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Legal Methods

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Legal Methods Outline

How a Dispute Becomes a Case (16-29)

I. Cases A. Procedural Posture: The movement of the case and the legal issues they hinge on.

II. Reversing v. Overruling A. A court reverses the decision of a lower court in the same controversy. 1. Lower court is bound by precedent of higher courts – no exception. B. A court overrules itself - it disavows in a later, different case what it itself had ruled in a prior, different, but factually similar case. 1. Higher courts can overrule themselves – not bound by precedent.

III. Res Judicata v. Stare Decisis A. Res Judicata – X may not ever again sue Y over this particular issue. 1. Res judicata - important in federal system of both state and federal courts because stops state court losing and then going to federal courts for the same issue. B. Stare Decisis – Requires following “the law,”/rule laid down by another case. 1. Appellate courts create stare decisis through opinions. 2. Law of the case – requires same defendant in every case. If the plaintiff wins, then those who come after can use it as well.

A Case Timeline

I. First Step - Is there a case? A. Is there a reasonable claim or cause of action? Is there a legal right for a remedy? – is this a question of “law”? – If no cause of action, then can’t be a case, but can be settled or just be dropped B. Can the individual prove by a preponderance of the evidence that he/she is right? C. Looking for the courts to be able to provide redress and for witnesses

II. Second step – What forum to take case to? A. The forum is the court that you bring the case to, municipal, state, federal. B. Each court has a different jurisdiction that determines what cases it hears. 1. Jurisdiction depends on the claim’s nature, amount

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