23 Jeffrey S. Moorad Sports L. J. 109 (2016)
Dancing around Contracts and Business Ethics: Lessons from Arthur Murray

handle is hein.journals/vse23 and id is 123 raw text is: 







  DANCING AROUND CONTRACTS AND BUSINESS ETHICS:
                LESSONS FROM ARTHUR MURRAY

                         DANIEL   M. WARNER*


     Arthur Murray  was  the early and mid-twentieth century dance instruc-
tor whose franchised mail-order dance courses, dance studios, and early TV
show  made him  rich and famous. Arthur Murray's  unethical business prac-
tices spawned a great deal of litigation. Many  cases involve rich, elderly
widows  who  get taken in by smooth-talking dance instructors and end up
contracting for many tens of thousands of dollars of dance lessons. A 2010
article discussed how these plaintiffs are allowed to get out of their contracts.
Of  interest here is how they got into them. The  sale of dancing lessons
presents unique means  and opportunities for the seller-with the right moti-
vation-to  play on the vulnerable buyer's emotional needs by exercising un-
due  influence. An analysis of the unethical business practices here suggest
how  similar processes are at work throughout American consumer  culture.

                          I.  INTRODUCTION

           Behind  every great fortune there is a great crime.'

     In the  early and  mid-20th  century,  Arthur  Murray,  the  appar-
ently  benign  dance   instructor, chain  dance-studio   entrepreneur,

    * Professor, Department of Accounting, College of Business and Economics,
Western Washington University; J.D. University of Washington. A former public
defender and  veteran, Professor Warner teaches undergraduate and graduate
courses on the American legal system, government regulation of business, ad-
vanced commercial transactions, and business ethics. Professor Warner is the au-
thor of a college textbook on the legal environment of business, co-author of a
business law textbook, and a staff reviewer for the American Business LawJournal.
He has published extensively exploring the intersection of popular culture and the
law, for which publications he has six times received the College of Business
Dean's Research Award for distinguished contributions in published research.
He served eight years on the Whatcom County Council, two years as its Chair. He
has served on the Faculty Senate, on various university and college committees
including chairman of the University Master Plan Committee; he has been active
in state Bar Association committee work and in local and neighborhood politics,
where he  has served on numerous boards and commissions over 40 years and
where he was proud to received ReSources Environmental Hero of the Year for
2010. He  is currently the president of his local water association.
    1. See Quote Investigator, Behind Every Great Fortune There Is a Crime, QUOTE
INVESTIGATOR  (Sept. 9, 2013), http://quoteinvestigator.com/2013/09/09/for-
tune-crime/ (quoting Honor6 de Balzac). Balzac's actual writing, translated from
French, in a serialization of Le Pre Goriot published in Revue de Paris in 1834
read: The secret of a great success for which you are at a loss to account is a crime
that has never been found out, because it was properly executed.


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