Use Fastcase to find the answers to the questions in the research assignment. Because part of what you need to learn in this class is efficient workflow, do not print out the document and write the answers by hand. Instead, download the document, rename it with a filename that includes your own last name, and type the answers into the document itself. Do not print until you have completed the assignment and are ready to turn it in. We will work on this assignment in class on October 1, and it is due at the beginning of class on October 6.
You can download a guide to Fastcase Legal Research for Paralegals (again, in the interest of efficient workflow, do not print the guide; refer to it on screen using the Table of Contents and search function to find what you need), and tutorials to explaining how to use Fastcase are available at http://www.fastcase.com/video/ In particular, you will need the following tutorials:
As you know, a complaint is the document that starts a civil lawsuit. The pleading standard for a complaint is that it must be a “short, plain statement” of the case that is sufficient to give the defendant notice of what is at stake in the lawsuit. Read the assignment below for a summary of the facts and allegations in the case, and then use the complaint form to create a complaint to be filed in the Circuit Court for Tuscaloosa County. You can also refer to the sample complaint for a general idea of what a complaint should look like. The complaint should make general allegations necessary to satisfy the elements of the claim, but it should not include every fact that will be proved at trial.
This week we begin studying small business organizations, or forms of business ownership. There are four forms of ownership that you need to know about: sole proprietorships, partnerships, corporations, and partnerships. Today we’ll look at sole proprietorships and partnerships, and next Tuesday we’ll look at corporations and LLCs.
Sole proprietorships are the simplest and most common form of business ownership in the US. Sole proprietorships have the benefit of being easy to form (you don’t have to do anything) and very flexible in the way they can operate. There are some downsides to sole proprietorships, however. One is that because there is only a single owner, it can be hard to raise startup capital—the business only has access to the funds that the owner can save or borrow. Given that the number one reason for new businesses to fail is lack of startup capital, capitalization can be a problem for a sole proprietorship, and it’s probably not a good business organization for a business that requires a good deal of capital. The biggest disadvantage of a sole proprietorship, however, is unlimited personal liability. Because the business has no existence apart from the owner, the owner is personally liable for all the debts of the business. Any money the business owes, whether it’s for unpaid bills, loans, or lawsuits, is a debt of the owner, and the business owner can lose everything. See the Simpsons episode “When Flanders Failed” for an illustration of what happens when a sole proprietorship doesn’t work out.
Partnerships are an agreement among two or more persons to operate as co-owners a business for profit. Partnerships have much in common with sole proprietorships: they’re easy to form and flexible in how they can operate. Partnerships can make it easier to raise capital than a sole proprietorship because there are multiple owners who can save and borrow capital, and multiple owners means more sharing of the responsibility of business ownership and a greater range of knowledge, talent, and skills. Like a sole proprietorship, partners feature unlimited liability, so the partners are personally liable for the debts of the partnership. Additionally, partnerships feature joint and several liability for partnership debts. That means that in addition to being liable for the debts together, each partner is personally liable for the entire amount of the debt. Remember the fable of the grasshopper and the ants? What happens if you have a partnership with three grasshoppers and an ant? The grasshoppers blow all their profits on cars and vacations and living a life of luxury while the ant lives frugally and saves up a big nest egg for retirement. When the partnership gets sued, the grasshoppers don’t have any money so the plaintiff collects the entire judgment from the ant, who is now broke. What happens if one partner gets disgruntled, takes out a huge loan in the name of the partnership, and skips town? Who has to pay back the loan?
Next, complete the following assignment to be turned in at the beginning of class on Tuesday, April 21:
Don’t forget that the final version of your will drafting assignment is due at the beginning of class next week. We’ll talk a little bit about will execution ceremonies and how to prepare the final draft for the client.
After the wills, we’ll have test 3, This time, the test will consist of 50 multiple choice definition questions like we saw in the review game. Following is a list of sample questions. See you next week, and get in touch if you have questions or need help before then.