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Civil Procedure Keyed to Yeazell
Erie Railroad v. Tompkins
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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 July of 1934 Defendant visited his mother-in-law’s house in Pennsylvania. He walked part of the distance along the railroad tracks of the Plaintiff. A train passed, and an open door on a refrigerator car struck him and knocked him partially under the train. His right arm was severed. Defendant then brought suit against the railroad in the Federal District Court for the Southern District of New York. Under Pennsylvania law the railroad would have been liable only for “wanton” negligence. However, rather than apply Pennsylvania law, the District Judge, at Defendant’s urging, applied the “general law” that the railroad was liable even if it was guilty only of “ordinary negligence. The jury returned a verdict for Defendant. Plaintiff appealed, but the Second Circuit upheld Defendant’s verdict. The railroad then sought certiorari from the Supreme Court of the United States.
- 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.