a) Case citation – it goes at the top of the case brief and it should contain enough info to let the reader know - name of case – the court that decided it – where the reader can locate it – year of decision.
b) Facts – summary of both substantive and procedural facts. Include all facts that the court relied on reaching the decision.
c) Rule – general legal principle in existence before the case began. Court uses it to reach the decision in the case.
d) Issue – the statement of the problem facing the court. Legal question created by the facts, usually start with “whether”.
e) Holding - court’s answer to the issue presented to it. New legal principle established by a court opinion. A new version of the rule.
2. Stare decisis – The doctrine that normally once a court has decided an issue, other courts in the same jurisdiction will decide the same way. (if there’s a ruling by a higher court in the same jurisdiction, lower court is required to follow that decision).
3. Judicial review – a court’s power to review statutes to decide if they conform to the us or state constitutions.
4. Common law – decisional law created by the courts when there is no statute, administrative regulation, or constitutional provision governing the case. Courts interpret all decisional law. Judge looks to the earlier decisions of other judges in similar circumstances.
5. Regulations – a law promulgated by an administrative agency. Example would be a specification on a law to determine what the word income means.
6. Trial courts are courts of original jurisdiction, because it is where actions are initiated and heard of for the first time. They determine the facts and apply law to the facts. Appellate courts determine whether lower level courts have made errors of law
7. Federal court system – u.s. district courts; general jurisdiction trial courts in the federal system. U.S. court of appeals; the intermediate appellate courts in the federal system. U.S. supreme court; the highest level federal appellate court consisting of 9 appointed members.
8. Typical State court system – General/limited jurisdiction trial courts. Middle level appellate courts. Highest level appellate courts (supreme court). U.S. Supreme Court, only if federal issue is involved. Trial NY Supreme Court, middle appellate division. Court of appeals.
9. General jurisdiction - a court’s power to hear any type of case arising within its geographical area.
10. Limited jurisdiction - a court’s power to hear only specialized cases. They’re usually district and municipal courts.
11. Main phases of a trial court proceedings – jury selection, opening statements (expectations of what each side expects the evidence to prove), presentation of evidence and testimony of witnesses, closing arguments, presentation of jury instruction (charging the jury, sworn duty of the jury to make a decision based on the law, and not on their interpretation of the law), deliberation (jury makes their decision.
12. 2 major grounds for federal court jurisdiction – Federal issue; a legal question involving the application of a federal law. Diversity jurisdiction; the power of the federal courts to hear matters of state law if the opposing parties are from different states and the amount in controversy exceeds $75,000.
13. ADR (alternative dispute resolution) techniques for resolving conflicts that are alternatives to full-scale litigation, the two most common are arbitration (binding) and mediation (non-binding). Arbitration is when parties submit their disagreements to a third neutral party whose decision is binding. Mediation is when parties submit their disagreements to a third neutral party to reach a mutually agreeable voluntary compromise.
14. 3 major stages of civil litigation. Pretrial, trial, appeals. Pretrial – in the pretrial stage attorney must determine if there is legal