Overview of the U.S. Legal System

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Overview of the U.S Legal System

oStatutory law- written law
You want to know the law, you look it up !!
Written law deciphered by just looking it up !!
oCommon Law
Legislators make the law, judges enforce it.
Case law or precedent
oAdministrative Law (Agency regulations)
Body of law that governs the activities of administrative agencies of government

Note the interaction between law and facts
oLaw=judge ; Facts=jury (most of the time)
oCivil (money) vs. Criminal law (jail time)
People can sue each other for money but can’t put each other in jail, only the state has the right too. •Civil law can include contracts and tort claims

Claims in the U.S Legal System
oService of process (important)
So the defendant knows everything and can respond well
Procedure employed to give legal notice to a person (such as a defendant) of a court or adminstrative body’s excercise of its jurisdiction over that person so as to enable that person to respond to the proceeding before the court. oPreliminary motions

Short concise statements
One side brings evidence, other side brings their evidence and evaluate the evidence o Motions for summary judgment
oSelection of the jury
oOpening statements
oPlaintiff’s case in-chief
oDefendant’s case in-chief
oPlaintiff’s case in rebuttal
oSummations (closing arguments)
oJudge’s charge to the jury-tells jury the law
oJury deliberations-determination of facts and how law applies •Questered- if its a high profile case
Hung jury- jury unable to agree on verdict
oJudgment- loser can ask for jnov, new trail, remittitur (reduction in damages)

Appeals Process

State trial Courts
oState Appellate Courts
State Supreme Court

District Courts & Bankruptcy Courts
oCourts of Appeal
United States Supreme Court

Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR)

Similar to litigation but less formal
Can consist of
oArbitration (like a trial without the judge)
oOr Mediation (more caasual means to facilitate settlement) •ADR is often provided for in contracts

Key Considerations in Navigating the U.S Legal System

Where’s the money ?
What’s the role of insurance ?
How comfortable are we with risk ?

Jurisdiction- Where and in what court will a case be heard ?

Applies to both individuals and corporate entities
Depends upon presence and activities
State courts hear most cases
Federal courts require federal question jurisdiction or diversity jurisdiction

Diversity Jurisdiction

oCitizens of different states AND
oMore that $75,000 at issue
You need these requirements to get into Federal Court
oOr violation of federal law

Civil Rights Act of 1964

Prior to 1964- discrimination, especially racial, was rampant •Terms to know
oProtected class
National origin
Note : not gender, age, or seuxual orientation ; not covered by civil rights act of 1964 oCovered establishment
lodging facilities for transients (except bed and breakfasts of 5 or fewer rooms and occupied by the proprietor) •dining facilities
places of entertainment
gasoline stations
Note : don’t worry about interstate commerce requirement oUnitary Rule
Where a covered facility is located within a noncovered business, both the covered and noncovered business are subject to the act oPrivate clubs
Civil Rights Act does not apply to private clubs, but such clubs must bonafide and selective admission requirements oWhat is actionable ?
The civil rights act pertains to dicrimination in places of public accommodation •Individuals are only guaranteed the right to enter a covered facility and receive service. Bad service isn’t covered. oRemedies

The Civil Rights Act provides for injuctive relief and attorney’s fees •Injuctive...
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