The complexity of the business world today means that actors might face numerous issues or challenges during their cooperation. For this reason, business relations are regulated by the fundamental laws that create the framework for successful collaboration and help to resolve all problems that might emerge. These are the Contract Law, Consumer Law, Law of Tort, and the central responsibilities and liabilities of parties. Simmy’s case can be viewed as one of the examples when the application of these laws helps to determine the person responsible for damage and insist on paying compensation or specific penalties.
Simmy and Queen Treasure
The case revolves around the business relations between Simmy, a business graduate running her construction business, and Queen Treasure, a big business offering equipment. The latter stated that it offers all necessary tools for hire, offering $10,000 compensation if any accident happens because of its equipment. Simmy engages in business relations with the company and signs a contract. However, because of the inappropriate condition of the ladders and rope preventing it from falling, the incident happened, and the house’s walls were damaged. The central idea of the case is whether Simmy can sue and expect compensation.
In analyzing the case, it is vital to consider several critical factors. First of all, the relations between partners are regulated by Contract Law. Lang, Simmy’s worker, signed the agreement following Queen Treasure’s request to satisfy some insurance purposes. The relationship between partners should be regulated by the given document. It includes the statement that the owner of the goods does not accept responsibility if personal injuries or damages are caused when using the equipment. It becomes one of the vital points as Queen Marry can refer to the Contract Law and insist that it should not pay the compensation (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). Additionally, the fact that Land has not read the terms of the agreement does not mean that they should be disregarded (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). In such a way, Simmy faces a dilemma of whether she can sue the partner and insist on compensation.
However, it is possible to state that Simmy still can sue Queen Treasure for damages because of several reasons. First, the current Tort law can be applied to analyze the case. It is the field of law applicable to civil suits and focused on redressing the harm done to a person or a company (Goldberg, Sebok, and Zipursky, 2021). Thus, liability torts imply that if a person or a company offers a defective product resulting in a serious injury or trauma, they are responsible for this accident (Goldberg, Sebok, and Zipursky, 2021). As comes from the case, the accident occurred because of the worn rope in poor condition. It means that Queen Treasure failed to provide a product without defects and, following the Tort law, it should be viewed as responsible for all damage caused by the equipment offered by it (Goldberg, Sebok, and Zipursky, 2021). This statement can be used by Simmy to sue and attain a positive outcome.
Moreover, following the ideas of the main responsibilities and liabilities of the business, Simmy can also expect compensation. The given regulations state that companies or persons are responsible for providing products of appropriate quality, meaning that in case the standards are not achieved, it can be viewed as a breach of responsibility (Beathy, Samuelson, and Abril, 2021). Moreover, Queen Treasure made a public statement, offering $10,000 compensation if any accidents or damage occurred. Under these conditions, it is possible to state that the point in the hiring agreement outlining the unacceptance of responsibility is not relevant to the case (Goldberg, Sebok, and Zipursky, 2021). Simmy can sue because of the liability tort and the breach of responsibilities of the business.
Consumer Law and Mere Puff
The case can be investigated from another perspective, assuming that the advertisement made by Queen Treasure was a mere puff. The term can be defined as a vague, exaggerated, or too-attractive claim a company makes in its adverts (Beathy, Samuelson, and Abril, 2021). In most cases, such proclamations are not made to create the basis for the contract and have several purposes (Beathy, Samuelson, and Abril, 2021). They attract attention to the firm, emphasize its resources or current proposals, and help to generate competitive advantage (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). For this reason, according to the basic assumptions of the contract law, mere puffs should not be taken seriously, and it is not a misrepresentation (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). It means that if there are no additional terms in the contract specifying this aspect, it should not be viewed as one of the aspects regulating relations between partners (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). For this reason, it is difficult to appeal to this concept.
For instance, in the case Ecay v Godfrey, a similar idea of the mere puff was discussed. The claimant bought a boat from the defendant following the latter’s assurance that it was in good condition (Ecay v Godfrey, 1947). However, it turned out that the product had several defects, and the claimant insisted on the breach of the contract (Ecay v Godfrey, 1947). However, the High Court concluded that the defendant’s statements could not be viewed as part of the contract (Ecay v Godfrey, 1947). In such a way, mere puffs cannot be taken as a legal agreement between parties, and there is a need for additional specifications and regulating terms.
However, Queen Treasure’s statement can be analyzed regarding the Consumer Law in the advertisement. Simmy noticed the firm’s proclamation in the local newspaper about a $10,000 compensation if any of the accidents involving the equipment occurred. In accordance with the existing law, all claims made by companies in advertisements should be truthful, cannot be aimed at confusing parties, and must be evidence-based (Porter, 2016). It means that the advertisements in local newspapers should also contain only relevant information and cannot be unfair (Porter, 2016). In such a way, appealing to Consumer Law, Simmy can insist that Queen Treasure initially offered incorrect information aiming at generating a competitive advantage and persuading potential partners to make a deal. It can serve as the basis for the claim and asking for compensation because of the damage done by one of the products provided by the company responsible for its functioning.
Use of Force to Sign a Contract
The case can also be investigated, assuming that Lang was forced to sign the agreement by Queen Treasure. Under these conditions, several important aspects should be considered. First of all, the definition of a valid contract should be used. Following the existing law, it is an agreement between two or more mentally competent parties which becomes legally enforceable and regulates their further relations (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It means that all individuals should realize the terms and possible outcomes (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). At the same time, any sort of pressure and the use of force to sign a contract contradicts the basic idea of this type of relationship and can be viewed as a rude violation of the law which should be punished (Knapp, Crystal and Prince, 2019a). If one of the parties proves its decisions were made under the influence of force, the threat of coercion, or duress, the agreement can be called illegal and should not be viewed as a relevant one (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It is one of the basics of the existing business law needed to protect all companies or individuals.
Applying this idea to the case, it is possible to make several assumptions. First of all, if Land was forced to sign the agreement, all cooperation between parties could be viewed as illegal. The terms of the agreement should be taken as irrelevant, and the contract is no more a legally enforceable agreement (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It means that there are no legal relations between Queen Treasure and Simmy’s business. At the same time, because the damage was done due to the exploitation of the equipment provided by the supplier, it should be considered responsible for the damage done to the house (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). Moreover, the attempts to force one of the parties to enter relations can also serve as the basis for suing, as it is illegal and violates the fundamental laws of the business world.
In such a way, in case Lang is forced to sign an agreement, the different factors start affecting the scenario. Queen Treasure might have used force or other types of pressure to benefit from this contract. It eliminates the agreement and is not legal, meaning that the supplier can be punished for such actions and face severe consequences. Additionally, Simmy can expect compensation and other specific penalties.
Intoxication and Contract
Another critical factor that should be considered regarding the contract law is intoxication. The basic principle states that if an intoxicated person enters the legal agreement, there are two options. It can be either enforceable to the fullest extent, and all parties should follow the basic terms as established in the document (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). At the same time, the deal can be voidable by the intoxicated person, or the terms might be disputed (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). The applicability of the last option is determined by two critical factors:
- The intoxication was severe, and the person who signed the document was unaware of the terms or was incapacitated.
- The other party knew about the intoxication and used it for various purposes (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a).
In such a way, the contract can be viewed as voidable, and the agreement can be ended by one of the parties. However, it might require additional profs to ensure the Court that intoxication is a reason for the cessation and elimination of the basic terms. These include providing the correct amounts of consumed alcohol or types of drugs that impact the thinking of a person and his/her decision-making practices (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It means that the legal conditions might be unclear, and a party fails to realize them (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). At the same time, the contract can be voidable if the other party uses this condition to generate benefits (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). One of the classic cases demonstrating the influence of intoxication on making a contract is Lucy v. Zehmer. Parties were drinking together, and Zehmer appealed to it when refusing to follow the terms of their agreement (Lucy v Zehmer, 1954). However, considering the amount of alcohol consumed and other conditions, the Court sided with Mr. Lucy. (Lucy v Zehmer, 1954). It means that intoxication should be analyzed additionally to reveal all additional factors.
Speaking about the case and assuming that Lang was intoxicated, the same rules mentioned above become applicable. First, it is vital to determine how the worker was impacted by various substances. If Land had problems understanding the legal terms of the agreement and its consequences, the contract could be viewed as voidable. Second, it is critical to determine whether Queen Treasure realized the state of its potential partner. In such a way, both these options are relevant to the case, the contract can be viewed as illegal, and Simmy can sue, expecting the Court to consider her claims and take her side.
Minors and Contract
The case can also be investigated assuming that Lang was two months from being an adult while signing the agreement and establishing the legal basis for future cooperation between the two partners. Following the existing contract law, there are several specific requirements to sign a contract. One of the major ones says that all individuals entering legal business relations should be 18 years of age (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). A person under this age is viewed as minor and lacks the capacity to make a contract (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It is considered that this category does not possess the same understanding of legal issues as adults and might not understand all peculiarities of the would-be deal (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). Under these conditions, contracts signed by people under 18 years are not valid, and minors do not have to honor this document and follow its terms.
In such a way, Lang’s signing the contract under 18 implies several issues. First, it does not have legal value because the main law applicable to such cases is violated. Minors under 18 do not have the right to sign such documents except for specific cases (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). The fact that only two months remain does not matter, as, from the legal perspective, Lang remains a minor who cannot participate in this sort of business relationship. For this reason, there is no document regulating relations between the two parties and establishing a legal framework. From this point of view, Simmy is free to sue Queen Treasure as there were no aspects of their business relations introducing specific regulations regarding damage and accidents.
Under these conditions, age plays a critical role in establishing the basis for legal relations between parties. As stated previously, age is one of the major demands for individuals signing legal documents and entering into a specific types of relations. Minors cannot be responsible for contracts as they might lack their correct understanding and have various reasons for it (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). Such deals are not legal as there is a need for parents’ approval; otherwise, the contract should not be honored, and all obligations are irrelevant (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019b). It means that if Lang signs the contract being under age, he violates the basic principles of the Contract Law and such relations are not enforceable.
The high pace of technological development resulted in new ways of cooperation between parties. Today, online contracting has become one of the most common forms of starting a collaboration or making an agreement. However, because of the convenience, simplicity, and speed, parties might often fail to read the terms and pay attention to all points mentioned in the contract. It might result in misunderstandings or claims linked to the lack of correct understanding of the planned cooperation. Thus, following the current Contract Law, the absence of face-to-face interaction and the paperless nature of agreements do not mean the absence of legal effects of such deals or transactions (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). For this reason, it is critical to read terms and view online contracting as a form of cooperation leading to the necessity to observe specific duties and follow regulations.
The case Gonzalez v Agoda Company Pte Ltd evidences the importance of this sort of cooperation nowadays. Agoda is a company based in Singapore and offers online booking services (Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd, 2017). Ms. Gonzalez booked a room in Paris from her computer at home, not paying attention to the payment details page (Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd, 2017). It outlined an exclusive jurisdiction clause meaning that only the contractual laws of Singapore can be applied to all disputes (Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd, 2017). After the injury in the bathroom, Ms. Gonzalez wanted to sue Agoda regarding Australian Consumer laws (Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd, 2017). However, the fact that she had not read the payment details page did not mean that they were inapplicable (Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd, 2017). For this reason, Agoda had the right to appeal to exclusive jurisdiction in that case. The terms were not concealed and could be accessed by the claimant, which meant that no breaches of the law were observed.
The given case perfectly illustrates the importance of online contracting and its enforceable nature. To make a deal, businesses are required to show that the client will enter the agreement with legal obligations and duties outlined by the agreement (Knapp, Crystal, and Prince, 2019a). In such a way, by selecting the desired product or service and pressing the agree button, a client becomes one of the parties to a legal contract, meaning that all terms and conditions should be observed. The poor understanding of terms, the lack of attention, or the disregard of specific pages devoted to the detailed description of payment details or other conditions do not serve as the reason for making this agreement voidable.
Altogether, the complexity of business relations is regulated by numerous laws existing to protect parties and ensure they enter meaningful cooperation. Simmy’s case evidences the significance of the Contract law, the Consumer law, and the parties’ responsibilities. Appealing to different regulations, it is possible to protect Simmy’s position and insist on compensation. As for online agreements, they should also be viewed as an important part of the modern legal environment, and all individuals or groups should realize that they are also enforceable, and it is vital to read the terms of planned cooperation to avoid misunderstandings or claims.
Beathy, J., Samuelson, S. and Abril, P. (2021) Essentials of business law. 7th edn. Thousand Oaks, CA: Cengage Learning. Ecay v Godfrey (1947) 80 Lloyds Rep 286.
Goldberg, J., Sebok, A. and Zipursky, B. (2021) Tort law: responsibilities and redress. 5th edn. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer. Gonzalez v Agoda Pty Ltd (2017) NSWSC 1133.
Knapp, C., Crystal, N. and Prince, H. (2019a) Problems in contract law: cases and materials. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer.
Knapp, C., Crystal, N. and Prince, H. (2019b) Rules of contract law. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer. Lucy v Zehmer (1954) 196 Va. 493.
Porter, K. (2016) Modern consumer law. New York, NY: Wolters Kluwer.