When briefing a case, read the case through quickly once; then read the case again concentrating on the six elements of a brief: 1. FACTS 1. PROCEDURAL HISTORY 2. ISSUE 3. HOLDING 4. REASONING 5. JUDGMENT Finally, read the case a third time, and as you do, write notes on the various elements of the brief. When you have finished your third reading, begin to write. out your brief starting with the case heading – – JONES v. SMITH Supreme Court of Texas (1987) – – and following with the six elements of the brief. Refer back to the case as you work to make certain that you are not missing anything.1 The elements of the brief should be dealt with as follows: FACTS: Set out the key relevant facts of the case. These are the facts that were considered important to the court writing the opinion in arriving at its decision. Do not list facts which the court did not need or consider in reaching its decision. (Sometimes you will want to include factual allegations of one or both parties either in the Facts or in the Procedural History depending on the way that they are treated in the case.) When youfirst are learning to brief cases, it will likelytake more than three readings of the case before you are ready to brief it. 1 HANDOUT 01 On Briefing a Case Created 20 August 2018; Last Revised 18 August 2019 Page 1 of 2 PROCEDURAL HISTORY: Identify the party who filed suit (Plaintiff) and those who were sued (Defendant(s) ). Tell how the case got into the trial court (eg., an action for breach of contract was filed); the disposition of the case inthe trial court (eg., Defendant’smotionfor summaryjudgmentgranted);and,thehistoryofwho appealedtowhat court and ultimately what court is rendering the opinion that you are briefing and what was the year of the opinion. ISSUE: This is the part of the brief which usually gives students the most trouble initially. This is the key question (or questions) of law thatthe court had to answer in order to decide the case. This will be a mixed question involving both legal principals ·and the facts of the individual case. If the question were to be answered bya statement it would result in a principal of law that could be applied to future cases involving similar facts: ALWAYS START YOUR ISSUE WITH THE WORD – -“WHETHER.” Using the word “whether” forces you to frame your question in a neutral format. [Whether a person who fails to repudiate an offer and silently accepts the benefits of the offer will be bound to the contract?] HOLDING: For purposes of this course, simply change the wording of your. ISSUE into a statement that constitutes a rule which can be applied to other cases .with – the same or similar fact·s [A person who fails to repudiate an offer and silently accepts the benefits of the offer will be bound to the contract]. Initially, it may be easier to write your holding and then formulate your issue. Another way of understanding the HOLDING is that it is the court’s answer to the question contained in the ISSUE. REASONING: This is the logical argument thatthe courtpresents toshowwhy it arrived at the judgment that it rendered. This is the step-by-step logical process which moves from the facts of the particular case; ties in legal precedent; and, arrives at a decision. For the beginner, it is usually easier to write out the court’s reasoning before you try to formulate the issue or holding. JUDGMENT: This is the decision of the court that has rendered the opinion that you are briefing. Often it will be nothing more than “Affirmed” or “Reversed and Remanded.” Occasionally the holding will be more complicated. Be sure you understand what the court was called upon to decide and how it was decided.