When determining if a case is on point (precedent) two factors must align. First, the similarity between the key facts must align. Second, the legal principle of the case opinion and those of the client’s situation must align sufficiently. Then, the court opinion will govern or provide guidance to decide the outcome of the client’s case.[shortposting]
In the following examples use the statutory and case law presented in the libel case hypothetical presented in Chapter 12 of the text, specifically in Section VI “Application,” subsection B. “Libel Case.” (The case referred to in the hypothetical is Cox v. Redd).
The question presented is whether the client has committed defamation. Note that libel is written defamation whereas slander is oral defamation. In each example determine if Cox v. Redd is on point. Be sure to fully explain how you reached your conclusion for each example below.
- Example 1
- Example 2
- Example 3
A client is at a party when he spies a person he falsely believes has cheated him in a business deal. He approaches the person, pulls him off to the side, and says, “You are a liar and cheat. You cheated me out of that contract.” People standing nearby heard the comment. The client didn’t intend for others to hear, but he wasn’t careful to keep his voice down.
A client writes a letter to the local newspaper claiming that a local store intentionally sold her defective merchandise. On the way to the post office to mail the letter she runs into a friend, Jim. After she tells Jim the story, he informs her that the merchandise is not defective, but rather she has simply misread the directions. On the way home the letter falls out of the client’s pocket. A passerby finds the letter and puts it in the mail. The local newspaper subsequently publishes the letter.
A client falsely believes that Alice, a college student, is a drug dealer. He mails her a letter, addressed to “Alice,” claiming that she sells drugs to schoolchildren and should go to jail. Alice shares an apartment with her boyfriend, a medical student. The client is aware of the fact that Alice and her boyfriend occasionally open each other’s mail. When the letter arrives, Alice’s boyfriend opens and reads it.
Your response for each example should be 1-2 paragraphs long (1.5-2 pages for the total assignment). Be sure to reference all sources using Bluebook citation format. For citation guidelines, please refer to the formatting and citation information in the Legal Writing Resources page.