A Day at the spa.(Instructor's Note)

By Rymsza, Leonard; Johnson, Gordon et al. | Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies, May 2011 | Go to article overview

A Day at the spa.(Instructor's Note)


Rymsza, Leonard, Johnson, Gordon, Saunders, Kurt, Journal of the International Academy for Case Studies


INSTRUCTORS' NOTES

CASE DESCRIPTION

The primary subject matter of this case concerns business law and statistical analysis. Secondary issues involve negligence vs. negligence per se; duty; breach of duty; causation; contributory vs. comparative negligence; and statistical concepts involving linear regression analysis, probability and expected value. The case also presents strategic thinking and ethical issues related to business conduct and their affects on consumers.

The case has a difficulty of level three, appropriate for junior level courses. The case is intended to be taught in three class hours, including a class presentation by student teams. The case is expected to require a minimum of three hours of outside preparation by student teams that present a report.

This case is designed for use in an upper division inter-disciplinary business course. The purpose of the course is to enable students to utilize the knowledge they have gained in their lower division core business courses that include one business law course and one statistics course. However, the case can be easily modified for use as an in class or take-home assignment in an introductory business law course by eliminating the Case A Questions on statistics.

CASE SYNOPSIS

Students are faced with a factual setting that presents practical business and ethical issues. After learning from his doctor that he was a prime candidate for a heart attack, the victim in this case considers a regimen of diet and exercise. The exercise aspect of the plan involved possible membership at a local gym, of which his wife was already a member. Following a discussion with his wife, it was decided that the victim would drive his wife to the gym and return to pick her up when her exercise session was completed. When the victim returned to the gym to pick up his wife, he waited for her in the gym lobby. While waiting for his wife, the victim suffered a cardiac arrest. Although medical assistance was immediately administered by a gym employee, and later by emergency medical technicians and trauma center personnel, the victim did not survive.

Following the victim's death, it was learned that he had suffered a sudden cardiac arrest. Individuals who suffer a sudden cardiac arrest generally survive if heart rhythm is restored using a defibrillator. The gym did not have a defibrillator on the premises. Was the gym negligent in failing to have a defibrillator on the premises? If the gym had had a defibrillator on the premises would the victim have survived? Since the victim was a prime candidate for a heart attack did the victim contribute to his own death?

In answering these questions, the case is divided into three major parts. The first part of the case requires students to utilize their understanding of several statistical issues. They are required to: use linear regression to predict age at death given a specific cholesterol level; determine the expected cost of owning a defibrillator; calculate the age at which the average person will experience their first cardiac incident; and estimate the number of lives that are saved if a defibrillator is available for use.

The second part requires students to analyze a possible negligence claim against the gym with respect to its failure to have a defibrillator on the premises. Students are required to address the following negligence concepts: duty; breach of duty; negligence per se; actual (cause in fact) causation; damages; and defenses to negligence (i.e., contributory vs. comparative negligence).

The last part of the case enables the students to propose strategies regarding settlement and ethical issues raised by the gym's refusal to assume responsibility for its actions.

RECOMMENDATIONS FOR TEACHING APPROACHES

This case is designed for use in an upper division inter-disciplinary business course. The purpose of the course is to enable students to utilize knowledge they have gained in their lower division core business courses. …

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