SUBJECT: Statutory Interpretation Case Analysis
In the analysis of Block incorporation’s argument that the Texas alcohol and beverage commission (MABC) misinterpreted the statute which led to Block’s resort status application being rejected, the only option would be to carefully refer to the laid down statutory interpretation. The statutory interpretation provides a detailed guideline on how to arrive at a given intended meaning in resolving conflict such as is in this case study.
This writing intends to try to clear the air and make a correct interpretation through a systematic approach to avoid errant judgement. The first part would be an in-depth explanation for understanding of what a statute is and its various aspects and why this case falls under the statutes category. Secondly, the next step would entail a journey at how statutory interpretations are done. To support any argument, reference to the case at hand and the guideline from the statutory interpretation guideline will be the main basis of argument.
From the statutory interpretation reference guideline, the areas that fall under statutory law rather than common law are Criminal law, Contract law, Evidence law, Ethics and Procedural law. Therefore, in this case, it being a conflict due to rejection of an application based on the argument that the correct procedure was not adhered to, I would say, it is right to analyse it under the statutory interpretations. However, important to note is that, there exists judicial superiority as far as the final decision to be made is concerned. Apart from the statutory interpretation being applied, constitutional interpretation stands relevant under whatever circumstance and cannot be nullified. Laws of the land must be followed.
To avoid ambiguity and unnecessary problems to people, there are clear guidelines that distinguish statutes from common law. Some of the attributes of statutes is that they are; general, revolutionary, prospective, open to the public, accompanied by commentary, products of compromise, policy-political or subjective.
Turning to the main reason for conflict, which is interpretation, according to the statutory interpretation, the first thing to do is to interpret statute based on the plain meaning. The plain meaning should be used unless there are certain exceptions. First is if the plain meaning leads to an absurd meaning or if there is a skiver’s error. Secondly is if there is ambiguity and no plain meaning. In the case of Block’s application rejection, the RSA under section 6, which is the section that deals with signature of corporate leadership, the requirement according to the wording was a signature by a member of senior management. In this case, Block’s application was signed by the secretary. In most organisations, even according to Block’s own board of directors directory and which the secretary is a member of, a secretary holds quite a senior position as far as management is concerned. Block’s board of directors defined the secretary’s role as that involving leadership and long-term success of the company. Leadership roles are often only given to senior members of management.
Assuming that there was ambiguity in the wording, the statutory interpretation gives direction on how to ascertain the ambiguity. There are four aspects to consider in this regard, these are; the wording, things intrinsic to the statute, things outside the statute and anywhere else as may be relevant. It further gives reasons as to why ambiguity may exist and cause problems with interpretation. The reasons given are; intentional vagueness, poor drafting, complexity, conflict among others. Considering the case at hand, we can deduce that, the major reason that caused interpretative difficulties was not in the words but simply conflict. For whatever reason, the words were very clear and the secretary’s signature should not have been enough reason to warrant rejection of Block’s application. Conflict between MABC and Block, probably in other interactions may have been the cause of MABC rejecting the application. Therefore, at this juncture, we can deduce that, the argument presented by MABC was unfounded based on Block’s board of directors agreeing that a secretary is part of the board.
The next step in statutory interpretation is to take a look at the text. The closest aid to achieve this is to use a dictionary. In Block’s case, the dictionary’s definition, although very categorical that the senior members are involved in the day to day affairs of an entity, in which case the secretary of Block’s incorporation was not allowed to do by the board of directors, there was also the provision that the senior management are or may be involved in strategic operation of the entity. In this case, Block’s secretary without making any wrong assumptions, having been tasked with a leadership role and ensuring the long-term success of the company, must have been involved in one way or the other with the strategic operation of Block. Thus, based on this argument alone, MABC’s argument was null and void.
If at this stage, the argument still persist, it would be necessary to take a look at a specialized or technical dictionary to expose the meaning further if it is not an ordinary meaning. In this case, the investors’ dictionary was used, and it added a further twist to the turn of events. It gave a definition to suggest that senior management are those in high position of leadership tasked with day to day responsibilities of managing a corporation. Although using a term that generated this conflict, “day-to-day”, the dictionary referred to a daily routine of management. Such was the secretary’s role. From this dictionary, the odds further shift in Block’s favour.
Still within the guidelines of the statutory interpretation, the next logical step for a weightier support of points would be to use cross-referencing. In reference to a 1998 court case of Romano versus Cheddar, the court interpreted and gave its definition of senior management as all those in high leadership positions, leading executives and interestingly, it also included the board of directors. From Block’s hierarchy that the secretary is a member of the board of directors and also that he or she has a role of leadership, were the same court to give a ruling on this case, Block incorporation would emerge as the victors of this court case. Therefore, our statutory cross reference clearly indicates the rejection of Block’s application was wrong.
Further analysis of this argument, shows that, after the initial approval of the RSA act of 2003 upon which this case was based, there were some amendments done to a different act in 2004 by the Texas Legislature that would affect the decisions of this case. The Texas legislature made amendments to the Resort Authorization Act by adding the terms that are a bone of contention in the case under analysis. They added the terms senior management and although there was no further definition, a different statute supporting this new amendment stated that, senior management included high level executives on working full time and board of director members. Basing on statutory interpretations of how to deal with two conflicting statuses, the best thing to do is to harmonize them. Therefore, harmonizing these two, gives an agreement that, the Block secretary is also recognized as a member of senior management.
Regardless of this, it must be stated that Block was deviant of its own regulations in its assigning of roles to some of its executives. For instance, before application for resort status, the incorporation should have done sufficient analysis of the requirements for successful acceptance of an application and adhered to these regulations. The CEO may have signed instead of the secretary as it had from its board of directors’ decisive action revoked off from the secretary, the role of running the day-to-day activities of the corporation. The secretary signing the application was in itself a violation of its own regulations. Nevertheless, their own members’ roles violation could not affect the statutory interpretation of the term senior management.
In conclusion, based on the points presented on the facts of this case, that is the pros and cons of Block’s argument, we can conclude that MABC misinterpreted the statute and made an error by rejecting Block’s application.