BUSINESS LAW CASE STUDY 1
Q1- Using the IRAC reasoning method, in whose favor do you think the judge would rule?
Answer 1: According to the IRAC method,
Issue- The issue in the given case is that a lady named Anne Bakilana Tanzanian origin living in Washington DC, hired a house maid from Tanzania named Sophia Kiwanuka to come and work in the States. After coming to the States Bakilana confiscated Kiwanuka’s passport, held her in isolation and made her work for longer hours where she worked for 7 days a week without any breaks. In addition to that Kiwanuka was threatened of deportation as well. These incidents lead to Kiwanuka allegations of Bakilana causing intentional infliction to emotional distress.
Rule- Intentional infliction to emotional distress.
Analysis- Ms. Kiwanuka alleges that the defendant Ms. Bakilana subjected her to the tort of intentional infliction to emotional distress, the tort of Intentional infliction to emotional stress can be defined as an intentional act the defendant performed causing an emotional distress to the victim. In a reasonable way for the tort to apply it must follow these elements:
The defendant must act intentionally- This is observed when Ms. Kiwanuka stated that Ms. Bakilana intentionally interferes in order to ensure that Ms. Kiwanuka doesn’t make any acquaintances. Also Ms. Bakilana admitted that she had “developed a scheme taking advantage of Kiwanuka’s lack of knowledge in bank accounting to get a labor at lower rate than the legal minimum wage rate required”. These intentional acts support the plaintiffs claim.
The defendant’s conduct must have been extreme or offensive- Ms. Kiwanuka mentions that Ms. Bakilana once lifted her by her collar while screaming at her, also Ms Kiwanuka mentions that Ms. Bakilana “used her controlling position on Ms. Kiwanuka by involving into an intentional pattern of offensive verbal abuse”.
The conduct must be the cause for distress- With the evidences it indicates that these acts could have led to emotional distress. Ms. Kiwanuka mentioned that she had poor skills in English language and allegedly claims saying that Ms. Bakilana being fully aware of this exploited her disability by intentionally mis-transalting information or keeping away some important information regarding the domestic works legal rights. See Leavitt v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc, as it discusses a similar case where the defendant did not accommodate with the plaintiff’s disability.
Ms. Kiwanuka also alleges that Ms. Bakilana intentionally exploited Ms. Kiwanuka’s limited English proficiency, purposefully mis-translating and witholding critical information regarding domestic workers’ legal rights during a World Bank workshop on the rights of domestic servants employed by World Bank personnel. Compl. ¶ 28. Ms. Kiwanuka further alleges that the defendants refused to pay Ms. Kiwanuka her promised wages, misrepresenting Ms. Kiwanuka’s ownership and control rights to a bank account that Ms. Kiwanuka shared with Ms. Bakilana. Compl. ¶ 42. Specifically, Ms. Kiwanuka alleges that Ms. Bakilana directed and controlled the account and instructed Ms. Kiwanuka never to open or read any statements or other correspondence regarding the account, and that Ms. Bakilana’s misrepresentations caused Ms. Kiwanuka to believe that she did not have co-ownership or control of the account—rendering Ms. Kiwanuka’s legal rights to the account ineffective
The FBI investigation, Ms. Kiwanuka was given recording device to prove the threats of deportation she received which entitled her to work under unwilling circumstances.
Q2- What other claims can Sophia file against Anne? Explain the torts in detail and why Sophia would win.
Answer- With respect to the previous claim, Sophia can also claim for the following:
Breaching of the contract- Breaching contract is a civil crime, where one of the parties in a two-way agreement fails to honor the agreement. Ms. Kiwanuka can claim for breaching of contract because the contract mentions reasonable working conditions, we see that Ms. Kiwanuka alleges Ms. Bakilana for keeping her in isolation and making her work for seven days in the week without breaks, which means she worked more than 40 hours with no overtime pay, which is a violation to the Fair Labors Standard Act (FLSA), this shows that the working environment wasn’t very comfortable for the plaintiff. The contract also mentions decent pay and as mentioned in the statement of specified facts, Ms. Bakilana admits that “she made arrangements to prey upon Ms. Kiwanuka’s lack of knowledge about bank accountings to obtain a labor at rate way below the legally required wage rate”. Further to this Ms. Bakilana also admitted that Ms. Kiwanuka was a victim to the felony mentioned in 18 U.S.C. § 3663A(c)(1)(a) and according to that she owed a compensation of $41,6626.80 to Ms. Kiwanuka. The evidences prove that the contract was breached, hence Sophia can win this claim.
Assault- It is an act of intentionally threatening a person. Ms. Kiwanuka can claim for this tort because through the case we come to know that Ms. Bakilana would make her work longer and against her will by threatening to deport her. Reading the case in detail it was found that the FBI investigated the case, where they gave a recording device to Ms. Kiwanuka and it was recorded that Ms. Bakilana was threatening her of deportation. With the evidence in hand Ms. Kiwanuka can win this claim.
False Imprisonment- Can be defined as an unlawful detention of an individual without any legal justifications. In one of her complaints Ms. Kiwanuka states that her passport was confiscated, and she was kept in isolation right after she landed in the States. Ms. Kiwanuka also mentioned in one of her statements that Ms. Bakilana would intentionally not let her make any acquaintances. These points indicate that Ms. Kiwanuka was confined in Ms. Bakilana’s house against her will. Hence Sophia can win the case as the elements can be proven.
Q3- What are the defenses of these claims?
The defenses for the claims mentioned above are:
Breaching of contract- The defense to this offense are;
The contract being no longer possible to fulfill, or its purpose has become frustrating e.g. if a man hired an interior designer to design his house based on a contract, and the house burns down before the task was performed so then the contract is no longer going to be fulfilled.
If the contract lacks consideration, this means that when the contract seems to be less considerate or unfair towards the other part, for e.g. a contract between two co-owners of a company where one is investing and the other is not doing nor giving anything in return.
If the contract is illegal, e.g. a contract made by a person for supplying illegal drugs to another person.
Contract containing mutual mistake, e.g. mutually two parties agreed to invest $1million each but the contract says $2million. This is the case where both the parties had intended to do something and in the contract by mistake there was something else stated.
http://jec.unm.edu/education/online-training/contract-law-tutorial/defenses-to-breachAsault- There are usually two main types of defenses in an assault charge; a) Self-defense, here the defendant needs to prove that his action was a reaction to some sort of harm or threat he got from the other person in question and it was unintentional. b) Consent Defense- Here the two parties mutually agree to get involved in a particular activity, this will not hold one person liable for the assault, but if the act exceeds the mutual permitted time, then the offender can be punished.
https://www.enkanter.com/blog/how-defend-against-assault-charges/False Imprisonment- The defense to this claim is that the defendant should be able to show that the victim cannot prove one of the elements. For example, here in this case if Ms. Bakilana can prove that she kept Ms. Kiwanuka in isolation according to the contract, or maybe she didn’t actually keep Ms. Kiwanuka in isolation, then this can be her defense.