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Torts Keyed to Prosser
Commonwealth v. Peterson
Citation:286 Va. 349, 749 S.E.2d 307
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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:
On the morning of April 16, 2007, police at Virginia Tech discovered two gunshot victims in one of the campus’s dormitories. The police informed the President of Virginia Tech that two students had been shot, the shootings appeared targeted and likely domestic in nature, and that the shooter had likely left campus. An email was sent to the student body informing them of the shooting that morning. Approximately thirty minutes after the email was sent, a second mass shooting began on another part of campus. The police identified the shooter and connected DNA evidence and the murder weapon with the earlier shooting. The administrators of the estates of Erin Peterson and Julia Pryde, two of the murder victims from the second shooting, filed wrongful death suits against the shooter’s estate, the Commonwealth, and various Virginia Tech officials. After the consolidation of cases and several motions, the Commonwealth was left as the sole defendant. The Commonwealth argued: (1) it did not have a special relationship with Peterson and Pryde, and (2) even assuming, arguendo, that there was a special relationship, there was no duty to warn of third party criminal acts. The circuit court found that a special relationship did exist and the Commonwealth failed to warn the students of a shooter on campus. The Commonwealth 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.