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Please see attached

PLEASE READ “essential information about this course” before proceeding – this is essential.  

General Instructions for Learning Activities   

Read/watch all assigned materials listed for the week in Overview above

Use only assigned materials to complete Learning Activities; please do not use the internet unless otherwise instructed

Include in-text citations and a Reference List for in-text citations in APA format 

Write in correct, complete sentences, in paragraph format unless otherwise instructed

Refer to course materials, cases, and/or statutes to support conclusions in discussion postings. 

· Use in text citations and a References list for Part 1 using APA format

· Please do not use any direct quotations; summarize/paraphrase information from all resources as this demonstrates understanding of the information and its application 

 

Introductory Sentence:  Begin with an introductory sentence or brief paragraph that states your conclusion to the questions asked  (Please read writing introductory sentences)

Concluding Sentence:  End the discussion with a concluding sentence or a brief paragraph that summarizes your conclusion/what you discussed (Please read writing concluding sentences)

Support Arguments and Positions:   Please refer to the module in Content, “How to Support Arguments and Positions” (Please read writing supporting argument)

Support all conclusions in detail, specifically, in depth, and with reference to relevant assigned course materials using APA citation format

Label all parts of assignment

Use correct, complete sentences in paragraph format

Submit Learning Activities to Assignment Folder

Review Content modules:

· Writing Introductory Sentences and Paragraphs

· Writing Concluding Paragraphs

· How to Support Arguments and Positions

Part 1

Background: With some understanding of the legal system, the Viral Clean (“Clean”) owners can now shift their focus to examining specific areas of law that create potential risks and liabilities for their business. The group knows from their business experience that companies face severe and costly risks and legal liabilities stemming from tort law.

Unintentional harm resulting from accidents, such as negligence, can result in costly litigation. The Clean owners are concerned about the possibility of accidents resulting in injuries to their employees that could occur during cleaning clients’ property.

Winnie and Ralph have given you the responsibility of analyzing and summarizing potential negligence claims and liability that Clean might face in its business operations. You decide to analyze a hypothetical fact scenario to present to the Clean owners to help explain Clean’s potential negligence liability for accidents occurring on clients’ property during cleaning. The analysis will be presented at the next meeting with Clean’s owners and TLG. Your analysis will address only the tort of negligence.

Background Facts You Need To Know: Jack, a Clean employee, was assigned to clean and disinfect Client A’s office building. Jack’s first task was to vacuum the floors in a wide hallway. Jack plugged Clean’s commercial vacuum cleaner into the hallway outlet with an extra-long electrical cord and began vacuuming. Before beginning vacuuming, Jack checked to ensure that the hallway was clear of obstacles and people walking. After checking the hall, he placed the cord to the side of the hallway out of the path of his pushing the vacuum. After vacuuming for a few minutes, Jack stepped to the side to turn the vacuum and tripped over two boxes that had been placed in the hallway by Client A’s employee since Jack began vacuuming. Jack did not know the boxes had been placed in the hall.

Jack fell and broke his ankle and was taken to the hospital ER via ambulance. A cast was applied after it was determined the ankle did not need surgery. Jack missed three weeks of work because of the injury.

Instructions

Report You Need To Prepare: You must prepare a report addressed to Winnie and Ralph. Winnie and Ralph will use the report in discussion with the Clean owners. The report must address each of the following points:

1. Analyze whether Jack has a negligence claim against Client A.

2. Identify any potential defenses that Client A may raise in response to Jack’s negligence claim. The analysis must explain why the defense may be raised.

3. Given the negligence claim and the potential defenses, conclude whether Jack or Client A should prevail in the lawsuit. The facts and the law must support the conclusion.

REPORT

TO: Winnie James, Ralph Anders

FROM: (your name)

DATE:

RE: Clean Negligence Risks and Liabilities

1.

2.

3.

Part 2

Background/Facts: During a meeting with Winnie and Ralph, the Viral (“Clean”) owners, and you, the owners asked several questions about their potential liability for on-the-job accidents resulting in injuries to employees. They particularly need an explanation about Maryland’s workers’ compensation law.

Winnie and Ralph asked you to respond to the following situation.

Clean secures a contract with the State of Maryland to be part of the distribution chain for PPE items. Negotiations for the contract and conversations about the contract stressed that “speed is of the essence,” especially in the critical transfer points like the warehouses and substations. Clean hired Maryland Helpers, a licensed and insured provider of manual laborers to assist with the movement of PPE items and loading of delivery vehicles at both the warehouse and several distribution centers. On Friday afternoon, one of the Clean supervisors was assisting with the loading of masks and respirators when the strappings on the pallet broke, and several respirators fell. The supervisor, Thomas Benson, suffered several broken bones in his foot that would require surgery and several weeks of physical therapy over approximately eight weeks of absence from work. One of the contract employees, Sarah Carter, severely sprained her ankle to get out of the way. She received several x-rays and stayed overnight at the hospital for observation. The treating physician said Sarah should attend physical therapy for four weeks but should otherwise reframe from walking (including work) for at least two weeks.

1. Analyze whether Thomas can recover his medical expenses under Maryland’s workers’ compensation law.

2. Analyze whether Sarah can recover her medical expenses under Maryland’s workers’ compensation law.

1. Textbook Chapter 7- Introduction to Tort Law

· https://saylordotorg.github.io/text_advanced-business-law-and-the-legal-environment/s10-introduction-to-tort-law.html

2. Instructor note 1

· IT IS IMPORTANT TO BE VERY PRECISE WHEN DISCUSSING LEGAL DEFENSES. 

· PLEASE NOTE:  THE LEGAL DEFENSES TO NEGLIGENCE ARE ASSUMPTION OF RISK, COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE if permitted as a defense in the state in question)  OR CONTRIBUTORY NEGIGENCE (if permitted as a defense in the state in question).

· IT IS IMPORTANT  TO REVIEW ALL THE INFO BELOW.  Negligence law is complex and this information is aimed at helping you sort it out and understand and correctly analyze negligence situations. 

· Please review the Summary Comments modules in week 1, just below the week 1 module in Content.  It is very important as a guide to improving work each week.

· _____________________

· There is a lot of info and material to cover in this class.  Please read all the assigned materials and use them as resources for completing assignments. Please do not use the internet for searching other materials or legal cases.  Much of the internet legal info is inaccurate, outdated and/or misleading and confusing.  This is particularly true of legal cases. A few cases are used as examples in assigned materials, but they are clearly explained and thus, can be useful.

· When creating analyses for Discussion and Learning Activities, identify the precise issue(s) on which the assignment is bases, and the precise question(s) being asked.  Respond to the precise issues and questions.  It is important to be careful to include irrelevant info that can weaken an argument and likely create an inaccurate analysis.  Resist telling the reader everything you have read/learned; just focus on the relevant information that directly an clearly supports your conclusions. 

· For example:

· Discussion 1 in week 1 focused on state jurisdiction in the case between ABC and Clean and whether and why the VA court could have jurisdiction in the case.  This was a case involving two states and diversity of citizenship between the parties.  The precise issue was whether the VA courts could have personal jurisdiction over both parties and if so, why.  It was not an issue of federal  jurisdiction.  To discuss federal jurisdiction is irrelevant and can confuse the reader.

· Subject matter jurisdiction is usually automatic as each case is presumably and typically filed in the correct court or it would be automatically moved to the proper court with subject matter jurisdiction before personal jurisdiction would even be considered.   It is ok to explain subject matter jurisdiction it in the Learning Activity in week 1, but actually not necessary as the more important and precise issue was the VA court obtaining personal jurisdiction over both parties.

· _________________________

· Negligence Information – ULTRA IMPORTANT

· Contributory and comparative negligence are discussed in some of the assigned readings, and it is easy to fall into a “trap” and get off track on these concepts.   To avoid the “trap”, digest the following.

· 1.  Contributory and comparative negligence are simply defenses a defendant in a negligence case MIGHT raise IF either is permitted as  legal defense in the state in which a case is heard.  . 

· For example:

· Consider that Windows R Us is sued for negligence by Joe who claims Windows negligently installed a new window in his house that fell out when he tried to open it and severely cut his arm.  Windows might defend itself by claiming that Joe was also careless (negligent) and partly responsible for the injury when he hammered on the window to get it open.  IF comparative negligence is allowed as a defense in the jurisdiction in which the case is heard, then Windows can raise this defense.  It might or might not be successful, but Windows can raise it.  If the accident is found to be partly due to Joe’s hammering the window, then the court will determine to what % Windows is responsible for the accident /injury and to what % Joe is responsible.  Assume Windows is found to be 30% responsible for the accident/injury and Joe 70% responsible.  Windows will pay 30% of the total expenses/compensation damages in the case, Joe will pay for the other 70% of the expenses.

· 2.  Contributory and comparative negligence are NOT permitted to be used as a defense in all jurisdictions (states).  Only 5 states permit contributory negligence, so it cannot be raised as a defense in most states.  Because contributory negligence is a common law concept that if permitted as a defense in a state, is considered unfair to an injured plaintiff because it bars all recovery by the injured plaintiff.  So, if a plaintiff is ruled to have contributed to ANY degree to the injury, the plaintiff cannot recover any damages for the injury.  

· For example, in Joe’s scenario above, if contributory negligence had been permitted as a defense and Joe was found to be even 1% negligent, he would not be able to cover ANY expenses/compensation damages.  

· If a class question asks you to describe all possible legal defenses in negligence, it is appropriate to explain assumption of risk and contributory and comparative negligence. However, in discussing contributory and comparative negligence as defenses, it is necessary to explain they are not permitted in all states and thus cannot be raised as defenses unless one or the other is permitted in a state.  Assumption of risk is a legal defense that can be raised in all states. 

· Please note that defendants can raise permitted legal defenses, but it is not guaranteed that any defense will be successful.

· If contributory negligence is not permitted as a defense in a state, it cannot ever be raised as a defense by a defendant – period. 

· Comparative negligence is permitted in many states, but not all states.   Unless a state permits it as a defense, it cannot ever be raised as a defense by a defendant – period. 

· Neither contributory Nor comparative negligence can be raised in ANY case unless it is clear that one or the other is permitted in as state.  IN OUR ASSIGNMENTS, NEITHER CONTRIBUTORY NOR COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE CAN BE RAISED AS A DEFENSE UNLESS THE FACTS WE ARE GIVEN TELLS US ONE OR THE OTHER IS PERMITTED IN THE STATE.

· 3.  Please do not, do not, do not mention contributory or comparative negligence in an analysis UNLESS the scenario facts tell you that one or the other is permitted as a defense in the jurisdiction involved in the scenario.  To discuss either defense when the facts have not told you one or the other is permitted in the jurisdiction muddies the analysis, is irrelevant and can weaken the analysis.

· 4.  Contributory and comparative negligence are NOT both permitted in any state.  Each state permits one or the other, or neither. 

· If neither is permitted, a defendant has other legal defenses to raise.

3. Instructor note 2 (Negligence)

· Additional Comments on Negligence:

· Negligence is such an important area in biz law, but complex and more difficult that it appears on its face – negligence and product liability are the most difficult areas of law we cover.  Tort law can be confusing and cause you to get mired in the abyss of torts.  Please follow my guidance for analysis and you will stay out of the abyss (not meaning to sound arrogant, but this comes from decades of teaching biz law) and it is my job to keep you from falling into the abyss.  🙂

· Here goes…

· Negligence cases should be analyzed as follows, and in this order:

· Examine the 4 elements to Negligence in order:  duty, breach, causation, harm.  Let’s look at them individually.

· 1.  duty:   Is there a duty – under the totality of circumstances – to the injured party (this is important)? Consider the different levels of duty, i.e., common carriers have a heightened duty of care, duty to invitees is greater than the duty to guests, etc. Review this info in the book – the level of duty of care owed is essential to the analysis.  

· If no duty exists, examination of elements over, no case.  If duty exists, go on to 2nd element, breach of the duty.

· As an aside:   For example, there is no duty to rescue (no, there isn’t, contrary to popular myth), so assume Joe is walking down the street, sees that little Susie has fallen off her bike and her leg is bleeding.  Does Joe have a duty to help Susie under the circumstances?  NO, end of examination, no case. If Joe is a physician, does that create a duty under these circumstances? NO.  Suppose no one comes along for an hour to help Susie and the bleeding and injury is worsened by the fact that no one stopped to help.  Is Joe liable, did he have a duty to help?  NO, end of examination, no case.   

· I know what you are probably thinking: we have Good Samaritan laws in each state to protect from liability people who choose to help those in peril, but Good Sam laws do not create a duty to rescue. Yes, ethical arguments can be made to help others, but there is no general legal duty.

· There are circumstances where there is a duty to rescue.  For example an ON-duty police officer has a duty to help in most circumstances, a physician ON duty in an ER has a duty in most circumstances, etc. 

· 2.  breach: If a duty exists, then what constitutes being as “careful” as possible – under the totality of circumstances? Was thparty as careful as possible – under the totality of the circumstances?  Is it reasonably foreseeable, under the circumstances, that if one acts carelessly an accident could occur?

· If so, then no breach, examination of elements over, no case.  If the party was unduly careless – under the totality of the circumstances – then there is a breach, proceed to the next element.  .

· 3.  causation:  Here it gets really tricky.  If there is duty, a breach of duty by careless conduct, then examine the precise careless conduct that occurred viz a viz the harm/injury that occurred.   Is this careless conduct the 
DIRECT cause (synonymous with actual cause and proximate cause)
of harm/injury that occurred – under the totality of the circumstances?  AND, was it the direct cause of the type of injury that occurred to the specific plaintiff?  Was it reasonably foreseeable – under the totality of circumstances – that if the party acted carelessly in the specific manner he/she acted, that a specific harm/injury is likely to occur, and to a specific plaintiff who was injured?   IF so, there is causation, proceed to final element of harm.

· If not, then no causation exists, examination of elements over, no case. 

· A party can have duty, breach that duty by acting carelessly, but the careless conduct MAY NOT be the direct cause of the harm that occurs; the careless conduct MAY NOT be reasonably foreseeable to cause the type of harm that occurred or to the specific party that was injured.   If this is true, then no causation, examination of elements over, no case.

· Please forget the phrase, “but for”, take it out of your vocabulary.  You don’t need it to analyze a negligence case and it is more confusing than helpful, particularly in res ipsa loquitor cases and negligence per se cases (more on these later).

· 4.  harm: If there is duty, breach of duty and causation, is there actual harm/injury to person or property? If so, likely there is a valid case, and off to court we go with the injured party seeking damages.

· If there is no actual harm/injury, then examination of elements over, no case.  There MUST be harm/injury to proceed to court in a negligence case.  People often have a duty to be careful, and act carelessly, but no harm results, thus no case.  For example, people frequently drive over the speed limit but no harm occurs, thus no case.

· ____________________________________________________________

· This is the way to analyze negligence claims.  Notice how I have inserted direct/actual/proximate cause into causation.  Note that “totality of circumstances” is included in each element (essential to examine ALL the circumstances – negligence does not occur in a vacuum).  Note where foreseeability fits into the analysis:  it means foreseeability of the type of harm/injury that occurred as the result of the specific careless conduct, and it refers to foreseeability of the specific plaintiff who was injured by the specific careless conduct.

· Example Analysis:  Brakes, Inc fixes A’s car brakes but does so incorrectly so they are likely to fail.  Neither party is aware of this, so A leaves with the supposedly repaired car.  A is driving carefully (not negligently) down the city street when A hits the brake at a stop sign, but the brakes fail and A hits a tree.  A’s car is damaged and A has a broken arm.  A sues Brakes for negligence.  Is Brakes liable?

· Go through the analysis:

· duty:  Does Brakes have a legal duty to A to repair A’s brakes carefully, under the circumstances?  Absolutely, and a heightened one:  A is an invitee viz a viz Brakes.

· breach:  Did Brakes breach the duty by acting carelessly under the circumstances?  Is it reasonably foreseeable that if Brakes acts carelessly/negligently that an accident could occur?  Absolutely, Brakes was careless in repairing the brakes – remember negligence involves careless accidents with NO INTENT to be careless or cause harm.

· causation:  was the careless conduct (repairing the brakes incorrectly/carelessly) under the circumstances the direct cause of the accident (that is, the brakes failing and causing A to hit a tree?) that occurred?  Absolutely.  Is it reasonably foreseeable that if you are careless in repairing brakes that the brakes may fail and an accident is likely to occur with the car?  Absolutely.  Is it reasonably foreseeable that the type of accident (brakes failing, car crashing) that occurred could result from careless brake repair?  Absolutely.  Is it reasonably foreseeable that the specific plaintiff (the driver of the car) could be injured as a result of the faulty brake repair?  Absolutely.

· harm:  did actual harm occur from the breach of duty/careless conduct?  Absolutely:  harm to the car (personal property) and physical injury to A.

· Off to court we go, A sues for compensatory damages for harm to the car and for medical expenses for his arm injury.  Easy case, A wins.

· Example 2 Analysis:  Let’s consider a slightly different case.

· Brakes, Inc fixes A’s car brakes but does so incorrectly so they are likely to fail.  Neither party is aware of this, so A leaves with the supposedly repaired car.  A is driving carefully (not negligently) down the city street when  B runs a stop sign, hits A’s car causing A’s car to skid; A hits the brakes but they fail and A hits a tree.  A’s car is damaged and A has a broken arm.  A sues B for negligence and damage to his car and arm.  Is B liable?

· duty.  Does B have a duty to drive carefully, not negligently, under the circumstances (on a public street)? Absolutely.

· breach:  Was the careless conduct of running a stop sign, a breach of duty to drive carefully, under the circumstances? Is it reasonably foreseeable that if B runs a stop sign an accident could occur?  Absolutely.

· causation:  Was the careless conduct of running a stop sign the direct cause of the accident that occurred (that is, A’s hitting a tree)?  Absolutely.  (No, the faulty brakes were not the DIRECT cause of A’s hitting the tree; the direct cause was B running the stop sign).  Was it reasonably foreseeable that if B runs a stop sign an auto accident is likely to occur and harm/injury likely to occur to those involved in the accident, i.e, the drivers of the cars?  Absolutely.

· Don’t be misled; the direct, foreseeable cause of the accident that occurred is not the failure of the brakes. Just because Brakes repaired A’s brakes carelessly, it is not foreseeable that B will run a stop sign causing A to hit a tree, etc.  This scenario fails for breach and causation.

· 4.  harm:  Did harm occur?  Absolutely – to A’s car and arm.  Was it reasonably foreseeable that if B ran a stop sign, there might be a car accident involving B and another car?  And reasonably foreseeable that the driver of the other car could be harmed, as well as the driver of the other car?   Absolutely.

· Off to court we go…..A collects damages from B.  Easy case.

· Example 3 Analysis:  Let’s make it a bit more complicated.

· Brakes, Inc fixes A’s car brakes but does so incorrectly so they are likely to fail.  Neither party is aware of this, so A leaves with the supposedly repaired car.  A is driving carefully (not negligently) down the city street when  B runs a stop sign, hits A’s car causing A’s car to skid; A hits the brakes but they fail and A hits a parked car which explodes.  Pieces of exploding car metal fly in the air several yards and hit Mary who is walking on the sidewalk; Mary’s arm is cut badly so stitches are required.  Mary sues Brakes for negligence.  The owner of the parked car that exploded also sues Brakes in a separate case.   Who wins?

· Go thru the analysis:

· Brakes has a duty to repair cars carefully, they breached that duty by carelessly repairing the brakes.  But were the carelessly repaired brakes direct cause of the specific type of accident that occurred and the specific harm that occurred to Mary?

· NO, it fails on causation.  It was not reasonably foreseeable that by carelessly repairing the brakes, B would run a stop sign, hit A causing A to hit a parked car, causing the car to explode, causing flying metal to hit a pedestrian.  The carelessly repaired brakes are NOT the direct cause of the injury to Mary OR to the damage to the parked car.  There is NO foreseeability, end of case, Mary is out of luck.  It may seem unfair to Mary but also would be unfair to Brakes (or any defendant) to hold them liable for every remote accident that occurs involving A’s car.

· Is Brakes liable to the owner of the parked car?  NO, it fails on causation.  It was not reasonably foreseeable that by carelessly repairing the brakes, B would run a stop sign, hit A causing A to hit the parked car, causing the car to explode.   The carelessly repaired brakes are NOT the direct cause of the injury to the parked car.

· BUT, assume Mary sues A or B for negligence in this case.  Are either of them liable?  

· A is not liable; A did not breach a duty of care or act negligently at all.

· B is not liable; the claim fails on causation again.  It is not reasonably foreseeable that by B’s carelessly running a stop sign, hitting A causing A to hit a parked car, the car would explode, causing flying metal to injure Mary.   The accident that occurred causing the harm, and the plaintiff that was injured are too remote from the point of the careless conduct (running the stop sign) to constitute direct causation.  

· BUT, if A sued B for damage to A’s car, A would have a good case as there is duty, breach and causation as well as harm that is foreseeable under the circumstances.  If B runs a stop sign, it is reasonably foreseeable B might hit a car and cause damage to the car and/or driver.

· If you find a long, unlikely chain of events leading to ultimate injury to a person, it is likely a case without direct causation because it was not directly foreseeable that the accident/injury that occurred would have occurred to the particular plaintiff in question.

4. Instructor note 3

· https://www.wcc.state.md.us/gen_info/wcc_benefits.htmlI

5. Instructor note 4

· Introduction to Torts  

· Introduction:     Torts are civil wrongs or offenses against persons or property resulting in some level of injury.  There are numerous specific torts that fall into four general categories:  (1) unintentional torts, e.g., negligence, (2) intentional torts, e.g., trespass to property, and (3) strict liability, which includes liability for abnormally dangerous activities, e.g., use of explosives, and (4) strict product liability for defective products.  The primary goal of tort law is to compensate for damages incurred.   Among the types of damages for which an injured party may recover are compensation for property loss or damage, for medical expenses, for loss of earnings capacity, and for pain and suffering; in some cases, punitive damages may be awarded to punish the wrongdoer for a particularly egregious offense.  Tort law is based primarily in state case law and statutory law with the Restatement of Torts (2nd) used by courts and legislatures as a guideline.    

· Intentional Torts/Business Torts

· Introduction:     Intentional torts are civil offenses in which a wrongdoer (tortfeasor) intentionally commits an act against persons, property or a business that the wrongdoer knew or should have known would result in some level of harm to property, persons, or business.  Types of intentional torts against persons include civil assault and battery, false imprisonment, intentional infliction of emotional distress, defamation, invasion of privacy, appropriation, and fraudulent misrepresentation.  Intentional torts against property include trespass to land, trespass to personal property, conversion, and disparagement of property.  Special business torts are wrongful interference with a contractual relationship, wrongful interference with a business relationship, and disparagement of a product.

· Negligence 

· Introduction:     Negligence is an unintentional tort in which the wrongdoer does not intend to cause harm as a result of the wrongdoer’s conduct.  Negligent acts are the result of the wrongdoer acting carelessly, or failing to act, thus, not exercising an ordinary level of care that a reasonable person would have exercised under the same circumstances.  To create liability, a wrongdoer’s conduct must create a risk of harm that is reasonably foreseeable under the circumstances.  The plaintiff/injured party must prove the elements of negligence that include, (1) that the defendant/wrongdoer owed a legal duty of care to the plaintiff under the circumstances, (2) that the wrongdoer acted in a careless manner so as to breach the duty of care, (3) that the breach was the cause of harm to the plaintiff, (4) and resulted in specific harm for which damages can be recovered.   A defendant may attempt to defend against a negligence claim by asserting legal defenses of a superceding event, or assumption of risk, or, in certain jurisdictions, comparative or contributory negligence on the part of the plaintiff.

6. Elements of Negligence Summary

· https://www.findlaw.com/injury/accident-injury-law/elements-of-a-negligence-case.html

7. Premises Liability

· https://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/what-premises-liability.html

8. Introduction to Torts (Video)

· https://youtu.be/_KHIWhwj5as

9. Maryland Workers’ Compensation Law

· https://www.wcc.state.md.us/Gen_Info/WCC_Benefits.html

BMGT 380:  Introduction to Business Law

This course is designed to enhance your understanding of various legal principles and issues that affect business practices and decisions and their application in business environments. The focus of the course is to identify and examine legal risks and liabilities in operating a business and explore how to minimize and resolve problems associated with risks and liabilities.

The BMGT 380 course comprises five (5) legal themes, including an overview of the legal system, business organizational structures, torts, product liability, contracts, and agency law.

_________________________________________________________________________ 

The BMGT 380 course focuses on the story of a company, The Largo Group (TLG), a business consulting and research company based in Maryland that advises and conducts research for potential owners considering startup businesses and for owners operating new companies.  You and your classmates will be active participants throughout the story, acting as consultant-employees of TLG assigned to complete consulting-related and/or research assignments and projects for TLG clients.

Your TLG assignments begin with an overview of the legal system, important background for business owners.  Other TLG assignments will concentrate on four (4) categories of business law principles that present significant risks and liabilities for startup businesses:

(1) tort law, including negligence, premises liability, and product liability,

(2) contract law, including the Uniform Commercial Code sales and e-contracts,

(3) agency law, and

(4) business organizational structures, sometimes called business forms.

Starting a new business requires extensive preparation, market research, and examination of the legal environment of business.  The success of startups and new companies requires identifying the nature and scope of legal risks and liabilities that affect business practices and decisions.  Exploring ways to prevent, minimize, and resolve risks and liabilities is also essential in forming and operating a business.

The primary focus for the 380 course and assignments for TLG clients will center on the question: 

How can a business owner identify and minimize legal risks and liabilities associated with operating a business?

____________________________________________________________

Background:  The Largo Group (TLG)

After graduating with a B.S. in Management, you have been working for TLG for three years as an assistant consultant for Winnie James and Ralph Anders, senior consultants who serve clients in various industries.   Your work involves interviewing and meeting with clients, conducting research, writing office memoranda, making recommendations for clients, meeting with Winnie, Ralph, and with attorney-consultants, and coordinating and/or leading discussions for TLG’s in-house professional development seminars for its consultants.

Background:  The Formation of Viral Clean

Connor, Denise, Larisa, and Sam are all successful business owners who are friends or professional acquaintances in the business community.  Connor is a Marine veteran that operates his own small company.  Denise has been the Vice-President and Director of Marketing for a Mid-Atlantic-based carpet cleaning company with franchises on the East Coast.   Larisa owns a mid-sized, successful residential remodeling business.   Sam owns a residential cleaning service business.  

The four recently attended a Chamber of Commerce presentation about businesses that clean and sanitize buildings to prevent the spread of the COVD-19 virus.  This spurred their interest, and they went to dinner following the Chamber event to discuss possible business opportunities. 

After several meetings, they decided to start a business together.  The business would focus on using the latest technology to clean and sanitize commercial and residential structures against dangerous viruses.  They also decided that the business would be a retail and wholesale distributor for cleaning and antiviral solutions and personal protective equipment.  They agreed to pursue the possibility of launching a Maryland-based business that they would like to name Viral Clean (“Clean”).  They are committed to operating the new business as an environmentally responsible company using only chemical-free cleaning products in the new business. 

The four met several times with a business consultant to analyze market trends and demands in the cleaning industry and confirm whether Clean would likely be a viable business. Because of the COVID-19 pandemic, the market analysis showed an increased demand and need for this type of business. Consequently, the group decided to move forward with their idea to establish and market Clean.

The group plans to purchase PPE and cleaning supplies from Environmental Pro, Inc. (EPI), a mid-sized manufacturer incorporated in a nearby state, that produces chemical-free, environmentally-friendly cleaning products.  The four are familiar with the corporation as each has purchased EPI products for their respective current businesses.   The four friends intend to resell certain EPI products directly to Clean clients.  The Clean group plans to market and advertise its services and resell EPI products through print, television, radio, internet, and social media.

Clean will be headquartered in a local shopping center.  Clean headquarters will include private business management offices, a reception area, and conference meeting and planning space. Potential and existing customers will be invited to discuss proposals to purchase cleaning products and services.  The business space will also be open to the public to acquire PPE, collect information, inquire about cleaning and sanitizing services, examine cleaning supply displays, and view photos and exhibits from ongoing and past commercial jobs.

The potential Cleaner owners recently attended a startup business seminar sponsored by the local chapter of the Small Business Administration.  Following the seminar, the owners began to define the nature and scope of the work necessary to prepare a plan for the startup business.  They realize this process requires time, thoughtful analysis, and clear guidelines.

They also recognize the need for professional business consultants, such as TLG, to guide their startup for Clean.  Consequently, the four have hired TLG to advise and guide them through the startup process for Clean.

Clean Owner Profiles:

Connor:    

Connor is a veteran of the United States Marine Corps.  Although he retired from the military, he operates his own business. 

He wants an initial 30%-40% interest in Clean but wants to limit his future capital commitment until he is confident the business is operating smoothly and profitably.  He does, however, want the option to acquire others’ interests if they die or leave the company for any reason.   He also wants to take out money from the business, in the form of salary, benefits, expenses, and/ dividends, as appropriate, as soon as Clean has a healthy net profit margin.

Connor is most concerned about liability. Although he trusts the other owners as “straight shooters” and successful business persons, he is uneasy about working with a group of investors with whom he has no previous business connections.  He wants to limit his liability in the business to no more than his capital contribution, and he prefers complete protection.  If possible, he wants Key Man Insurance for the owners to have protection if one owner can no longer contribute to the business for any reason.

Connor wants a managerial position so he can make decisions for day-to-day operations.  He believes he is the best person to run the business as he currently owns a maid service and understands how to run a successful cleaning service business.

Denise: 

Denise is a first-generation college graduate of Spelman College.  Denise’s parents raised her in Baltimore, MD.  However, both of her maternal grandparents were leaders in the Civil Rights Movement in Georgia in the 1960s. 

Although Denise will be a Clean business owner, she plans to retain her V.P. position with the carpet cleaning company.  Denise wants a 25% interest and prefers to minimize additional investments to protect her cash assets needed for her other businesses.  Her main goal is to realize a return on her investment as quickly as possible.

Denise wants to minimize her personal liability and protect her interests in the event of bankruptcy or the death of any of the other owners.

Denise wants to participate in long-term business decisions and major decisions about spending and organizational commitments. Still, she does not want to be involved in day-to-day business activities.  She favors hiring a general manager to run the business, preferably one with commercial cleaning experience.

Larisa:   

Larisa has an MBA from the Wharton Business School at the University of Pennsylvania.  Her family immigrated from Mexico in the 1980s.  Before leaving Mexico, Larisa’s parents owned a cleaning business in Mexico City. 

Larisa initially wants to invest up to 40% and is willing to invest another 5% because she knows startup businesses often need more capital.  She favors a larger, rather than a smaller, stake in the company.  She wants to take out as much money as possible from the business as soon as financially possible.

Larisa wants to minimize personal liability, as well as liability for the business.  She realizes the future of the industry is uncertain, and she wants maximum protection against all pitfalls.

Larisa wants to use her MBA.  Larisa, therefore, is willing to be involved in day-to-day business operations and has the time to do so because her other business is running smoothly with competent managers.  She wants to play a vital role in establishing the structure, business environment, and culture for Clean along with the other owners.   However, she believes that a skilled general manager with commercial cleaning experience would be optimal.

Sam: 

Sam is a recent graduate of Montgomery Community College.  In college, he majored in Operations Management and Business Analytics. 

Sam is willing to commit to an investment of 51% interest in Clean but is agreeable to a lesser interest. 

Sam wants to minimize his personal liability and prefers to limit it to his capital investment but is willing to negotiate.

With a maximum interest of 51%, Sam wants complete control over business operations; even with a lesser interest, he wants a strong managerial position.  Sam wants all owners with a minority interest to be silent in the day-to-day management of Clean.

Writing Concluding Paragraphs

Writing Conclusions

Introductions and conclusions can be difficult to write, but they’re worth investing time in. They can have a significant influence on a reader’s experience of your paper.

Just as your introduction acts as a bridge that transports your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives. Such a conclusion will help them see why all your analysis and information should matter to them after they put the paper down.

The conclusion allows you to have the final say on the issues you have raised in your paper, to synthesize your thoughts, to demonstrate the importance of your ideas, and to propel your reader to a new view of the subject. It is also your opportunity to make a good final impression and to end on a positive note.

Your conclusion can go beyond the confines of the assignment. The conclusion pushes beyond the boundaries of the prompt and allows you to consider broader issues, make new connections, and elaborate on the significance of your findings.

Your conclusion should make your readers glad they read your paper. Your conclusion gives your reader something to take away that will help them see things differently or appreciate your topic in personally relevant ways. It can suggest broader implications that will not only interest your reader, but also enrich your reader’s life in some way. It is your gift to the reader.

Strategies for writing an effective conclusion

One or more of the following strategies may help you write an effective conclusion:

· Play the “So What” Game. If you’re stuck and feel like your conclusion isn’t saying anything new or interesting, read each statement from your conclusion, and ask, “So what?” or “Why should anybody care?” Then ponder that question and answer it.

Here’s how it might go: You ask: Basically, I’m just saying that education was important to Douglass. So what? Your answer: Well, it was important because it was a key to him feeling like a free and equal citizen.  You ask:   Why should anybody care? Your answer: That’s important because plantation owners tried to keep slaves from being educated so that they could maintain control. When Douglass obtained an education, he undermined that control personally.  

Return to the theme or themes in the introduction. This strategy brings the reader full circle. For example, if you begin by describing a scenario, you can end with the same scenario as proof that your essay is helpful in creating a new understanding. You may also refer to the introductory paragraph by using key words or parallel concepts and images that you also used in the introduction.

· Synthesize, don’t summarize. Include a brief summary of the paper’s main points, but don’t simply repeat things that were in your paper. Instead, show your reader how the points you made and the support and examples you used fit together. Pull it all together.

· Include a provocative insight or quotation from the research or reading you did for your paper.

· Propose a course of action, a solution to an issue, or questions for further study. This can redirect your reader’s thought process and help her to apply your info and ideas to her own life or to see the broader implications.

· Point to broader implications. For example, if your paper examines the Greensboro sit-ins or another event in the Civil Rights Movement, you could point out its impact on the Civil Rights Movement as a whole. A paper about the style of writer Virginia Woolf could point to her influence on other writers or on later feminists.

Strategies to avoid

· Beginning with an unnecessary, overused phrase such as “in conclusion,” “in summary,” or “in closing.” Although these phrases can work in speeches, they come across as wooden and trite in writing.

· Stating the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion.

· Introducing a new idea or subtopic in your conclusion.

· Ending with a rephrased thesis statement without any substantive changes.

· Making sentimental, emotional appeals that are out of character with the rest of an analytical paper.

· Including evidence (quotations, statistics, etc.) that should be in the body of the paper.

Four kinds of ineffective conclusions

· The “That’s My Story and I’m Sticking to It” Conclusion. This conclusion just restates the thesis and is usually painfully short. It does not push the ideas forward.  Example: In conclusion, Frederick Douglass was, as we have seen, a pioneer in American education, proving that education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

· The “Sherlock Holmes” Conclusion. Sometimes writers will state the thesis for the very first time in the conclusion. You might be tempted to use this strategy if you don’t want to give everything away too early in your paper. You may think it would be more dramatic to keep the reader in the dark until the end and then “wow” him with your main idea, as in a Sherlock Holmes mystery. The reader, however, does not expect a mystery, but an analytical discussion of your topic in an academic style, with the main argument (thesis) stated up front. Example: (After a paper that lists numerous incidents from the book but never says what these incidents reveal about Douglass and his views on education): So, as the evidence above demonstrates, Douglass saw education as a way to undermine the slaveholders’ power and also an important step toward freedom.

· The “America the Beautiful”/”I Am Woman”/”We Shall Overcome” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion usually draws on emotion to make its appeal, but while this emotion and even sentimentality may be very heartfelt, it is usually out of character with the rest of an analytical paper. A more sophisticated commentary, rather than emotional praise, would be a more fitting tribute to the topic. Example: Because of the efforts of fine Americans like Frederick Douglass, countless others have seen the shining beacon of light that is education. His example was a torch that lit the way for others. Frederick Douglass was truly an American hero.

· The “Grab Bag” Conclusion. This kind of conclusion includes extra information that the writer found or thought of but couldn’t integrate into the main paper. You may find it hard to leave out details that you discovered after hours of research and thought, but adding random facts and bits of evidence at the end of an otherwise-well-organized essay can just create confusion. Example: In addition to being an educational pioneer, Frederick Douglass provides an interesting case study for masculinity in the American South. He also offers historians an interesting glimpse into slave resistance when he confronts Covey, the overseer. His relationships with female relatives reveal the importance of family in the slave community.

How to Support Arguments & Positions

Supporting positions and conclusions

Introduction

Many papers that you write in college will require you to take a position or make a conclusion. You must take a position on the subject you are discussing and support that position with supporting evidence. It’s important that you use the right kind of support, that you use it effectively, and that you have an appropriate amount of it.

If your professor has told you that you need more analysis, suggested that you’re “just listing” points or giving a “laundry list,” or asked you how certain points are related to your argument, it may mean that you can do more to fully incorporate your supporting evidence into your argument. Grading feedback comments like “for example?,” “proof?,” “go deeper,” or “expand” suggest that you may need more evidence.

What are primary and secondary sources?

Distinguish between primary and secondary sources of evidence (in this case, “primary” means “first” or “original,” not “most important”). Primary sources include original documents, photographs, interviews, and so forth. Secondary sources present information that has already been processed or interpreted by someone else.

For example, if you are writing a paper about the movie “The Matrix,” the movie itself, an interview with the director, and production photos could serve as primary sources of evidence. A movie review from a magazine or a collection of essays about the film would be secondary sources. Depending on the context, the same item could be either a primary or a secondary source: if I am writing about people’s relationships with animals, a collection of stories about animals might be a secondary source; if I am writing about how editors gather diverse stories into collections, the same book might now function as a primary source.

Where can I find evidence?

The best source for supporting evidence is the assigned resources for each week in the classroom.  Do not use outside resources unless instructed to do so by your professor. 

Other outside sources of information and tips about how to use them in gathering supporting evidence are listed below.

Print and electronic sources

Books, journals, websites, newspapers, magazines, and documentary films are some of the most common sources of evidence for academic writing.

Interviews

An interview is a good way to collect information that you can’t find through any other type of research and can provide an expert’s opinion, biographical or first-hand experiences, and suggestions for further research.  Consult with your professor before conducting interviews or using interviews in support of positions.

Personal or professional experience

Using your own personal or professional experiences can be a powerful way to appeal to your readers. You should, however, use these experiences only when it is appropriate to your topic, your writing goals, and your audience. Personal or professional experience should not be the  only forms of supporting evidence in a paper.

Using evidence in an argument

Does evidence speak for itself?

Absolutely not. After you introduce supporting evidence into your writing, you must explain why and how this evidence supports your position.   You have to explain the significance of the supporting evidence and its function in your paper. What turns a fact or piece of information into supporting evidence is the connection it has with a larger claim or argument: evidence is always evidence for or against something, and you have to make that link clear.

As writers, we sometimes assume that our readers already know what we are talking about; we may be wary of elaborating too much because we think the point is obvious. But readers can’t read our minds: although they may be familiar with many of the ideas we are discussing, they don’t know what we are trying to do with those ideas unless we indicate it through explanations, organization, transitions, and so forth. Try to spell out the connections that you were making in your mind when you chose your evidence, decided where to place it in your paper, and drew conclusions based on it. Remember, you can always cut prose from your paper later if you decide that you are stating the obvious.

Always write as if the reader knows absolutely nothing about the topic.

Here are some questions you can ask yourself about a specific bit of supporting evidence:

· OK, I’ve just stated this point, but so what? Why is it interesting? Why should anyone care?

· What does this information imply?

· What are the consequences of thinking this way or looking at a problem this way?

· I’ve just described what something is like or how I see it, but why is it like that?

· I’ve just said that something happens—so how does it happen? How does it come to be the way it is?

· Why is this information important? Why does it matter?

· How is this idea related to my thesis? What connections exist between them? Does it support my thesis? If so, how does it do that?

· Can I give an example to illustrate this point?

Answering these questions may help you explain how your evidence is related to your overall argument.

How can I incorporate evidence into my paper?

There are many ways to present supporting evidence. Often, your evidence will be included as text in the body of your paper, as a paraphrase, or summary. Sometimes you might include graphs, charts, or tables; excerpts from an interview; or photographs or illustrations with accompanying captions.

Quotations

DO NOT USE quotations in assignments in this course.  The only exception is if you are referring to an original, one-of-kind document, such as the U.S. Constitution.

Paraphrasing

When you paraphrase, you take a specific section of a text and put it into your own words. Putting it into your own words doesn’t mean just changing or rearranging a few of the author’s words: to paraphrase well and avoid plagiarism, try setting your source aside and restating the sentence or paragraph you have just read, as though you were describing it to another person. Paraphrasing is different than summary because a paraphrase focuses on a specific, brief bit of text (like a phrase, sentence, or paragraph). You’ll need to indicate when you are paraphrasing someone else’s text by citing your source correctly, just as you would with a quotation.  Refer to the module in Content, “How to Use APA” for instructions and examples for proper APA citation.

When might you want to paraphrase?

· Paraphrase when you want to introduce a writer’s position.

· Paraphrase when you are supporting a specific point and need to draw on a certain place in a text that supports your position—for example, when one paragraph in a source is especially relevant.

· Paraphrase when you want to present a writer’s view on a topic that differs from your position or that of another writer; you can then refute writer’s specific points in your own words after you paraphrase.

· Paraphrase when you want to comment on a particular example that another writer uses.

· Paraphrase when you need to present information that’s unlikely to be questioned.

Summary

When you summarize, you are offering an overview of an entire text, or at least a lengthy section of a text. Summary is useful when you are providing background information, grounding your own argument, or mentioning a source as a counterargument. A summary is less nuanced than paraphrased material. It can be the most efficient and effective way to incorporate several sources.  When you are summarizing someone else’s argument or ideas, be sure this is clear to the reader and cite your source appropriately.

Statistics, data, charts, graphs, photographs, illustrations

Sometimes the best evidence for your argument is hard facts or visual representation of a fact. This type of evidence can be a solid backbone for your argument, but you still need to create context for your reader and draw the connections you want him or her to make. Remember that statistics, data, charts, graph, photographs, and illustrations are all open to interpretation. Guide the reader through the interpretation process. Again, always, cite the origin of your evidence if you didn’t produce the material you are using yourself.  Do not overuse this type of supporting evidence.

Do I need more supporting evidence?

Let’s say that you’ve identified some appropriate sources, found some evidence, explained to the reader how it fits into your overall argument, incorporated it into your draft effectively, and cited your sources. How do you tell whether you’ve got enough evidence and whether it’s working well in the service of a strong argument or analysis? Here are some techniques you can use to review your draft and assess your use of evidence.

Make a reverse outline

A reverse outline is a great technique for helping you see how each paragraph contributes to proving your thesis. When you make a reverse outline, you record the main ideas in each paragraph in a shorter (outline-like) form so that you can see at a glance what is in your paper. The reverse outline is helpful in at least three ways. First, it lets you see where you have dealt with too many topics in one paragraph (in general, you should have one main idea per paragraph). Second, the reverse outline can help you see where you need more evidence to prove your point or more analysis of that evidence. Third, the reverse outline can help you write your topic sentences: once you have decided what you want each paragraph to be about, you can write topic sentences that explain the topics of the paragraphs and state the relationship of each topic to the overall thesis of the paper.

Play devil’s advocate or doubt everything

This technique may be easiest to use with a partner. Ask your friend to take on one of the roles above, then read your paper aloud to him/her. After each section, pause and let your friend interrogate you. If your friend is playing devil’s advocate, he or she will always take the opposing viewpoint and force you to keep defending yourself.  If your friend is a doubter, he or she won’t believe anything you say. Justifying your position verbally or explaining yourself will force you to strengthen the evidence in your paper. If you already have enough evidence but haven’t connected it clearly enough to your main argument, explaining to your friend how the evidence is relevant or what it proves may help you to do so.

Writing Introductory Sentences & Paragraphs

Introductions

The role of introductions:  introductory paragraphs and sentences

Introductions and conclusions can be the most difficult parts of papers to write. Usually when you sit down to respond to an assignment, you have at least some sense of what you want to say in the body of your paper. You might have chosen a few examples you want to use or have an idea that will help you answer the main question of your assignment; these sections, therefore, may not be as hard to write. And it’s fine to write them first! But in your final draft, these middle parts of the paper can’t just come out of thin air; they need to be introduced and concluded in a way that makes sense to your reader.

Your introduction and conclusion act as bridges that transport your readers from their own lives into the “place” of your analysis. If your readers pick up your paper about education in the autobiography of Frederick Douglass, for example, they need a transition from contemporary life to temporarily enter the world of nineteenth-century American slavery. By providing an introduction that helps your readers make a transition between their own world and the issues you will be writing about, you provide readers with the tools they need to get into your topic and care about what you are saying. Similarly, once you’ve hooked your readers with the introduction and offered evidence to prove your thesis, your conclusion can provide a bridge to help your readers make the transition back to their daily lives.

Why bother writing a good introduction?

The introduction of a paper will provide your readers with their initial impressions of your argument, your writing style, and the overall quality of your work.   A concise, engaging, and well-written introduction will start your readers off thinking highly of you, your analytical skills, your writing, and your paper.

Your introduction is an important road map for the rest of your paper and conveys a lot of information to your readers. You let them know what your topic is, why it is important, and how you plan to proceed with your discussion. In many academic disciplines, your introduction should contain a thesis that will assert your main argument. Your introduction should also give the reader a sense of the kinds of information you will use to make that argument and the general organization of the paragraphs and pages that will follow. After reading your introduction, your readers should not have any major surprises in store when they read the main body of your paper.

Ideally, your introduction will make your readers want to read your paper. The introduction should capture your readers’ interest, making them want to read the rest of your paper.

Strategies for writing an effective introduction

Start by thinking about the question (or questions) you are trying to answer. Your entire paper will be a response to this question, and your introduction is the first step toward that end. Your direct answer to the assigned question will be your thesis or position, and your thesis will likely be included in your introduction, so it is a good idea to use the question as a jumping off point. Imagine that you are assigned the following question:

One strategy for writing an introduction is to start off with a “big picture“ sentence or two and then focus in on the details of your position.  Decide how general or broad your opening should be. Keep in mind that even a “big picture” opening needs to be clearly related to your topic; an opening sentence that said “Human beings, more than any other creatures on earth, are capable of learning” would be too broad for our sample assignment about slavery and education. If you have ever used Google Maps or similar programs, that experience can provide a helpful way of thinking about how broad your opening should be. The question you are asking determines how “broad” your view should be. When writing, you need to place your ideas in context—but that context doesn’t generally have to be as big as the whole galaxy!

Try writing your introduction last. You may think that you must write your introduction first, but that isn’t necessarily true, and it isn’t always the most effective way to craft a good introduction. You may find that you don’t know precisely what you are going to argue at the beginning of the writing process. It is perfectly fine to start out thinking that you want to argue a specific point but wind up arguing something slightly or even dramatically different by the time you’ve written most of the paper.

The writing process can be an important way to organize your ideas, think through complicated issues, refine your thoughts, and develop a sophisticated argument. However, an introduction written at the beginning of that discovery process will not necessarily reflect what you wind up with at the end. You will need to revise your paper to make sure that the introduction, all the supporting evidence, and the conclusion reflect position you intend. Sometimes it’s easiest to just write up the supporting evidence first and then write the introduction last—that way you can be sure that the introduction will match the body of the paper.

Don’t be afraid to write a tentative introduction first and then change it later. Some people find that they need to write a tentative introduction in order to get the writing process started. That’s fine, but if you are one of those people, be sure to return to your initial introduction later and rewrite if necessary.

How to evaluate your introduction draft

Ask a friend to read your introduction and then tell you what he or she expects the paper will discuss, what kinds of evidence the paper will use, and what the tone of the paper will be. If your friend is able to predict the rest of your paper accurately, you probably have a good introduction.

Five kinds of less effective introductions

1. The placeholder introduction. When you don’t have much to say on a given topic, it is easy to create this kind of introduction. Essentially, this kind of weaker introduction contains several sentences that are vague and don’t really say much. They exist just to take up the “introduction space” in your paper. 

Example: Slavery was one of the greatest tragedies in American history. There were many different aspects of slavery. Each created different kinds of problems for enslaved people.

2. The restated question introduction. Restating the question can sometimes be an effective strategy, but it can be easy to stop at JUST restating the question instead of offering a more specific, interesting introduction to your paper. 

Example: The Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass discusses the relationship between education and slavery in 19th century America, showing how white control of education reinforced slavery and how Douglass and other enslaved African Americans viewed education while they endured. Moreover, the book discusses the role that education played in the acquisition of freedom. Education was a major force for social change with regard to slavery.

3. The Webster’s Dictionary introduction. This introduction begins by giving the dictionary definition of one or more of the words in the assigned question. If it is important to begin with a definition of a relevant term, it may be far more interesting for you (and your reader) if you develop your own definition of the term in the specific context of your class and assignment. You may also be able to use a definition from one of the sources you’ve been reading for class. Also recognize that the dictionary is also not a particularly authoritative work—it doesn’t take into account the context of your course and doesn’t offer particularly detailed information.  

Example: Webster’s dictionary defines slavery as “the state of being a slave,” as “the practice of owning slaves,” and as “a condition of hard work and subjection.”

4. The “dawn of man” introduction. This kind of introduction generally makes broad, sweeping statements about the relevance of this topic since the beginning of time, throughout the world, etc. It is usually very general (similar to the placeholder introduction) and fails to connect to the thesis. It may employ cliches—the phrases “the dawn of man” and “throughout human history” are examples, and it’s hard to imagine a time when starting with one of these would work. 

Example: Since the dawn of man, slavery has been a problem in human history.

5. The book report introduction. This introduction is what you had to do for your elementary school book reports. It gives the name and author of the book you are writing about, tells what the book is about, and offers other basic facts about the book.  It is ineffective because it offers details that your reader probably already knows and that are irrelevant to the thesis.

Example: Frederick Douglass wrote his autobiography, Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, An American Slave, in the 1840s. It was published in 1986 by Penguin Books. In it, he tells the story of his life.

Writing an effective introduction can be tough. Try playing around with several different options and choose the one that ends up sounding best to you!

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