WESTLAW RESEARCH PRACTICE

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WESTLAW RESEARCH PRACTICE

Lesson Three – Locating Relevant Case Law Using Secondary Authority

Objectives: A simple research process technique.

Directions: Read the following fact patterns

1. Your client, Dreamy McSteamy is a popular motocross driver known far and wide for his long black hair, dangerous dark eyes, and zebra-striped motorcycle emblazoned with a purple number 7. Recently, a movie studio released an animated children’s film featuring a handsome, smooth-talking, purple leopard-spotted motorcycle, with the number 7 prominently displayed on the gas tank. McSteamy wishes to file a claim against the studio on the grounds that the film’s “star” bears an uncanny likeness to McSteamy’s public image, and hence, violates his right of publicity.

i. Locate and correctly cite relevant secondary authority
ii. Provide your exact search query – Include database id
iii. State the legal issue/s involved after studying the information therein
iv. Locate an on point case from an Oklahoma State Court
v. Does the case appear to work for or against your client?

2. Fozze Bear, stands convicted for the heinous murder of Miss Piggy. Your supervising attorney is filing an appeal based, in part, on negative comments made by the prosecutor regarding Mr. Bear. Apparently, prosecution referred to the defendant as “evil-doer” and a “son of the Devil” during her closing arguments. On this issue, your office asserts prosecutorial misconduct. The respondent counter-argues that counsel for the defense opened the door to these characterizations when, in his own closing argument, he stated that, “certainly, whoever committed this act is a devil’s spawn.”

i. Locate and correctly cite relevant secondary authority
ii. Provide your exact search query – Include database id
iii. State the legal issue/s involved after studying the information therein
iv. Locate an on point case from the 3rd Circuit of the US Court of Appeals
v. Review the Court’s Holdings and the relevant headnote from the opinion. Does the case appear to work for or against your client? 

3. Clair DeLoon was one of five current roommates in a house where tenants are continually moving in and moving out. An unknown past tenant vacated the premises, leaving behind a VCR and a collection of campy video tapes, frequently enjoyed by later groups of select tenants. When it came time for Clair to move on to more a more luxurious living space, she took the VCR and tape collection with her. One of the remaining tenants has filed a complaint with the police on the grounds that the items did not belong to Clair. Clair is being charged with theft.

i. Locate and correctly cite relevant secondary authority
ii. Provide your exact search query – Include database id
iii. State the legal issue/s involved after studying the information 
iv. Discuss the arguments supporting Clair’s conviction, as well as arguments that can be raised in her defense

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