces a variety of goods sold in grocery stores. Trevor is required by law to perform internal tests on food produced at his plant to check for contamination. Three times in 2008, the tests of food products that contained peanut butter were positive for salmonella contamination. Trevor was not required to report the results to U.S. Food and Drug Administration officials, however, so he did not. Instead, Trevor instructed his employees to simply repeat the tests until the outcome was negative. Therefore, the products that had originally tested positive for salmonella were eventually shipped out to retailers. Five people who ate Trevor's baked goods in 2008 became seriously ill, and one person died from salmonella. Even though Trevor's conduct was legal, was it unethical for him to sell goods that had once tested positive for salmonella? If Trevor had followed the six basic guidelines for making ethical business decisions, would he still have sold the contaminated goods? Why or why not?

The issue in this case problem is whether Trevor's actions were unethical. In my opinion it was unethical for Jason Trevor to sell goods that had once tested positive for salmonella. Salmonella is a bacterium that can cause many illnesses. Two basic ethical approaches can be applied to this case. Firstly, Trevor should've thought about his customers from the religious position. He could've foreseen that products positive tested on salmonella would harm people inevitably. Secondly, he had to consider the outcome of this sale. He didn't think about the consequences that can follow. He acted negligent by letting his employees ship the products to the retailers. If Trevor followed the six basic guidelines for making ethical business decisions he would not have sold the contaminated goods to the public. Having five people seriously ill and one person died because of the contaminated products harms the name of the brand associated with this incident. Thus, company loses its customers and, as a result, part of the revenues. I think Trevor also should feel guilty about what happened to those people meaning that on the Conscience step, which is the 4th guideline, he would've reconsidered his actions and probably changed his mind. I guess he would've not been happy to be interviewed about the actions he was about to take. And the next step, which is Promises to his customers, would've made him doubt his decisions because of the trust of the customers that he held in his hands. And I am sure Trevor's hero would not have acted the way that can harm people. Thus, Trevor would not have sold the contaminated goods had he followed the basic guidelines for making ethical business decisions.

Brody v. Transitional Hospitals Corporation
United States Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, 280 F.3d 997 (9th Cir. 2002).

FACTS Jules Brody and Joyce T. Crawford filed a class action complaint against Transitional...
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