Bruce and Wayne Enterprise Case Law Analysis

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Bruce Wayne is a mild-mannered billionaire and superhero. His day job is running his multi-national corporation, Wayne Enterprises. In the evenings, he spends his time fighting crime and hunting down supervillains. He also enjoys long walks on the beach.

One day, Bruce arrives at work to find a new memo on his desk. It is from the legal department. The General Counsel of Wayne Enterprises is Andrew Tharp, Esq., a genius attorney and aspiring superhero. Andrew has some concerns around some employee issues. Wayne Enterprises recently entered into a contract with the Corrections Corporation of Gotham City (CCGC), to employ currently incarcerated persons at Arkham Asylum. One of the major stipulations of the contract is that Wayne Enterprises will give 5% of all revenues from products made at Arkham Asylum back to the CCGC. The CCGC purchases manufacturing equipment for roughly $5M, based on the assumption that the money paid by Wayne Enterprises will pay off the equipment in 3.5 years.

The contract allows Wayne Enterprises to utilize convict labor to produce medical testing supplies. Wayne Enterprises oversees all of the manufacturing and hiring of convicts, and also pays them directly. Several inmates have complained about a “discriminatory practice.” Inmates are ineligible from being hired if they have altered DNA, as it might corrupt the production of the medical testing supplies. The employees complaining are Waylon Jones, Dr. Lillian Rose, and Bane Dorrance. Bruce writes it off as a stupid HR issue, and moves in to the more “important” items of the day, like doing push-ups.

Later that day, Bruce is getting ready to leave, when he sees a familiar shape on the clouds above Gotham. It is the bat symbol, someone is in trouble, and he needs to get there quickly. He opens up the secret closet in his office and changes into his batsuit. As he is speeding towards the police headquarters, where the bat symbol is located, he receives a video phone call. It is Andrew, his attorney, informing him that “The Joker” has been organizing a union amongst the inmates at Arkham Asylum, specific regarding the “irregular DNA discrimination” issue. Bruce again waves it off, but as he is hanging up, he rear ends a minivan with a single mom and four car seats in it. The mom gets out of the car and comes over to Bruce’s window. He says, “I am Batman, I have to go, there is an emergency!” She says, “I don’t care if you are Superman, my “babies” have whiplash, I am going to sue you!” Bruce drives off leaving the woman crying and screaming about her “children”. The woman, named Selina Kyle, runs immediately to an ambulance chasing attorney, saying she was rear-ended by Batman. Ken Nunn (the attorney) quickly hires a private investigator named Ed Nygma to find out who Batman is.

Bruce finally arrives at the police headquarters, where Commissioner Gordon is waiting for him. Commissioner Gordon tells him that something is going on at Arkham Asylum, and he needs to get over there quickly. At the same time, his batphone rings, and Andrew informs him that the inmates are rioting and destroying Wayne Enterprises equipment. He advises Bruce that he should call the police, or maybe even see if Batman could help, because Wayne Enterprises could stand to lose a lot of money. He also offers his services, as “The Lawman” his superhero alter-ego. Bruce says that he will take care of it.

Bruce/Batman rushes over to Arkham Asylum. When he arrives everything is in chaos. He quickly subdues several dozen inmates. He then realizes that he will not be able to subdue everyone, so he requests that the Arkham island be cut off from the rest of the city. The police refuse to do that, based on the economic hit that the city will take if they can’t ship through the island. Bruce takes it into his own hands, and destroys the three bridges leading to the island. He finally has most of the prisoners back into their cells, but one final inmate remains. Victor Fries appears before him and knocks him down. In the process, Batman’s mask comes off, and Bruce can be seen fighting for his life. He eventually overtakes Victor, but his only choice in that moment his to kill him. Batman breaks his only rule. After this eventful night, Bruce heads home for a well-deserved rest.

A couple months later, Bruce is in his office when Andrew comes and tells him to turn on the TV. They both watch slack-jawed as a reporter is interviewing Ed Nygma, the private investigator, and he shows her a video of Batman losing his mask, and Bruce Wayne’s face showing.

The next day, Bruce opens his mail and receives 4 legal documents. A notice that Wayne Enterprises is being sued by the Union of Incarcerated Workers for discriminatory practices. A summons for a future trial for breach of contract by the CCGC. A class action lawsuit filed by hundreds of businesses and the City of Gotham for damages caused by blowing up the bridges and economic losses resulting from said destruction. A lawsuit for damages to Selina Kyle’s vehicle and medical expenses for her, and a few large vet bills for the whiplash her cats endured in the car accident (thank God they were in car seats!). All four cases are suing Bruce individually and Wayne Enterprises under the theory of Respondeat Superior.

Bruce is then arrested by Commissioner Gordon for the homicide of Victor Fries.

Please analyze each case, will it be successful? Do Bruce or Wayne Enterprises have any defenses? What are the likely damages or sentences in each of the cases? Can Wayne Enterprises defend against the respondeat superior claim?

Extra Credit: Name all seven Batman villains that were alluded to in the fact pattern.

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