INSTRUCTIONS ON BRIEFING CASES JUL 14 11:59 PM EST Case Brief #2: Miranda v Arizona (1966) – Due
In analyzing a legal case, you have to present a brief. The instructions below will
guide you in doing your case (legal) brief.
FIRAC: FACTS-ISSUE-RULE OF LAW-ANALYSIS-CONCLUSION:
HOW TO BRIEF A CASE
- (F): FACTS: State the facts of the case (a brief summary of what the case is about, i.e., what happened?). This is a synopsis of the essential facts of the case. These facts lead up to the Issue.
- (I): ISSUE/ISSUES: State the Issue/Issues in the case (What are the legal issues in the case? Sometimes there may be only one legal issue). Issues are statements of the general legal questions answered by or illustrated in the case. Very Important: The Issue is best put in the form of a question, capable of a “yes” or “no” answer.
- (R): RULE OF LAW: This is a statement of the general principle of law which the case illustrates. You must state the Rule of Law that applies to the particular case (What law applies to this case? What does the law say about cases of this nature?).
- (A) ANALYSIS: HOLDING AND DECISION: Analysis of the legal argument/arguments in the case (analyze the arguments/ decisions/opinions of the justices). This section of the case should succinctly explain the rationale of the court in arriving at its decision. In other words, indicate the outcome of the case.
- (C) Conclusion (do you agree with the Court’s arguments/decision/opinion in this case?). If yes, why? And if not, why not?
NOTE:::::You must also state in clear terms whether or not the the Supreme Court affirmed or reversed the lower court decision. VERY IMPORTANT
Your Legal Brief should be detailed, addressing all the five steps above. If you use other people ideas to support your opinion, please make sure that you document or cite the sources of those ideas to avoid plagiarism. Remember to give credit for an idea or opinion that is NOT originally yours. In citing your sources, please use the APA Style (See your Course Syllabus about the APA Style of Writing).
SAMPLE LEGAL BRIEF: BURGER KING CORP v. RUDZEWICZ (1985)
NOTE: (P) is for Plaintiff (one who sues) and (D) is for Defendant (one who is sued and must defend himself/herself). Jurisdiction means authority to hear a case and Home Forum means the venue or place for the trial.
Here is a sample legal brief of the famous Burger King case: Follow the FIRAC Steps below.
- FACTS: Facts of the case (Summary): Rudzewicz (D) contracted for a Burger King franchise in Michigan with the Burger King Corp. (P), a Florida corporation. A franchise was granted. The terms of the contract called for substantial supervision of the franchise’s operations by Burger King (P), and also for the laws of Florida to apply in the case. Despite the fact that Rudzewicz (D) was a sophisticated businessman, the business failed, and Burger King brought suit for unpaid rent. The Florida district court granted damages and injunctive relief to Burger King (P), but the Eleventh Circuit reversed the decision, holding that Rudzewicz (D) was not subject to Florida jurisdiction. In other words, Burger King won its case in the Florida District Trial Court but then appealed to the federal Circuit Court (Eleventh Circuit Court) where the District Court decision was reversed. Burger King (P) appealed to the Supreme Court of the U.S., arguing for a reversal of award of damages and injunctive relief for breach of contract by Rudzewicz.
- ISSUE: May direct and continuous contacts by a franchisee with the franchisor lead to the franchisee being subject to the jurisdiction of the franchisor’s home forum?
- RULE OF LAW: Direct and continuous contacts by a franchisee with the franchisor may lead to the franchisee being subject to the jurisdiction of the franchisor’s home town.
- HOLDING/DECISION OF THE SUPREME COURT: YES. Justice Brennan (Brennan, J.), writing for the Majority, held that direct and continuous contacts by the franchisee with the franchisor may lead to the franchisee being subject to the jurisdiction of the franchisor’s home forum.
- Analysis: In this case, the main test for personal jurisdiction is whether a defendant’s actions were such that he should have been notified of the possibility of becoming subject to the subject’s forum’s jurisdiction. In his case, Rudzewicz (D) contracted with the Florida franchisor and entered into a contract providing for a continuous relationship with that franchisor and constant monitoring by the franchisor. Further, the contract stated that it was to be construed as a Florida contract. Thus, considering Rudzewicz’s (D) contacts with Florida, an adequate basis for jurisdiction existed. Thus, the Supreme Court of the U.S. REVERSED the decision of the Eleventh Circuit and ruled in favor of Burger King.
Dissent: (Stevens, J.). Justice Stevens dissented, arguing that the Burger King was typical and large operation connected to the franchisor’s home office only in name. Since the business was purely local, only local jurisdiction should apply.
- CONCLUSION: Burger King (P) brought an action against Rudzewicz, a defaulting franchisee, in Burger King’s (P) home forum, that is, in Florida and not in Rudzewicz home forum. The rationale for the Supreme Court’s opinion in deciding for Burger King was the clause making the contract a Florida one. Most contracts involving parties in different states have such clauses. Thus, the Court determined that there was direct and continuous contacts by the franchisee, Rudzewicz (D) and the franchisor, Burger King (P). Rudzewicz (D) was therefore subject to the jurisdiction of Burger King’s (P) home forum of Florida.