Business Ethics Paper BUS 415 November 14, 2011 Michael Green Business Ethics Paper The same ethical issues in the business world have been around for a long time. In theory business ethics is a practical regulation that dictates moral activity of commercial interests. The history of business ethics is founded in corporate social responsibility (CSR). Entertainer Shirley Jones filed suit in California against the tabloid company The National Enquirer, whose home office is based in Florida.
According to the suit Jones wanted to sue for damages of defamation, invasion of privacy and emotional distress. It will be discussed how a suit filed in one state and the defendant lives in another. It will be discussed the type of paper The National Enquirer is. It will be discussed the ethics behind The Enquirer trying to evade the lawsuit by claiming that California law had no jurisdiction over the business since they were located in Florida. It will also be discussed by The Enquirer is subject to the lawsuit despite the fact the suit was filed in California and the company is based in Florida.
What kind of paper is the National Enquirer? The National Enquirer is a tabloid newspaper that was founded in 1926 by William Randolph Hearst; the paper was initially known as the New York Enquirer. In 1952 the paper was purchased by Generoso Pope, Jr. who used his market skills to position the paper in the magazine stands in virtually every supermarket in the United States. Once he took over the tabloid Pope paid the highest salaries to the most sought after reporters and editors to produce the tabloid. (Randall, 1986).
The National Enquirer tends to be more impertinent when writing the stories that populate the tabloid focusing on sensationalizing celebrity crimes and gossip. Most of the information in the articles the paper runs, the stories are often convoluted by sensationalism it has made the paper a success despite that some readers find the Enquirer to be offensive and insensitive. Was it ethical for the National Enquirer to try to evade the lawsuit in California? It would make sense for The Enquirer to believe that their home state would have personal jurisdiction of the business.
The National Enquirer had no way of knowing about the long-arm statute that could be used to allow the courts in California to assert jurisdiction over them in Florida. The Enquirers office in Florida argued against the statute and the arguments were accepted by the lower courts but the arguments were rejected by the California Supreme Court. The Enquirer argued that they were not responsible for the spread of the article in California because they had no stake economically in the sales of the tabloid in California.
But a clause in the Fourteenth Amendment permits personal jurisdiction over a defendant in another state if the defendant as minimum contact in the state (“Calder V. Jones, 465 U. S. 783 (1984)”, 2011). Are the defendants subject to suit in California? The defendant in the case, The National Enquirer, Inc. located in Florida and the plaintiff, actress Shirley Jones, located in California, this issue is the defendant and the plaintiff reside in two different states, so are the defendants subject to suit in California if they reside in Florida?
Suits are determined by the courts, if the employees of The Enquirer responsible for the story have minimal contact in the state of the suit by way of the plaintiff Shirley Jones providing proof that The Enquirer or employees of The Enquirer had contact in the state of California while working on the story for the tabloid. For example, if The Enquirer paid for the information in California for the story that ran in the tabloid about Shirley Jones.
Furthermore the clause states that of The Enquirer brought property into the state that constitutes as minimal contact, since The National Enquirer ships more than 600,000 copies of the paper The National Enquirer and its president are liable to suit in California even though the business is based in Florida (Cheeseman, 2010). Conclusion As we have seen in this case a suit is valid even when the defendant and the plaintiff are living in separate states. As with a person, a corporation can be considered a citizen and is thereby susceptible to the same laws.
Before determining if someone can be sued by another in a separate state there are a few considerations to take into account. In this paper we researched to type of business The National Enquirer is and what they are perceived to be by the public, even though some of the public think of the tabloid as offensive and lacking journalistic integrity the tabloid continues to sale millions of copies every year. The ethics behind The Enquirer trying to avoid being sued by claiming that the suit had no merit since it was filed in California was discussed.
Without know the extent of law regarding similar lawsuits The Enquirer did what any person would have done in a similar situation and argue that the suit had no jurisdiction in Florida where the company resides. Finally it was discussed why The National Enquirer was subject to suit in California, by sending the reporter who worked on the story about the plaintiff Shirley Jones to California to gather information, and by marketing and selling the paper in the state of California it was determined that The National Enquirer met the minimal contact clause and were thereby susceptible to the lawsuit filed by Ms.
Jones. References Randall, M. H. (1986). National Enquirer. – periodical reviews. Whole Earth Reviews. Received February 21, 2010. From http://findarticles. com/p/articles/mi_m1510/is_vNON4/ai_4436795/ CALDER V. JONES, 465 U. S. 783 (1984). (2011). Retrieved from http://supreme. justia. com/us/465/783/case. html Cheeseman, H. R. (2010). The Legal Environment of Business and Online Commerce (6th ed. ). Retrieved from The University of Phoenix eBook Collection.