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Messages - phosita

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Current Law Students / Re: STANDOUT CASES
« on: June 01, 2006, 10:08:15 PM »
One of my T.A.s sent this quote out.

Quote from: United States v. Murphy, 406 F.3d 857

On the evening of May 29, 2003, Hayden was smoking crack with three other folks at a trailer park home on Chain of Rocks Road in Granite City, Illinois. Murphy, Sr., who had sold drugs to Hayden several years earlier, showed up later that night. He was friendly at first, but he soon called Hayden a "snitch female dog hoe" n1 and hit her in the head with the back of his hand.

- - - - - - - - - - - - - - Footnotes - - - - - - - - - - - - - - -

n1 The trial transcript quotes Ms. Hayden as saying Murphy called her a snitch female dog "hoe." A "hoe," of course, is a tool used for weeding and gardening. We think the court reporter, unfamiliar with rap music (perhaps thankfully so), misunderstood Hayden's response. We have taken the liberty of changing "hoe" to "ho," a staple of rap music vernacular as, for example, when Ludacris raps "You doin' ho activities with ho tendencies."

Current Law Students / Re: STANDOUT CASES
« on: June 01, 2006, 04:05:27 PM »
The Head Cut off by the Elevator case from Torts; I never did catch the name, and with facts like those, you don't have to.   :P

d**mn, we didn't cover that case. Sounds like a good one though.

It was actually just mentioned briefly in the notes following a one of the cases we read on emotional distress (I believe the principle case we read was Portee v. Jafee, the My-kid-got-stuck-in-the-elevator-and-I-listened-to-him-moan-in-agony-until-he-died case).  The cases on emotional distress were just awful in general; ome of my sectionmates had nightmares.   :-\

My fav. had to be in contracts, although I can't remember the name. It involved  what should have been a standard home sale except that, after the sale was complete and the buyer moved in, the seller started promoting the house as being haunted. The buyer then sued, claiming his wife was now too scared to sleep in the house and that not disclosing the haunting was fraud. The opinion was full of puns, said that the seller was estopped from claiming the house wasn't haunted, and pointed out that there was a good, although unmade, argument for the seller having breached the clause in the contract requiring the house to be unoccupied when the buyer took possesion. Kind of a silly case, but it was a nice note to end fall semester on - I guess that's one of the pluses of having a professor that writes his own casebook.

Current Law Students / Re: STANDOUT CASES
« on: June 01, 2006, 03:17:02 PM »
The Head Cut off by the Elevator case from Torts; I never did catch the name, and with facts like those, you don't have to.   :P

Damn, we didn't cover that case. Sounds like a good one though.

Current Law Students / Re: STANDOUT CASES
« on: June 01, 2006, 08:28:34 AM »
There are a couple of cases that standout (e.g. Marbury v. Madison, Palsgraf v. Long Island R.R., World Wide Volkswagen v. Woodson, the Erie line of cases, etc.) but I think it's the basic principles that will stick with you the most.

Like other posters have said, the only legal advice law students can give is that we're not qualified to give legal advice. That said, there's probably no practical benefit in getting your rental contract with your roommates set out in writing. If someone does skip out, it'll almost certainly cost you more than a couple of months rent to try and get your money through litigation. If you're that worried you should find a more reliable roommate.

Good luck at law school.

Current Law Students / Re: PATENT BAR
« on: May 26, 2006, 07:30:45 PM »
Are all these degrees equal in demand? That is, would it be worth it to go and get a botany degree so as to qualify me for patent work, or would somebody with a mechanical engineering degree be more valuable?

Based on the employment ads in the back of an IP trade magazine we get at work, the vast majority of demand is for patent agents/attorneys with experience in electrical, mechanical, computer, or chemical engineering. I wouldn't think going back for a botany degree would be a good investment, although there is probably some work out there.

Current Law Students / Re: PATENT BAR
« on: May 26, 2006, 09:55:19 AM »
One piece of advice, I think I focused for too long on reviewing the general material.  I spent two weeks going through the rules, and then four weeks doing practice tests.  A lot of the stuff I did going over the rules was worthless because the patent bar actually focuses on certain narrow issues..

That's great advice. I'd start with a couple of practice tests so you can see what MPEP chapters the exam focuses on. Then you can prioritize your studying accordingly.


Current Law Students / Re: case briefing
« on: May 24, 2006, 05:29:20 PM »
So would I be correct to assume that a case brief is mainly to prepare a student for class, while the "black letter law" learned from the case brief would be used for the exam? Thanks again.

Exactly - a brief is primarily so that when you get called on in class you can discuss the case without having to page through your book. Ideally you won't have to look at your brief either but everybody brainfarts occasionally. 

The example I posted in contrast to jumboshrimp's was only intended to show the range of different briefing styles. Most students will probably start doing extensive briefs, then pare it down until they've found the right balance for their individual style. By the end of the first semester I was using a style much closer to jumboshrimps than the example I posted (when I breifed at all). However, I think a 1L should start breifing in a style closer to the 4lawschool version, and then see if they can gain the same benefit with a more sparse style.

Current Law Students / Re: case briefing
« on: May 24, 2006, 11:37:59 AM »
Before class and before an exam are totally different.  For an exam, jumboshrip's is far superior.  For class, the one from 4lawschool is adequate.  But no way you need to know all that *&^% for an exam.

Good point - I threw "exam" in there without really thinking about it. But I'd still hesitate to call jumboshrimp's example a brief - as budlaw said it's more like a description that belongs in an outline.


Current Law Students / Re: case briefing
« on: May 24, 2006, 10:27:14 AM »
Here's alternate way to brief Hadley (taken from

DATE:  January 3, 2004

STUDENT:  Lisa Nash, 1L

TOPIC:  Damages and Remedies; Expectation Damages

CASE:  Hadley v. Baxendale, Court of Exchequer, 9 Exch. 341, 156 Eng. Rep 145 (1854)

FACTS:  Plaintiffs were the owners of a mill whose operation was stopped due to the breakage of a crank shaft.  The shaft had to be sent to engineers of the manufacturer [Joyce & Company] as a pattern for a new one.  Plaintiffs used Pickford & Company as carriers.  The clerk advised them that the shaft must be sent immediately, as the mill was stopped.  The clerk was promised delivery in one day and paid 2 pounds 4 shillings for the delivery.  However, Pickford failed to perform as promised and delivery was delayed for several days.  As a result, plaintiff lost several days’ profits from the mill that otherwise would have been made if the shaft had been delivered on time.  Plaintiff sues Defendant for lost profits.

HISTORY:  In the trial case, the jury returned a verdict for the Plaintiffs for 25 pounds, plus the amount paid into Court.  Defendant appeals and a new trial is ordered.  Appellate court reverses.

ISSUE:  Can Plaintiffs recover lost profits?


RULE/ANALYSIS:  A New Rule was created in this case:  The court found that an aggrieved buyer of services will be unable to recover consequential losses resulting from breach unless the losses are 1) a “natural” consequence of breach; or 2) the buyer brings the circumstances which would generate the losses expressly to the seller’s attention.  The court reasoned that Pickford had no way of knowing that Plaintiffs would lose profits if the shipment of the shaft was delayed, as this information wasn’t communicated directly to them and therefore the loss of profits was not reasonably contemplated by both the parties when they made the contract.  Although the fact that the mill was closed was communicated, it wasn’t made completely clear to the Defendants that the mill was closed because of the broken shaft and couldn’t re-open again until it was fixed.  For all the Defendants knew, the mill was closed for another reason.

SUMMARY:  Indirect or consequential damages are only recoverable if reasonably foreseeable by both of the parties at the time of the contract and arising naturally from such breach.  This legal concept is still alive today – 150 years later.  If the Plaintiffs had made it clear that the mill’s operation was dependent upon getting the new crank shaft, the outcome would have been in their favor.

Given the choice between having this example or Jumboshrimp's to review before class or an exam, I'd prefer this one. However, 'reasonable minds may disagree'.

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