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Civil Procedure Keyed to Hazard
American Life Insurance Co. v. Stewart
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*Case Brief Anatomy includes: Brief Prologue, Complete Case Brief, Brief Epilogue
- The Brief Prologue provides necessary case brief introductory information and includes:
- Topic: Identifies the topic of law and where this case fits within your course outline.
- Parties: Identifies the cast of characters involved in the case.
- Procedural Posture & History: Shares the case history with how lower courts have ruled on the matter.
- Case Key Terms, Acts, Doctrines, etc.: A case specific Legal Term Dictionary.
- Case Doctrines, Acts, Statutes, Amendments and Treatises: Identifies and Defines Legal Authority used in this case.
- The Case Brief is the complete case summarized and authored in the traditional Law School I.R.A.C. format. The Pro case brief includes:
- Brief Facts: A Synopsis of the Facts of the case.
- Rule of Law: Identifies the Legal Principle the Court used in deciding the case.
- Facts: What are the factual circumstances that gave rise to the civil or criminal case? What is the relationship of the Parties that are involved in the case. Review the Facts of this case here:
Reese Smith Stewart (Defendant) purchased two life insurance policies from the American Life Insurance Company (Plaintiff). The policies provided a two-year time period during which Plaintiff could contest the policy’s issuance. Three months after purchasing this coverage, Defendant died. Four months after Defendant’s death, Plaintiff filed two suits in equity (one for each policy) seeking to cancel the policies due to fraudulent statements made be Defendant in his application. Shortly after Plaintiff filed its suits, Defendant’s surviving family members filed an action at law seeking to enforce the policies. Both parties stipulated that the suits in law would be delayed until the suits in equity wer resolved. Defendant’s family filed an answer in the equity suit, alleging that the time period to contest the policy had elapsed. After trial, the district court held that the policies were fraudulently procured and that they should be cancelled. Defendant’s family appealed to the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit, which reversed the district court’s ruling. The court of appeals held that the insurer had an adequate remedy at law, namely utilizing the fraud on Defendant’s part as a defense in the suit at law. Plaintiff appealed.
- Issue(s): Lists the Questions of Law that are raised by the Facts of the case.
- Holding: Shares the Court's answer to the legal questions raised in the issue.
- Concurring / Dissenting Opinions: Includes valuable concurring or dissenting opinions and their key points.
- Reasoning and Analysis: Identifies the chain of argument(s) which led the judges to rule as they did.
- The Brief Prologue closes the case brief with important forward-looking discussion and includes:
- Policy: Identifies the Policy if any that has been established by the case.
- Court Direction: Shares where the Court went from here for this case.