Spring 2010 open memo assignment tiger woods v. nbc and fox news (n z)
Professor GoeringLARW I, Section JSpring 2010 MEMORANDUMTO: Junior Associates (N-Z)FROM: Senior Partner Goering and Senior Associate GlennRE: New ClientsDATE: March 3, 2010 Our clients, NBC and Fox Broadcasting Company, have asked our firm toresearch the likelihood that Tiger Woods and Elin Nordegren, his wife, will prevail in acivil lawsuit against them for airing videos alleging incidents of domestic violence intheir marriage. Until recently, the couple lived together in their home on Jasper Island,near Orlando, Florida. As you may have heard, they recently separated after anincident in November that has received nationwide news coverage. As you know, Tiger Woods was voted Athlete of the Decade by the AssociatedPress for his impressive golf career. After the couple had a confrontation in lateNovember, NBC aired a Saturday Night Live skit about the incident and Tigersautomobile accident that followed. At about the same time, Fox aired a segment ofThe Wanda Sykes Show in which Sykes speculated that the Nordegren had attackedWoods after he admitted having an extramarital affair. On February 19, 2010, Woods issued a public apology, during which (amongother things) he flatly denied allegations of domestic abuse in the couple’s marriage. Ihave attached a transcript of his remarks, and you may find it helpful to watch thevideotaped apology, which was aired live from the PGA Tour headquarters in Florida.You should also review the videos in question, which you can find by following thehyperlinks embedded in this memo. Our clients want to know whether Woods or Nordegren have a claim againsteither network for invasion of privacy (or any variation) under Florida law. Pleaseresearch the legal issues. Specifically, does either plaintiff have a legal remedy againsteither Fox or NBC for invasion of privacy? Of course, you’ll need to consider thepossible defenses our clients may assert to any privacy claim. Please assume that if thecouple does file suit, they will file the complaint in federal district court in Florida,invoking diversity jurisdiction. Fox is headquartered in Los Angeles and NBC in NewYork City, and both companies were incorporated in Delaware. Therefore, neither ofour clients legally “resides” in Florida. By the way, in case you were wondering, I have already discussed the ethicalissues with our clients about joint representation by our firm. For now, however, theyhave consented in writing for us to proceed with the preliminary research. If and when
Professor GoeringLARW I, Section JSpring 2010the lawsuit is filed, one of our clients has agreed to retain independent counsel toavoid any conflict of interest or appearance of impropriety. I have a followup meeting with each client’s general counsel later this month,at which time I will advise them about their litigation risks. Therefore, I will need adraft of your memo, along with a copy of your research plan, no later than 5:00 p.m.on March 22, 2010, in order to have enough time to read it over and prepare for ourconference. Remember that your draft memo may not exceed 8 double-spaced pages. You may discuss the assignment with any of your first-year law schoolclassmates in the J Section. However, it is a violation of the Honor Code to show yourwritten work to anyone except me or Valerie Glenn, my senior associate. Pleasereview the attached guidelines regarding the Honor Code. If you have any questionsabout whether certain conduct violates the Honor Code, you are expected to consultJared or me for guidance. Thanks so much for your help.Attachments: • Transcript of Tiger Woods’ public apology • Honor Code Guidelines for Graded Memos and Briefs
Professor GoeringLARW I, Section JSpring 2010 Honor Code Guidelines for Graded Memos Legal Analysis, Research, and Writing IQ: Who is allowed to see my memo?A: You may not show your memo to anyone except me and Valerie Glenn, my teaching assistant. Please understand that this requirement is indeed as limited as it sounds. You may not show your paper to your spouse, sweetheart, best friend, mother, significant other, or anyone else, even "just to proofread" or "just to see what she thinks." This applies even if youve "always had so-and-so proofread all my papers."Q: With whom may I research and discuss my memo or brief problem?A: You may research and discuss your memo and brief problems only with fellow members of the J Section, Washburn Law School librarians, Valerie Glenn, or me. Reading your memo or brief to another individual is not discussion and is not allowed. Please understand that this requirement is just as limited as it sounds. This means you may not discuss your problem or your paper with students from other classes or other LARW sections, with mentors, with study group leaders, with tutors, with attorneys, with other professors, with parents, with siblings, or with any of your friends who are not J Section students.Q: What should I do if I have a question on what is permissible and what is not?A: Ask me in class, come see me, e-mail me, phone me, or drop a note in my mailbox in Room 203. You must check with me before doing anything else.Q: How long do these restrictions last for any particular assignment?A: Until I announce in class that they are lifted.Q: What should I do if I know that somebody is violating these rules?A: Under the Honor Code, you have a responsibility to come to me with names and details, so that I can begin an investigation. I will vigorously pursue an investigation of any violation for which I have evidence. However, please understand that I can do nothing with rumor or innuendo.
Professor GoeringLARW I, Section JSpring 2010Q: Is cheating a common problem?A: No, it is not. It is rare, in my experience both as a student and a professor. Most students who are intelligent and disciplined enough to get into law school don’t need any rules at all, because they abide by the simple rule that it is unfair to do anything on a graded assignment that would give them an unfair advantage over fellow law students. But cheating has happened before, and therefore I am spelling out the rules to assure you that anyone who breaks these rules is either too ignorant or too unethical to belong in the legal profession.Q: Dont these restrictions defeat some educational benefits?A: Yes, indeed, they do. In legal practice, it is beneficial to talk about a memo or brief problem with anyone you think may be able to help, subject to your ethical duty to keep your client communications confidential. But law school is not "real life." Requiring you to write a memo and a brief entirely on your own is intended to be of great benefit to you, but that is not the only purpose. The other purpose of graded assignments is to evaluate your ability to independently apply legal research, analysis, and writing skills you learn through reading, exercises, and class discussion. So, in the weeks to come, please remember: THIS IS A TEST.