Summary judgments a review

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Summary judgments a review

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Summary judgments a review

  1. 1. Summary Judgments: A Review © Prof. Njeri Mathis Rutledge
  2. 2. MSJ vs. Memorandum of Law <ul><li>Most “combined” in one </li></ul><ul><li>Okay to have separate </li></ul><ul><li>Focus on local rules </li></ul>
  3. 3. Introduction <ul><li>What do you want? </li></ul><ul><li>Introduction </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Parties </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Nature of motion/relief sought </li></ul></ul><ul><li>Summarize legal & factual basis </li></ul><ul><li>No citations (local rules) </li></ul>
  4. 4. Introduction <ul><li>Introductory paragraph – </li></ul><ul><li>State your conclusion – persuasively </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Ex: The issue is whether the imposition of a true life sentence violates the 8 th Amendment vs. The imposition of a true life sentence on a twenty-one-year old heroin addict violates the Eight Amendment. </li></ul></ul><ul><li>lay out the relevant rules that justify the conclusion </li></ul>
  5. 5. Facts <ul><li>Undisputed vs. Disputed </li></ul><ul><li>Statement of Facts </li></ul><ul><li>Relevant </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasive </li></ul><ul><li>Cite to the record </li></ul>
  6. 6. Facts <ul><li>Context before details </li></ul><ul><ul><li>On June 15, Plaintiff Jones Engineering contracted with Defendant Smith Associates to build a parking garage. . . . </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>This case arises out of a construction contract. One June 15, Plaintiff Jones Engineering contracted with Defendant Smith Associates to build a parking garage. . . . </li></ul></ul>
  7. 7. Point-Headings <ul><li>Outline your argument </li></ul><ul><li>Single simple sentences </li></ul><ul><li>Persuasive </li></ul><ul><li>Should include what you want the court to do </li></ul><ul><li>Examples p. 2-3 </li></ul>
  8. 8. Summary Judgment Standard <ul><li>Can be before or after Argument section </li></ul><ul><li>Identify rule related to summary judgments. Federal court Rule 56. </li></ul><ul><li>What is the local rule (state court) </li></ul>
  9. 9. Argument: Organization <ul><li>Let the cause of action guide </li></ul><ul><li>Negligence – duty to warn – learned intermediary doctrine </li></ul><ul><li>Organize around elements & factors (point-headings & sub-points) </li></ul><ul><li>Remember IRAC </li></ul>
  10. 10. Argument: Analysis <ul><li>Logical, thoroughly developed </li></ul><ul><li>Start w/ statement of conclusion – what should happen/ what should the court do? </li></ul><ul><li>Rules – state in the light most favorable to the client </li></ul>
  11. 11. Argument <ul><li>Quote key language – statute, rule or regulation </li></ul><ul><li>Otherwise, quote sparingly </li></ul><ul><li>Avoid cut & paste </li></ul><ul><li>Cases should be paraphrased </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Elements </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Holding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>facts </li></ul></ul>
  12. 12. CRAC,IRAC,CREAC <ul><li>1 st section (issue/conclusion/contention) and some of the rule </li></ul><ul><li>Overview paragraph </li></ul><ul><li>2 nd section (argument/analysis) including giving a case description </li></ul>
  13. 13. Discussion of the Law <ul><li>How much is enough? </li></ul><ul><li>Discussion should be thorough </li></ul><ul><li>Parentheticals can be helpful </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Can provide details of the facts or clarify the holding </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Punctuation and complete sentences are avoided unless quoting an entire sentence </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>First word is lower case; present participle (end in –ing) Rule 1.5 </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Example p. 4 last sentence </li></ul></ul>
  14. 14. Conclusion <ul><li>Restate overall theme </li></ul><ul><li>Essential reasons why you should win </li></ul><ul><li>Do not repeat the body of argument sections (what was the essence) </li></ul><ul><li>Tell the court what relief you’re asking for: </li></ul><ul><li>We urge the court to grant/deny or the Court should . . . </li></ul>
  15. 15. Goals <ul><li>Clarity </li></ul><ul><li>Brevity </li></ul><ul><li>Simplicity </li></ul>
  16. 16. WORD CHOICE <ul><li>Choose words carefully by asking 3 questions: </li></ul><ul><li>Is it a simple word? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it a correct use of the word? </li></ul><ul><li>Is it a persuasive word in this context? </li></ul>
  17. 17. Common Mistakes <ul><li>Severe vs. sever </li></ul><ul><li>Pervasive vs. persuasive </li></ul><ul><li>Statue vs. statute </li></ul>
  18. 18. Prune other redundancies. <ul><li>A distance of two miles </li></ul><ul><li>A period of one week </li></ul><ul><li>At a later date </li></ul><ul><li>During the month of October </li></ul><ul><li>Postponed until later </li></ul>
  19. 19. Avoid redundant numeration. <ul><li>Ten (10) women were going to the store. </li></ul>
  20. 20. Limit words and phrases like the following, which are often meaningless. <ul><li>Clearly </li></ul><ul><li>I am of the belief that </li></ul><ul><li>It is obvious that </li></ul><ul><li>To be sure </li></ul><ul><li>To tell the truth </li></ul>
  21. 21. Avoid compound prepositions and prepositional phrases. <ul><li>As a consequence of – consequently </li></ul><ul><li>For the reason that – because </li></ul><ul><li>In order to – to </li></ul><ul><li>Until such time as – until </li></ul>
  22. 22. Eliminate of the and of a phrases. <ul><li>Papers of the lawyer – the lawyer’s papers </li></ul><ul><li>It is of a soft substance – it is soft </li></ul>
  23. 23. Avoid it is and there are clauses. <ul><li>It is true that the defendant failed to testify. </li></ul><ul><li>The defendant failed to testify. </li></ul><ul><li>There are many cases that deal with adverse possession of islands. </li></ul><ul><li>Many cases deal with adverse possession of islands. </li></ul>
  24. 24. Avoid Nominalizations <ul><li>A simple verb that has been converted into a wordy noun phrase is called a nominalization. Try active verbs instead </li></ul><ul><li>Give consideration to - Consider </li></ul><ul><li>Lodge an objection - Object </li></ul><ul><li>File a lawsuit - Sue </li></ul>
  25. 25. Make sure pronouns have clear antecedents. <ul><li>Antecedent = word a pronoun refers to </li></ul><ul><li>Ambiguity occurs when there are multiple possible antecedents </li></ul><ul><li>Mr. Johnson told Mr. Smith that his truck was in an accident. </li></ul><ul><li>The Commission admitted that the regulation was unclear. This is unfortunate. </li></ul>
  26. 26. <ul><li>New Deadline Extension for trial briefs: Thursday, March 1 </li></ul><ul><li>750 pages to grade </li></ul>

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