MBA535 – Case Brief GuidelinesHow and Why to Brief a Law CaseProf. Joseph Little.....DOCX

MBA535 – Case Brief GuidelinesHow and Why to Brief a Law CaseProf. Joseph Little....

MBA535 – Case Brief GuidelinesHow and Why to Brief a Law CaseProf. Joseph Little, Jr., Saint Leo UniversityPurposeThe purpose of reading in the practice of law is different from the purpose of reading in many other disciplines. Inlaw, you read not just to familiarize yourself with someone else’s ideas but to be able to use the information toanswer a question. This requires understanding judicial opinions in depth and being able to use the information ina number of cases to formulate an answer to a new question. Therefore, passively reading cases is not sufficient;you must deconstruct the opinion into its component parts and state those components in your own words and inan easily accessible format. Then the information is at hand for you to apply to a new set of facts.Briefing a case requires you to put the material into your own words. To do this, you have to understand it.Underlining text does not require you to understand it. Moreover, briefing a case reduces the volume of materialso you can find what you need. Underlining does not accomplish this goal either.AssignmentYou will complete two case briefs as follows and submit each to the Dropbox and Turnitin.comno later thanSunday 11:59 PM EST/EDTof the module in which it is due:Module 4:Dementasv.Estate of TallasModule 8:Geringerv.Wildhorn Ranch, Inc.InstructionsEvery lawyer briefs cases differently. A case brief generally consists of a series of topic headings with the specificinformation from the case under each heading. Most case briefs contain similar information but the headings andtheir sequence may be different. Some professors have a preferred briefing format. You are only required tofollow the general format as set forth below.The following is adapted fromA Practical Guide to Legal Writing and Legal Method(Dernbach, et al., 2007).1.Case name: Include the full citation, including the date of the opinion, for future reference and citation. Anexample would be as follows:State v. Holloran, 140 NH 563 (1995). Refer to Bluebook to determine thecorrect name for the case.2.Pincites: Include pinpoint cites (cites to a particular page in the case) throughout the case brief so you can findmaterial again quickly within a case.3.Procedural History: What happened to the case before it arrived in this court? If it is an appellate case, list thedecisions made by the lower court(s) and note what decision is being reviewed (e.g., jury verdict, summaryjudgment). You may need to look up procedural phrases with which you are unfamiliar.4.Facts: Include only the facts that were relevant to the court’s decision. You are unlikely to know what these areuntil you have read the entire opinion. Many cases may include procedural facts that are relevant to thedecision in addition to the facts that happened before litigation.5.Issue: The particular question the court had to decide in this case. It usually includes specific facts as well as alegal question. It may be expressed or implied in the decision. Cases may have more than one issue.

.Holding/Decision: The legal answer to the issue. If the issue is clearly written, then the holding can beexpressed as “yes” or “no.” (Be careful not to confuse the holding with implicitreasoning. See # 8 below.)7.Rule: The general legal principle(s) relevant to the particular factual situation presented in the case.8.Reasoning: The logical steps the court takes to arrive at the holding. It can be straightforward and obvious, oryou may have to extrapolate it from the holding. Some reasoning is based on social policy, which tells youwhy the holding is socially desirable. Understanding the reasoning behind a decision is essential.9.Disposition: A statement of what the court actually did in the case (affirmed, overruled, etc.)10.Dissent/Concurrence: Although this part of the opinion is not considered law, it may help you betterunderstand some information about the legal reasoning in the case. Not all cases have a dissent orconcurrence, while some may have more than one.11.Comments: Include your own responses to the case here. For example, does the reasoning make sense? Isthe holding consistent with other cases you have read? Is the case relevant to the question you are trying toanswer? This is a good place to note connections between the case you are briefing and other cases youhave read.Sample Case BriefRemember, most case briefs contain similar information but the headings and their sequence may be differentthan what is outlined above. You should include in your brief all elements that you deem necessary whether or notthey are included in the sample below.NameLuke Records, Inc. v.Navarro, 960 F.2d 134 (11th Cir. 1992)Procedural HistoryAppealed from the trial court decision.FactsLuke Records, Inc., a recording label, held a contract with the musical group 2 Live Crew. This group was wellknown in the genre of "Rap" music, which has repeatedly been accused of incorporating "obscene" lyrics intothe music. Obscene, in this sense, pertains only to the legal definition of obscenity, not what any particularperson or moral code may deem obscene. Luke Records, Inc. was a Florida Corporation and Nick Navarrowas the sheriff of Broward County at the time. The sheriff obtained an ex-parte injunction (this means aninjunction without both parties being present at the initial hearing) granting the sheriff an injunction (a courtorder to "stop" doing a particular act). This injunction was served on local record stores in an effort to havethe music removed from Florida retail sale. After the local Florida Circuit Court in Broward County issued theinjunction, the decision was appealed to the United States District Court for Southern Florida where the Courtordered the sheriff to stop enforcing the injunction, but did, in fact, rule that the music was obscene,especially the song "As Nasty As They Wanna Be." The sheriff appealed the case to the United States Courtof Appeals, 11th Circuit, in Atlanta.IssueIs this music obscene under Florida state law and/or federal Constitution?Holding/DecisionNo
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