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Legal and factual relevance

This project requires you to identify the legal issue from a fact pattern and to find four different cases directly relevant to that legal issue. “Directly relevant” means that the case law involves the same legal issue and similar types of facts.  Don’t just select a case because it has some of your search terms in it – read the case to ensure it’s directly relevant.

In Weeks 1 – 4 we covered various methods to identify and retrieve relevant case law using Westlaw. These methods were secondary sources; Key Cite; headnotes from a known case, digests and key searching; and full text searching. You will use these methods to find your four cases. Make sure you use the correct method specified for each case.  You must use four different cases but you may use the case you select from Case 1 as a “springboard” for any of the other three cases (for example, using Case 1 as the basis for finding a case through KeyCite as Case 2). 

Briefing: This project requires you to brief each of the four cases you found.  Regardless of what briefing format you may have used in other courses, follow the format specified below.  Your briefs need to be accurate and concise.  Here is a good rule of thumb in terms of length of your answers for each case:  

• The facts should be 4 sentences.

* The issue statement should be 1-2 sentences.

• The outcome (holding) as to the issue should be 1 sentence.

• The rationale should be 6 sentences.

Fact Pattern: You work for the office of the university counsel at a university.  Your supervisory attorney, who is the primary legal advisor for the university, wishes you to locate legal sources relevant to whether a university is liable for injuries incurred by a freshman during hazing activities pursuant to his desire to “pledge” a fraternity on campus.  All of the hazing occurred on campus. 

You’ll be expanding your research on this fact pattern from what was started in Week 3 of the course. You can repeat a source and search you used in your assignment from that week, just be sure to follow the project instructions and requirements carefully.

Instructions:

Legal Issue:

State a clear and concise legal issue statement, which describes the primary legal issue you’ve been asked to research. Your legal issue statement ought to start with the word “Whether.”

Case 1 – Must use at least one secondary source to find this case.  Please use the headings shown in bold in your answers.

1. Legal and factual relevance. Explain why you think this case is factually and legally relevant.

2. Secondary source citation: Provide the Bluebook citation for your secondary source.

3. Case citation: Provide the Bluebook citation for your relevant case.

4. Brief this case using the following headings:  

a.  Facts. State the facts that frame the issue in this case. Do not include unimportant facts.
b.  Issue. State the issue in 1-2 sentences. The issue should start with the word “Whether.”
c.  Outcome (holding). State the holding (conclusion) on the issue. Note: this is NOT the same as the action taken by the court on the case as a whole.
d.  Rationale. State the rationale (reasoning) on why the court ruled the way it did on the issue.

5. Methodology. Using A>B>C>D methodology, describe the steps you took from the Westlaw home page to find your case.

Case 2 – Must use KeyCite to find this case.  Please use the headings shown in bold in your answers.

1. Legal and factual relevance. Explain why you think this case is factually and legally relevant.

2.  Case citation: Provide the Bluebook citation for your relevant case.

3. Brief this case using the following headings:   

a.  Facts. State the facts that frame the issue in this case. Do not include unimportant facts.
b.  Issue. State the issue in 1-2 sentences. The issue should start with the word “Whether.”
c.  Outcome (holding). State the holding (conclusion) on the issue. Note: this is NOT the same as the action taken by the court on the case as a whole.
d.  Rationale. State the rationale (reasoning) on why the court ruled the way it did on the issue.

4. Methodology. Using A>B>C>D methodology, describe the steps you took from the Westlaw home page to find your case.  

Case 3 – Must use digests, key number searching, or headnotes to find this case. Please use the headings shown in bold in your answers.

1. Legal and factual relevance. Explain why you think this case is factually and legally relevant.

2. Case citation: Provide the Bluebook citation for your relevant case.

3. Brief this case using the following headings:   

a.  Facts. State the facts that frame the issue in this case. Do not include unimportant facts.
b.  Issue. State the issue in 1-2 sentences. The issue should start with the word “Whether.”
c.  Outcome (holding). State the holding (conclusion) on the issue. Note: this is NOT the same as the action taken by the court on the case as a whole.
d.  Rationale. State the rationale (reasoning) on why the court ruled the way it did on the issue.

4. Methodology. Using A>B>C>D methodology, describe the steps you took from the Westlaw home page to find your case.  

Case 4 – May use any method to find this case. Please use the headings shown in bold in your answers.

1. Legal and factual relevance. Explain why you think this case is factually and legally relevant.

2. Case citation: Provide the Bluebook citation for your relevant case.

3. Brief this case using the following headings:   

a.  Facts. State the facts that frame the issue in this case.  Do not include unimportant facts.
b.  Issue. State the issue in 1-2 sentences. The issue should start with the word “Whether.”
c.  Outcome (holding). State the holding (conclusion) on the issue. Note: this is NOT the same as the action taken by the court on the case as a whole.
d.  Rationale. State the rationale (reasoning) on why the court ruled the way it did on the issue.

4. Methodology. Using A>B>C>D methodology, describe the steps you took from the Westlaw home page to find your case.

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