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Contracts Keyed to Knapp
Higgins v. Superior Court of Los Angeles County
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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:
Five orphaned siblings (the “Higgins (P)”) whose age ranges was between 14 to 21, and living with the Leomitis, were approached by the producers of the television program Extreme Makeover: Home Edition (Extreme Makeover) with a proposal to make a show based on the loss of their parents and their living with the Leomitis’. Fortunately, the Higginses (P) and the Leomitis were chosen to participate in the program and apart from this, the Leomitis home would also be renovated. A 24 single-spaced pages and 72 numbered paragraphs contract were sent to the Higgins (P) and Leomitis by the producers. Attached to the contract were several pages of exhibits and an authorization for release of medical information, emergency medical release and, a one-page document titled “Release” and which was classified as exhibit C, were all included in the contract. The first page of the agreement contained a caveat which specified that potential signors should not append their signature unless they have gone through the agreement. Included in contract and close to the end of the agreement, was a paragraph which stated that the signor must have read through the agreement and reviewed it with a legal counsel or at his/her discretion, have opted to read and review the agreement alone. Among the last 12 numbered paragraphs that had no title or heading was paragraph 69, which stipulated that disputes or controversies would be resolved through a binding arbitration. There was no reference to draw the attention of the reader to this particular clause and the one-page release also contained a similar clause like this which relates to arbitration provision. The television producer and none of their representative held any discussion about the agreement was held with the Higgins (P) and when the agreement was presented at the Leomitis home, the Higgins (P) did not join the meeting. After this meeting, Mrs. Leomitis instructed the Higgins (P) after she handed over the documents to them, to “flip through the papers, sign and initial the documents of the agreement where it contained a signature line or box,” which they did without fully understanding the implication of appending their signatures. After the signing of the agreement, reconstruction of the Leomitis house began and this was carried out by the representative from the show. The program was broadcasted and it featured the Higgins (P) and the Leomitis. After the broadcast of this show, the Leomitis compelled the Higgins (P) to leave their house. The Higgins (P) made this situation known to the producers who did not bother about their present predicament but went ahead to rebroadcast the show. This lead the Higgins (P) to sue the various parties in connection with the show (the “television defendants”) (D), including the Leomitis. The Higgins (P) claimed the other parties had breached the contract but the television defendants (D) petitioned to enforce arbitration. This was however opposed by the Higgins (P) on the ground that compelling the arbitration provision was unconscionable. This trial court ruled in favor of the defendants and the Higgins (P) met this judgment by filing for writ of mandate which challenging the trial court’s ruling. A review was therefore granted by the state’s intermediate court of appeal.
- 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.