How to Brief a Case

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HOW TO BRIEF A CASE
Below I have sketched in the beginnings of a brief as a format. This time-honored method of analysis is the basic unit of law school instruction and so most judicial opinions are written to conform to this approach. Knowing the rules makes watching the game so much more interesting. Start with the name of the Case which is called the “style” of the case. PERLA GRAFF v. JAY L. GRAFF, 569 So. 2d 811, Fla. 1st Dist. Ct. App. (1990). First is the case name, followed by the citation which tells where you can find the hard copy of this case. This particular case is found in Volume 569 of the Southern Reporter, Second Series at page 811 in an opinion written by the First District Court of Appeals for Florida in 1990. FACTS: (In this section you want to state the circumstances and events that led to the plaintiff suing the defendant as well as any facts relevant to the issue(s).) The parties were married for over 13 years, but, prior to the marriage the Husband purchased a home solely in his name. Thirteen years into the marriage, and for survivorship purposes only, the Husband deeded the property to both he and his wife as tenants by the entireties. Additionally, the parties used their joint checking account to make the mortgage payments and the parties used marital monies to add a pool and replace the roof. The Husband testified that he purchased the home for $48,000.00 prior to the marriage and that at the time of the divorce the home’s value was between $100,000.00 and $110,000.00. ISSUE: (In this section you want to state the specific legal question(s) raised in the case. Look at the overall question(s) to be resolved by the court. Sometimes you will have more than one question, but, you want to state your issue as a question or begin your issue with the word ‘whether’) Whether the increased value of the marital home was a marital asset and therefore whether the Wife was entitled to equitable distribution of that value. HOLDING: (In...
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