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Business Law and Criminal Law Issues Essay

Part I. Contract Law Issues

A contract between Carol and Brand Name Industries, Inc. (BNI) has been formed. Although at first, Carol made a counter offer and in effect refused the offer of BNI, the facts categorically stated that the parties came to an agreement. A contract is a obligatory understanding between two or more legally competent parties which is either written or made verbally. The elements of the contract are:

1) Offer, which is the expression of a party’s promise to give, to do or not to do something to another party, and must be made in a clear and unambiguous terms but not necessarily written –  as contracts may be perfected even orally;

2) Acceptance, which is the manifestation of concurrence of the other party to the terms made in the offer and must also be made in a clear manner but should not contain a counter-offer;

3) Consideration, defined as that something which is of real value given by a party in exchange of the promise of the other party which is not necessarily in the form of money;

4) Meeting of the minds or the concurrence of wills of the parties and essentially refers to the mutual understanding of the parties to be bound by the terms of their agreement;

5) Object, or the purpose, that must be legal otherwise the contract will be void, for which the contract is aimed at;

6) Consent, which is the legal capacity of the contracting parties to enter into the contract and must be freely given by them.

A contract to be considered perfected, when all of these requisites are complied with. The absence of any one of these requirements would render the contract inoperative or unenforceable.

All of these requisites were satisfied in the case at bar. An offer for lease of services was made by BNI. This offer, although initially refused by Carol by making a counter-offer was nevertheless subsequently accepted by Carol for a consideration of $875. The object of the contract is the services to be rendered by Carol for BNI and is certainly a legal one.  The parties agreed to the terms signifying meeting of the minds, thereby perfecting the contract.

The “Mailbox Rule” states that when mail is the medium of acceptance, a contract is formed the moment the letter of acceptance is placed inside the outgoing mailbox. This rule is an exception to the general rule on acceptance which in essence provides that an offer is deemed accepted only upon  the actual communication and knowledge by the offeror of the acceptance made by the other party. The mailbox rule does not apply, however, to a refusal of offer which is deemed to take effect only upon receipt of the offeror.

The impact of this rule in the case at bar is that carol may still accept the original offer of BNI by posting her mail even after her letter of revocation has been mailed but not yet received by BNI. Upon her posting in the mailbox of the letter of acceptance, the letter of refusal or counter-offer would be deemed revoked provided that the same was not delivered yet to BNI.

Part II. Criminal Law Issues

In New York State, a person is guilty of assault in the first degree when:

1) With intent to cause serious physical injury to another person, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person by means of a deadly weapon or a dangerous instrument; or

2) With intent to disfigure another person seriously and permanently, or to destroy, amputate or disable permanently a member or organ of his body, he causes such injury to such person or to a third person; or

3) Under circumstances evincing a depraved indifference to human life, he recklessly engages in conduct which creates a grave risk of death to another person, and thereby causes serious physical injury to another person; or

4) In the course of and in furtherance of the commission or attempted commission of a felony or of immediate flight there from, he, or another participant if there be any, causes serious physical injury to a person other than one of the participants.

Assaults in the First Degree carries substantial prison terms much like that of the felony of Attempted Murder.

These elements were, in one way or another, satisfied in the case at bar. Although naturally, it must be shown that the person accused of assault intentionally caused physical injury to the victim, in New York State, the crime of assault in the first degree may be committed with either criminal intent or through negligence.

It should be noted that the above provision is worded in the alternative in such a way that if a person commit acts that would fall in any of the circumstances mentioned, the person is liable for the crime of assault in the first degree. It is committed with intent in situations described in numbers 1, 2 and 4, while it is committed with negligence in situation number 3.

Jake’s act of slashing Mark’s face for several times, satisfied the elements mentioned in number 1 above. When Mark caught Jake slashing the tires of the Carol’s car, Jake, with intent to inflict physical injuries to Mark did in fact slash the face of the latter with a deadly weapon. Although intent is a mental process, the same is manifested or observed in the actual performance of the acts of the perpetrator of the felony. Under the facts given, there was intent on the part of Jake to cause serious physical injuries to Mark as the former took out a box cutter and actually slashed the latter’s face with the deadly weapon. In item number 1, Assault in the first degree is committed when a person intentionally causes a serious physical injury to another through the use of a deadly weapon.

Jake’s act necessarily caused serious and permanent disfigurement on the face of Mark, thereby satisfying the elements mentioned in item number 2. The requirements of item number 4 were also satisfied in the case at bar in the sense that when Mark discovered the act of Jake, the latter is performing a felonious act and in the course of the furtherance of such an act, he intentionally caused a serious physical injury to the former.

As already intimated above, the enumeration is worded in the alternative so much so that the commission of any of the felonious act mentioned in the provision would undoubtedly make a person liable for assault in the first degree.
Jake should then be charged and be found guilty of the crime of assault in the first degree.

References:

  1. Combs, S. (2008). Window on State Government [Electronic Version]. Retrieved May 5, 2008,from http://www.window.state.tx.us/procurement/pub/contractguide/LegalElementsofaContract.pdf
  2. Murray, D. (2007). Assault Charges in New York City: The Meaning of Assault in New York City [Electronic Version]. Retrieved May 5, 2008, from http://www.queensdefense.com/assaultnewyork.htm

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