Legal Case Summary

Legal Case Summary

For this assignment, you will write a summary of a judicial decision. The goal of this assignment is to support you in the practice of reading a legal document and communicating your understanding of the decision. 

Please use the following template which highlights the elements that should be included in a case summary. The key is to systematically arrange related parts of the decision that are often scattered throughout the written judgement, assimilating the information, and making it manageable.

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After reading

Burriola vs. Greater Toledo YMCA

, use the following template to answer the guiding questions for each section.

Legal Case Summary Template

Nature of the Case (Facts): Who are the parties to the lawsuit, and what is their dispute? In your own words, only include the few important facts necessary to understand the case (e.g., the time of day a defendant was arrested is usually not important).

Issue: What is the basic legal question that is to be decided in the case? (Hint: the issue of the case is usually easy to spot). An example of an issue would be: Can a police officer legally enter a home to search when he or she hears someone yelling for help?

Holding (Decision): What is the basic answer to the basic legal question in the case?

Rule of Law: What rule of law is announced in the case? A court first must announce a specific controlling principle of law (e.g., the court’s interpretation of a constitutional provision, not the constitutional provision itself) that applies to the issue in the case. The rule itself must be quoted because every word matters: there is a huge difference between “a” and “the” or between “may” and “must.” The rule of law is often only one or two sentences.

Reasoning: This is a brief summary of why the court decided the way it did. It often traces the history of the particular law at issue. In the reasoning, the court often cites other cases, legal precedent, or explores legislative intent to explain and justify its holding. In the reasoning, the court will also use its own interpretation of a rule of law to support its conclusion.

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