AGENCY & PARTNERSHIP PROBLEMS & ANSWERS – for Rosin Coursebook

 

 

PROBLEM 1.1 (pg. 14) The Firm and its Agents and Servants

 

While swimming behind a boat in Peaceful Valley Lake in Missouri, Bunting died of acute carbon monoxide poisoning. Mercury Marine, Inc manufactured the boat’s motor. Under Missouri law, Mercury Marine may be sued either in the county in which the accident happened, or in any other county in which it “keeps an office or agent for the transaxn of its usual and customary business.” Mercury Marine has no office in St. Louis, but Dealer sells its boat motors in that city. Mercury Marine appointed Dealer as its “authorized dealer for the retail sale, display, and servicing” of its products. Under the agreement btwn them:

(a)     Mercury Marine sells its products to Dealer for resale. Dealer is free to sell products made by other manufacturers.

(b)     Dealer gives Mercury Marine’s warranty to all buyers of Mercury Marine products.

©    Dealer performs warranty svc on Mercury Marine products. Mercury Marine honors warranty claims “made                                                                    by purchaser through Dealer” and reimburses Dealer for warranty svc it performs “on behalf of Mercury Marine.”

  1. Is Dealer Mercury Marine’s agent for purposes of determining venue? (see State ex. rel. Bunting v. Koehr, 865 SW2d 351 (Mo. 1993) (en banc)

Answer:

 

The TEST for determining whether an “agency” existed is three-pronged: YOU NEED ALL OF THEM TO SATISFY THE AGENCY RELATIONSHIP; in order for agent/principle relationship to exist here A would have to only exclusively sell those goods and not any other goods (From Green v. HR Block). For example: If dealer buys the good and gets title such as best buy’s computers and then resells this is not a PA relationship but merely a buyer seller relationship. If  you work at Gateway and only sell the certain products and don’t get title this will be PA relationship. REMEMBER: if close cases the courts will find an agency relationship to not deter commerce.

(1)                 “Agent” must hold a power to alter legal relations btwn the principal and 3rd persons and btwn the principal and himself. (if element one is satisfied then 3 is clearly satisfied since if you have the power to alter legal relationship between P and third party then he obviously has the power to control conduct of the agent).

a.                    The warranty here was specific in the warranty and the dealer cannot alter it, therefore they cannot change the warranty. Because the K is very specific the dealer is not able to alter the legal relationship so that would elude us to fact that there is not an agent relationship here.

(2)                 The agent is a fiduciary with respect to matters within the scope of his agency.

a.                    Res 2nd 13 (pg 165 Supp)

(3)                 The principal has the right to control the conduct of the agent w/ respect to matters entrusted to him.

a.                    Res 2nd 14 (pg 165 supplement)

 

§ Agency; Principle; Agent

(1)     Agency is the fiduciary relation which results from the manifestation of consent by one person (P) to another (A) that the other (A) shall act on his (P) behalf and subject to his (P) control, and consent by the other so (A) to act.

(2)     The one for whom action is to be taken is the principle.

(3)     The one who is to act is the agent.

The absence of ANY one of these three elements of agency defeats a claim that agency exists. HERE, the dealer does not sell Mercury Marine products principally for the benefit of Mercury Marine. The Dealer is independent of Mercury Marine, is permitted to sell products of competing companies, and purchases Mercury Marine motors primarily for the purpose of reselling them for its own profit. The relationship btwn the dealers and Mercury Marine for the sale of Mercury Marine products is, THEREFORE, that of buyer and seller, NOT agent and principal. THE BUYER SELLER RELATIONSHIP ALONE WOULD NOT CREATE AN AGENCY RELATIONSHIP!! (See class notes pg 16).

 

  1. Is the fact that Dealer extended and perfected Mercury Marine’s product warranty for the ultimate purchaser sufficient factual predicate to support the legal conclusion that Dealer is Mercury Marine’s agent?

 

Answer:

 

Agency does not exist unless the dealer has the “power to alter the legal relationship” btwn Mercury Marine and the ultimate purchaser.” HERE, the dealer agrees to extend the warranty to any subsequent purchaser of the motor and notify Mercury Marine of the new holder of the warranty. This contractual obligation is NOT the same as a power to alter a legal relationship btwn the manufacturer and the purchaser. WHY? B/c the manufacturer

(1)     Sells the product to the dealer for resale;

(2)     Unilaterally imposes the terms of the warranty prior to the sale to the dealer;

(3)     Forbids the dealer from altering the terms of the warranty in any way;

(4)     Requires the dealer to extend the warranty as part of the sale and notify the manufacturer of the new holder of the warranty; AND

(5)     Makes the warranty a part of the purchaser’s bargain when he or she purchases the product.

UNDER THESE CIRCUMSTANCES, there is no agency btwn the manufacturer and the dealer as there is no power in the dealer to alter the legal relationship btwn the manufacturer and the purchaser.

 

  1. Does Dealer’s obligation to provide warranty svc make it Mercury Marine’s agent?

 

Answer:

 

NO. Although “control” over the dealers’ warranty work is a necessary element of agency, it nevertheless does not exist UNLESS both of the remaining elements of agency are also present. The dealer’s obligation to perform warranty work is NOT tantamount to a power to alter Mercury Marine’s legal relationship w/ a third party. Even here when you kick in control you are  not satisfying the first prong from above.

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PROBLEM 1.2 (pg. 30) The Firm and its Agents and Servants – (Same as Problem 4.3 – see below)

 

ABC Corp. sold mobile homes and developed mobile home parks.  ABC employed Agent, a licensed real estate broker, to acquire land for development as mobile home parks, at a weekly salary of $125. Agent told ABC that Parkacre was available for purchase. ABC asked Agent to purchase the land as a “straw man,” and then to convey the land to ABC. Agent told ABC that the land would cost $30,000, and ABC gave Agent that amount.

 

Unknown to ABC, Agent had an interest in Parkacre. Before he had been employed by ABC, Agent had paid $1,000 for an option to buy Parkacre for $15,000. When ABC gave Agent the $30,000 he asked for, Agent exercised his option to buy Parkacre. Agent then used $14,000 of the $30,000 to complete the purchase, and kept the remaining $16,000.

 

ABC has now sued Agent for breach of fiduciary duty, asking that Agent be required to give ABC the entire $15,000 profit on the transaction. Agent argues that ABC’s sole remedy is to rescind the transaction – return Parkacre in exchange for the $30,000 purchase price.

 

Answer:

 

The Fiduciary Principle entails that an agreement to act on behalf of the principal causes the agent to have a DUTY imposed on him, created by his undertaking, to act primarily for the benefit of another in matters connected with his undertaking. Among the duties to the principal are:

a.        the duty to account for profits arising out of the employment,

b.        the duty not to act as, or on account of, an adverse party without the principal’s consent,

c.        the duty not to compete w/ the principal on his own account or for another in matters relating to the subject matter of the agency, AND

d.        the duty to deal fairly w/ the principal in all transactions between them.

 

Restatement §387 states that an agent’s duty as a fiduciary requires the agent “to act SOLELY for the benefit of the principal in all matters connected w/ the agency.” (one cannot serve two masters, including oneself)

 

Restatement §389 An agent must give profits of a transaction to the principal unless there is an agreemt.

 

Restatement §389 An agent is subject to a duty not to deal w/ his principal as an adverse party in a transaction connected w/ the agency w/o the principal’s knowledge.

 

Restatement §390 An agent who, with the knowledge of the principal, acts on his own account  in a transaction in which he is employed has a duty of deal fairly and disclose everything to the principal unless the principle manifest that he knows the facts or does not care. (so even if the agent disclosed the option , he still had a duty to deal fairly)

               

Restatement §403 states that where “an agent receives anything as a result of his violation of a duty of loyalty to the principal, he is subject to a liability to deliver it, its value, or its proceeds, to the principal.” (The traditional equitable remedy is the Constructive Trust.)

 

Note: Remember Judge Cardozo (in Meinhard v. Salmon) – “Not honesty alone but the punctilio of an honor most sensitive is the standard of behavior.”

 

Remedies that Principal has:

    • Get all the profits that are derived from the relationship (especially secret ones).
    • Constructive Trust w/ agent as trustee: court implies one.
    • Get the value of the use of his property.

 

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PROBLEM 2.1 (pg.81) Firm’s Liability in Contract for Acts of its Agents

 

Equipment owner Kapperman was negotiating the possible sale of his broken road grader to Schladweiler for about $8500. Kapperman authorized Schladweiler only to obtain three bids to have the engine repair work done (so that Kapperman could then decide whether the repair was affordable). Instead, Schladweiler represented to Truck Repair that he had authority from Kapperman to obtain the repair on behalf of Kapperman, as long as the cost of the repair did not exceed $3500. Schladweiler did not get any other bids and ordered the work done by Truck Repair. Truck Repair did the work for $6400, released the road grader to Schladweiler, but has not been paid. Schladweiler is insolvent. Who is liable for the repair bill?

 

Answer:

 

The principle is only liable if there is actual or apparent authority. (R)

The Principal is not liable at all – since there was no authority. P gave actual authority to give bids only. P did not authorize the work done, he just authorized him to get bids. But here in this situation A is liable for the whole amount.

 

Caveat: if he was authorized for repait then P would only be authorized for the exact amount. P expressly authorized (Actual authority: see 7 below) to spend 3.5k. Therefore, since the agent went above that he would be liable for the rest.

 

Restatement §7 – Authority is defined as the power of the agent to affect the legal relations of the principal by acts done in accordance with the principal’s manifestations of consent to him.  (Here there were no such manifestations)

 

Restatement §164(1) – Where an agent enters into an unauthorized contract w/o having the power to bind the principal, the principal is NOT bound by the contract as actually made by the agent, or as it would have been made if the agent had acted w/in his or her authority. Since A was given actual authority as to amount he is liable for that amount.

 

Restatement §§8, 8A, and 8B – However, under certain circumstances agents may have power to bind the principal by unauthorized acts, such as where the agent has apparent authority or inherent agency power, or where the principal is estopped (b/c a 3rd party relied) from denying the agent’s authority.  (None of which are present in this case) (see page 164 supplement)

 

The Principal must have the capacity to give legal consent, as well as capacity to do the act that he or she is authorizing his agent to do.

 

The Agent, however, must only have the physical or mental capability to do the act (not legal). Therefore, a minor can act as an agent AND can bind a principal to a contract.

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PROBLEM 2.2 (pg.88) Undisclosed Principals

 

Acton was in business in Chicago as a retailer dealer in costume jewelry.  I addition, he frequently served as a purchasing agent for retailer of similar goods.  In December, Pace, a retailer for whom Acton had occasionally acted in the past, wrote Acton authorizing him to purchase on Pace’s behalf a specified quantity of costume jewelry form Tab, a wholesaler.  Pace added that b/c of certain transactions in the past, Tab might refuse to deal with him and directed Acton not to disclose the buyer’s identity.  Acton, who occasionally dealt with Tab on his own account, was indebted to Tab for $3500 for various items purchased on credit earlier that year under contracts that were reasonable and provident when made.  Acton immediately contacted Tab and arranged with him for the purchase of the costume jewelry.  A written contract was entered into, delivery to be made Feb. 1 at Acton’s place of business, payment to be made 10 days thereafter.  Acton signed the contract in his own name, having made no mention of Pace, and Tab assumed that Acton was the buyer.  On Feb 1, Tab failed to deliver under the contract, notifying Acton that he had learned for whom Acton was acting and that he would not fill the order.  Informed of this, Pace promptly purchased similar costume jewelry in the open market.  Pace suffered damages of $3500 with respect to the costume jewelry.  Pave demanded that Tab pay him $3500 damages.  Tab repeated his refusal to be bound by the contract, pointing out that had Tab known the identity of Acton’s principal, he would not have entered into the contract.  Tab also claimed that even if he were liable, he would be entitled to set off the $3500 owed him by Acton.  What are Pace’s rights, if any, against Tab?  Give Reasons.

 

Answer:

                Pace: P.  Acton A, Tab: 3rd party

If P sues T: then T is not L since P was undisclosed (303), but under 302 T would be liable unless 3 exceptions are met (however 302 is not met since the second of prong of fraud was met here).

                If T sues A: A is liable (306)

                If T sues P:

 

1.       Ordinarily an agent is not liable for a disclosed principal, but if the principal is undisclosed then agent is on the hook.  It is as though the agent is the only one involve until the principal is disclosure.  The agent is completely off the hook post-disclosure.

2.       If principal contracts with the agent to keep disclosure, unwarranted disclosure does not preclude the ability of the 3rd to sue the principal.

3.       Agents continued exposure – any trust or confidence in the agent will bind the agent.  So you cannot shift responsibility to the principal if the 3rd party was relying on the ability of the agent.  The 3rd party has remedy here against the agent. The remedy here might be that

4.       Restatement §4 – Disclosed Principal; Partially Disclosed Principal; Undisclosed Principal – if the other party has no notice that the agent is acting for a principal then the on for whom he acts is undisclosed. 

5.       Common Law – an undisclosed principal is bound by the acts of the agent,  Accordingly, they can also sue 3rd parties (since they are on the hook)

6.       Restatement §302 – 3rd parties are bound to the undisclosed principal unless (3 exceptions):

                                                               i.      The  agreement states to the contrary

                                                             ii.      Existence of principal is fraudulently concealed

                                                           iii.      There is a set off or similar defense against the agent.

7.       See also Restatement §303, §304

i.                     303: A person (3rd party) with whom an agent makes a contract on account of an undisclosed principle is not liable in an action at law brought upon the contract by such principle:

                                                                                       i.      If the contract is in the form of a sealed or negotiation instrument OR

                                                                                     ii.      If the terms of the contract exclude liability to any undisclosed principle or to the particularly principle.

(4)     306(1) : The principle is on the hook unless limits exposure. One the agent is liable he cant throw it onto the principle and the A would be liable. However here, Tab found out who the principle was so therefore this section drops out of the anaylsis.

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PROBLEM 2.4 (p.93) – skipped – no notes – “Burbank

 

PROBLEM 2.5 (p.99) – skipped – no notes – “Outcome in Clark Case”

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PROBLEM 3.1 (pg.163) Contracts Entered into before Formation of a Limited Liability Firm

 

Grace and Alice were starting their own record label, “White Rabbit Records.” Grace’s father, Lewis, agreed to invest in the business. The three of them agreed to organize the business as a limited liability company, in which Grace, Alice and Lewis were to be the only members.

 

Lewis gave Grace and Alice $100,000, which they deposited in a bank account under the name “White Rabbit Records.” Grace started looking for a place to put the recording studio and offices. Alice started working on finding recording artists. On March 7, Alice signed a recording contract w/ Artist. The recording contract was in the name of “White Rabbit Records,” and was signed as follows:

                                                                White Rabbit Records

                                                                By: /S/  Alice    

Using forms she downloaded from the Internet, Grace prepared Articles of Organization for a limited liability company to be named “Whit Rabbit Records, LLC.” On April 1, the three signed the Articles of Organization, and mailed them to Secretary of State of the State of Confusion for filing under the Confusion Limited Liability Co Act (“CLLCA”).

 

Lewis invested in the business, but was not active in its operation. Grace and Alice both invested in, and were active in running the business. While Alice was off contacting bands and songwriters, Grace found a place to put their recording studio. On April 7, Grace signed a lease w/ Landlord. The lease showed “White Rabbit Records, LLC” as the lessee, and was signed as follows:

                                                                White Rabbit Records

                                                                By: /S/ Grace   

                                                                Grace, member

On April 15, Grace received a letter from the Confusion Secretary of State, returning the Articles of Organization of White Rabbit Records, LLC, and advising that the Articles were being returned without filing, b/c the name “White Rabbit Records, LLC” was not available w/o a letter of consent from White Rabbit Magic, Inc. Grace, Alice and Lewis obtained the letter of consent, and mailed the consent, and the Articles of Organization for White Rabbit Records, LLC, to the Confusion Secretary of State. The Confusion Secretary of State accepted the Articles of Organization for filing, and issued a Certificate of Organization for White Rabbit Records, LLC, effective as of April 22.

 

Questions:

(1)     Please advise each of Grace, Alice, Lewis and White Rabbit Records, LLC as to their respective responsibilities w/ respect to

(a)     the recording contract w/ Artist, and

(b)     the lease w/ Landlord. You may assume that, except as set forth above, the Lease has no provisions that would affect your answer.

(2)     Suppose that, instead of a limited liability company, the parties had formed a limited partnership, w/ Grace and Alice as general partners, and Lewis as a limited partner. Would that change the responsibilities of the parties on the Lease? Why or why not?

 

 

 

Answer:

 

(1)     Advice to Grace, Alice, and Lewis as to their responsibilities w/ respect to:

(a)     The Recording Contract w/ Artist

Alice acted as a promoter of the corporate enterprise, White Rabbit Records, LLC, when she signed the recording contract.  The legal relationship between a promoter and a not-yet formed entity is analogous to that of agent/principal.   As such, promoters are at least initially liable on any contracts they execute in furtherance of the corporate entity prior to its formation. The promoters are released from liability only when:

(i)                  The contract provides that performance is to be the obligation of the corporation (novation)

(ii)                The corporation is ultimately formed (de jeure)

(iii)              The corporation then formally adopts the contract (ratification and affirmation).

Pre-incorporation agreements merely indicate that it is undertaken on behalf of a corporation and the corp will not be exclusively liable in the event of a breach – the promoter remains liable on the contract.

Promoter Liability – The promoter will only be released from liability IF:

(i)                  The corp is ultimately formed AND

(ii)                the corp subsequently ADOPTS the contract and

(iii)              there is subsequent NOVATION. However, in order for the liability to shift to the later-formed corp, the contract must explicitly state that the performance thereunder is solely the responsibility of the corp.

THEREFORE, Alice will be held liable to Artist unless White Rabbit Records, LLC adopts the contract. Upon novation of the contract, liability will shift from Alice to the corp.  White Rabbit Records is not liable because it does not exist.  Artist can look only to Alice for liability (e is an argument that Grace could be liable as a general partner under default rules but probably not Lewis because he has no control.  Lewis probably falls under §304(a).  If Artist looks to corp/entity for liability they will be estopped from doing so since they knew that the entity wasn’t formed the artist cant sue the entity.

 

You can argue that Alice is an agent of an undisclosed principle (entity) and therefore 320,321, and 322 might be applicable. Since Alice (A) was disclosed we would apply 321 and 322. But it would really be more 321 (they knew there was a record company but not the name (pg 182 supp).

 

304a Analysis: see pg 340 in supplement (Alice and Grace: GPs and Lewis LP)

 

(b)     The Lease w/ Landlord

                                Grace, like Alice, acted as a promoter to the corp/ptshp entity when she signed the lease.

 

Restatement §326 – There is an inference that a person intends to make a present contract w/ an existing person.  If, therefore, both parties know that there is no principal capable of entering into such a contract, there is a rebuttable inference that, although the contract is nominally in the name of the nonexistent person, the parties intend that the person signing as agent should be a party, unless there is some indication to the contrary. (see pg 182 supp).

LLC Liability – The LLC will not be liable UNLESS:

(i)                  The contract provides that performance is solely the responsibility of the corporation.

(ii)                If it doesn’t, then the LLC must make an affirmative act that shows that it has ADOPTED the contract after formation. There are two ways in which an entity can ADOPT a contract:

(A)     Expressly, or

(B)    By Conduct (accepting the benefits and fruits of the contract) – like RATIFICATION.

 

The key in advising Grace and Alice is to tell them to have an express provision in the contract that states that the LLC is assuming sole liability and responsibility and that they are merely acting as agents for the LLC. Ultimately, Grace is bound personally by the lease she signed with the landlord.  Under a LLP both Grace and Alice are liable for the lease.  There may be some estopell argument if there was reliance.

 

(2)     If partners had formed as a Limited Partnership –

 

Yes the formation of a limited partnership would change the responsibilities of the parties on the lease that Grace signed. The parties would be held to different standards of liability on the Lease.  In order to have an LP, certain steps need to be taken and as long as there is substantial compliance with the statute, the LP will be recognized. However, if there has been no compliance yet, the default rule is to take it as a general partnership. As such, both Alice and Grace will be held liable as general partners on the Lease.  The general ptshp default rules are found RUPA §202.  

 

On the Lease, Lewis would be held to a different standard and he would probably win under the next section:

ULPA §304 (P.340)A person who makes a contribution to a business enterprise and erroneously but in good faith believes that he has become a limited partner in the enterprise is not a general partner in the enterprise and is not bound by its obligations by reason of making the contribution, receiving distribution from the enterprise, or exercising any rights of a ltd partner, if, on ascertaining the mistake, he or she:

o        Causes an appropriate certificate of limited partnership or a certificate of amendment to be executed and filed; or

o        Withdraws from future equity participation in the enterprise by executing and filing in the office of the Sec of State a certificate declaring withdrawal under this section.

 

Artist, however, could argue that since no attempt had even been made yet as to filing the Articles of Organization, that it should be a general partnership rendering Lewis personally liable too. The general rule is that 3rd party’s knowledge regarding the status of a ltd partnership is irrelevant when at the time of contracting, the partners have made no attempt to comply w/ the filing requirements. Since they were de facto (meaning they made a good faith colorable attempt to comply with the statutory requirements) they would not be de jeure and therefore not an LLC. Then the default rules for GP would apply. If now they were GPs, Alice and Grace would be liable since they, under 304, actively participated. Lewis could then argue under 304b that since he was passive he would not be liable (since a LP in a GP)

 

Lewis could then argue that b/c he had no active control or participation in the company he is a limited partner and as such, not liable. The rebuttal, however, by Artist would be the opposite – since he shared in the profits he should be personally liable. AND Artist might win b/c of the non-compliance w/ the filing requirements.

 

IF an LLC had in fact been formed properly, by definition of an LLC each member has actual authority to bind the LLC. If a member does not agree that member may withdraw or mediate. Since Lewis did neither, he would therefore become liable under the K that bound the LLC.  (pg 137 supplement)

 

Def:

(1)     De facto: (1) There is a statute permitting incorporation, (2) bonafide attempt to incorporate, (3) actual use or attempted use of corp powers (4) third party reliance on the corp.

                                                               i.      Result: if you deal with de facto the corporation can be bound by acts of its agents (320 pg 182); disclosed agents and shareholders are not L- L would be imputed to corp.

(2)     De jeure: a matter of strict compliance with statutory requirements

(3)     Corporation by estoppel: when parties are estopped from denying corp.’s existence.

 

PROBLEM 3.2 (172) – [Formation of Firms]

 

Contracts Entered into before Formation of a Limited Liability Firm / Interaction of Statutes and Common Law

 

Investor invested money in Widgets, Ltd.  At the time of the investment, Investor signed a Certificate and Agreement of Limited Partnership that specified that Investor would be a limited partner in Widgets, Ltd.  Unknown to Investor, Widgets, Ltd. Began doing business without filing the Certificate.  After six months, Widgets, Ltd. Distributed $1,000 in profits to Investor.  After Investor received the profits distribution, Investor learned that Widgets, Ltd. was not a limited partnership.

               

Despite learning that Widgets, Ltd. was not a limited partnership, Investor took no action to procure the filing of the Certificate of Limited partnership for Widgets, Ltd., nor did Investor withdraw from equity participation in the business.  In fact, Investor continued to take distributions of profits after Investor learned the business was not a limited partnership.

 

Widgets, Ltd. is now insolvent, and two of its creditors have sued Investor, seeking to hold Investor personally liable for Widgets, Ltd.’s debts.  Alan sold on open account goods worth $10,000 to Widgets, Ltd. after Investor had received the first distribution of profits, but before Investor learned there was no limited partnership.  Betty loaned Widgets, Ltd. $25,000, after Investor had learned there was no limited partnership, and after Investor had received further distributions of profits. 

               

Assume that neither Alan nor Betty knew of Investor’s involvement with Widgets. Ltd.  Under the ULPA, is Investor liable to either Alan or Betty?  Under the RULPA?

 

Answer:

 

The issue is whether Investor in a limited partnership believing to be a limited partner is liable to Alan or Betty for debts owed by Widget.  Two rules can answer this question: ULPA §11 and RULPA §304

 

RULPA §304(a) [see (b) below]: “Person Erroneously Believing Himself Limited Partner.  “A person who makes a contribution to a business enterprise and erroneously but in good faith believes that he has become a limited partner in the enterprise is not a general partner in the enterprise and is not bound by its obligations by reason of making the contribution, receiving distributions from the enterprise or exercising any rights of a limited partner, IF, on ascertaining the mistake, HE/SHE:

(i)                  causes an appropriate certificate of limited partnership or a certificate of amendment to be filed;  OR

(ii)                withdraws from future equity participation…by declaring withdraw with the sec of state”. 

 

Applying §304 to the facts presented, Investor made contributions to Widget erroneously, but in good faith he believed that he was a limited partner.  He should not be liable to Alan.  Alan’s sale of 10lk worth of product to Widget (even after Investor receipt of profits) was accomplished before Investor learned there was no limited partnership.  Conversely, under §304, Investor may be liable to Betty because Investor knew that there was no limited partnership (which is an act of bad faith) when Betty lent the money to Widgets.  But Investor might not be liable to Betty (3rd party) because she may have extended the credit without believing in good faith that Investor was a general partner.  The applicable section §304(b) reads, “But in either case, only if the third party actually believed in good faith that the person was a general partner at the time of the transaction”.  Betty has a pretty strong reliance argument, that is, that the credit was extended in good faith.  After he found out that they were not a limited partnership (he would now be a GP)

 

Under ULPA §11:  investors in a defective limited partnership will not be treated as general partners so long as (I) they exercised only the rights of limited partners and (ii) they renounce all interest in the business “promptly” on learning that no limited partnership exists. there are no facts indicating that Investor exercised rights beyond his limited partnership but Investor did not renounce interest in the business upon learning that there was no limited partnership because he continued to take distributions of profits after he knew there was no limited partnership.  In other words, Investor would be liable as a general partner to Betty not Alan.  Not to Alan, because he did not know at the time Investor received distribution that there was no limited partnership, however Investor knew of this at the time Betty lent money to Widget, Ltd.  ULPA reasons that because persons in such a position never actively participate din the control of the business; they were not co-owners of the business, but rather only investors.  Therefore as investors, they could involve section 11 and retain any profits received before they learned they were not limited partners.  [This is not bolded because he said only answer with respect to RUPLA.]

 

 

PROBLEM 4.1 (pg. 203) Express Actual Authority

 

You are an associate in a law firm. Your supervising partner assigns you two client files.

 

A.      Leslie Owner owns a small printing shop. Owner is married, and has two young children. Owner is also a member of the National Guard. Owner’s unit has just been called into active duty, and is being assigned to Bosnia as a part of the UN peacekeeping forces. Owner wants to execute a general power-of-attorney giving her husband the power to rune the printing shop while she is in Bosnia. She also wants her husband to manage her investments, which are her separate property.

 

B.       Grandpa Jones is retired, and has substantial assets that greatly exceed the current exemptions for the imposition of estate taxes. Grandpa is 80 yrs old, and has just been diagnosed w/ Parkinson’s disease. Grandpa is too preoccupied w/ his health to pay proper attention to his assets. He also knows that, with his advanced age, and his Parkinson’s, it is likely that, in the next year or so, he will become unable to manage his affairs. To ensure that his property will be managed properly, Grandpa wishes to give his daughter a general power-of-attorney.

 

What should be you concerns in drafting the powers-of-attorney? Are the concerns in drafting Owner’s power-of-atty different from those in drafting Grandpa’s? Would further info be helpful in drafting the powers-of-atty? If you think it would, what info would you like, and why?

 

Answer:

 

(1)     The general rule is that Powers of Atty are “strictly construed and are held to grant only those powers which are clearly delineated. However, this rule of strict construction is subject to a more important rule: that the court must determine the intention of the parties.

(2)     Another accepted rule is to discount or disregard, as meaningless verbiage, all-embracing expressions found in POAs.

(3)     Ambiguities are to be resolved against the party who made it or cause it to be made, b/c that party had the better opportunity to understand and explain his meaning.

(4)     Finally, general words used in an instrument are restricted by the context in which they are used, and are construed accordingly. Terms are given technical and not popular definitions.

 

(a)     For Leslie Owner, language such as “such power as may be used in the ordinary course of business” is boilerplate and will probably suffice except if there are unforeseen circumstances.  For example, the right to sell, declare bankruptcy, merger, etc. would not be covered in boilerplate language.  These things would likely need specific consent. 

(b)     For Grandpa there are other issues.  Such as continuation on life support and disabilities.  For those decisions you would want to get the family’s consent ahead of time.  Another concern might be Grandpa’s competency.  Important information, the existence of a will.

 

Other powers (e.g. power to make gifts of the principal’s prop) are NOT included UNLESS

a.        it is expressly conferred

b.        it arises as a necessary implication from the conferred powers, OR

c.        it is clearly intended by the parties, as evidenced by the surrounding facts and circumstances.

2.                   Guardians of incompetents

a.        Do not have authority to maintain an action for divorce of grandfather absent explicit statutory authorization due to personal nature of the relationship.

 

The issue then arises, whether the husband has the power to hire someone to manage the printing store. (See PROBLEM 4.2 – Implied Actual Authority)

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PROBLEM 4.2 (pg.209) Implied Actual Authority – (class notes pg 56)

 

When its building need painting, Church hired Bill to paint it.  Church has hired Bill on various projects, including the last painting of the Church building.  While working those projects, Bill had often asked his brother, Sam, to help out as needed.  In fact, Sam had helped Bill with painting portions of the building that were very high and difficult for one person to paint.  When it came time to paint those portions of the building, Bill asked for permission to hire another worker.  Although the Church suggested that Bill might use Gary, who was hard to contract, Bill asked Sam to help out again.  The morning that Bill and Sam came in to paint, Bill discovered that there wasn’t enough paint, and sent Same to the hardware store to purchase more paint.  Does Sam have either express or implied authority to purchase the paint on behalf of the Church?  How would you characterize such authority?

 

                Answer:

 

1.       Sam: he would have apparent authority to work on the church since he has done projects in the past and they have allowed him to do them. Sam doesn’t have actual, but he has apparent. One could argue that he also has inherent since having paint to paint is inherent in the job as a painter.

2.       Note: Sam is a subagent (see class notes pg 56): subagent has the same powers as an agent and has the duties of fidelity and care. So there is a line of continuity of agent to subagent.

                                                               i.      Two possible views

1.       The appointing agent has completed his task once the subagent is appointed and the subagent is now the only agent of the principle

2.       The appointing agent remains an agent of the principle but stays on as a principle to the subagent.

                                                             ii.      Termination: is made based upon manifestations of the parties, customs of the business, and all other circumstances.

                                                           iii.      L of agent for acts within authority: (duties)

1.       Restatement 2d 377: contractual duties: a person who makes a contract with another to perform services as an agent for him is subject to a duty to act in accordance with his promise.

2.       Restatement 2d 379: duty of care and skill: (see pg 185 supp):

a.        A paid agent is subject to a duty to the principle to act with a standard care, standard skill in the locality for the kind of work done, and exercise any special skills.

b.        An unpaid agent is under a duty to act with the same care and skill of nonagents performing small tasks.

3.       Implied: type of actual authority circumstantially proven which are practically necessary to carry out duties actually delegated. Bill was hired to complete the paint job and had been allowed to get help from another person in the past. Arguably, he has implied actual authority for this paint job since the ceilings are high in some areas may require the work of two persons. However, the church suggested the use of Gary thus the church can argue that Bill only had authority to hire Gary and not some other person such as Sam. Since the fact pattern says that the church suggested Gary Bill could argue that the church meant he could have outside help not confined to only Gary.

4.       Sam may not have expressed actual authority but implied actual authority

5.       So once we determine Sam or Bill is w/in the church’s authority, then that is the consent of the church.  Agents have the incidental authority if it is w/in the scope of their employment.  An extraordinary amount of paint or a truck would be different.

6.       Test for determining implied actual authority:

                                                            iv.      Rule: Whether the agent reasonably believes because of the present or past conduct of the principle that the principle wished him to act in a certain way or to have certain authority.

                                                              v.      Factors:

1.       Nature of task

a.        It is difficult to paint ceiling by oneself, therefore it would seem logical to hire a subagent for help.

2.       Needed to carry out expressed authority

a.        Bill had expressed authority to paint church

3.       Similar past position

a.        He did in the paint before and he got helped before

4.       Specific past conduct by principle

a.        The principle allowed him to hire someone else

5.       Note: FYI: There is virtually always some implied authority

(4)     Types of authority

                                                               i.      Actual: (26 pg 166 Supp): (1) an objective manifestation by the principle, (2) followed by the agent’s reasonable interpretation of the manifestation, (3) which leads the agent to believe that it is authorized to act for the principle.

1.       Implied/incidental: authority to do acts which are incidental to it, usually accompany it, or are reasonably necessary to accomplish it. (35 pg 169 supp)

2.       Express: (26) also

                                                             ii.      Apparent: (8, 27): the power to affect the legal relations of another person by transactions with third persons, professedly as agent for the other, arising from and in accordance with the other’s manifestations to such third persons.

                                                           iii.      Estoppel: (8b pg 165 s):

                                                            iv.      Inherent: (Catchall doctrine): neither actual nor apparent, estoppel doesn’t apply. (8a pg 164 Supp)

1.       Two situations

a.        Certain unauthorized acts by agents

b.        Certain false representations of agent or apparent agent

                                                              v.      Ratify: (82 pg 169): the affirmance by a person of a prior act which did not bind him but which was done or professedly done on his account, whereby the act, as to some or all persons, is given effect as if originally authorized by him.

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PROBLEM 4.3 (pg.213) Agent’s Duty of Loyalty (class notes pg 72)

 

ABC Corp. sold mobile homes and developed mobile home parks. ABC employed Agent, a licensed real estate broker, to acquire land for development as mobile home parks, at a weekly salary of $125. Agent told ABC that Parkacre was available for purchase. ABC asked Agent to purchase the land as a “straw man,” and then to convey the land to ABC. Agent told ABC that the land would cost $30,000, and ABC gave Agent that amount.

 

Unknown to ABC, Agent had an interest in Parkacre. Before ABC had employed him, Agent had paid $1,000 for an option to buy Parkacre for $15,000. When ABC gave Agent the $30,000 he asked for, Agent exercised his option to buy Parkacre. Agent then used $14,000 of the $30,000 to complete the purchase, and kept the remaining $16,000.

 

ABC has now sued Agent for breach of fiduciary duty, asking that Agent be required to give ABC the entire $15,000 profit on the transaction. Agent argues that ABD’s sole remedy is to rescind the transaction – return Parkacre in exchange for the $30,000 purchase price.

 

Answer:

 

(Same as Problem 1.2 – see above) 

Restatement §390 – An agent who, to the knowledge of the principal, acts on the agent’s own account

in a transaction in which the agent is employed has a duty to deal fairly w/ the principal and to disclose to him all facts which the agent knows or should know would reasonably affect the principal’s judgment, UNLESS the principal has manifested to the agent that the principal knows such facts or that the principal does not care to know them.

 

                                Additionally:

a.        Pay attention to Restatement §388, & §389 they are important. 

b.        Under §390 the agent may with the consent of the principle may be able to disclose.  But the agent still must disclose all material conduct.

c.        So in this problem the principle should prevail in almost any circumstances

 

Two Prongs to Fiduciary Duty:

(1)     Duty of care: skillfulness

(2)     Duty of loyalty: honesty  (see below; see pg 57 class notes)

a.        Note: you cannot contract away the duty of loyalty. We can make specific exceptions but a general declanation is void against public policy.

 

I.                     Duty of Loyalty

a.        Res. 2d. § 387

                                                               i.      Agent must act solely for the benefit of the principal in all matters connected w/ the agency

                                                              ii.      “punctilio of an honor most sensitive” (Meinhard Case)

b.       Res. 2d. § 388

                                                               i.      Agent must disclose all incidental profits to the principal from a transaction made for the principal and the principal has a right to these profits.

                                                              ii.      Comment. b allows the agent to keep these if there is a custom or agreement.

                                                            iii.      Notion that all funds that A hold in trust for P and must give over money. HE can deduct costs but here he did more than that since he made a large profit of 16k. This is where he breached his duty.

c.        Res 2d. § 389

                                                               i.      An agent cannot deal with the principal as an adverse party in any action connected with his agency without the principal’s knowledge

                                                              ii.      Harm to the principal is not relevant to this section

d.       Res. 2d § 390

                                                               i.      If the agent does act on his own account in a transaction with the principal he is under a duty to deal fairly with the principal and reveal all information which he should know would affect the principal’s judgment unless the principal says he does not care

e.        Res. 2d § 391

                                                               i.      Must disclose whether the agent represents an adverse party

f.         Res. 2d § 392

                                                               i.      If agent does represent an adverse party they must disclose all relevant facts unless the principal says he knows or doesn’t care to know

g.       Res. 2d § 393

                                                               i.      Agent can’t compete with the principal on his own time

h.       Res. 2d. § 395, 396

                                                               i.      Agent cannot use confidential information of the principal even after the agency relationship is terminated

i.         Res. 2d § 401

                                                               i.      Agent is liable fro any loss caused by a breach of duty

j.         Res. 2d. § 403

                                                               i.      If agent receives anything due to a violation of the duty of loyalty the principal has a right it to its value, or its proceeds

k.        Res. 2d. § 404

                                                               i.      If a principals asset is used for the profit of the agent he is liable to the principal for the value of its use.

l.         Res. 2d. § 407

                                                               i.      Remedies

1.        if the agent benefits, the principal can receive the benefit itself (he can get the money back itself), its value or proceeds and any additional damages caused by the breach.

2.        if property is wrongfully disposed of the principal can only recover either its value or what the agent received

3.        if the principal recovers from a 3rd person he can also recover any profit the agent improperly received

                                                              ii.      these provision generally allow the principal to be put back to a place better than where they started

 

 

PROBLEM 5.1 (pg. 236) Apparent Authority – (class notes pg 72)

 

Palmer was planning to establish a dealership to sell farm machinery.  He hired Adams to organize and operate the business.  Adams was expressly authorized to collect for machinery sold and to hire and discharge office help, mechanics, and sales people but was expressly forbidden to borrow any money on Palmer’s credit.  Palmer supplied the money to establish the a bank account in the local bank.  The account was in Palmer’s name but Adams had authority to write checks on the account.  From time to time, Adams overdrew the account, but Palmer had no knowledge or notice of the overdrafts.  On each occasion, Adams made deposits to cover the overdraft.  Subsequently, Palmer discharged Adams and learned for the first time that the account was overdrawn $2000.  The bank brought an action to recover the amount of the overdraft from Palmer.  May the bank recover?  Give Reasons.

 

Answer:

1.       3 sources of Apparent Authority (Section 27 pg 166 Supp)

a.        Direct communications from the principle to the 3rd party

b.        Appointment of an agent to a position by the principle – which stands for the notion that this person has the authority of persons who normally hold such position [CEO].

c.        Prior Act or Course of Dealing – notion in community that agent may establish reputation in community to have authority.

 

2.       There is no actual authority, Adams was expressly forbidden to borrow on the acct.  Further, there may apparent authority.  The argument is that there is a course of dealing in the authority of Adams to write check.  Adams may also argue that there was inherent authority because of the other duties he held.  Admittedly, there was there no direct communication from Palmer to the Bank (3rd party). But, Palmer is a general manager, which favors the Bank’s position.  But the Bank would have to know of the appointment and rely on it and reasonably interpret (b/c they are the 3rd party.  Finally, there is a notion that the agent may have established a reputation in the community for this kind of authority. 

m.      Conclusion:  Adams had the Apparent Authority because of check-writing.  Palmer acquiesced b/c of not opening the bank statement to find out about the over draft.  Just know the arguments for Adams ability to bind Palmer. Probably Palmer will be liable to the bank and Palmer would then have an action against Agent for breach of duty of loyalty and can get damages.

                                                               i.      Remedies: Res. 2d 407

1.       if the agent benefits, the principal can receive the benefit itself (he can get the money back itself), its value or proceeds and any additional damages caused by the breach.

 

II.                   Agent Binding Principal Through Unauthorized Acts

a.        Apparent Authority Res. 2d. §27 (pg 166 supp)

                                                               i.      Principal holds out or indicates to 3rd party that agent has authority to act

1.        3rd party has a duty to reasonably interpret principal’s conduct, and actually, reasonably believe agent has the authority

a.        the reasonable belief might require inquiry if odd action

b.       Bank should have interpreted P’s overdrafted account as being conspicuous and should have put P on notice as to the overdrafts.

2.        holding out by principal

a.        a stmt

b.       message to community at large

c.        letting agent carryout unauthorized acts and not acting

                                                                                                                                       i.      The manager had a duty to inquire about the account which he didn’t do. Adams had authority to write checks on account, therefore the manager has a duty to check the account. If the manager was so concerned with the finances, he could have set up a system with the bank is which he could check all of the finances.

d.       not possible with an undisclosed principal

e.        agent showing 3rd party a written stmt by principal

                                                                                                                                       i.      Agent had authority to write checks, but still he was expressly forbidden to borrow money on Palmer’s credit.

                                                              ii.      can be created by position Res. 2d § 49, 195

1.        applies to agents in the corporate context (officer)

2.        must show ordinary habits of persons in the locality and trade/profession

3.        will not cover extraordinary transactions

                                                            iii.      test focuses on 3rd parties belief

1.        Third party must know, must rely, and must reasonably interpret.

                                                            iv.      agent can’t create this unless they make a truthful stmt about authority and the authority is later changed

                                                             v.      the Res. does not require detrimental reliance but some jurisdictions do

                                                            vi.      creates a valid and fully enforceable contract from all sides

                                                          vii.      hiring an attorney does not create this

b.       Inherant Agency Power

                                                               i.      Res. 2d. § 8A—derived solely from the agency relationship and exists to protect those who deal w/ agents

                                                              ii.      §161 gives elements

1.        Must be an agent of a partially or fully disclosed principal

a.        P is on the account and obviously principle

2.        Act done on principal’s behalf

a.        A is authorized to write checks

3.        Act is incidental to or usually accompanies the authorized conduct

4.        3rd party must reasonably believe agent was authorized

a.        The bank did believe.

5.        3rd party must have no notice of lack of authority

a.        The facts do not indicate that Palmer expressly let the bank know that the agent could not borrow credit on his account.

 

If Palmer wouldn’t have expressly forbidden the overdrafts, A might be okay in the sense that principle should have given explicit instructions since lots of time the agent lacks financial wherewithal. Therefore, the principle would be in a better position to educate the agent. This would impose a duty to monitor.

 

 

PROBLEM 5.2 (pg. 245) Estoppel    (not likely to be on exam) (see class notes pg 75)

 

Merchant is in the business of selling, and of repairing used stereos. In the ordinary course of business, Buyer buys stereo from Merchant. Buyer pays Merchant the purchase price, and takes delivery of the stereo. Merchant later discovers that the stereo sold to Buyer was not owned by Merchant, but rather was owned by Owner. Suppose that Merchant acquired possession of the stereo in one of two different manners:

 

(1)     Thief stole the stereo from Owner, and sold it to Merchant.

(2)     Owner left the stereo with Merchant to be repaired.

 

Did Merchant have power to transfer to Buyer Owner’s title to the stereo? If you believe that Merchant did have that power, what was its source – express authority, implied authority, apparent authority or estoppel to deny power? Explain.

 

Answer:

 

Since Owner never authorized Merchant to sell the stereo, Merchant never had actual authority (express or implied). Furthermore, there was no affirmative act on behalf of Owner to suggest that Merchant had apparent authority to sell the stereo. And lastly, since there was no misleading omission or conduct on behalf of Owner w/ the subsequent detrimental reliance by Buyer, there is no estoppel.

 

What can Owner do if the stereo was Stolen?

Owner can try going after Merchant b/c he had no better title than the thief and therefore couldn’t convey it. There was also no appearance of authority conveyed by Owner to sell the stereo.  If M knew then M would be liable if he had reason to believe it was stolen.  As a preventative measure M could have asked for a serial number and valid ID (they were in the best position to mitigate; he had the power to prevent).

 

Buyer, however, could argue estoppel b/c there was arguably an appearance of authority to sell the stereo since Merchant sold stereos in the ordinary course of business. But the estoppel argument also fail b/c there was no conduct or affirmative act that can be traced to Owner that gives Merchant the authority to sell.  Therefore, O is estopped from going beyond merchant because we protect the BFP in good faith. We don’t want to have to go after the person who bought in good faith.

 

What can Owner do if he left the stereo to be Repaired and Merchant sold it?

“Although mere possession and control of personal property are not ordinarily sufficient to estop the real owner from asserting his title against a person who has dealt w/ the one in possession on the faith of his apparent ownership, slight additional circumstances may turn the scale against the owner and estop him from asserting title against one who has purchased the property in good faith.”

 

UCC 2-403 – any entrusting of possession of goods to a merchant who deals in goods of that kind gives him power to transfer all rights of the entrustor to a buyer in the ordinary course of business. This protects the Good Faith Buyer.  This provision is harsher for the owner in (1).

 

So in either case the innocent buyer is ok.  The real issue between the two boils down to the voluntary entrustment if the stereo was being repaired.

 

Although under UCC 2-403 we have protection of a BFP in good faith, M is also liable to O under the CL principles of bailor-bailee. The true owner would have the best title against the world. The true owner has highest claim against others unless true owner abandons the right.

 

 

PROBLEM 5.11 (pg.271) Agent Diversion of Funds (see class notes pg 75)

 

Lawyer is a trial lawyer employed by Firm, which, through its lawyers, is engaged in the practice of law, specializing in general civil litigation.  Lawyer is senior enough that Lawyer has the authority to accept new cases on behalf of the Firm.

 

Client hired Lawyer to represent her in a suit against Defendant.  Even though Firm policy required only a $1500 retainer before accepting a new case, Lawyer asked for a $5000 retainer.  When Client asked how to fill out the check Lawyer said that the Firm would stamp its name in as payee, so Client should leave the payee blank.

 

Unknown to Client, Lawyer was planning to leave the Firm, and didn’t want Firm to know about Client’s suit.  Lawyer filled in the check by putting Lawyer’s own name as payee.  Lawyer then deposited the check in his personal bank account.  Lawyer used the $5000 to finalize the arrangements for Lawyer’s new office by paying the first month rent and security deposit.  As Lawyer was driving home from signing the lease, he was killed in a car accident.

 

When Client inquired of the Firm about the status of the case, the Firm told her that it could not start work until Client paid the $1500 retainer.  Client objected that Client had already paid $5000.  May the Firm require Client to pay the $1500 retainer that it never received?  If not, is the firm also subject to liability to Client for the additional $3500 demanded by lawyer solely for Lawyer’s own purposes?

 

Answer: Lawyer (A) Firm (P), Client (3rd party)

This is a close case.  Investing is not what law firms do.  But a retainer is part of the legal practice.  From the plaintiff’s side argue apparent authority (see sources under problem 5.1 above).  We know there was actual authority to collect $1500 but not all $5000, so no actual authority.  There is also a suggestion of inherent authority because of his position in the firm.  Argue agency power, estoppel (that Client relied), or other variants.  He did not spend must time on this one. [See other sections]

 

Firm (principle) is responsible for the $1500. Firm expressly gave lawyer $1500 to retain as a retainer.

 

The trickier part is the difference of $3500.

 

Firm will argue $3500 was outside the scope of employment. However, client will argue apparent authority because lawyer (agent) could take money and deposit that is within the scope. Additionally, L’s position as a firm representative gave him authority to take such money for a case and that this amount would not be extraordinary. The client (3rd party) must know that L had authority to take money, client relied on that authority, and 3.5k in excess will likely be reasonable. Reasonable reliance by the client. The firm however, could argue that the client hired the lawyer and not the firm.

               

                Pertinent Code Sections

c.                        Apparent Authority Res. 2d. §27 (pg 166 supp)

                                                               i.      Principal holds out or indicates to 3rd party that agent has authority to act

1.        3rd party has a duty to reasonably interpret principal’s conduct, and actually, reasonably believe agent has the authority

a.        the reasonable belief might require inquiry if odd action

2.        holding out by principal

a.        a stmt

b.       message to community at large

c.        letting agent carryout unauthorized acts and not acting

d.       not possible with an undisclosed principal

e.        agent showing 3rd party a written stmt by principal

                                                              ii.      can be created by position Res. 2d § 49, 195

1.        applies to agents in the corporate context (officer)

2.        must show ordinary habits of persons in the locality and trade/profession

3.        will not cover extraordinary transactions

                                                            iii.      test focuses on 3rd parties belief

                                                            iv.      agent can’t create this unless they make a truthful stmt about authority and the authority is later changed

                                                             v.      the Res. does not require detrimental reliance but some jurisdictions do

                                                            vi.      creates a valid and fully enforceable contract from all sides

                                                          vii.      hiring an attorney does not create this

1.        Hiring an attorney does not mean that an attorney can do everything an attorney always does. Even though client hired lawyer and lawyers are allowed to get retainers but he was only supposed to take 1.5k. Just because L was hired doesn’t mean that L can argue he had authority of any lawyer. He is still limited to ordinary matters in the locality limited by any instructions from the principle. Here he was authorized for 1.5k. But the client could reasonably rely on 5k as ordinary.

d.       Inherant Agency Power

                                                               i.      Res. 2d. § 8A—derived solely from the agency relationship and exists to protect those who deal w/ agents

                                                              ii.      §161 gives elements

1.        must be an agent of a partially or fully disclosed principal

2.        act done on principal’s behalf

3.        act is incidental to or usually accompanies the authorized conduct

4.        3rd party must reasonably believe agent was authorized

5.        3rd party must have no notice of lack of authority

e.        Estoppel

                                                               i.      Based on 3rd party who changes position

1.        principal must have intentionally or carelessly caused belief , if principal knew of belief and its ramifications and fails to take reasonable steps to fix

2.        failure to act by principal is always enough

3.        can only be asserted by 3rd party

f.         possession of goods does not give power to transfer goods

 

Section 219 (pg 76 notes, code pg 178

                When master is liable for the torts of his servants. (master: firm), lawyer (servant)

(1)     A master is subject to liability for the torts of his servants committed while acting in the scope of their employment

(2)     A master is not subject to liability for the torts of his servants acting outside the scope of their employment, unless:

1.        the master intended the conduct or the consequences, or

2.        The master was negligent or reckless, or

3.        The conduct violated a non-delegable duty of the master, or

4.        The servant purported to act or to speak on behalf of the principle and there was reliance upon apparent authority, or he was aided in accomplishing the tort by the existence of the agency relation.

 

Section 228 (scope pf employment) code pg 179

(1)     Conduct of servant is within the scope of employment if, but only if:

a.        It is a kind he is employed to perform;

b.       If occurs substantially within the auhtroized time and space limits;

c.        It is actuated, at least in part, by a purpose to serve the master, and

d.       If force if intentionally used by the servant against another, the use of force is not unexpected by the master.

(2)     Conduct of the servant is not within the scope of employment if its is different in kind from the authorized, far beyond the authorized time or space limits, or too little actuated by a prupose to serve the master.

 

Section 229 (Kind of Conduct within scope of employment) same page

(1)     To be within the scope of employment, conduct must be of the same general nature as that authorized, or incidental to the conduct authorized.

(2)     In determining whether or not the conduct, although not authorized, is nevertheless so similar to or incidental to the conduct authorized as to be within the scope of employment, the following matters of fact are to be considered:

a.        Whether or not the act was one commonly done by such servants;

b.       The time, place and purpose of the act;

c.        The previous relations between the master and the servant.

d.       The extent to which the business of the master is apportioned between different servants.

e.        Whether or not the act is outside the enterprise of the master or, if within the enterprise, has not been entrusted to any servant;

f.         Whether or not the master has reason to expect that such an act will be done;

g.       The similarity in quality of the act done to the act authorized;

h.       Whether or not the instrumentality by which the harm is done has been furnished by the master to the servant;

i.         The extent of departure from the normal method of accomplishing an authorized result; and

j.         Whether or not the act is seriously criminal.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

PROBLEM 6.1 (pg.303) Partners as Agents (class notes pg 79)

 

Randy, Gus and Susan are partners conducting business under the name “Randy’s Grocery Store.”  Because Randy and Susan have strong moral objections to the sale of alcoholic beverages, the partners agreed that Randy’s would not do so.  For many years Randy’s never sold beer wine or liquor.

 

Recently, Randy’s sales have been down.  One day, Gus was in the store and noticed a lot of college T-shirts and Sweat-Shirts.  Gus decided that Randy’s could sell a lot of beer.  Gus called up Spoetzel Brewing Co. and ordered several cases of “Shiner Bock” beer.

 

When the beer was delivered, Randy was on the loading dock, and refused to accept the delivery.  Spoetzel Brewing Co. sued Randy’s and its partners for breach of contract.  Randy’s, Randy, Susan defend on two grounds.  First, they argue that the partner’s agreed that Randy’s would not sell alcoholic beverages.  Second, the argue that Randy’s had never bought beer, wine, or liquor.  What result?  Would either of the following make any difference in your analysis?

 

(1)     Spoetzel Brewing did not know that Gus was a partner in Randy’s.

(2)     It is common (or uncommon) for groceries in the area to sell beer.

 

Why or why not?

 

Answer:

 

1.       The rule is partners can conduct businesses in the course of dealing.  Here we see §301(1) pg 246 in supplement.  Stores in this area do sell beer, so just because this store does not does not preclude liability.  So it looks as though there is actual authority.  But where there are specific limitations on obtaining actual authority, there is no actual authority. Randy and Susan expressly provided that there would not be alcohol sold. There is a good argument for apparent authority, even though there was not actual.  3rd parties are entitled to rely in apparent authority. Express partnership agreements are usually not asked for by third parties.  In this case, there is no prior course of dealing so THERE CAN BE NO RELIANCE.  There is a burden generally to check to see if a partnership exists. Public policy puts the burden on the party relying on authority (beer), however the beer company is only required to offer a rational basis for the assumption of authority.  Either under implied actual authority or under apparent authority (because Gus was a general partner), there was express agreement that they would be partners.  So Randy and Susan are liable on the contract.  The statement of the ptshp in the RUPA solidifies the authority.  So in this statement it may enlarge the covered actions by the partner.  So a 3rd party could order the statement.

2.       The character of business is an important variable; here it was a grocery store. The issue is whether selling beer is an ordinary part of the business:

(1)     For this business: if the county was dry then it wouldn’t be a part of the business.

(2)     If the county is not dry, being that the grocery sells college merchandise it might be reasonable for the beer company to rely on the fact that it would be ordinary business were the grocery to sell beer. Since the grocery never bought beer before, they may have been on notice that this was a new product for the grocery. However, if the beer company didn’t know it is likely that a court will be view this as reasonable reliance, especially since the beer company is not required to know about Randy’s grocery, specifically only the general grocery business in which it is normal to sell beer. This policy enhances the flow of commerce.

(3)     301(1): Each partner is an agent of the partnership for the purpose of its business. An act of a partner, including the execution of an instrument in the partnership  name, for apparently carrying on in the ordinary course the partnership business or business of the kind carried on by the partnership binds the partnership, unless the partner has no authority to act for the partnership int eh particular matter and the person with whom the partner was dealing knew or had received a notification that the partner lacked authority.

a.        Comment: 301(1) effects two changes from UPA Sec 9(1). First, it clarifies that a partner’s apparent authority includes acts for carrying on in the ordinary course “Business of the kind carried on by the partnership,” not just business of the particular partnership in question. The UPA is ambiguous at this.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

 

PROBLEM 6.3 (pg.303) Management and Conduct of Firm Business/Estoppel (Class notes pg 82)

 

Ole consents to Lena telling Finn that Ole and Lena are partners in the practice of law (which they are not). Believing that he is dealing w/ Lena and Ole as partners, Finn lends money to Lena to buy a law library.

a.        Is Ole subject to liability to Finn for the loan to Lena?

b.       Would it make any difference in your answer if Lena instead borrowed money for the purpose of buying a sports car? Office supplies?

 

Answer:

 

[See my notes below first]

 

UPA section 7 Rules for Determining the Existence of a partnership

 

UPA section 16 Partner by Estoppel (pg 213 supplement)

§ 16. Partner by Estoppel

(1)      When a person, by words spoken or written or by conduct, repre­sents himself, or consents to another representing him to any one, as a partner in an existing partnership or with one or more persons not actual partners, he is liable to any such person to whom such representation has been made, who has, on the faith of such representation, given credit to the actual or apparent partnership, and if he has made such representation or consented to its being made in a public manner he is liable to such person, whether the representation has or has not been made or communicated to such person so giving credit by or with the knowledge of the apparent partner making the representation or consenting to its being made.

(a)        When a partnership liability results, he is liable as though he were an actual member of the partnership.

(b)        When no partnership liability results, he is liable jointly with the other persons, if any, so consenting to the contract or representation as to Incur liability, otherwise separately.

(2)     When a person has been thus represented to be a partner in an existing partnership, or with one or

more persons not actual partners, he is an agent of the persons consenting to such representation to bind them to the same extent and in the same manner as though he were a partner in fact, with respect to persons who rely upon the representation. Where all the members of the existing partnership consent to the representation, a partnership act or obligation results; but in all other cases it is the joint act or obligation of the person acting and the persons consenting to the representation.

 

 

Revised Uniform Partnership [RUPA]

 

                SECTION 308. LIABILITY OF PURPORTED PARTNER.

     

(a)    If a person, by words or conduct, purports to be a partner, or consents to being represented by another as a partner, in a partnership or with one or more persons not partners, the purported partner is liable to a person to whom the representation is made, if that person, relying on the representation, enters into a transaction with the actual or purported partnership. If the representation, either by the purported partner or by a person with the purported partner’s consent, is made in a public manner, the purported partner is liable to a person who relies upon the purported partnership even if the purported partner is not aware of being held out as a partner to the claimant. If partnership liability results, the purported partner is liable with respect to that liability as if the purported partner were a partner. If no partnership liability results, the purported partner is liable with respect to that liability jointly and severally with any other person consenting to the representation.

(b)    If a person is thus represented to be a partner in an existing partnership, or with one or more persons not partners, the purported partner is an agent of persons consenting to the representation to bind them to the same extent and in the same manner as if the purported partner were a partner, with respect to persons who enter into transactions in reliance upon the representation. If all of the partners of the existing partnership consent to the representation, a partnership act or obligation results. If fewer than all of the partners of the existing partnership consent to the representation, the person acting and the partners consent­ing to the representation are jointly and severally liable.

(c)    A person is not liable as a partner merely because another in a statement of partnership authority names the person.

(d)    A person does not continue to be liable as a partner merely because of a failure to file a statement of dissociation or to amend a statement of partnership authority to indicate the partner’s dissociation from the part­nership.

(e)    Except as otherwise provided in subsections (a) and (b), persons who are not partners as to each other are not liable as partners to other persons.

Under both of the statutes must have

(i)                  Holding out or representation by words or conduct that a particular person is a partner

(ii)                Holding out requires a 3rd party extension of credit to the actual or apparent partnerships on faith of such representation

(iii)              Requires a reliance on the purported partnership relationship à must be relied on by the 3rd party credit extension influenced by the credit extension of the 3rd party to the partner.  Partnership status is determined by looking at one who held out to be a partner in a joint venture then there is a purported partnership and a purported partner

 

Ole, Lena, Finn

·         Finn lent money to apparent partnership.  Who is liable if a sports car is purchased?  Ole, Lina or both.  Contrast with office supplies on open accountà go through Estoppel analysis.  Ole is estopped from saying that there is no partnership

·         As long as there is holding out as partners then is it irrelevant the ordinary course of business.

·         Partnership by Estoppel treat as if actually a partnership given same rule to apply partners are bound with regards to usual and customary in the business.  This puts the relationship in the nature of an ordinary partnership but they are not bound in regards to transactions that are outside the ordinary course of business

·         For the sports car that is not reasonable part of business.  The Sports car is a stretch. Reasonable reliance relates to the ordinary business. Here a law library and office supplies would be ordinary business however, a sports car would likely not be in the ordinary business since lawyers do not usually use partnership money to buy a firm car and even if they did a sports car might be excessive and outside of scope, unreasonable to rely on, given the business itself.  RELIANCE IS WHAT IS THE HOOK

·         Therefore, for part A: they are all liable.

·         For part B:

·         This is arguably a private representation and thus requires direct or actual reliance. The threshold for public representation is not as high. If actual reliance cannot be shown, then there will not be liability.

·         O can argue that he is not liable because he only consented to the partnership and did not a role in holding out.

 

My Notes

 

1.       Ptshp by Estoppel –

a.        What are the legal ramifications for purported partners?

b.        UPA §7(1) – p.211à§16(1) then to  – RUPA at §308(e) is the same (p256)

1)       Under the old statute it requires a holding out or representation by words or conduct that a particular person is a partner.  This older section also requires a 3rd party extension of credit to the ptshp of faith of such representation made to them.  It requires a reliance on the purported ptshp relationship by the party extending credit.

2)       Under §308 – the purported partner (holding out is the joint venture of the purported ptshp and the purported partner).  Now these principles both obtain to ptshp and purported ptshp.  So you could have A & B be a ptshp.  And they may hold out C as being a partner.  And C may participate.  Or we could have A & B & C not thinking they are a ptshp but they are holding out as such then the liability principles are the same.

c.        So in this problem OLE consents to LENA that they are ptshp, they is so they can pay the loan.  There is good reason to do this, the loan security, or interest rate charged is helpful.  This holding out make the ptshp look larger than it actually is.  Finn lent money for the purpose of purchasing a law library?  Who is liable OLE? LENA? Or both?

1)       First go through estoppel analysis and say OLE is estopped from asserting non-existence of the ptshp since Finn relied on the reason for lending the money.  But if they purchased a sports car, that is not is the course of business.

This is a ptshp by estoppel, which means you treat it as though it were a ptshp.  So the ptshp and partners are bound by obligations customary in their course of business.  The liability principles are no broader under a ptshp by estoppel, they are the same.  Here the sports car is a stretch.

______________________________________________________________________________________________________

 

PROBLEM 6.4 (pg 303)(pg 82 class notes)

Odo and Word are partners in the investment banking business. Odo and Worf both consent to Basheer holding himself out as their partners to Dax. Apparently acting for partnership purporses, Basheer borrows money from Dax who thinks she is lending to the partnership.

 

(1)     Who is liable on the loan?

(2)     Would it make any difference to your answer if Odo, but not Worf, consented to being held out?

(3)     Would it make any difference in your answer if Worf had consented to Basheer holding himself as a partner to Quark, but had never consented to any holding out to Dax?

 

(1)     They all are liable.

·         This is arguably a private representation and thus requires direct or actual reliance. The threshold for public representation is not as high. If actual reliance cannot be shown, then there will not be liability.

·         

 

PROBLEM 6.5 (pg.311) Management and Conduct of Firm Business/Estoppel

 

With the consent of Dick, Jane holds herself out to Emily as being a partner of Dick’s. Emily signs a contract to sell widgets to what she believes is the Dick and Jane partnership on open account. Before Jane delivers the widgets, Dick tell her that there is no partnership and tells her that he will not be liable for the contract. Assuming the transaction is one that would have bound the partnership if made by a partner.

a.        Under UPA §16 may Emily bring an action for breach of contract against Dick?

b.       Could Emily do so under RUPA §308?

 

Answer:

 

·         Partners can bind the partnership with regards to ordinary partnership business and all partners  are liable for ordinary business liabilities.

·         Jane is a purported partner

·         Issue:  Is this engagement with Emily binding on Dick

·         This case analysis follows section 308

 

The statutory test for partnership by estoppel requires that:

(1)     Credit must have been extended on the basis of partnership representation or

(2)     That the alleged partner must have made or consented to representation being made in a public manner whether or not such representations being made in a public manner or whether or not such representations were actually communicated to the person extending credit.  This is the common law test as codified.

 

·         However, the last part of (a) seems to extend liability beyond the common law test of reliance if the representation is made in a public manner.

·         Still, the court reasons that even with the statutory enactment that such a departure from well a developed common law doctrine as the foundation of estoppel is that one is bound by saying or doing something upon which another relies to his or her detriment.

·         Looking again at 308 (a) relating to public representation is seems that it does not remove the requirement of reliance after consider the language of B.  When a person has been thus represented to be a partner in an existing partnership he is an agent of the person consenting to such representation to bind them to the same extent as if he were a partner who respect to any who rely on the representation. 

·         The word thus is a reference back to subsection (a) Accordingly, under subsection (b) even when the representation has been made in a public manner the purported partners are bund only to person who rely upon the representation.  It would be remarkable to require reliance under subsection B but not under A.

·         Still in the best reading of (a) “if he has made such representation or consented to its being made in a public manner he is liable to such person.  Who is such person?  The obvious candidate is the person described earlier in the sentence; a person “to whom such representation has been made, who has on the faith of such representation, given credit to the actual or apparent partnership.  In other words such person is one who has relied on the representation.  The purported partner is liable only to one who has relied

Section 16 UPA elements

(i)                  Hold yourself out as a partner

(ii)                Purported partner has to know that you are holding yourself out as a partner

(iii)              Reliance

(iv)                Given credit à has credit been extended here?  Before Jane delivers widgets he tells her that there is no partnership.  If delivery had to be paid for then there would have been an extension of credit.

16 limitation à partner and purported partner liable on the contract as no partnership has resulted see 16 (b) UPA

Revised Uniform Partnership 308

Only restates the UPA.  Argument against literal interpretation with such a firm well respected rule from common law is that before being made part the legislature statement under section 16 comment that should expressly state that a change in the law is meant.  Can be argued both ways as between the two if had to rule then rule that estopell basis can be used in absence of extension of credit as otherwise there is no liability.  In the 308 section one only need to enter into the transaction to have liability credit extension is not needed.

 

My Notes

1.       This is a purported ptshp question.  Jane is a purported partner.  The question is whether this engagement she entered into with Emily binds Dick.  Under §16 there are elements, which must be satisfied.  (See above)  Specifically, the extension of credit is in question.  Before Jane delivers the widgets, there is no extension of credit.  After deliver, there is an extension of credit.  This illustrates the difference between a partner and a purported partner.  The purported partner cannot create liability for the ptshp or the partner.

2.       Under RUPA §308 – here entering into a transaction is enough to bind.  The comment in §308 says there should be no change between the UPA and RUPA.  The second argument is that with such a firm and well-respected rule in common law, the comment should express that there is a change.

 

So the answer here is that under §308 it could be argued either way.  Carson says he would likely side with an estoppel base argument.  “So in the absence of an actual extension of credit, there should be no liability.   Know that there is no argument under §16 of UPA.  TX retains the extension of credit requirement.

 

PROBLEM 6.6 (pg.348) Partners as Managers

 

The question is too long to write.  It is about Mathew Emily and Paul opening a new grocery store called MEP Grocers.  The have no ptshp agreement except as to division of equal profits.  The issue centers on Matthew contracting to sell bread.  Here our my notes (hope this is not on the exam, but there should be several small questions):

 

Answer:

 

A.      Problem 6.6 – p.311

1.       MEP is liability to both stores under Apparent Authority.  All P has to do is prove there is a ptshp, then D shows that P knew, the P shows that did not have knowledge of the agreement obtaining actual authority.  The Contract to Emily, they are liable. 

2.       “Partners vote 2:1 to buy bread….à must inform

-The contract to emily- they are liable.  The default rule is that they have authority since they are agents and there is not agreement ot limit their authority.  Buying bread in an ordinary businsess transaction for the grocery.  All partners are liable for partner losses nad profits, so Emily would have a right to indemnification.  Because there is no dispute at this time, they will not be liable to each other for any breach of duties as partersn because all aprtners have an equal right to manage the partnership unde UPA §18(e).

 

-Under p’ship law, you may dissolve at any time even if contravention of the agrmt, but there would be a breach of K claim against Matthew.  This is effective to all who have notice.  You cannot dissove retroactivley, you only stop liability for Future transactions if you know you will resign & deal will come thru.  If you are a partner at the time of the K, you are bound.  Thus, the only remedy is to dissolve the p’ship & inform Wholesome.

 

B.      Mattew contract with Arrow who has no knowledge of the vote, is MEP liable?  Yes, there is not actual authority, but there is with regard to arrow if there is no vote, the basis for liablity will be the apparent authority.  Do we still have breach of duty by Matthew?

 

3. After losing the vote, Matt contracts to buy bread again for Arrow.  Assume Arrow doesn’t know of partner’s vote.

a.        Are either MEP Grocers, Emily, or Paul subject to liability to Arrow on account of the contract?

                                                               i.      They are probably going to be on hook on the contract because they have apparent authority.

                                                              ii.      They are relying on default rule that partners are general agents and do not have knowledge that the agency was destroyed by the vote

b.       Matthew would be liable to partnership and other partners for this action because Matthew breached the duty of loyalty to the partnership. 

 

4.

 

Problem 6.6

-Matt, Emily, and Paul are partners

-Have no written or oral agreement as to business or affairs

1.     Without first discussing matter, Matt contacts Arrow bread and contracted for Arrow to sell bread for a week.  At the same time, Paul contracted w/ wholesome bakers for purchase of bread for month.

c.        Is partnership subject to liability to arrow or wholesome

                                                               i.      Liable to both, all partners are agents for the conduct of partnership business, partnership is liable and partner is liable to both

d.       As among partners, are either Matt or Paul liable to Emily or to MEP for contracting for purchase of bread w/out consulting other partners?

                                                               i.      They have authority, they are not liable to either Emily or MEP

                                                              ii.      Are you left w/ default rule then?

                                                            iii.      There is no agreement limiting ability

e.        Suppose Emily has to pay, these deliveries are made and the bills are never paid, and they hit up Emily for the bill, would Matt or Paul be liable to her?

                                                               i.      They are on the hook for partner share profits and losses

                                                              ii.      So it would follow she has the right of indemnifaication to the other partners for their share.

2.        Partners meet to discuss, Emily and Paul likes wholesome, Matt likes Arrow, Emily and Paul like Wholesome.  Matt writes Wholesome letter denying authority of Emily and Paul and disclaim liability on new purchases from wholesome

a.        Grocers is liable and matt is liable.  Partners maintain accounts within the scope of the partnership, but the partnership can and often does own property.  So, under revised act, must first sue partnership, then sue any or all partners

b.       If partnership has no assets and are unable to satisfy claim, then you are able to go after any and all of the partners

c.        One reason for partnerships is partnership property generally speaking may not be looked to by third parties to satisfy the personal debts of any partner

d.       You can always go after the partnership for partnership debts, but you cannot pursue the partnership for the individual obligations for partners that do not arise out of partnership interests.

e.        Thus, you cannot sieze partnership property to collect a partner’s debt, but you can receive the partner’s draw from the partnership

f.         What action could Matt take to avoid liability of purchase to Wholesome?

                                                               i.      He can dissolve the partnership

                                                              ii.      Under partnership law, you may dissolve partnership at any time

                                                            iii.      But after the delivery of bread and completion of contract, you cannot dissolve the partnership and are bound

                                                            iv.      Thus if you are a partner at the time of the contract, then you are bound to that contract

g.       What are the chances Matt will pay wholesome entire amount of claim?

                                                               i.      You could probably figure out some defenses

                                                              ii.      So Matt is probably would have to pay, but probably not pay the full amount

                                                            iii.      He needs to decide whether the retention of an attorney would be cost effective rather than just paying

                                                            iv.      Some liability and exposure

3.        After losing the vote, Matt contracts to buy bread again for Arrow.  Assume Arrow doesn’t know of partner’s vote.

a.        Are either MEP Grocers, Emily, or Paul subject to liability to Arrow on account of the contract?

                                                               i.      They are probably going to be on hook on the contract because they have apparent authority.

                                                              ii.      They are relying on default rule that partners are general agents and do not have knowledge that the agency was destroyed by the vote

b.       Matthew would be liable to partnership and other partners for this action because Matthew breached the duty of loyalty to the partnership. 

4.        Suppose Matt knows Paul want to buy bread from Wholesome, and before they talk to Emily, Matt orders from Arrow

a.        They are liable to both Arrow and Wholesome because there has been no limitation as to their agency duties yet.  In the absence of the vote and Arrow knowing about the conflict, the general rule that partners are general agents still applies to Arrow and Wholesale.

                                                               i.      The court would likely find apparent authority with regard to the third party and arrow will lose

                                                              ii.      In all of these, the third party is out of it, and advances thrust to facilitate business

                                                            iii.      We keel the third party out of these disputes and we don’t want the third party to hire detectives.

b.       As amongst the partners, there is probably a breach claim and there is an implied implicit understanding that nothing be done until they resolve the conflicting views.

c.        As a matter of proof, it is much more difficult than if you have the former votes

You have an argument of deniability, understanding that until we actually made a decision, the status quo would occur

 

PROBLEM 6.7 (pg.348) Limited Liability Companies

 

Lucy is member of Belle’s Ice Cream Shop, LLC, a member-managed limited liability company organized under the ULLCA. The LLC has two other members, Mary and Paula.

 

The LLC holds title in its name to a building just off the town square in Sealy, which it has been using to operate a small ice cream shop under the name “Belle’s”. Business had turned down in Sealy. Believing that Belle’s would do better in nearby Brenham, Lucy asked the neighbor, who owner the store next door, if he was interested in buying the building and lot. Lucy and Neighbor agreed to a price of $250,000. Neighbor paid Lucy the $250,000, and Lucy signed, acknowledged and delivered a Deed transferring the LLC’s interest in the building and lot.  Lucy had never discussed a possible sale w/ Mary or Paula, and did not have their consent to a sale of the property.

 

Mary and Paula have asked you if they may recover the property.

 

a.        Assuming that the articles of organization of the LLC have no provisions that might affect your answer, please advise Mary and Paula, giving reasons to support your answer. (See ULLCA §§301, 404(c))

b.       Would your answer change if Lucy, Mary and Paula had been operating Belle’s Ice Cream Shop as a partnership under the UPA? (See UPA §§9, 10, 18. As a partnership under the RUPA? See RUPA §§301, 302, 401).

 

 

Answer:

 

Under 404 (c) 12 would need consent from rest of members as this sale of property

Under 301 (c) member under a member management company can transfer the property 

404 (c) 12 trumps 301 (c) as one may not convert in this case w/o consent of the partners as doing so would take away their investment.

A member may convey real property pursuant to 301 (c) in light of the 404 c (12) prohibition in transferring property without consent if the transfer of the property would represent transferring all of the assets then must have consent of the partners/members

 

Can the partnership/company get the property back?

Section 301 (2) RUPA and UPA 9 (2) gives the same answer the partnership is not bound

 

Under ULLCA member may convey the property even if violates the law and an agreement among the parties  Pursuant to 301 (c) this provision provides actual authority for members to convey the property subject to 404 (c) (12) exception and the transaction will be valid so long as they don’t convey everything.

 

If third party is given notice of the partners restriction as the partner has actual authority to conduct the sale then the 3rd party might have to give the real estate back but 3rd party is under no obligation to do so.

 

LLC holds title to building and is being used to operate ice cream shop.  Lucy is member of LLC.  Two other members, Mary or Paula

-Thinking you could do better elsewhere, Lucy sells to Neighbor w/out knowledge of Mary or Paula.

-Under §301 of ULLCA, members of LLC are agents for ordinary course of business

-§ 404(c)(12) with regard to extraordinary matters, you need unanimity, unless you have an agreement otherwise

-Very essential functions of actions and conduct require unanimity

-Same w/ regard to partnership matters for your practice

-If there is a small handful, identity of members is very important

-Is less important in large sweatshops

-Once you increase the numbers, you decrease the possibilities of unanimity

                -You may have a super-super majority requirement

                -80-90% is necessary to make extraordinary deals

-The rules of the statute is extraordinary matters require unanimity

-All or substantially all of the assets is extraordinary matter

-The building for retail purposes will be all or substantially all

-If the partnership had one million dollars of cd’s in swiss bank, don’t have sale of all or substantially all of the assets.

 

-Would answer change if they operated under a partnership?

                -Under both partnership law and LLC law, you need general agency and general agency

  in LLC where members rule

                -That can be limited even w/ regard to ordinary matters if there is a majority

-Ordinary matters, the general agency for each either member or partner can be effectively countermanded by a vote and notice to the third party

-Under both forms, extraordinary matters must be decided by unanimous vote of the group

                -Rule is designed to facilitate commerce

                -Every time you buy computer from computer company, shouldn’t need 40 pages of

  documentation

                -IF clerk shouldn’t sell for right amount of money, third party can go about business

                -In extraordinary matters, even the third party needs to know who has the authority to go

  through with the deal- must have actual authority, apparent authority will not work

                -Because in extraordinary matters, the costs to investigate are incidental to the costs of

  the matter

 

 

Managerial Discretion and Fiduciary Duties

                A.            Business Judgment Rule

                                1.             General Principal

Restatement (Second of Agency) Section 387

Unless otherwise agreed, an agent is subject to a duty to his principal to act solely for the benefit of the principal in all matters connected with his agency

 

Unless otherwise agreed, a paid agent is subject to a duty to the principal to act with standard care and with the skill which is the standard in the locality for the kind of work which the agent is employed to perform and, in addition, to exercise any special skill that the agent has.

 

Fiduciary duty has two major prongs

                                                (1)           Care

                                                (2)           Loyalty

Fiduciary duty arises out of

                                                (1)           Relationship between the parties

                                                (2)           Control over property or other interests that are to be exercised for the benefit others.

 

 

PROBLEM 7.2 (pg.355) Business Judgment Rule [Duty of Care]

 

Mt. Hood Meadows, Oreg., Ltd. is a limited partnership  established to carry on the business of constructing and operating a winter sports development.  Under the limited partnership agreement, management of the business and affairs of Mt. Hood Meadows is the responsibility of its general partner, Mt. Hood Meadows Development Corp.  That agreement also provides that the limited partners have no right to take part in the control of the business.  For the year in which profits were earned after 1974, the general partner elected to distribute only 50% of the limited partner’s taxable profits.  The remaining profits were retained and reinvested in the business.  Three of the limited partners have sued to force the general partners to distribute the retained profits.

 

Assume that the limited partnership agreement does not require the distributions, and that they are not required under the applicable statute.  On what basis, if any, should a court interfere in the general partner’s decision as to the distributions of profits?

 

Answer:

                -General rule- general partner’s decision should stand in the absence of circumstance, the limited partners have no

  right of control over the partnership

                               

1.       Any relief in this case available for the Limited Partners? –

a.        The matter is not dispositive under contract.  That is a better place for specific problems or concerns, like problems.  MBCA – §7.32 – this applies, without it any K trying to limit the B/D is void.  It initially has to be unanimous but it can be amended later.  Control is among GP.  With LLC, LP, LLP – those frame works are default rules, the PTSHP agmt can provide otherwise.  Now that is not unrestricted, but it is very broad.  Here we simply have a disagreement about policy, but policy is to be dictated by the B of D.  GP has fid duties to LP, but GP is essentially under the Bz judgement rule.  There is a disagreement about policy, but that is set by GP.  Find out who dictates policy, GP or B of D, probably both, and specifically not LPs. 

b.        The RUPA and LPA (1976) – have commentary in several places, which expressly states that the principles are borrowed from Corporate law.

c.        Is the threshold issue who has authority to make distribution?  Well 1st find out whether you are dealing with the default rules. 2nd what are the default rules 3rd what is the applicability of the bz judgement rule

d.        Under RUPA §4.04(e) – A partner owes a duty of care to the partnership and the other partners to act in the conduct of the business of the partnership in a manner that does not constitute gross negligence or willful misconduct.  An error in judgment or a failure to use ordinary care is not gross negligence

e.        Note: Many of the sources for the bz judgement rule are admittedly derived from corporate law.  See Text page 359, “As applied in evaluating the decisions of corporate officers or directors, the business judgment rule protects them from liability on account of business judgements made in good faith:

A director or officer who makes a business judgement in good faith fulfills his duty [of care] IF:

(i)                  he is not interested in the subject of his business (no self-dealing)

(ii)                he is informed with respect to the subject of his business judgment to the extent he reasonably believes necessary; and

(iii)              he rationally believes that his business judgment is in the best interest of the corporation

 

 

PROBLEM 7.4 (pg.367) Duty of Loyalty

 

Covalt and High were corporate officers and shareholders in Concrete Systems, Inc. (CSI). Covalt owned 25% of the stock and High owned the remaining 75% of the stock. Both men received remuneration from CSI in the form of salaries and bonuses.

 

In late 1971, after both High and Covalt had become corporate officers of CSI, they formed a partnership. The partnership bought land and built an office and warehouse building. In Feb 1973, CSI leased the building from the partnership for a five-year term. Following the expiration of the initial term of the lease, CSI remained a tenant of the building; the corporation and the partnership orally agreed to certain rental increases. The corporation made substantial improvements to the leasehold. Under the original lease any improvements to the premises were to accrue to the premises were to accrue to the partnership upon termination of the lease.

 

In Dec, 1978, Covalt resigned his position as an officer of CSI and went to work for one of its competitors. Covalt, however, remained a partner w/ High in the ownership of the land and the building rented to CSI. On Jan 9, 1979, Covalt wrote to High demanding that the monthly rent for the partnership real estate leased to CSI be increased form $1,850 to $2,850 per month. High refused to increase the rent and took no action to renegotiate the amount of the monthly rent payable.

 

Question: Assuming that $2,850 was the fair rental value of the land and building, has High breached his fiduciary

   Duty as a partner?

 

Answer:

 

RUPA §404(b) & UPA §21

High owed his Covalt, his partner, a fiduciary duty, which necessarily encompasses the duty of exercising good faith, honesty, and fairness in his dealings with him and the funds of the partnership.  The fiduciary duty exists concurrently with the obligations set forth in the partnership agreement whether or not expressed in them.  In any fiduciary relationship, the burden of proof shifts to the fiduciary to show by clear and convincing evidence that a transaction is equitable and just. Where there is a question of breach of a fiduciary duty of a managing partner, all doubts will be resolved against him, and the managing partner has the burden of proving his innocence.

               

An agreement entered into that results in no fiduciary duty of the managing general partner is void as violative of public policy.  Fiduciary duty of loyalty remains and into not extinguished by contract unless a specific matter is waived after full disclosure and the other parties is notified of the ability to have counsel present.

               

Here, assuming that the $2,850 was fair rental value, High had a duty of loyalty to the partnership w/ Covalt and he breached that duty by not taking the offer. The offer was in the best interest of the partnership.

 

 

PROBLEM 8.1 (398)Firm’s Accountability for Notification to and Knowledge of the Agent

 

Knowledge

 

Tom and Paul are partners in Law Firm.  Tom and Paul agree that Tom will act as managing partner.  As such, Tom handles all administrative and personnel matters.

               

On repeated occasion, Paul sees Associate, during the normal course of a working day, become unreasonably angry with secretaries and paralegals.  Paul always admonished Associate to act in a more appropriate manner, but did not report Associate’s conduct to Tom.  Several months later, Associate becomes angry, and hits Clerk.

 

Clerk has now sued Law Firm, claiming that Law Firm knew of Associate’s explosive tendencies and negligently failed to either fire or control Associate.  In Clerk’s suit, will Law Firm be responsible for Paul’s knowledge?  See UPA §12, RUPA §102(f).  Compare, ULLCA §102. 

 

Answer:

 

UPA §12:  Notice to any partner (in this case Paul) of any matter relating to partnership affairs (Associate was unreasonably angry with secretaries and paralegals), and the knowledge of the partner acting in the particular matter, acquired while a partner or then present to his mind (Paul actually sees Associate), and the knowledge of any other partner who reasonably could and should have communicated it to the acting partner (Paul could have told Tom but did not), operate as notice to or knowledge of the partnership (therefore this acts as notice to Tom through Paul’s knowledge), except in the case of a fraud on the partnership committed by or with the consent of that partner (unless it can be shown that this was fraud on the partnership done by Paul or consented by Paul). 

 

Therefore in this situation, the Law Firm will be responsible for Paul’s knowledge. 

 

RUPA §102(f):  A partner’s knowledge (is cognitive awareness), notice (is less than knowing and is based on a person’s actual knowledge, receipt of a notification or reason to know based on actual knowledge of other facts and the circumstances at the time), or receipt of a notification of a fact relating to the partnership is effective immediately as knowledge by (Paul, the partner had knowledge because he actually saw this), notice to, or receipt of a notification by the partnership, except in the case of a fraud on the partnership committed by or with the consent of that partner. 

 

Therefore it is deemed that the Law Firm had knowledge through Paul, and therefore may be liable.

 

ULLCA §102: 

(a)     a person knows a fact if the person has actual knowledge of it.

(b)     a person has notice of a fact if the person: 

(1)     knows the fact;

(2)     has received a notification of the fact; or

(3)     has reason to know the fact exists from al of the facts known tot he person at the time in question. 

(c)     A person notifies or gives a notification of a fact to another by taking steps reasonably required to inform the other person in ordinary course, whether or not the other person knows the fact.

(d)     A person receives a notification when the notification:

(1)     comes to the person’s attention; or

(2)     is duly delivered at the person’s place of business or at any other place held out by the person as a place for receiving communications.

(e)           An entity knows, has notice, or receives a notification of a fact ... when the individual conducting the transaction for the entity knows … or in any event when the fact would have been brought to the individual’s attention had the entity exercised reasonable diligence.  An entity exercises reasonable diligence if it maintains reasonable routines for communicating significant information to the individual conducting the transaction for the entity and there is reasonable compliance with the routines.  Reasonable diligence does not require an individual acting for the entity to communicate information unless the communication is part of the individual’s regular duties or the individual has reason to know of the transaction and that the transaction would be materially affected by the information. 

 

Therefore, had the entity performed reasonable diligence, then they will be deemed to have knowledge.  But what is reasonable diligence, when they maintain reasonable routines for communicating significant information to the individual acting for the entity (Tom) and there is reasonable compliance.  So had the entity established a routine where partners would communicate to the controlling partner like Tom, the Law Firm will be deemed to have known.  So unless Paul had as part of his duties to communicate Associates behavior, the Law Firm will not be deemed to have knowledge. 

 

 

 

PROBLEM 8.3 (pg.403) Time from which Notification of Knowledge Affects Principal

Owner owns and operates Mall. Alan and Betty are leasing agents for the Mall and share an office suite in the Mall. As such, each is authorized to negotiate and to sign, on Owner’s behalf, leases covering space in the Mall. On Friday, Betty leased space to Laser, who planned to open a laser-tag game in the Mall.

 

Unknown to Betty, on Monday, Alan had leased space in the Mall to Arcade, who planned to open a video arcade in the Mall. As a condition for signing the lease, Arcade insisted on the inclusion of an “exclusivity provision” under which Owner agreed not to lease space in the Mall to any other arcade or amusement center. Alan forgot to tell either Owner of Betty about the exclusivity provision included in Arcade’s lease.

 

Question:  Assume that Alan had authority to agree to the inclusion of the exclusivity provision, and that Owner will be liable to Arcade for breach of contract. Assume further that Owner will also be liable for special damages if it knowingly breached the lease w/ Arcade. Will Owner be responsible for special damages?

 

 

Alan, an agent for Owner, has complete authority to bind Owner. Since Alan knew about the contract provision, that knowledge can be imputed to Owner, the principal. The doctrine of Imputed Knowledge involves holding a principal to the wrongs committed by his agent. This doctrine draws its sources from the law of respondeat superior. The expectation interest of the other party is irrelevant in an impute knowledge context b/c the knowledge at issue is acquired by the agent through means other than a deliberate effort by the other party to convey info to the principal.

 

R2d §381

This knowledge is “imputed” to the principal b/c the agent has a duty to convey it to him. “Unless otherwise agreed, an agent is subject to a duty to use reasonable efforts to give his principal info which is relevant to affairs entrusted to him and which, as the agent has notice, the principal would desire to have and which can be communicated w/o violating a superior duty to a third person.”

 

The only EXCEPTION to the imputed knowledge doctrine is the Adverse Interest doctrine. Under this exception, if an agent is acting adversely to the principal and entirely for his own or another’s purposes, his knowledge is not imputed. The fact, however, that an agent has conflicting goals (like a desire to earn commission and thus keep silent about an outstanding equity) will not rise to the level of an adverse interest. It is only when the agent totally abandons the principal’s business, such as taking a bribe to keep quiet, that the knowledge will not be imputed.

 

An EXCEPTION to the Adverse Interest Exception is the Sole Actor Rule. This rule applies when the agent, even though clearly acting as an adverse party to the principal by, for example, selling some of his own property to the principal, also receives that property in the capacity of agent for the principal and is the only agent acting in that capacity. His knowledge as agent, is imputed to the principal but not his knowledge pertaining to his adverse interest.

 

 

PROBLEM 9.1 (430)Ratification of Unauthorized Transactions

[Affirmance]

 

Allen, purporting to represent Paula but without authority or power to bind, leases Paula’s farm to Terry for a term of five years.  Allen tells Paula what he has done, but does not tell her the term of the lease.  Without inquiring as to the lease term, Paula demands, and accepts from Terry, the security deposit and first month’s rent.  In view of Paula’s willful ignorance of the lease term, may Paula avoid the lease after she learns the term is five years?  Did Paula know enough facts that she should have investigated before affirming instead of blundering ahead heedless of her ignorance?  Under Restatement 91 & comment e, Paula may be found to have assumed the risk of proceeding with only generalized knowledge of the circumstances.  Would it make any difference if the terms of similar farm leases customarily range between three and five years?  One to two years?  See Restatement §91 comment e, illustration 15.

 

Answer:

 

A ratifier may elect to avoid an affirmance if at the time of the affirmance the ratifier was ignorant of any material fact involved in the affirm transaction.  Restatement §91.  Material facts are those which substantially affect the existence or extent of the obligations involved in the transaction, as distinguished from those which affect the values or inducements involved in the transaction.  If the ratifier does not have actual knowledge of material facts, but only reason to know them, then the ratifier may avoid the affirmance. 

 

 

PROBLEM 15.4 (pg. 728) Expulsion

 

Levy, was a physician engaged in the practice of medicine as a partner in Nassau Queens Medical Group. By a majority vote of the partnership executive committee, Levy was expelled from the partnership on the ground that he was more than 70 yrs of age. The partnership agreement provided that a partner who was 70 yrs old or older could be terminated by a majority vote. Levy argues that the partners terminated him in bad faith. Other partners over the age of 70 were not expelled from the partnership. Levy believes that the real reason for the termination was Levy’s criticisms of partnership decisions.

 

Answer:

 

UPA §38(1)

Dissolution and Liquidation – any assets of the ptshp must be turned over to the partners in accordance w/ the ptshp agreement. “The right given to each partner, where no agreement to the contrary has been made, to have his share of the surplus paid to him in cash makes certain an existing uncertainty.” So expulsion of a partner who takes most of the assets can force dissolution of the ptshp.

 

Must make certain the expulsion does not trigger dissolution. The fiduciary duty remains even after expulsion although modified a bit. Dissolution agreements must have dissolution provisions that specify if expulsion can be done w/ or w/o cause.

o        The ONLY caveat of allowing for the agreement to state w/ or w/o cause, the Court will require that expulsion be for good cause and in good faith. (EX. firing your lawyer right before getting a big judgment – Ct will not allow it b/c it is in bad faith.)

 

RUPA §601(3) – allows expulsion pursuant to partnership agreement.

RUPA §701 – uses the work “disassociate” to refer to expulsion.

 

HERE, the purpose of the termination clause (in the partnership agreement) was to provide a simple, practical and speedy method of separating a partner from the partnership, and in the absence of undue penalty or unjust forfeiture, the court may not frustrate this purpose. While bad faith may be actionable, there must be some showing that the partnership acted out of a desire to gain a business or property advantage for the remaining partners. Policy disagreements do not constitute bad faith since “at the heart of the partnership concept is the principle that partners may choose w/ whom they wish to be associated.”

 

PROBLEM 15.4 (741) – [Skipped]

 

PROBLEM 15.5 (741)Dissociation of Owners from Firms

 

[Judicial Expulsions / Owner Rights]

 

A general partnership for the operation of an insurance business was formed for a five-year term in 1934 with ten partners.  Partner Brown held the majority interest in the business, with the other nine partners sharing the remainder.  The partnership agreement provided that Brown would set the salaries of the partners, that the admission of a new partner would require the affirmative vote of a majority in number of the partners, and that all other decisions would be made by an affirmative vote of a majority in interest of the partnership.  Brown proposed the admission of Moore as a new partner, but it was defeated by a 7-3 vote.  Thereafter, Brown reduced the salaries of the seven plaintiffs by fifty percent.  The seven plaintiffs sued for a dissolution of the partnership, and the trial court granted it.  What decision on appeal?  See Potter v. Brown

 

Answer:

 

UPA §32(1)(c) & (d):  A partner’s conduct is considered “wrongful” when it is taken in derogation of the duties imposed either explicitly by the partnership agreement or implicitly by virtue of the nature of the partnership itself.  The UPA empowers a court to order partnership dissolution whenever, for example, a partner willfully or persistently commits a breach of the partnership or agreement, or otherwise so conducts himself in matters relating to the partnership business that it is not reasonably practicable to carry on the business in partnership with him. 

               

There was a partnership agreement that a majority of a vote was needed.  And Brown due to an unfavorable result decided to cut salaries.  Because there was a decree of the court for dissolution based on the forgoing reasons, under §31(6) is reason for causes of dissolution. 

 

UPA §31

UPA §31(2)

UPA §32 – allows you to ask the Court for a Judicial Decree dissolving the ptshp notwithstanding the ptshp agreement.

RUPA §601(5) – On application by the ptshp or another partner, the partner’s expulsion by judicial determination b/c:

§         the partner engaged in wrongful conduct that adversely and materially affected the ptshp business;

§         partner willfully or persistently committed a material breach of the ptshp agreement or of a duty owed to the ptshp or the other partners under 404; OR

§         the partner engaged in conduct relating to the ptshp business which makes it not reasonably practicable to carry on the business in ptshp w/ the partner.

 

RUPA §801(1) – Judicial expulsion DOES NOT dissolve the partnership (even in ptshp at will).

               

Default Rule – Expulsion allows the other partners to leave (to dissolve the partnership) UNLESS the ptshp agreement provides differently (then default rule doesn’t apply).

 

PROBLEM 15.7 (748)  Dissociation of Owners from Firms

 

[Fiduciary Limits on Rights to Disassociation and Dissolution ]

 

George and H.B. are partners in Santa Maria Linen Supply, which was formed in December, 1949, for the purpose of conducting a linen supply business in Santa Maria, California.  The partners agreed that George would act as managing partner.  During he first two years, each partner contributed approximately $43,000 to the partnership.  The partners have no other written or oral agreements regarding the partnership or its affairs. 

 

From 1949 to 1957, the partnership lost approximately $62,000.  During 1958, Vandenberg Air Force Base opened nearby, and business began to improve.  The partnership earned $3,824.41 in 1958 and $2,282.30 in the first three months of 1959.  The partnership’s chief obligations are $47,610.32 owed to Mission Supply Service on open account, and $12,794.21 owed to Bank of America. 

 

Mission Supply Service, which is wholly owned by George, has sold the partnership all linen and machinery used in the day-to-day operation of its business form Mission Supply Service.  Since 1949, the partnership has paid Mission Supply Service a total of $234,114.34.  The proceeds of the loans from Bank of America was used to pay Mission Supply Service.

 

In April, 1959, George dissolved the partnership, and demanded that it be liquidated.  H.B. argues that George is acting in bad faith, and is attempting to use his superior financial position to appropriate the now profitable business of the partnership.  H.B. believes tat the amount owed Mission Supply Service may make it difficult to sell the business as a going concern. He fears that upon dissolution he will receive very little and that George will receive a business that has become very profitable because of the H.B. charges that George was content to share the losses but now that the business has become profitable, he wishes to keep all the gains.  See Page v. Page,

 

Answer:

 

In insolvency law, we have principle of “bidding in” – meaning that creditor can play w/ the paper entity of the debtor. So if you’re a creditor and you’re owed $100 and an item is auctioned pursuant to dissolution, you can bid $100 but not go into your own pocket for that $100 item. You can simply refer to the claim and the $100 item. This is why in lots of business contexts, you find that the creditor ends up w/ the property.

 

There’s probably enough evidence where this is over the line.

 

Failure to grant dissolution or ruling does not mean that the dissolution is unfair. As a consequence there will be a settlement btwn the parties.

 

 

My Notes

Looks like bad faith.  Upon liquidation the ptshp assets will be sold, who will they be sold to?  George.  Recall that in insolvency law, the principle of Bidding in plays a role.  It means the creditor can manipulate the payment of ht debt.  If you are cre4dirtoe or an items is auctions, you can bid 100, and you can refer to the claims, and still get the item.  The creditor often ends up with the property.  There is probably enough evidence that this is too much.  So as a court you would try to fashion a more equitable solution.  The court can do they by failing to grant that the dissolution is unfair.  A settlement among the partners is more likely.  This is an example of really Bad Faith.  Bad Faith Dissolution as already discussed asks if this expulsion is the product of a plan to deny a partner what they have rightfully earned.  You cannot take an action that is designed to benefit yourself as opposed to those you have a duty to.