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Civil Procedure Keyed to Yeazell
Hickman v. Taylor
ProfessorBrittany L. Raposa
CaseCast™ – "What you need to know"
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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:
In 1943 a tug, the “J.M. Taylor” sank while engaged in helping to tow a car float of the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad across the Delaware River at Philadelphia. The accident, in which five of the nine crew members drowned was unusual in nature and the cause was unknown. Three days later Defendants employed a law firm to defend them against potential suits by representatives of the deceased crew members and to sue the railroad for damages to the tug. The following month, the attorney for Defendants privately interviewed the four survivors and took statements from them with an eye toward anticipated litigation. Hickman (Plaintiff), a representative of one of the five victims, brought suit in federal court naming as defendants the two tug owners. One year later, Plaintiff filed 39 interrogatories directed to the tug owners. The 38th interrogatory requested that the tug owners disclose whether any statements of the surviving crew members were taken following the accident, and if so, to include copies of such statements in writing, and if oral, to set forth in detail the exact provisions of such statements. The tug owners answered all of the interrogatories in full, except number 38. They admitted that statements were taken, but declined to summarize them or provide their contents. They based their refusal on the ground that such requests called for “privileged matter obtained in preparation for litigation. The district court held that the requested matters were not privileged. Upon their refusal, the tug owners were held in contempt. The Third Circuit Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the district court. The Supreme Court of the United States then granted certiorari.
- 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.