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Pat Parker & Associates

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Introduction

Pat Parker & Associates Relevant Facts Pat Parker was a law school graduate who started a consulting firm called Pat Parker & Associates and specialized in conducting opposition research and writing reports for political candidates, primarily for the Democratic Party. This case is about how Pat Parker developed a research report for Democratic nominee, Dale Jackson for the statewide Attorney General position. Two years later, representatives of the State Academy of Trial Lawyers wanted to buy the same research document on the Republican Attorney General, Terry Paine in what Parker believed to be an effort to inoculate their candidate during an upcoming election. Parker wasn't sure how to proceed knowing that this could potentially jeopardize the political party's candidate or even worse, could be arrested for soliciting the information. The evidence presented in this case was concerned with ownership and the control of research created by one party for use by another. Legal Issues There are several legal issues related to this case. 1. Would Pat Parker violate either contract or federal copyright laws by selling the research or associated postcards to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers or anyone else who desired to purchase them? 2. Could Pat Parker sell the research to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers without violating the $500 maximum funding limit under the Florida Campaign Finance Statute? 3. Would Pat Parker be violating the Florida Voluntary Code of Fair Campaign Practices by selling a report generated for one party to the other party? Specifically the $500 maximum funding limit? 4. If the items were resold to a third party, would Parker & Associates be violating any particular codes of ethics? Legal Principles The Pat Parker Case highlights the legal and ethical issues involved in the resell of research material, which was originally contracted from a campaign analyst, Pat Parker, and the Democratic Party. ...read more.

Middle

Penalties for violating this statute included fines or dissolution of the business. While Parker suspected that the Trial Lawyers might sell or donate the report to the Paine Campaign, Parker could argue about the lack of knowledge of what the Trial Lawyers intended use would be, and had no control over what they would do with it. My conclusion here is Parker would not be in violation of the Florida Campaign Statutes, since the data presented in the research does not appear to violate the criteria established in Exhibit 9 of the case study. Relevant Facts & Legal Principles The evidence presented in this case is concerned with ownership and control of research created by one party for use by another. Based on my legal analysis, Parker & Associates was the owner of the copyright for the research report that they created, and could therefore choose to sell it to another party if they so desired. There was an assumption that Parker had an ethical obligation to maintain loyalty to the Democratic Party since the firm had never done research for any other party, and would not sell their research to the Republican Party. An ethical alternative would have been for Parker to not sell the research report to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers or any other interested party, thus fending off any potential damages to Parker's reputation or to the Democratic Party. Pat Parker had to address personal opinions and beliefs before a decision about the research report could be made. Generally, the person who creates the work is considered to be the author, but there is an exception defined as "works made for hire." In this case, the purchaser (or employer) ...read more.

Conclusion

Plus, no such language of "work for hire" ever existed in the research or the contractual agreement between Parker and the client. Therefore, Parker & Associates had every legal right to sell the report to anyone else that wished to do so without violating federal copyright law. Pat Parker would have gone against the personal beliefs that carried Parker & Associates for years if the research report had been sold to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers. There would have been a sense of betrayal or untruthfulness to the Democratic Party, which Parker & Associates had supported for many years. Pat Parker could legally sell the report to the State Academy of Trial Lawyers, but would feel ethically and morally wrong for having done so. It could have opened up the potential for future clients, but at what cost to Parker's personal preferences or to Parker & Associates in the long run by playing both sides against the middle. I believe that Pat Parker would be better off taking the path that leads to both the legal and ethical right answer. Parker & Associates had the legal right to either sell or not sell the research report to whomever they chose. By not selling a report produced for one party to another party would put Parker & Associates in a Win-Win situation. Here is why: * They would maintain the respect of the party with whom they had done business for years by not having opted for higher revenues over loyalty. * The potential for more clients from the Democratic Party in the future was greater since it would show them that Parker & Associates was both ethically and legally bound to the good faith trust that their clients had placed in them. * Pat Parker would be satisfied knowing that Parker & Associates had not provided documentation to the party that was not aligned with personal preferences. ...read more.

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