Hints and Tips
Please pay close attention to what the question asks of you and answer it. Also, pay attention to the instructions. If the question does not indicate that you need to do additional research to answer the question, you should be able to answer the question using course materials (i.e., the text and lectures).
Use headings. This helps the reader understand the organization and flow of the paper.
There is rarely, if ever, a need to use an exclamation point in academic writing. Do not do it.
Mark is a senior software engineer at a video game design company based in Vancouver, B.C. The company, DigiPlay (DP), is very successful with numerous popular titles and services. Over the last few years, its growth strategy has shifted to a service model rather than reliance on titles. DP’s head office is in Vancouver, and it has offices and development campuses globally.
Mark has a Master of Science degree from UBC. He has been working at DP since he graduated from the UBC program eight years ago. He received a work experience opportunity while in the MSc program and was offered a position after graduation. DP is a good company to work for. It pays very well and has many perks, including stock options, education opportunities, and progressive leave arrangements. Mark has done very well at the company, has always received glowing performance reviews, and now manages a team of five engineers.
Problem 1: Mark recently moved into a new condo in Vancouver. He hired a moving company to move his belongings. Unfortunately, during transport, some of his belongings were substantially damaged. Included in the damaged property were some antique pieces of furniture and works of art that Mark’s grandmother had left him when she passed away. The moving company is not accepting responsibility and has said that the property was damaged before the move. Mark wants to sue the moving company for the damage to his property and seek compensation. He estimates that the damage has resulted in approximately a loss of $35,000 – $40,000.
Mark is good friends with Katie, a lawyer in DP’s legal department. Mark does not want to pay for a lawyer and will handle the lawsuit himself. Even though Katie specializes in intellectual property law, she agreed to try and answer Mark’s questions about the legal process. Over lunch, Mark asks for advice on the following question.
In what court should Mark file the lawsuit? What are the pros and cons of each court?
How does he start a lawsuit? What documents are required, and what information is needed for the document?
After he starts the lawsuit, what is the next step he must take?
What are his obligations concerning document disclosure?
(20 marks; Max 1000 words)
Problem 2: Katie is working on a potential liability problem with the senior lawyer at DP. A security risk in one of DP’s games has arisen in the last few months. There may be a defect in the programming that could allow hackers to access the user’s personal information. With the assistance of a team from various divisions, Katie’s boss has asked her to prepare a memo for the VP responsible for the security division. Katie’s boss asks her to include the following in the memo:
Name and explain the different forms of risk management that DP can employ.
For each form of risk management, list two options that DP could undertake. For each option, analyze the pros and cons of the option and its impact on the business.
(20 Marks; Max 1000 words)
Problem 3: One day, Mark gets a call on his cell from a human resource manager at a game development firm in California. A former colleague, Philip, has given his name as a reference for a new job. Philip was a software engineer at DP for ten years before quitting last year to take a break and travel for six months. While everyone liked Philip, after he left DP, rumours circulated that Philip had breached confidentiality agreements and given trade secrets to a competitor. Unfortunately, Mark forgets that DP has a corporate policy that only direct supervisors can provide references. He tells the human resource manager the following:
“I liked working with Philip. He was a great engineer and always met deadlines. He did good work. However, after he left the company, we found out that he was dishonest. He gave some code to a competitor. He probably got paid for it.”
Three weeks later, DP and Mark get a letter from Philip’s lawyer. The letter alleges that Mark’s statements to the HR manager were defamatory. Philip threatens to sue Mark and DP for $5,000,000 because he did not get the job and has lost out on all the benefits, including stock options, because of Mark’s statement.
Using the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) method, analyze the liability of both Mark and DP. Include an analysis of any applicable defences. In your analysis, include at least one case from BC or another Canadian jurisdiction that deals with defamation committed by an employee.
(25 marks; Max 1500 words)
Problem 4: Unfortunately, DP did not take any of the steps Katie recommended in her report under Problem 2. Four months after DP became aware of the weakness in their software, they had a significant security breach. Hackers obtained the personal information of millions of customers worldwide. Users quickly noticed that thieves were using their credit card numbers, and a public website was discovered that listed all of the users’ private information.
Within two weeks of customers becoming aware of the breach, a class-action lawsuit was filed against DP in Vancouver. The representative plaintiff was claiming, among other things, negligence.
Using the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) method, analyze DP’s liability in negligence.
HINT: You do not need to discuss privacy-related torts or legislation. Discuss negligence only.
(25 marks; Max. 1500 words)
Problem 5: Mark’s team is working on a part of a game that takes place in ancient central Africa. On this project, Mark arranged for DP to engage an external consulting firm to provide insight into the culture and setting of the time period for the game. The consulting firm, Culture Sphere, specializes in this type of work and regularly provides historical research for game developers, authors, creatives in the film industry.
In the consulting agreement, Culture Sphere was supposed to provide its preliminary report to Mark’s team on October 14th. However, because one of its primary experts in African history had to go on medical leave, it notified Mark on September 28th that it would not complete the report by the deadline. They want to amend their consulting contract to change the deadline to November 15th. They send a document to Mark that says:
Amendment to Consulting Agreement
The Parties agree that the deadline contained in the Consulting Agreement entered into on August 1, 2019, requiring that a Preliminary Report be delivered by October 15, 2019, is hereby changed and extended to November 15, 2019.
Signed: ___________________ Signed:____________________
Mark sends the document to Katie and asks whether DP should sign the amendment or suggest a revision. She notices that the Consulting Agreement contains a provision stating that the laws of Ontario govern the contract.
Answer the following questions:
Would this modification of the consulting agreement be valid? Explain.
Give two options that would make the modification valid. Explain why they would work.
If the governing law was BC and not Ontario, would this change your answer to (1)?
(15 marks; Max 750 words)
Problem 6: After the data breach debacle, DP was looking to improve its security and data protection abilities. One way they decided to do this was to buy another company. The company is a Texas-based software firm that specializes in gaming security. Secure Tech had developed new encryption software that was intended for gaming platforms. They also had some of the best programmers specializing in security, and DP wanted to bring the talent into the company.
Mark was part of the team that went to Texas to meet and begin negotiations. Mark had great people skills, and the executive team asked him to come along. The DP team toured the Secure Tech facility, observed the engineers at work, and had great dinners with Secure Tech representatives. Near the end of the trip, negotiations started. During a dinner, the CEO of DP asked the CTO of Secure Tech about a particular piece of code and whether it was patented. The code was an essential piece to Secure Tech’s encryption software. The CTO answered, “yes, we just received patent approval last week.”
The CEO of DP wanted the deal done fast. The class-action hurt DP and the acquisition’s completion would restore investor confidence. He wanted to announce the deal as soon as possible and close before year-end. Because of the rush, the contracts were sloppy, and the due diligence was minimal.
After the deal was completed, Katie noticed that Secure Tech did not actually have a patent for the code. The CTO had mixed up the code that the CEO had asked about with another patent that Secure Tech had obtained. After the acquisition, the patent application for the code was rejected due to a technicality. Shortly after, another company was able to secure a patent for a very similar code.
The CEO of DP is very upset. He would not have paid such a high price for Secure Tech if he knew there was no patent. He wants to sue the former CTO of Secure Tech for the loss. Katie is tasked with providing an opinion on DP’s legal options.
Using the IRAC (Issue, Rule, Application, Conclusion) method, analyze the options available to DP. Include at least one case from BC or another Canadian jurisdiction that states the law applicable to this problem in your analysis.
(25 marks; Max 1500 words)
Hints and Tips