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Contracts Keyed to Calamari
Cazares v. Saenz
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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:
The Defendant, Phil Saenz (the "Defendant"), was an inexperienced attorney when he was contacted by the Mexican consulate in November 1978 about the electrocution of a Mexican national, Raul Gutierrez ("Mr. Gutierrez"). Mr. Gutierrez retained the Defendant and their retainer agreement allowed the Defendant to "retain co-counsel if he deems it necessary" and also stated "[a]ttorney fees shall be 33 1/3% of the net recovery; i.e., after all costs and medical expenses." In September 1979, the Defendant agreed to associate the Plaintiff, Cazares & Tosdal (the "Plaintiff") on the Gutierrez case. However, the Defendant wished to only work with the Roy Cazares ("Mr. Cazares") and not Thomas Tosdal ("Mr. Tosdal"). However, the Defendant did not care if Mr. Tosdal worked on the case if he did not have any interaction with him. Mr. Cazares and the Defendant agreed to split the contingent fee. The complaint filed in November 1979 had both the Mr. Cazares's and the Defendant's name on it. For the next two and a half years, Mr. Cazares performed most of the legal work on the case, the Defendant maintained client contact and Mr. Tosdal did virtually nothing. In June of 1981, the Plaintiff partnership dissolved, but they retained certain cases as partnership assets including Mr. Gutierrez's case. In May of 1982, Mr. Cazares was appointed municipal court judge. Around this time, Mr. Cazares urged the Defendant to allow Mr. Tosdal to assist in prosecuting Mr. Guitierrez's matter. Mr. Tosdal also wrote the Defendant a letter offering his services. Instead, however, the Defendant associated himself with another personal injury attorney, Isam Khoury ("Mr. Khoury") and hired a young attorney to do research. The Defendant settled Mr. Guiterrez's case for $1.1 million dollars, which entitled him to a fee of about $366,000. Out of that fee, the Defendant paid Mr. Khoury $40,000 and the research attorney $7,000. About two weeks after the case settled, the Defendant offered to pay the Mr. Cazares $40,000 for his work on the case. Mr. Cazares declined and said the Defendant owed the defunct Plaintiff partnership about $183,000. This case was tried by a referee by stipulation and a judgment was entered in favor of the Plaintiff for $159,833.00.
- 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.