Each student is to submit a written brief of two (2) actual court decisions. The briefs are due on Monday, May 4, 2020 at 9:00 PM.
The briefs must be of New York State state trial court decisions which were decided after January 2, 2020. Decisions of appellate courts may not be used.
One brief must be of a torts case. The other brief must be of a contract case.
For each decision, the entire, unedited opinion or decision must be read. Summaries of cases from the textbook used in this class or from other textbooks may not be used. Case decisions should be obtained from the internet. Certain websites and other internet resources from which case decisions may be obtained were discussed and reviewed in class. (Please see: http://www.nycourts.gov/decisions/index.shtml or http://www.courts.state.ny.us/reporter/ .)
REQUIRED BRIEFING FORMAT
The following is the required briefing format that should be followed:
Set forth the title of case [which is underlined], the legal citation [if you have it], the court, and the year [which should be 2020].
I FACTS: Set forth a brief summary of the facts of the case. Begin by identifying who is bringing the action, against whom the action is brought and what relief may be sought. Summarize the underlying facts of the case concisely. Leave out facts which may have been discussed in the case and which you believe are not necessary for understanding the courts decision. Use your own language. Do not just copy portions of the courts decision.
II PROCEDURAL POSTURE: In this part of the case brief, you should set forth a brief statement of how the decision came to be issued procedurally. Explain how it was that the court came to render the decision.
Was it a decision that resulted from a motion? If so, explain which party made the motion and what the relief was that was sought by the motion. Was the decision issued by the judge during or after a trial? If so, state whether it was a jury trial or a non-jury (bench) trial.
III ISSUES[S]: State the issue or issues the court decided. Each issue should be set forth as a question. In a short decision, there may be only one issue. In a complicated, lengthy decision, there could be many issues. You should specify each issue the court decided.
IV DECISION: Set forth the decision reached by the court with respect to each of the issues presented. Essentially, you are now stating how the court decided each of the issues which you specified. In this section, only indicate what the courts decision was. Do not include the courts reasoning or explanation in this section. The courts reasoning or explanation should be set forth in the next section.
V REASONING: This is a concise summary of the reasoning used by the court in reaching the decision which it reached with respect to each of the issues. Do not include case citations which the court cited. Summarize the points the court made in arriving at its decision. It is the reasoning of the court, not your opinion of the issues or of the decision that should be included here. [If you would like to set forth your opinion of the particular issue or issues being decided or of the decision, you should do so in a postscript at the end of the case brief.]
There is no minimum or maximum length. The case brief should be as long as you need to communicate what you need to communicate. Take a hint from what the title of the document is: case brief. You do not receive extra credit for a longer document which could have been more concisely presented. The aim is to write well organized, concise case briefs. Use your own words. Do not just copy sentences or paragraphs from the court decision. Read the cases. Think about what you read. Ask yourself what happened to cause the plaintiff to start the lawsuit, how did the decision come to be issued procedurally, what was the question(s) the court decided, what was the courts decision on each of the questions and what reason or reasons did the court give for its decision. Summarize the cases, in your own words, concisely.
This assignment is to be done independently by each student. This means that each student must do each aspect of this assignment, including finding and selecting the cases to be used, reading the cases, analyzing the cases and writing the case briefs, by himself or herself, and not in collaboration with any other student(s) or other individual(s).
Each student should retain a complete copy of the assignment when it is submitted to the instructor.