Presentation on theme: "Law 11 Introduction. 2 Sources of American Law o Constitutions – federal plus every state; everyone in U.S. subject to federal constitution plus one state."— Presentation transcript:
2 Sources of American Law o Constitutions – federal plus every state; everyone in U.S. subject to federal constitution plus one state constitution at all times; creates government powers/structure and guarantees individual rights. o Statutes – federal, state and local; also called ordinances, regulations and codes. o Common or case law – decisions by judges, who interpret constitutions, statutes and/or prior cases (“precedent”) to make decision of current dispute; stare decisis ordinarily requires judges to follow past decisions, which creates predictability and stability in legal and business matters. o Administrative law – decisions and rules of federal, state and local administrative entities ( e.g., IRS, DMV); important since many laws require a hearing by an administrative agency before being able to file a case in court (note that courts often give great deference to administrative agency’s decision).
3 The American Court System o “Dual” court system in the United States – federal court system plus each state has its own court system. o Cases generally filed/commenced in trial courts – District Court in the federal court system; Superior Court in California. o Appeal by right from trial courts to intermediate appellate courts – Court of Appeals (federal – 13 circuits); Court of Appeal (California – 6 districts). o Appeal from intermediate appellate courts to supreme courts per discretion – United States Supreme Court and California Supreme Court. o Appeal from California Supreme Court to United States Supreme Court per only discretion and if case involves federal question.
4 Chart re: the American Court System Federal Court SystemCalifornia State Court System United States District Court for the [region, if any] District of [state]; e.g., Central District of California Superior Court for the County of [all 58 counties have Superior Court]; e.g., Los Angeles County Superior Court Court of Appeals for the [1 st - 11 th, D.C. or Fed.] Circuit; e.g., Ninth Circuit Court of Appeal of the [1 st -6 th ] Appellate District, Division ___; e.g., Fourth Appellate District, Division Three United States Supreme CourtCalifornia Supreme Court
6 Case Precedents and Case Reporters o Precedents are judicial decisions that give rise to legal principles that can be applied in future cases based upon similar facts. o Precedents and other forms of law, such as statutes, constitutions, and regulations are referred to as binding authorities and must be followed. o Today, cases are published or ‘reported’ in books called reporters
7 Categories of Law o Substantive and procedural – substantive law defines legal rights/limitations; procedural law provides the methods for seeking or defending legal rights/limitations. o Public and private – public law involves matters of public interest; private law pertains to the parties to a dispute only. o Civil and criminal – civil law relates to duties between individuals, businesses and/or government; criminal law relates to wrongs against society and is investigated, prosecuted and administered by government. o Law and equity – actions at law involve money; actions in equity involve non-monetary relief ( e.g., injunction, specific performance); jury trial available in actions at law only.
8 Stare Decisis and Legal Reasoning o Method used by judges to reach a decision. o Many courts and attorneys frame decisions and briefs using the IRAC format: Issue, Rule, Application (Analysis) and Conclusion. o What are the key facts and issues? o What rules or laws apply? o How do the rules of law apply to these facts?
9 How to Read & Understand Case Law o Legal cases are identified by a “legal citation” (or a “cite”) as the example below: D.A.B.E., Inc. v. City of Toledo, 393 F.3d 692 (6 th Cir. 2005). Title: First Party is Plaintiff, second party is Defendant. The parties are either italicized or underlined.
10 How to Read & Understand Case Law o Legal cases are identified by a “legal citation” (or a “cite”) as the example below: D.A.B.E., Inc. v. City of Toledo, 393 F.3d 692 (6 th Cir. 2005). Citation: Case is found in Federal Supplement 3 rd, Volume 393, page 692.
11 How to Read & Understand Case Law o Legal cases are identified by a “legal citation” (or a “cite”) as the example below: D.A.B.E., Inc. v. City of Toledo, 393 F.3d 692 (6 th Cir. 2005). Case was decided by the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, 2005.
12 Stages of Litigation o Informal Negotiations. o Pleadings. o Service of Process. o Defendant’s Response. o Discovery. o Pre-Trial. o Trial. o Post-Trial.