Court jurisdiction

A court has jurisdiction over a cause of action if the court has the power to determine the outcome and rights and obligations of the parties. There is both geographical and subject matter jurisdiction. (For more detail see Romantz & Vinson at 12.) Courts that can hear testimony and review documents to determine the facts in a case are called courts of original jurisdiction. We’ll often refer to them as trial courts. Courts that review the decisions of trial courts are called appellate courts. Courts that can hear any claim are called courts of general jurisdiction. Many state trial courts Read More …

Claims and parties

The person, company, or government that brings a lawsuit or defends against one is called a “party.” A party has a claim (you might also hear “cause of action”) if it has some legal basis for seeking relief from a court for the actions of another party. In a civil case, the cause of action usually arises from: A common-law tort, where the defendant has allegedly failed to behave toward the plaintiff in a way the common law expects. A contract, where the parties in the case had an agreement that the defendant allegedly breached or with which the defendant Read More …

Question presented and brief answer for a predictive memo

A question presented and brief answer in a predictive legal memo serve three purposes, according to Coughlin, Rocklin, and Patrick, A Lawyer Writes 217–18 (2d ed. 2013): They play a “time-management role” by allowing your reader quickly to discover the question your memo addresses, its answer, and the factual and legal bases upon which that answer turns. Though the person to whom you address the memo almost certainly expects it and anticipates its content at the time you write it, that same person may later need to re-orient herself to the memo’s contents. The question presented and brief answer allow Read More …