Case Study Assignment | Case Study
Students will be assigned cases (court opinions) which they are to brief (summarize) in writing using their own words. Each brief should be 1 to 2 double-spaced pages in length and no more than that, otherwise, it would not be brief. 😉 Your work will be graded primarily on the basis of its accuracy, thoughtfulness, conciseness, and clarity of expression. Briefs should be prepared using the following sections: Heading: The name of the case, the year it was decided, and the court that decided it. Also put your name in the header on both pages of the brief.
Facts: A brief recounting of the essential facts of the case. To a certain extent, the court already has done this in any opinion, but students should use their own words as they further distill the court’s narration.
Issue: A statement, in the form of a question, of the question(s) the court must answer in order to be able to decide the case. If the issue is not explicitly stated in the court opinion, its identification can be tricky.
Outcome: Give the answer to the issue. What is the decision of this court? How does the court dispose of the case (e.g., reversed and remanded to lower court)?
Reasoning: Explain how the court arrived at its decision. What are the logical steps in the court’s reasoning (whether they in fact are logical or not)? What rule(s) does this court apply?
Dissent: If there was any dissenting opinion in the case, summarize it here. A dissenting opinion is a written explanation of why one or more appellate judges who heard the case disagreed with the majority of judges whose opinion decides the case. Most cases will not have a dissenting opinion. You will recognize the dissenting opinion, if there is one, because it will appear at the end and be clearly labeled as such.
Comments: Your chance to go beyond telling the story of the case, here you can add your analysis of any weaknesses you detect in the court’s opinion. Examples of questions to consider include the following: What public policies are evident in the opinion? What are the practical implications of the case for people other than the parties to the case? What could the losing party have done differently to avoid the loss? What could the winning party have done differently to avoid this costly litigation?
These are not specific questions you are required to answer, but only
examples of the way you might think about the case.
So that the briefs are brief, stay within these limits:
o 2 pages
o Double-spaced, except the heading
o Minimum 12-point font
o Normal margins –