Case Briefing: The Four Step Process

Step Two (Continued): Brief the Case Using This Books Case Briefing Format

    Facts (lines 19-35): Next, we'll write the facts.  We want to be VERY short here, only mentioning the facts that matter.  You want enough to be able to recall the case facts in class if you're called on, but not so many facts that you clutter the CBFS.  So for Farwell lets write, "Siegrist(D) and Farwell(V), companions, followed two girls to a restaurant attempting to strike up conversation.  The girls told male friends of the followers.  The friends took chase upon Siegrist and Farwell, Siegrist escaped unharmed, Farwell was badly hurt by the pursuers.  Siegrist applied ice to Farwell's injury, attempted to rouse Farwell upon Farwell’s sleep.  Then left Farwell alone all night in the car.  Farwell died 3 days later as a result of the injuries sustained."
    The D next to Siegrists name means "Defendant", the V next to Farwells name means "Victim".  Usually you will use designations of P for "plaintiff" and D for "defendant".  In this case the plaintiff is Farwell’s father, acting as plaintiff under a wrongful death tort action.  This is not a criminal case!  While criminal charges may have been brought, this is a civil action.  Civil action in this case means that Farwell’s father is seeking the damages that Farwell himself would have pursued had he lived.
    Remember, the information we're culling for the CBFS is for your use.  This information will not be handed in or checked over by anyone.  Format your briefs the way that works for you.  The CBFS acts as a guide to get you started.  You may or may not stick with the CBFS, but it includes all the information you might need.
    Procedural history (lines 5, 43-46): Next let's write out the procedural history.  Procedural history refers to the courts the case has already been to, and what and why those decisions were made in those courts.  Our Farwell case is at the Supreme Court of Michigan.  The case began at the Michigan Circuit Court and was subsequently appealed to the Michigan Court of Appeals.  After Farwell lost at the Michigan Court of Appeals the Supreme Court of Michigan agreed to hear the case.  Under procedural history you'll write "Circuit ct, jury verdict for P saying D owed duty to assist V that was not delivered.  D presumably appealed on grounds that as matter of law D had no duty to act - appeals ct agreed and reversed trial court.  Supreme court here reverses appeals ct and reinstates jury verdict, saying D does have duty."