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Case Analysis 1 Fact Patterns
For each fact pattern, specify the essential legal issue(s) involved, describe the legal concepts from the text, decide which side should win, and explain your reasoning and how you used the legal concepts to arrive at your decision. See the Case Analysis Instructions for further information about completing this assignment.
1. Brian Short v. State of Florida
Brian and Jennifer were in love. They had been high school sweethearts, and they planned to get married when they both graduated from Saint Leo University. However, there was one problem: Brian and Jennifer were both very short. Each stood less than five feet tall. The state of Florida had recently passed a law that prohibited two very short people from marrying. In defense of the law, the state asserted that in order to maintain dominance with the state university athletic programs (e.g. Gator football and basketball, Seminole football), the state had a legitimate interest in making sure that the children born in Florida would be as tall as possible. After all, football brings in so much money to the universities, which allows less financial strain on the state to support them. Further, bigger children are less likely to fall into small holes, and seat belts can fit them better; thus, this law would protect all the children of the state. This law was titled “Maintaining the size of our children” law. Brian and Jennifer have sued the state, claiming that the law is unconstitutional.
2. Michael v. University
Michael pulled an “all-nighter” studying for an important exam. He was exhausted the next day, and during the exam, performed “head-rotations” to loosen his cramped neck muscles. Dr. Pickett, who was proctoring the exam, saw him stretching and thought he was looking at the answer sheet of the student setting next to him. She took his exam and dismissed him from the classroom. She also told him that because of his cheating, he would automatically fail the class. The next day, Michael discovered that he had been dismissed from the University with no tuition refunds and that his transcripts had been deleted. Michael is suing the University claiming that the University’s actions were unconstitutional and asking to be reinstated and to continue his education without penalty.
3. Taylor Lautner v. Taylor Swift
Taylor Swift was living in the same house with Taylor Lautner for three years. During that time, they both pursued independent acting and music careers, and each earned substantial income. They were as much in love as can be and shared many good times. They never pooled their financial resources into one account, and each paid their own expenses except for the rent, which they split down the middle. By mutual consent, they agreed that they had fallen out of love and were each interested in pursuing other relationships. After a short time, Mr. Lautner’s acting roles dried up. He is now suing Ms. Swift for half of everything she earned while they were cohabitating together.
Case Analysis Instructions
The goals of this assignment are to provide a valuable skill and to assess your ability to comprehend and apply case law. Reading, briefing, and applying what you are reading in your textbook and learning in the modules are effective ways to become literate in the process of the U.S. legal system.
Conducting an Analysis
Before making and defending a decision, you must be familiar with the relevant law. For our purposes, your textbook and course material provide all the legal concepts needed to apply the law to a factual situation. Once you are familiar with the general content of the chapter, you should be able to recognize the issue involved in a case and find the legal concepts that will help you decide the case. For your reference, a sample analysis is provided at the end of this document.
First, you will read the assigned fact patterns (provided via a link in the module). Then, you will complete an analysis for all fact patterns presented. Each analysis should contain the following:
1. The main issue. Identify and write (in your own words, at least 50% original) the central issue to be decided. As much as possible, set the issue in legal terms and concepts.
2. Relevant legal concepts quoted from textbook court opinions. Search the assigned chapter for legal concepts that will help you decide and justify your decision. Once you find the quotations you wish to use, copy them into the appropriate places in your analysis.
3. Relevant case law quoted from the textbook.
4. Rationale. Write (in your own words, at least 50% original) a complete explanation about how you
used the legal concepts you cited to make a decision about how the case should be resolved.
5. Ruling. Describe (in your own words, at least 50% original) what should happen to the parties involved as a result of your decision.
Submit your Case Analysis to the Dropbox no later than Sunday 11:59 PM EST/EDT of the assigned module. (The Dropbox baskets for these assignments are linked to Turnitin.)
Ratings:Exceptional corresponds to an A (90-100). Performance is outstanding; significantly above the usual expectations.
Proficient corresponds to a grade of B- to B+ (80-89%). Skills are at the level of expectation.Basic corresponds to a C- to C+ (70-79%). Skills are acceptable but improvements are needed to meet
Novice corresponds to a D to D+ (60-69%). Performance is weak; the skills are not sufficiently demonstrated at this time.0 This criterion is missing or not in evidence.
Correctly framing the specific legal question to be decided
Identifying and quoting relevant material from the assigned chapter
Correctly applying the cited legal concepts to your decision
The insightfulness and organization of your rationale
Originality and writing quality
This assignment should include your original work and be treated as a take-home examination. You may copy legal concepts and case law from the textbook into the “Relevant legal concepts” and “Relevant case law” sections, but the rest should be written “in your own words” (at least 50% original). The Dropboxes for all Case Analyses are linked to Turnitin, and each submission will be scanned for originality. Substantial overlap with the writing of other students constitutes academic dishonesty and will result in appropriate sanctions.
Sample Analysis Using Headings
Main Issue (your own words)
Has the State of Kentucky violated procedural due process by depriving inmates of a protected liberty right to prison visitors with our a hearing to challenge a visitor who is banned?
Relevant Legal Concepts From Text (quoted from textbook opinions)
Procedural Due Process – 14th Amendment – Section 1. “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law; …” (pp. 28 & 671)
Relevant Liberty Definition: “…a vast scope of personal rights. It also infers the absence of arbitrary and unreasonable government restraints. (p. 29)
“The due process guarantee protects people from unfairness in the operation of both substantive and procedural law.” Procedural law prescribes the method used to enforce legal rights. It provides the machinery by which individuals can enforce their rights or obtain redress for the invasion of such rights.” (p. 29).
Since procedural due process rights cost the government time and money: “Courts generally therefore generally try to balance accuracy against its cost on a case-by-case basis.”
Relevant case law from text:
Melinda Speelman v. Bellingham Housing Authority “Finally, … both the parties and the public have an interest in ensuring that BHA administers its programs lawfully, Contrary to … contention, Speelman is not asking for an exception to be applied to her case. She is asking that she be given the process due her and everyone else in her situation. Therefore, the equities favor granting Speelman a preliminary injunction.” (p.38)
Rationale (your own words):
Since BHA was aware that Speelman was in jail, they had an obligation to do more, even though they reasonably attempted to reach Speelman. She was entitled to more due to the unusual set of circumstances presented in the case and the failure to take additional action to properly serve Speelman
deprived her of her constitutionally guaranteed due process rights and she was put in a position of facing eviction without benefit of a hearing.
Ruling (your own words)
The State of Kentucky need not provide hearings for denial of inmate visitors.
Sample Case Analysis in Essay Style
The main issue in this case is whether the State of Kentucky violated procedural due process by depriving inmates of a protected liberty right to prison visitors, without a hearing to challenge a visitor who is banned.
This is a due process case. Procedural Due Process is in the 14th Amendment – Section 1. “…nor shall any state deprive any person of life, liberty, or property, without due process of law…” (pp. 28 & 671). The relevant definitions here is the definition of liberty: “…a vast scope of personal rights. It also infers the absence of arbitrary and unreasonable government restraints. (p. 29)
“The due process guarantee protects people from unfairness in the operation of both substantive and procedural law.” Procedural law prescribes the method used to enforce legal rights. It provides the machinery by which individuals can enforce their rights or obtain redress for the invasion of such rights.” (p.29) Since procedural due process rights cost the government time and money: “Courts generally therefore generally try to balance accuracy against its cost on a case-by-case basis.
The Court examined this issue in Connecticut Department of Public Safety v. John Doe, stating “In cases such as Washington v. Constantineau (1971) and Goss v. Lopez (1975) we held that due process required the government to afford the plaintiff a hearing to prove or disprove a particular set of facts.” However, “…a convicted offender has already had a procedurally safeguarded opportunity to contest.” “Plaintiffs who assert a right to a hearing under the Due Process Clause must show that the facts they seek to establish in that hearing are relevant under the statutory scheme.” (p. 46)
Since the State of Kentucky had “…established regulations to guide prison officials in making visitation decisions,” one could argue that an inmate’s liberty to have visitors has been recognized. It could be further argued that denial of a hearing to challenge the finding that a specific visitor could be barred is protected by due process. However, conducting court hearings requiring an adversary proceeding could be unduly burdensome of the state and the liberty of an inmate has been deprived initially in a procedurally safeguarded hearing. Deprivation of the liberty of convicted inmates to have specific visitors is outweighed by the burden of conducting such hearings.
The court should rule in favor of the State of Kentucky.
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