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BLAW 201


Fall 2012



Due Date: 


For this assignment, you will consider the consequences of acting ethically or unethically.  After carefully reading the supplemental ethics materials (Jennings handout), discuss fully the ethical issues related to this case.  (1) Categorize the ethical dilemma(s), (2) examine the matter from other perspectives, (3) describe any possible rationalizations, and finally, (4) use at least one of the ethics models to resolve the situation.

You will also be graded on grammar, spelling and punctuation.  Your answer must be typed (double-spaced, font size 12) and 500 twords in length.  This assignment is to be added to your “My Life Folio” file (if you are a LeBow student).  All other students can add this to their writing portfolio.





Writing assignments will be graded on the depth of the arguments, the analysis, coherence, and editing (grammar and mechanical correctness).




The Case


The Association for Competitive Technology (ACT) is a trade group funded largely by Microsoft Corporation.  During Microsoft’s antitrust trial, ACT was active in public relations as it worked to convince everyone from the public to members of Congress that the antitrust case would thwart innovation in computers, software, and their uses.

Lawrence J. Ellison, chairman of Oracle Corporation, a software manufacturer and fierce Microsoft competitor, was concerned that the public might not understand that ACT was funded by Microsoft and was not truly an independent group.  Through Oracle, Mr. Ellison hired Group International, a private investigation firm, to find information tying Microsoft to ACT.  Mr. Ellison described his hiring of Group International as his “civic duty.”

Shortly after Group International (GI) was hired by Oracle, janitors working the night shift at the offices of ACT were offered $50-$60 each by Blanca Lopez, a woman working for GI, if they would turn over ACT’s trash to her rather than dumping it.  The janitors refused, and Ms. Lopez returned the next evening and offered them $500 each for the trash plus $200 extra to the supervisor if he could convince the janitors to cooperate.  All of the staff declined the money.  Ms. Lopez left them her card, explaining that she was working on a criminal case, and asked them to call if they changed their minds.  When the janitors disclosed what had happened, the investigator was traced back to Mr. Ellison who said, “All we did was to try to take information that was hidden and bring it into the light.  I don’t think that’s arrogance.  That’s a public service.”

Do you think what Oracle, Mr. Ellison, and Ms. Lopez did was ethical?


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