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Learning Goal: I’m working on a business law question and need an explanation an

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Learning Goal: I’m working on a business law question and need an explanation and answer to help me learn.
Part 1:
“16–2.Employee versus Independent Contractor. Stephen Hemmerling was a driver for the Happy Cab Co. Hemmerling paid certain fixed expenses and abided by a variety of rules relating to the use of the cab, the hours that could be worked, and the solicitation of fares, among other things. Rates were set by the state. Happy Cab did not withhold taxes from Hem-merling’s pay. While driving the cab, Hemmerling was injured in an accident and filed a claim against Happy Cab in a Nebraska state court for workers’ compensation benefits. Such benefits are not available to independent contractors. On what basis might the court hold that Hemmerling is an employee? Explain. (See Agency Law.”
“17–1.Wrongful Discharge. Denton and Carlo were employed at an appliance plant. Their job required them to do occasional maintenance work while standing on a wire mesh twenty feet above the plant floor. Other employees had fallen through the mesh, and one was killed by the fall. When Denton and Carlo were asked by their supervisor to do work that would likely require them to walk on the mesh, they refused due to their fear of bodily harm or death. Because of their refusal to do the requested work, the two employees were fired. Was their dis-charge wrongful? If so, under what federal employment law? To what federal agency or department should they turn for assis-tance? (See Employment at Will.”
Part 2:
The case involving the accidental shooting by Alex Baldwin on the movie set of “Rust” has been widely publicized. The basic facts are that Baldwin was handed a gun by an assistant director who verbally stated it was a cold gun meaning it was not loaded, even with blanks. Baldwin, practicing for a scene, aimed and fired the gun in the direction of the film’s Director and Director of Photography. The gun did contain a live round which injured the Director and killed the Director of Photography.
Civil lawsuits will definitely follow and possible criminal prosecution. Baldwin as the shooter and an executive producer faces some real legal jeopardy. Think back to the chapters you studied on torts, negligence in particular. Negligence can be both civil and criminal. For criminal negligence, New Mexico State law indicates it is engaging in a legal act that results in injury due to failure to exercise due caution. This is a 4th degree felony under State law.
Do you think the four elements required for civil negligence are present based on the information available? How about criminal negligence? Since a prop master and armorer are in charge of weapons on the set, is the production company liable for their possible torts or crimes related to this incident? Does it make a difference if they were employees, agents or contractors of the production company? Could the fact that several union employees quit earlier on the day of the incident citing safety concerns and non-union laborers were hired in their place make all of the directors and producers liable? How does the theory of Respondeat Superior apply to this case (reference the chapters this week)?

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