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LS 182 Handout - How to Read and Brief a Case

LS 182 Handout - How to Read and Brief a Case - How to...

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How to Read (and Brief) a Case General: How many opinions are there? If more than one, do they concur or dissent? Do we have a majority opinion? Is the case a real, unique, isolated dispute, or part of a larger campaign? 1. The Facts: If there is more than one opinion, start by looking just at the primary opinion – it will usually be the first. Who are the parties to the dispute? Who are the additional characters in the story? What was the relationship between the parties before the case? Any previous dealings. What happened – what is the dispute? The story can include one event, a series of events, a lot of layers and meanings, or any combination. The parties may claim a wrong doing, or there may be a real disagreement about the interpretation of a contract, the law, the constitution or the facts. All these aspects may affect the way the court will treat the case. [If there is more than one opinion] Once we understood what is the story the primary opinion is telling, we look at the other opinions. Do the other justices tell a different
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