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Commercial law case brief


As part of your grade for this course, each of you will be required to do the following:

1. Choose a case from the attached case list relating to commercial impracticability and/or the implied warranty of merchantability. To review and/or to retrieve a copy of the case, go to our CANVAS course website.

2. Choose a case and submit it to VIA EMAIL me no later than February 7, 2018, for approval. The approval or denial of each topic will be given to you as soon as possible.

3. Once approval is obtained, prepare a case brief on your chosen case. The case brief is due to me via CANVAS assignment on Friday, February 23, 2018 at 11:59 P.M. Late submissions may be accepted with prior written approval and early submissions are always welcome. The case brief MUST be written in the format of the sample brief which is posted on CANVAS.

Objectives. The objectives of this assignment are (1) to research legal cases online, and (2) to enhance the written and communication skills of the student.

Required. Include at least the following: (1) case citation; (2) a statement of the legal issue(s) in the case; (3) decision(s) and/or case holdings, and (4) rationale regarding the decision.

Grading. You will be graded on the organization and quality of the case brief, as well as your ability to follow directions. For example, turning in a case brief with improper grammar and/or spelling will not help the overall quality component of your grade on this assignment.

Case Brief Pointers


Citation: Vail v. Masker, 820 P.2d 1032 (Ga. App. 2002).


Facts: Be succinct and mention who sued whom.


Issue: Should always be in the form of a question (we should be able to answer yes or no).


Do something generic (leave out names). Ex. “Does a business owner have a duty to protect its customers from acts of third parties?”


If more than 1 issue, separate your issues. Ex. Issue 1, Issue 2. Also, break up your rationales the same way for each issue. Ex. Rationale 1, Rationale 2.


Decision: Yes or No only. If more than 1: Yes/No/Yes.


Rationale: Should explain the reason why the Court answered the issue in the affirmative or in the negative.


Sample Case Brief

Your Name

Course Name

Semester & Year

Citation of Case:  Powell v. $4,600.00 U.S. Currency, 904 P.2d 153 (1995).


Facts:  Late on Valentine’s Day 1994 a couple was driving along a Logan County Road.  Martin and Robyn Hoel discovered $4,600 in cash lying along the side of the road.   Martin then dropped Robyn off by a neighboring house so that she could contract the police.  Martin returned to the site in order to secure the area and waited for the police.  When the deputy sheriff arrived at the scene, Mr. Hoel helped him search for the money.  The couple informed him that they wanted the money if no one claimed it.

Six months later, the Logan County Sheriff sought permission to deposit the $4,600 into the Sheriff’s Training fund as provided by Oklahoma law for unclaimed property.  The Hoel’s appeared at the hearing to dispute the action.  The couple used common law argument that the finder of lost property acquires rights in that property which are superior to all claims except that of the rightful owner.


Issue 1:  Does the finder of lost money qualify as an “owner” of the property, and so obtain legal rights in the property that would outweigh those of the sheriff under the Oklahoma unclaimed property law?


Issue 2:  Do the Hoels qualify as finders of lost property?


Decision:  Yes/Yes


Reason:  (Judge Jones, Okla Ct of Civil Appeals) It was not the intent of the legislature to replace the common law rules regarding the ownership rights of finders of lost property.  The property in question had an owner, that being the finder.  The finder has better rights against everyone in the whole world except the true owner.  The Hoels were the finders of the money and do qualify as finders.

Last Updated on February 11, 2019

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