WooleyCivPro - 1 II CLAIMS AND DEFENSES A INTRODUCTION...

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II. CLAIMS AND DEFENSES A. INTRODUCTION Substantive Law: legal rules of conduct in daily lives Every rule of substantive law can be put in the form of a conditional imperative: - If so and so and such and such is the case, then Δ is liable unless so and so and such and such is the case. Not every conditional imperative states a rule of substantive law. Claims and affirmative defenses – meaning of claim depends on context. - Valid claim : set of facts that give rise to a right of relief in the courts (elements are based on the conditional imperative) o Elements material to the claim: the “if” plus the “unless” o Elements of the claim: the “if” statements o Affirmative defenses: the “unless” statements Adjudication of the validity of the claim involves testing the conditional imperative in two ways: 1) Do the if/then clauses accurately state a rule of substantive law 2) Assuming the if/then clauses accurately state a rule of substantive law, do the actual facts fit the conditional imperative If the answer to both = yes, the claim is valid unless Δ has a valid affirmative defense. - Valid defenses: There are two questions: o Does at least one of the unless clauses on which the D relies provide a defense to liability under the substantive law? o Do the facts correspond to the unless clause of the conditional imperative? A lawsuit is not always decided based on validity of the claim (i.e., wrong court) but will always fail if either question above is negative. BURDENS - How to allocate the burden/responsibility of proving and asserting the elements material to the claim. - Allocations of burdens may differ at various stages of litigation (can determine who wins). Three different burdens: o Burden of pleading o Burden of production o Burden of persuasion Typically, but not always, all three burdens fall on the same party. 1) Burden of pleading: alleging a particular element in pleadings. If p, must do so in complaint. If p fails to plead an element (for which P is responsible), there are serious consequences to the case and it may lead to dismissal. For example, in a negligence claim, P must plead: a. Negligence b. Causation c. Injury/damage d. D must plead contributory negligence (if he fails to plead this, it is out of the case). i. Pleadings can be amended ii. Burden imposed on a P (under Federal rules of civil procedure) may be more relaxed. 2) Burden of production: (in its simplest form answers this question) Who loses if no evidence is produced on a particular issue? The party who would lose is said to have the burden of producing evidence on that issue. a. A party meets the burden if it produces enough evidence to convince a reasonable jury to find for him/her on a particular issue. If not, court can grant judgment as a matter of law. 3) Burden of persuasion:
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This note was uploaded on 08/28/2008 for the course LAW 433 taught by Professor Wooley during the Spring '08 term at University of Texas.

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WooleyCivPro - 1 II CLAIMS AND DEFENSES A INTRODUCTION...

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