Read: Chapter 36 (Except Contracts Made by Subagents section, p.6)
Brief: Frontier Leasing Corp. v. Links Engineering, LLC, p.5,
Treadwell v. J.D. Construction Co., p.7 and Synergies3 Tec Services, LLC v. Corvo, p.11.
ISSUE: should be 1-2 sentences
RULE: 1-2 sentences
APPLICATION: 2-4 paragraphs
CONCLUSION: 1-2 sentences
What is a Brief?
“Brief” a specific case, you will need to do so in writing.
How to Write a “Brief”
When you submit the written briefs, you should use the following “IRAC” (Issue Rule Application Conclusion) format:
Issue: What question must be answered in order to reach a conclusion in the case? The Issue must be expressed in the form of a legal question which, when answered, gives the result in the case. Make it specific (e.g. “Has there been a false imprisonment if the plaintiff was asleep at the time of ‘confinement’?”) rather than general (e.g. Did the defendant owe a duty of care to the plaintiff when the plaintiff was trespassing on the defendant’s property?). Some cases present more than one issue; if there is more than one issue, it is OK to write more than one, but be sure to list the principal one and focus on that.
Rule: The Rule is the law that applies to the principal issue. It should be stated as a general principal, (e.g. A duty of care is owed whenever the defendant should anticipate that her conduct could create a risk of harm to the plaintiff.) not a conclusion to the case being briefed, (e.g. “The plaintiff was negligent.”). Typically, the Rule can be expressed in one or two sentences.
Application: The Application is a discussion of how the Rule applies to the facts of the case. Essentially, the Application section is a description of the relevant facts, the parties’ arguments and positions in the case, and the court’s thought process by which it answered the Issue and established the Rule. While the Issue and Rule are normally only one or two sentences each, the Application section of a brief should be two to four paragraphs long. It should be a written debate, not simply a statement of the Conclusion. Whenever possible, present both sides of any issue. Do not begin with your Conclusion. The Application section shows how you can track the court’s reasoning on paper and is the most difficult skill you will learn. It is also permissible to put the relevant facts of the case in a separate section of the Brief.
Conclusion: What was the result of the case? Did the appellate or supreme court affirm, reverse or reverse and remand the lower court’s decision?
With cases, the textbook gives you a background of the facts along with the judge’s reasoning and conclusion. When you briefcases, you are summarizing the judge’s opinion. Briefs should not have to exceed more than two pages in length.
Treadwell v. J.D. Construction Co., p.7
Issue: Is Derr personally liable when he signed a contract on behalf of JD Construction Inc. which is an inexistent corporate entity?
Rule: Partially closed principle or unidentified principle. When a third party and an agent interact, the third party needs to know that the agent in question is expressively working for a named principle, or the agent must make it clear to the third party the principal they are working for. For the agent to be held personally liable, they need to inform the third party expressively the principal interest they represent. Failure to outline the principal, it will be assumed that the agent and the third party are in agreement together, expressively making the agent a party to an agreement.
The Treadwell, entered into an agreement with Derr, an agent acting for the J. D Construction, which was not a registered corporation, but a name Derr had been using unofficially as a substitute to JCDER Inc., a registered party. As an agent, who made a contract with an unknown/ undisclosed principal, or partially disclosed principal, Derr would be held liable, and not JCDER Inc. as the primary party in the contract.
To avoid any form of liability, the third party, as well as the agent need to have actual express knowledge of the identity of the principal, the third party in this case, will not need to investigate. In this regard, the Treadwells, outline that on signing a contract with Derr, they were led to believe that his company was called J. D Construction Co., as this was the signage provided in their contractual document. Derr signed the contract on behalf as an agent of J. D Construction, and implied to be the Treadwell’s contact person, but was unreachable for majority of the time. The court outline that Derr’s use of an JD Construction was effective in hiding and not disclosing the relationship with JCDER, INc. and JDCER was as such the undisclosed party in the contractual agreement.
Conclusion: The plaintiff were entitled to damages due to the repairs and damages that Derr’s inactivity resulted. They had already paid Derr for work, and instructed him to build a drywall, and the sheetrock, but had not paid for the sheetrock. They assumed that J.D Construction was the principal, which it was not as it was not a registered company. JCDER was the unidentified principal. The Treadwells in no way could have known this making Derr personally liable. Court revised their awards in punitive damage to $11,025
Synergies3 Tec Services, LLC v. Corvo, p.11.
Issue: Is an employer (in this case, DirectTV and Synergies3 Tec Services) liable for their employees (McLaughin and Castro) wrong doing?
Rule: Respondeat Superior holds that the employer is vicariously liable for the acts of its employee when done for the employer’s benefit. The acts should be done in the line and scope of the employment as they further employer’s interest. It summarily holds superiors liable for their employees misconduct or wrongful acts.
In order to successfully claim respondeat superior, the plaintiff need to establish the status of the employer as well as employee, and outline the fact that the act was done within the scope of the employees inquisition employment. McLaughin and Castro, were invited into Corvo and Bond’s house to install a satellite TV, after the Bond had been engaged, and Bond gifted Corvo, a $40,000 diamond ring.
While at the house, they both were distracted, and after the installation they realized that the ring’s three carat diamond was missing. They sued their employers DirectTV and Synergies3. The established rule also works in cases of malicious and willful illegal acts, and it can invoked to aid in the recovery of lost of damaged items.
In both cases, the theft and conversion, were regarded as unusual deviation from Synergies3 and DirectTV’s work and no evidence established whether they did the theft and conversion for the benefit of Synergies3 or DirectTV, and that the trial should have been entered a judgment as a matter of law in favor Synergies3 or DirectTV
Frontier Leasing Corp. v. Links Engineering, LLC, p.5,
Issue: To establish whether the gold director, in his capacity as te manager in charge of the day to day operations of the gold course was authorized to sign any contract on behalf of Links Engineering, especially the golf cart leases or enter any other financial agreement in his job title that was limited to day to day golf course operations.
Rule: To establish who was the real party behind a binding lease contract, and who has authority to sign a binding contract. Generally define the terms of an accurate binding contract, as well as whether there is a reasonable time for substitution of the real party interest.
The district court outlines that David Flemming the employee had the right to enter into a lease from C and J Special Purpose Corp, Frontier too had a valid assignment of the lease, making it the real party. It granted a ruling in favor of Frontier, , outlining that Flemming had proprietary estoppel to the property, as he ran the day to day functions of gold course owned by Links, as such making it a binding agreement.
Proprietary estoppel speaks to delegation of power to make decisions in favor of a party, during a period in which the party to be incharge is non performing or has delegated duty. The court of appeal reversed the ruling suggesting that the district court should have allowed reasonable time for substitution; Link establish that Frontier’s statute of limitation was expired as such the compulsion for a substitution was ineffective. The court agreed that the defendant, Links must be given a chance to show it will be prejudiced from the resulting substitution. District court found Flemming to have actual authority, defining actual authority as an act that is created when a principle intentionally confers authority on an agent to act either through writing or conduct which when interpreted by a reasonable mind will allow the agent to believe he/ she has the power to act.
Conclusion: Substitution of the real party of interest was granted as appropriate. The court of appeal’s decision to affirm the district court rule agreed to treat the assignment as valid.