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Author Topic: Research Help  (Read 1258 times)

mikey4400

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Research Help
« on: January 16, 2006, 08:43:46 PM »
I'm doing a practice research memorandum and I've been staring at this contracts fact pattern for hours and have no idea where to start reserching or what sources to use or what topics to start looking for. State or Fed cases? How would I go about doing this? Any bit of help would be appreciated. Thanks.

In January of 2004, John Smith, child prodigy who excelled in the field of computer science and technology, joined “Website Designs” (“WD”) company located in Jamaica, Queens at age 21. He signed an employment agreement that contained a restrictive covenant stating as follows: “John Smith agrees that if he should terminate his employment with Website Designs, or if Website Designs should terminate his employment for cause, then he is restricted from the practice of designing website in a 15 mile radius from the address of Website Designs for a period of 5 years.”

Mr. Smith was viewed by WD as someone with potential for moving up in the company. However, his primary responsibility was taking telephone orders from customers, which did not help him understand the needs of the customers. After staying with the company for only one year, Mr. Smith went to work for “Computers Unlimited” (“CU”), which is another company that designs website. CU is located 14 miles from WD and is located over the border of Queens, but in New Hyde Park, Nassau County. Beginning in January 2005, Mr. Smith took a creative position at CU. He began researching and designing new approaches to creating websites that are cost-efficient for clients.

When WD executives heard that Mr. Smith was on the verge of creating possibly a new product, it sent Mr. Smith a letter indicating that it intends to take him to court to enforce the restrictive covenant. What is the likely outcome of the case, would the cct uphold agreement in whole or in part?

Jumboshrimps

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #1 on: January 16, 2006, 09:02:13 PM »
I don't get it. You already asked this and I practically walked you to the applicable law. Go back and read my post on the other thread.

qaz123

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #2 on: January 16, 2006, 09:06:10 PM »
id start out with a terms and connectors search with something like this: "restrictive covenant" /s breach /s contract /p compet!

you should get at least a few relevant cases.  then you can shephardize those to get more cases.  and once you read a few decisions that are on point you will have a better idea of what to search for since youll learn the terms of art that are used in such cases.

as for what kind of courts to search under, that depends on your assignment.  where will this imaginary suit be brought?   just ask your prof if its not in the assignment or you forgot.  you can always do an "all federal and state cases" search to start with, but that will probably give you a lot more cases than you would want and some decisions that will only be persuasive precedent.

mikey4400

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #3 on: January 18, 2006, 04:00:11 PM »
id start out with a terms and connectors search with something like this: "restrictive covenant" /s breach /s contract /p compet!

you should get at least a few relevant cases.  then you can shephardize those to get more cases.  and once you read a few decisions that are on point you will have a better idea of what to search for since youll learn the terms of art that are used in such cases.

as for what kind of courts to search under, that depends on your assignment.  where will this imaginary suit be brought?   just ask your prof if its not in the assignment or you forgot.  you can always do an "all federal and state cases" search to start with, but that will probably give you a lot more cases than you would want and some decisions that will only be persuasive precedent.

Thanks for the help. It will be decided in NY. The librarian said to never cite the unofficial reports, only the official reports. If that is the case, what is the point of even looking at the unofficial reports? I also need to find leading cases. So confusing.

Mimimimi

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #4 on: January 19, 2006, 10:45:56 AM »
Try using a secondary source first (like ALR).  Look up employment contracts, restrictive covenants, etc.  That will point you to the leading cases. 

Coregram

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #5 on: January 19, 2006, 11:43:07 AM »
And only look at NY cases first since there doesn't appear to be a reason you could even go into Federal Ct. 

And while you might not cite any unofficial reports or secondary sources, they should lead you to some statutes and/or officially reported cases you can use.

Not to be a jerk, but if you are as lost as you indicate in starting the research, either your instructor hasn't done a good job in teaching you the research process or you aren't getting it.  Either way, you should consider going back and getting a better understanding of how do approach researching a problem.  You will need this skill in the future no matter what type of law you practice or in what environment you practice it.

mikey4400

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #6 on: January 19, 2006, 05:39:04 PM »
Thanks again for the help. Yes, my professor just tossed us in the library, gave us a brief tour, and told us to start researching.

So far, I found under West's NY Digest 4th - Contracts and looked under Restrictive covenants, non-compete, etc. The topics all seem to apply to my fact pattern. I've pulled out several of these cases and read through them and they all seem to be have similar law/rules. Now what? How many rules/laws should I pull out? How do I know which one would be the leading case for NY? Arghh... I'm going crazy with this.

lipper

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #7 on: January 19, 2006, 06:13:23 PM »
doesn't really matter if u find a leading case. just try to find the highest authority, court of appeals, for the rule that you want to use. After that, u try to find cases with similar facts and state that same rule, so u can show how ur case is analgous to those. this is the tough part.
check the footnotes ya'll

Mimimimi

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #8 on: January 19, 2006, 08:17:16 PM »
Thanks again for the help. Yes, my professor just tossed us in the library, gave us a brief tour, and told us to start researching.

So far, I found under West's NY Digest 4th - Contracts and looked under Restrictive covenants, non-compete, etc. The topics all seem to apply to my fact pattern. I've pulled out several of these cases and read through them and they all seem to be have similar law/rules. Now what? How many rules/laws should I pull out? How do I know which one would be the leading case for NY? Arghh... I'm going crazy with this.

The most important cases to use are the ones from the highest court and most recent decisions.  Do you know how to shepardize/keycite on lexis or westlaw?  That way you can find out if a case is still good law.

jacy85

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Re: Research Help
« Reply #9 on: January 19, 2006, 10:29:26 PM »
How can you tell when you're done researching?

My writing prof stated it pretty well.

You stop when you're no longer finding anything new.  As you read through cases that seem to be on point, you'll likely see citations to language that you like, or keycites that seem like they'd be helpful.  Make sure you keep a careful record of the cases you read/print/whatever, and keep a list of further cases to look up from citations.  Once your research shows signs of becoming circular (you keep seeing the same cases, and eventually each new case refers you back to all the other cases you've read w/o adding anything new), then you're done.  This likely means that you've read through the bulk of what's on point.

Once you've gone through all this, you need to figure out what the rule is from each case.  What does a case add or clarify for each element of the rule you're working on?  Once you go through what's helpful for your case, what's not on topic, and what cases provide strong counterarguments against your position, go through and piece together the rule.

It sounds hard, and the first time can be a challenge, but it's really not that bad.