Cases from different states

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Cases from different states

Postby GMX2000 » Sun Oct 07, 2012 5:05 pm

Wondering if anyone has insight for this.

I'm a 1L and I went into this year planning to just focus on getting the rule from each case, and working on studying so I knew the rules and could on exams regurgitate them and then apply them to the fact patterns. But now I'm realizing, even after having gone through all these cases in the casebook for say, Contracts, I can't really tell you the rule because all the cases we've been reading are from different jurisdictions or the book points out that something we read isn't true in many other jurisdictions. For example, the enforceability of adhesion contracts. A quote from Hanks v. Power Ridge Restaurant Corp.:

"We conclude that the agreement in the present matter [an adhesion contract which included an exculpatory clause] affects the public interest adversely and, therefore, is unenforceable because it violates public policy. . . . The defendants and the dissent point out that our conclusion represents the 'distinct minority view' and is inconsistent with the majority of sister state authority . . . Put simply, we disagree with these decisions . . ."

How do I construct a rule, then, in exams? I don't think we've even read any cases from my state yet. Do I just act as if all the holdings from the cases we've read over the semester are binding regardless of their actual jurisdiction? How, then, do I take into account issues that the book itself says that courts wildly disagree upon?

Is it just a mess of "in California, XYZ. In Ohio, some courts say XYZ, others say ABC." Or?

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I.P. Daly

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Re: Cases from different states

Postby I.P. Daly » Sun Oct 07, 2012 9:27 pm

There are majority rules (followed by a majority of jurisdictions), and minority rules, in addition to jurisdiction specific exceptions to various rules. The UCC (contracts) applies to contracts for the sale of goods, while the restatement rules (common law (e.g., contracts)) apply to contracts for services.

Regarding a contracts exam, if you get a hypo concerning a contract for movable objects, apply the UCC. If the common law applies (service contract), apply the restatement, and mention minority rules and possible exceptions.

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Re: Cases from different states

Postby Bronte » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:20 pm

Most law schools do not study the law of the state in which they sit. In 1L courses, you will mostly study what is called "general common law." You are learning broadly applicable principles of American law. Some of these principles are near universal, whereas others are controversial. The latter will generally result in splits of authority. On an exam, you are meant to explain how the rules on each side of a split of authority will apply to the factpattern.

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Re: Cases from different states

Postby TTH » Sun Oct 07, 2012 11:22 pm

If there is a significant jurisdiction split, your prof will talk about it in class. If he or she doesn't mention it and it's only discussed in the note cases, it probably doesn't matter. You can always ask them.

I remember this coming up on my torts exam and my property exam. Above was credited w/r/t contracts - just be ready to use common law/UCC/CISG (if your prof covers CISG) depending on whether movable goods are involved. Our crim professor had us compare how a case would come out under our state's criminal code and the MPC, but I gather this is the exception and not the rule.

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