McDougal Littell Social Studies Material

McDougal Littell Answers

For business students, it is certainly important to have a basic understanding of the American legal system.  Business Law is a core class in the business curriculum, and the following is a summary of important concepts that were examined in the course.

An extra space was added between each concept to make it easier to read and study from, which I hope can comply with the assignment requirements.

Law – that which must be obeyed and followed by citizens subject to sanctions or legal consequences. A body of rules of action or conduct prescribed by a controlling authority and having binding legal force.

Laws: 1, Keep peace 2, Shape moral standards, 3. Promote social justice, 4. Maintain status quo, 5 Facilitate orderly change.6. Facilitate planning, 7, Provide a basis for compromise, 8. Maximize individual freedom

Common law– law developed by judges who issued their opinions when deciding a case. The principles announced in these cases became precedent for later judges deciding similar cases.

All states except Louisiana base their systems on English common law

Constitution of Law in US- supreme law of the land, Any law violating this is unconstitutional.

Legislative(congress)- enact law.. Executive (president)- power to enforce.. Judicial(courts) power to interpret and validate laws

Treaty a compact made between two or more nations.

Statute written law enacted by the legislative branch of the federal and state governments that establishes courses of conduct that must be adhered by covered parties.

Ordinance- law enacted by local government bodies such as cities and municipalities, countries, school districts, water districts.

Executive order– an order issued by a member of the executive branch of government.

Administrative agencies– (such as securities and exchange commission or FTC) that legislative and executive branches of fed and state government are empowered to establish. To enforce and interpret statutes. “fourth branch of government”

Judicial decision -a decision about an individual lawsuit issued by a federal or state court.

McDougal Littell Answers

Precedent– a rule of law established in a court decision. Lower courts must follow the precedent established by higher courts.

State decisis– “to stand by the decision” adhering to precedence. State precedents don’t need to be uniform but encouraged.

Critical legal thinking–  the process of specifying the issue presented by a case, identifying the key facts, finding and applying laws, and come to a conclusion.

Petitioner or appellant- may be either plaintiff or defendant who appeals a decision

Respondent or appeale – who must answer an appeal.

Case brief- a summary of each of the following items of a case: name and citation. 2. Key facts.3 issue prevented. 4.court holding.5 court’s reasoning.

532 U.S. 661  (volume 532 of US reports) (Page 661)

Limited-jurisdiction trial court- a court that hears matters of a specialized or limited nature

Small claims court– hears civil cases involving small dollar amounts,

General- jurisdiction court- a court that hears cases of a general nature that are not within the jurisdiction of limited jurisdiction trial courts.

Intermediate appellate court- hears appeals from the trial courts.

State supreme court- the highest court in a state court system; it hears appeals from intermediate state courts and certain trial court

US Supreme court- federal judges appointed for life by president, with advice and consent of senate .

Special federal courts– federal courts that hear matters of specialized or limited jurisdiction.

US district courts- the federal court system’s trial courts of general jurisdiction.

US court of appeals- the federal court system’s intermediate appellate courts.

Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit- a court of appeals in DC that has special appellate jurisdiction to review decisions of claims court, the Patent and Trademark office, and the Court of international trade.

US supreme court- the supreme court was created by article III of the US constitution. The supreme court is the highest court in the land and is in DC.

McDougal Littell Answers

Petition for certiorari- a petition asking for Supreme Court to hear a case.

Writ of certiorari- an official notice that the supreme court will review a case.

Plurality decision- if a majority reaches a decision but for diff reasons. It cannot be used as a precedent for later cases.

Subject matter jurisdiction– jurisdiction over subject matter of a lawsuit.

Federal question case– a case arising under the US constitution, treaties, or federal statues and regulations.

Diversity of citizenship- between 1 the citizens of different states, 2 a citizen of a state and a citizen of a foreign country,3, a citizen of a state and a foreign country where the foreign country is the plaintiff.

Exclusive Jurisdiction– jurisdiction held by only one court

Concurrent jurisdiction– jurisdiction shared by two or more courts

In personam jurisdiction- jurisdiction over the parties to a lawsuit.

Service of process– a summons being served on the defendant to obtain personal jurisdiction over him or her.

In rem jurisdiction– jurisdiction to hear a case because of jurisdiction over the property of a lawsuit.

Quasi in rem jurisdiction– jurisdiction allowed a plaintiff who obtains a judgement in 1 state to try to collect the judgment by attaching property of the defendant located in another state.

Long arm statute- a statute that extends a states jurisdiction to nonresidents who were not served a summons within the state. For 1.commiting tort in state. 2. Entered contract in state. 3 transacted business in a state that caused injury.

Forum selection- a contract provision that designates a certain court to hear any dispute concerning nonperformance of the contract.

Venue- a concept that requires lawsuits to be heard by the court with jurisdiction that is nearest the location in which the incident occurred or where the parties reside.

Litigation- the process of bringing, maintaining, and defending a lawsuit.

Pleadings- the paperwork that is filed with the court to initiate and respond to a lawsuit

Complaint– the document the plaintiff files with the court and serves on the defendant to initiate a lawsuit.

Summons- a court order directing the defendant to appear in court and answer the complaint.

Answer– the defendants written response to the plaintiff’s complaint that is filed with the court and served on the plaintiff.

Cross-complaint- a document filed by the defendant against the plaintiff to seek damages or some other remedy.

Reply- a document filed by the original plaintiff to answer the defendant’s cross-complaints.

Intervention- the act of others to join as parties to an existing lawsuit.

Consolidation- the act of a court to combine two or separate lawsuits into one.

Statute of limitations- establishes the period during which a plaintiff must bring a lawsuit against a defendant.

Discovery- process which each party engages in various activities to discover facts of the case from the other party and witnesses prior to trial.

Deposition– oral testimony given by a party or witness prior to trial. Given under oath and transcribed.

Deponent- the party who gives his or her disposition.

Interrogatories- written questions submitted by one party to another party. The questions must be answered in writing within a stipulated time

Production of documents– a request by one party to another party to produce all documents relevant to the case prior to the trial.

Physical or mental examination- a court ordered examination of a party to lawsuit before trial to determine the extent of the alleged injuries.

Pretrial motion- a motion a party can make to dispose of all or part of a lawsuit prior to trial.

Motion for judgment on the pleadings- alleges that if all the facts presented in pleadings as true, the party making the motion would win the lawsuit when the proper law is applied to these asserted facts.

Motion for summary judgment- asserts there are no factual disputes to be decided by the jury and that the proper law to the undisputed facts and decide the case without a jury. These motions are supported by affidavits, documents, and deposition testimony.

Settlement conference– a hearing before a trial in order to facilitate the settlement of a case. Also called Pretrial hearing

Trier of fact- the jury in a jury trial, the judge where there is not a jury trial.

Voir dire– the process whereby prospective jurors are asked questions by the judge and attorneys to determine whether they would be biased in their decision.

Judgment notwithstanding the verdict or judgment n.o.v- court overturns verdict if bias or jury misconduct.

Appeal- act of asking an appellate court to overturn a decision after the trial court’s final judgemt has been entered.

Alternative dispute resolution– Methods of resolving disputes other than litigation

Arbitration- a form of ADR in which the parties choose an impartial 3rd party to hear and decide the dispute.

Arbitration clause– a clause in a contract that requires disputes arising from contract to be submitted to arbitration.

Federal Arbitration Act FAA- federal statute that provides for the enforcement of most arbitration agreements.

Mediation- a form at ADR which parties choose a neutral 3rd party to act as a mediator, but not to make a concrete resolution.

Conciliation- a form of mediation in which the parties choose an interested third party to act as mediator of the dispute.

Minitrial- a retired judge or judicial referee decides a case hearing facts from both sides’ lawyers.

US Constitution- The fundamental law of the US , ratified by 1788. Includes Bill of Rights, made to create 3 branches of government, and protect individual rights.

Federalism– US form of government, the federal government and 50 state governments share powers.

Enumerated powers- Certain powers delegated to the fed government by the states

Checks and balances- a system built into US constitution that prevents any 1 of 3 branches to become too powerful.

Supremacy Clause- a clause of the US constitution that established that the federal Constitution, treaties, federal laws, and federal regulations are the supreme law of the land.

Preemption doctrine– the concept that federal law takes precedence over state or local law

Commerce Clause– a clause in the constitution that grants congress power to regulate commerce with foreign nations and among the several states as well as with Indian tribes.

Interstate commerce- commerce that moves between states or that affects commerce between them.

Police Power- the power of states to regulate private and business activity within their boarders.

Unduly burden interstate commerce- a concept which says that states may enact laws that protect or promote public health and safety, as long as the state does not unduly burden interstate commerce.

Bill of Rights- first 10 amendments to the constitution, which were added in 1791.

Due process clause of 14th amendment- limited intrusive actions by state and local governments.

Limited protection speech- government cannot forbit, but it can be subjected to time, place, or manner restrictions.

Offensive- speech that is offensive to many members of society

Commercial speech- Speech used by businesses such as advertising.

Unprotected speech- speech that is not protected by 1st amendment and may be forbidden by government.

Establishment Clause- a clause to the 1st amendment that prohibits the government from either establishing a state religion or promoting 1 religion over another.

Free exercise clause- a clause in the 1st amendment that prohibits the government from interfering with free exercise or religion

14th amendment- in 1868, contains due process, equal protection, and privileges and immunities clauses.

Equal Protection-provides that a state cannot deny to any person within its jurisdiction equal protection of laws.

Strict scrutiny test- a test that is applied to classifications based on race.

Intermediate scrutiny test- a test that is applied to classifications based on stuff other than race

Rational basis test- applied to classifications not involved a suspect or protected class.

Due Process Clause- provides that no person shall be deprived of life liberty or property without due process of law.

Substantive due process– a category of due process that requires government statutes , ordinances , or other laws be clear on their face and not be overly broad.

Procedural due process- a category of due process that requires government to give proper notice and hearing a legal action before the person is deprived of his life liberty or property.

Privileges and Immunities Clause- a clause that prohibits states from enacting laws that unduly discriminate in favor of their residents.


Tort- a wrong, 1.intentional,2.unintentional(negligence) 3. Strict liability

Intentional tort- requires defendant possessed the intent to do the act that caused plaintiff’s injuries

Assault- 1.threat of immediate harm of offensive contact 2 any action that arouses reasonable apprehension of imminent harm.

Battery- unauthorized and harmful or physical contact with another person.

False imprisonment– the intentional confinement or restraint of another person without authority or justification and without that persons consent.

Merchant protection statutes- allow merchants to stop,detain, investigate shoplifters if 1.there is reasonable grounds for suspicion 2.suspects are detained for only a reasonable time 3.investigations are conducted in a reasonable manner.

Tort of misappropriation of the right to publicity- an attempt by another person to appropriate a living person’s name or identity for commercial purposes.

Defamation of character – false statements about another, must prove that 1.defendant made untrue statements about plaintiff and 2.was intentionally or accidently published by 3rd party

Slander– oral defamation of character

Libel– a false statement that appears in a letter, newspaper, magazine, book, etc

Product disparagement– false statements about competitors products, services, etc.

Intentional misrepresentation- the intentional defrauding a person out of something of value.

Intentional infliction of emotional distress- says a person can be held responsible for extreme outrageous and reckless harmful conduct.

Malicious prosecution- a lawsuit in which the original defendant sues the plaintiff for the trial before.

Trespass to land- a tort that interferes with an owners right to exclusive possession of land.

Trespass to personal property- occurs when one person injures another persons personal property or interferes with their enjoyment of it.

Unintentional tort/Negligence- says a person is liable for harm that is the foreseeable consequences of their actions.

Duty of care- the obligation we all owe eachother not to cause any unreasonable risks of harm.

Breach of the duty of care– failure to exercise care or to act as a reasonable person would act.

Injury- a plaintiffs personal injury or damage to his or her property that enablem them to recover monetary damages for defendant negligence.

Actual cause- the actual cause of negligence. A person who commits a negligent act is not liable unless actual cause can be proven. Causation in fact.

Proximate cause- a point along a chain of events caused by a negligent party after which this party is no longer legally responsible for the consequences of their actions.

Professional malpractice- the liability of a professional who breaches his or her duty of ordinary care.

Negligent infliction of emotional distress– permits a person to recover for emotional distress caused by defendants negligence

Negligence per se- a violation of a statute or ordinance constitutes the beach of the duty of care.

Res ipsa loquitur- the thing speaks for itself ‘fault’

Good Samaritan law- a statute that relives medical professionals from liability for ordinary negligence when they stop and render aid to victims in emergency situations.

Dram shop act– makes bars liable for injuries caused to or by patrons who are served too much alcohol.

Guest statute-if a driver voluntarily gives a ride, the passenger cannot sue for injuries caused by driver’s ordinary negligence.

Fireman’s rule- firefighters can’t sue negligent fire-setting people.

Social host liability – provides hosts are liable for injuries caused by intoxicated guests.

Duty of ordinary care- the duty an owner owes an invitee or a licensee to prevent injury or harm when the invitee steps on owners premises.

Duty not to willfully or wantonly injure- prevents harm to trespassers by owners.

Duty of utmost care- says that common carriers and innkeepers have responsibility to provide security to their guests.

Superseding event- an event a defendant is not responsible for.

Assumption of risk- defense a defendant can use against plaintiff who voluntarily enters and participates in risky activity that results in injury.

Contributory negligence- a doctrine that says a plaintiff who is partially at fault for his or her own injury cannot recover against negligent defendant.

Comparative negligence- a doctrine under which damages are apportioned according to fault.

Strict liability- liability without fault.

Products liability- the liability of manufacturers and sellers have for injuries caused by defective products.

Chain of distribution- all manufacturers, distributers, etc involved in a transaction.

In negligence lawsuit- only negligent party is liable. In strict liability lawsuit, whole chain of distribution is liable.

Punitive damages- damages awarded to punish a defendant who either intentionally or recklessly injured a plaintiff.

Product defect- something wrong in a product

Crashworthiness doctrine- car makers are under duty to design cars that take into account extra injuries in a car crash.

Failure to warn- a defect that occurs when a manufacturer does not place a warning on the packaging of products that could cause injury if danger is unknown.

Defect in packaging- a defect that occurs when a product has been placed in packaging that is insufficiently tamperproof.

Failure to provide adequate instructions- a defect that occurs when a manufacturer does not provide detailed directions for safe assembly and use of a product

Generally known dangers- a defense that acknowledges that certain products are inherently dangerous and are known by general population to be so.

Government contractor defense- says a contractor who was provided specifications by the government is not liable for any defect in the product that occurs as a result of those specifications

Misuse- a defense that relieves a seller of product liability if their user abnormally misused the product. Products must be designed to protect against foreseeable misuse.

Supervening event- an alteration of modification of product by a party in the chain of distribution that absolves all prior sellers from strict liability.

Statute of limitations- requires an injured person to bring an action within a certain number of years from the time that they were injured by a product.

Statute of repose- limits the sellers liability to a certain number of years from the date when the product was sold.

Contributory negligence- a defense that says a person who is injured by a defect but was also negligent cannot recover prom defendant.

Comparative fault- applies to strict liability, says a plaintiff who is negligent is responsible for their share.