跳到主要内容

· 阅读需 7 分钟

我强调过很多次我不教英语,英文的文笔需要通过系统的训练,需要花比备考多得多的时间、比我的课多得多的学费慢慢提升。现在有了各种语言大模型,他们比任何英语老师都要好,是训练英文文笔的神器。如果不是要考试,我甚至觉得在大模型的辅助下,能写出优美文笔的能力已经无关紧要——能阅读和分辨就足够了。

但最近有个语法问题已经影响到了学员做选择题,而且是让我哭笑不得的冠词问题,我认为有必要单独发文说一下。

说冠词难,英语里面只有三个冠词:a, an和the. 其中a和an又是一样的,约等于只有两个冠词。但如果说冠词容易,因为中文里面没有冠词,所以中国考生在写文章的时候很容易在本应该加冠词的时候漏掉冠词,或者在不应该加冠词的时候加上冠词——我自己也无法完全克服这个问题。

好在今天讨论的问题更简单一些,仅仅是阅读的时候区分定冠词和不定冠词就可以了。他们的区别是,定冠词 “the” 用于指代特定的、已知的事物,而不定冠词 “a” 和 “an” 用于指代非特定的、未知的事物。这本是小学英语的内容,但最近很多学员掉坑里。小技巧是,如果还是不好分辨,可以把不定冠词换成all或者any试试,就能看出明显的错误。

我们来看这个选项:

No, because a dismissal does not operate as an adjudication on the merits.

这句话的意思是,一个驳回起诉的裁定,不代表对案件进行实质审理。如果它错的还不明显,可以翻译为“任何驳回起诉的裁定,都不是对案件的实质审理”。这明显是错的,我们知道法官可以直接带偏见驳回起诉,视为对事实进行了实质审理。用友商的话说,这是“法律叙述错误的选项”,根本不用看题目就不能选。如果你去纠结题目中驳回起诉的裁定恰恰是带偏见的,应当视为对案件的实质审理,那你就掉入了冠词陷阱。如果把这个选项中的a换成the,那么这个驳回起诉的裁定才特指题目中的裁定,那么它就是一个正确的选项。

再来看这个选项:

Yes, because the hearsay rule does not exclude out-of-court statements if a declarant testifies and is available for cross-examination.

这个选项的意思是,一个证人只要出庭作证并接受交叉盘问,hearsay规则并不会排除这个证人的庭外证词。这是错的离谱的表述。如果你没看出这错得离谱,那么hearsay还没学好,赶紧回炉重造。知识点是,证人即使出庭作证,那么他的庭外陈述依然是hearsay,必须要符合一种hearsay的例外,才可以被采纳。

但很多学员纠结说这个证人出庭了,所以他先前的指认属于hearsay的例外(exclusion)。学的很好,但这个选项错在它的冠词是泛指一切证人的a,而不是特指题目中证人的the.

反过来一个非常类似的题,体现了有学员对定冠词也理解不到位。来看这样一个选项:

Yes, because the eyewitness's statement of identification as reported by the officer is not excluded by the hearsay rule.

有考生学的非常好,说C是错的,因为目击证人先前的指认,必须还要求他出庭作证才符合hearsay的例外(exclusion)。

知识点很扎实,但还是对冠词理解不到位。如果这里冠词是an,那就错了,但冠词是the,特指题目中已经出庭作证的证人,所以它恰恰是正确选项。

最后,名词的复数形式也应当视为不定冠词。有个题问证人先前的犯罪是否要被采纳,这个选项说:

Yes, because prior convictions are probative of a witness's character for truthfulness.

这里convictions没有冠词了,因为它是复数,可以视为有冠词a,泛指所有的定罪。那么翻译一下,就是先前的定罪对反驳证人的诚信有证据价值。如果错的不明显,可以翻译成任何先前的定罪都对反驳证人的诚信有证据价值。如果你依然觉得错的不明显,那就是证据法学的还不够细。考点是只有重罪和与诚信有关的犯罪才有证据价值。和诚信无关的轻罪是没有证据价值的。[FRE 609(a)]

所以即使题目中的犯罪记录可以采纳,这题也不能选择这个选项。把“prior convictions”改成“the conviction”就是对的。

· 阅读需 8 分钟

在diversity案件中,程序法适用联邦法,实体法用州法[Erie Railroad Co. v. Tompkins, 304 U.S. 64 (1938)]。具体来说,将联邦法院视为一个坐落在该州的法院,看这个法院会适用什么法律,通常来说,要先看这个州的法律选择法(choice-of-law rules)。

A federal court, in the exercise of its diversity jurisdiction, is required to apply the substantive law of the state in which it is sitting, including that state's conflict of law rules. Meanwhile, the federal courts apply federal procedural law.

当一个问题不确定是程序法还是实体法的时候怎么办?最高法院也早有判决,如果有联邦程序法条直接相关,那么就视为程序问题,应当适用联邦法[Hanna v. Plumer, 380 U.S. 460 (1965)]。理论上颁布这个判例的时候,联邦程序法还有违宪的可能,但发展到今天,最高法院从来没有推翻过任何一条程序法(Applying that test, we have rejected every statutory challenge to a Federal Rule that has come before us. [Shady Grove Orthopedic Associates, P. A. v. Allstate Ins. Co., 559 U.S. 393 (2010)])。这事也就这么定了下来。

If a right is arguably procedural, federal procedural rules will apply if they are on point, even if there is a conflicting state law.

离考试已经没有几周,这两条规则你应当已经烂熟于心。那本文介绍三个不起眼的“联邦程序法反过来适用州法”的情况,考试的时候遇到要知道怎么选。

首先是送达,FRCP明确规定在其列举的几种送达方式(一般是亲手送达、留在住处、送达公司的一些规定)以外,符合送达州或者法院坐落州的送达方式也可以。所以210个题里面有个题,很多学员问为什么送达明明是程序法,这里却可以适用法院坐落州法,只因FRCP就是这么规定的。别说可以适用法院坐落州法,哪怕不符合联邦法列举的其他送达方式,也不符合法院坐落州的送达方式,只要符合送达人所在州的送达方式也是可以的。

然后是relation back,如果你学的更好一点,会知道relation back视为程序问题适用联邦法,这是因为FRCP对relation back有明确规定:允许回溯。但FRCP并非一味允许回溯,它分为加案由回溯和加被告回溯,两种回溯的规则各有一点不同。

加案由回溯,联邦的要求是基于same T/O或者州法允许,举两个例子:

A起诉B过失,之后诉讼时效经过,然后基于同一案由追加严格责任,州法不允许回溯,但联邦允许回溯(同一案由),可以追加。

A起诉B过失,之后诉讼时效经过,然后基于不同案由追加违约,州法允许回溯。虽然不符合联邦的same T/O,但州法允许,也可以追加。

上例你可能会想,为什么不是同一个案由也可以追加?留作课后习题。

加被告回溯是最麻烦的,如果题目告诉你州法允许,那就简单了。

A起诉B过失,之后诉讼时效经过,过了一年发现其实应该起诉C,于是修改起诉状追加被告C。州法允许回溯,可以追加。

如果州法不允许,联邦法也可以追加被告,但就有了下面两个要求:

  1. 在起诉后90天内修改起诉状;

  2. 新的被告对起诉知情,知道或应当知道自己应当是正确的被告(之一)。

这类题目在UWorld里面反而很多,这里只介绍一个题:以Ten months after surgery in a hospital开头的题,细心的同学发现修改诉状加入新的当事人并主张relation back的时候,已经超过了FRCP规定的90天。这是因为这个题2014年放出,当时FRCP的规定还是120天,2015年改成了90天。

送达和回溯这两类情形的诀窍是,联邦和州法只要符合任何一个,就是符合程序的;反过来,必须联邦法和州法都不符合,才是程序上不可行的。

第三类是preclusion,这个一度让人十分困惑。我们知道,preclusion的效果一律看前案而不看后案,这是宪法Full Faith and Credit Clause和相关法条带来的效果。所以,如果A州dismiss with prejudice并规定一事不再理,B州自己的法律即使认为“一事可以再理”,也不能再审理这个案例。反过来,如果A州dismiss with prejudice并规定可以在另外一个州继续起诉,B州即使自己认为“一事不再理”,也必须受理。

但preclusion通常是个民诉考题,不是宪法考题。民诉题一般是基于联邦法院的,联邦法院遇到这个问题应该看什么法律呢?要分三步走。

  1. 因为在联邦法院审理,所以适用联邦法,210个题里面以A car manufacturer produced a car that was sold nationwide开头的题,虽然最后的确是落到了州法上,但“因为是在联邦法判决,所以适用联邦法”才是唯一正确的选项;

  2. 根据Erie原则,时效问题和preclusion问题应当转而看法院坐落的州法;

  3. 如果该州认为,因时效问题dismiss with prejudice后可以在另外一个时效没有经过的州继续起诉,那么联邦法院作出的dismiss with prejudice,和州法院作出这样的裁定也不会有什么不同,另外一个州必须尊重。

[Semtek Int’l Inc. v. Lockheed Martin Corp., 531 U.S. 497 (2001)]

· 阅读需 7 分钟

上周收到香港律师会的拒信,报考OLQE这条路对我来说就算是走不通了。

我做培训就发现,“考试没什么用”这个理论是无法劝退考生的(写在报名须知里都无法劝退)。OLQE也是一样,哪怕香港律师会年费高很多,考试比CA Bar还要难很多,考到之后来香港执业也不比美国容易多少,但依然有很多人前仆后继来考。至于费用,虽然今年翻了一倍,但因为路费便宜,反而和CA Bar差不多。

但我考这个可能真的有用。我这人不是很专一,虽然我现在做培训做的热火朝天,但过几年就未必了,说不定去当律师。而我有香港身份,如果有证是真的可以在香港执业。就算我不执业,考了这个可以继续做香港OLQE培训,反正劝不退,不如加入。

所以年初心血来潮,乍一看似乎加州执业2年就可以申请,于是安排助手准备了一堆文件。这一准备起来才发现里面坑非常多,各种学历、翻译、宣誓、签字。我分别找律师朋友和翻译朋友刻了两个符合要求的章子用于认证和翻译各种文件,比较常见的坑我先列一下:

  1. 推荐信不仅要证明执业,还要证明执业的是什么法律,比如,“在中国执业”是不够的,还要证明“执业领域是中国法律”。

  2. 如果执业领域不是中国法律,比如“在中国从事美国法律”,需要司法局开证明允许在中国从事美国法律。

  3. 推荐信一定要注明推荐人和你没有亲属关系。

  4. 一般来说都要纸质的certificate of good standing和attorney's license. 深圳也就罢了,对于美国这种一般不需要license的地方,如果不想提供,必须证明他真的不发给license,但加州只要交钱是可以发license的. 于是又花钱找加州律协给我DIY了一个律师证(似乎DIY的要快,official的反而慢,但我也不知道有什么区别,所谓DIY也并没有让我选样式)转运回来。

  5. 要好几封律师推荐信,认识超过多少年,执业超过多少年,凑齐这些人并不容易。

如果说这些仔细看guide还可以准备出来,或者至少有补交的机会。那没有法学学历的坑就并没有办法规避。我看到Rule里面的确是要法学学历的,但guide里面语焉不详。似乎只要大陆法执业5年,或者普通法执业2年,就一定可以考。至于没有法学学历可不可以申请豁免?不知道,也问不出来。可能前人没有做过吧,那我只能吃一下螃蟹了。报名费涨了一倍也没有办法,去中行开了6600港币的汇票,3月和厚厚的一沓材料一起亲手送到律协。吐槽下,在香港大街上找个卫生间很不容易,需要下个找卫生间的APP。这个APP告诉我律师会最近只有对面商场3楼有一个,但10点之前居然是锁着的。好在律师会开门后可以找前台小姐姐要钥匙上厕所。

中途很多考友遇到了上面1-5中的各种问题要求补料,但我没有,表扬一下助手看材料真的很仔细。

但5月直接来了个大的,要求补交法学学历。这真的补不出来,直接回复没有。

于是上周拒了,理由如下:

The OEEC noted your email of 6 May 2024 informing the Law Society that you had not attended any law school, neither in a common law nor a non-common law jurisdiction. You are unable to provide any academic transcript relating to your completion of the core courses as required under rule 4 of the Overseas Lawyers (Qualification for Admission) Rules ("OLQE Rules"). The OEEC resolved that you are not eligible to sit the OLQE in 2024 on the basis that you failed to satisfy the academic requirements under rule 4 of the OLQE Rules.

还贴心地附上6600的收据,顺便告诉我可以再交3000复议。合着光借钥匙上个厕所就收6600还不够黑,还要贴3000进去。

不过也算是省钱了,因为如果通过报名资格,考试费又要两万多。培训费也省不了,一般来说要7万左右。会费据说一年一万左右(一般律所交,有不同程度豁免)。大多数人即使考到也并没有办法去香港执业,这钱比加州要肉疼很多。

我是不会再交一分钱给律师会了。这件事情就这样告一段落。

· 阅读需 3 分钟

BTUWORLD15这个15%折扣码已经用了大半年,半年的套餐从399涨价到了429,目前只能用于今年7月底的考试,还能用2个月。折后356.15美元。

近日,我们联系到了UWORLD销售部门,要到了MBE15UWORLD和MBE10UWORLD,分别用于2025年2月的半年套餐(今年8月1日用到明年2月底)和早鸟套餐(现在用到明年2月底),折后分别是356.15美元和476.10美元。后者除了比前者多用2个月,还有一次重置所有题目二刷的机会,但只有10%而不是15%的折扣。

无论怎么强调UWORLD对考试的帮助都不为过,相信所有通过考试(尤其是加州)的学员和非学员都深有感触。

UWORLD一共有2000多个题,只看到1800个题的同学可以点开左边Assessment,这200个题是NCBE在2021年放出来的真题,价值很高。目前没有任何机构能把真题收录到UWORLD这样齐全的程度。

UWORLD全题似乎有一套打水印的PDF售卖(售价似乎还不菲)。作为程序员,爬虫是我高中就会的东西,对我来说没有任何稀奇。

我认为,打印这5000多页费时费力,且没有办法很好地统计正确率、整理错题,更不会像APP一样可以随时随地用碎片时间刷题,实在没有必要为了省这一点钱肥了盗版商的腰包。何况那水印看着也膈应人。

明年2月加州考试可能换Kaplan的题目,那么可以考虑UWORLD+Kaplan自编题(约1200题)组合的方式。我会像点评UWORLD自编题那样,对这1200题中有争议的自编题进行点评和解析。

我没有收上述两家机构的钱。

· 阅读需 8 分钟

我当年考试的时候基本是把UWorld当圣经在用,压根没有发现任何不妥之处。而现在这个系列可以写到第三篇,说明学员水平越来越高,学的也越来越细。

我们从NCBE的一道原题开始。以A motorcyclist was involved in a collision with a truck开头的题,在州法院起诉卡车司机侵权败诉,然后去联邦法院起诉司机的雇主。我看到这个题,一眼认为是禁事实冲突(issue preclusion),因为雇员没有责任,雇主就没有了替代责任。同时我认为并不是一事不再理(claim preclusion),因为连原被告都不一样。看到答案我大跌眼镜,答案是一事不再理,因为二被告有某种关系(privity)。答案同时认为不构成issue preclusion,因为陪审团可能认为原告有共同过失才判被告赢的。如果说选A的原因我将信将疑,不选B则没有说服我。如果原告有共同过失,第二个案子同样也赢不了,完全可以拿来用。

民诉的题有疑问,按照惯例是要去找联邦各法院的判例。检索发现这个题发布后就在学术界引发了争议,以至于有人写了57页的论文1来讨论这个题目的正确答案。最终认为,为了司法判决的一致性,二被告有privity,允许使用nonmutual claim preclusion在实务上正确的答案,所以选A没有问题。但B同样没有问题:它的正确非常显然,以至于法官们都认为应该用issue preclusion更方便。总之,这个题用来测试考生是无效的,是一个错题2

以Ten months after surgery in a hospital开头的题,细心的同学发现修改诉状加入新的当事人并主张relation back的时候,已经超过了FRCP规定的90天。这是因为这个题2014年放出,当时FRCP的规定还是120天,2015年刚改成了90天。UWorld没有发现这个问题,姑且算是UWorld的锅。

要挑NCBE原题的错是很难的,接下来有问题的绝大多数还是UWorld的自编题。

以A business incorporated in State A hired an advertiser living in State B and a lawyer living in State C to help the business's advertising efforts in a foreign country开头的一个题,venue的两个优先都不合适,只能用兜底,而兜底的规则是“对任何一个被告有PJ的司法区”,所以B说因为这个司法区对两个被告都有PJ,和A说因为其中一个被告住在这个司法区,都不够好。正确的答案描述为at least one of the defendants are subject to personal jurisdiction in State B会比较好。

以A man died, leaving a will that devised his land to “my wife for life, remainder to my son and the heirs of his body. But if my son dies without children, then the land shall go to my nephew.” 开头的一个题,说这是fee tail,所以my son后面整个无效,应视为fee simple. 这是不对的,“and the heirs of his body”划掉不看,是房地产的做题技巧没错,但But开头的这句话没有办法不看。事实上这是一个fee simple subject to executory limitation,虽然归邻居没有错,但说the son持有fee simple是错误的。

以A shopping mall located near an interstate highway exit is surrounded by a paved parking area开头的一个题,讲述地主明明摆放了“NO TRESPASSING”的牌子,却反而把侵入者变成了anticipated trespasser的故事。这让地主怎么做都是错的,不放牌子说人家没警告,放了牌子说人家有期待。正确的理解参考Barbri的outline: if the owner has posted "no trespassing" signs, this might serve to convert these “anticipated” trespassers into “undiscovered” trespassers.

以A tenant entered into a one-year agreement to lease a two-bedroom home from a landlord for $1,000 per month开头的题,核心是租客违约,房东及时租出去,能否主张租金差价600块。UWorld认为多数州不将anticipatory repudiation理论运用到租约上,所以无法主张差价。MBE会避开这种实务上争议很大的题。即便如解析所说,题目也没有问“现在”房东能主张多少,房东完全可以等到原来的租约结束再主张差价,就不需要用到anticipatory repudiation理论。

以For several weeks开头的一个题,讲述用口头证据来解释合同的前提条件,这是口头证据一个单独的例外,就是可以采纳关于合同有无conditions precedent以及该条件是否达成的口头证据,但不代表前提条件没有达成就没有合同。所以虽然可以采纳的结论正确(口头证据规则通常考的是例外),但原因解释错了。

以A defendant was charged with sexual assault开头的一个题,希望引入被害人先前希望和被告人发生性行为的庭外陈述。答案认为这是“specific instances of a victim's sexual behavior”,十分牵强。其实用then-existing state of mind就很好解决了hearsay的问题,如果不行,用被告人宪法权利的兜底条款也必须能选对。这题选C(because the testimony goes to the issue of consent)是没有错误的。


  1. Koppel, G. S. (2017). The Case for Nonmutual Privity in Vicarious Liability Relationships: Pushing the Frontiers of the Law of Claim Preclusion. Campbell L. Rev., 39, 1.
  2. Posting of Allan Ides, allan.ides@lls.edu, to civ-pro@listserv.nd.edu (Nov. 11, 2015) (on file with author) (“I do agree that the issue preclusion alternative, which is also correct under a non-mutual estoppel principle, muddies the question and renders it an ineffective testing tool.”).

· 阅读需 6 分钟

2024年2月纽约和加州成绩相继出来,我纽约的学员很少,37.5%通过了考试,还有37.5%在260分左右,只差了不到10分,今年7月想必能够通过。这个数据比去年7月要差一些,除了考试本身比7月难,主要是真的没什么应届LLM学员,希望大家多帮我在LLM班级上推荐下,不然只能逼着我学友商去贵校开宣讲会了【手动狗头】。

加州我没有挨个问去参加考试的人(也不是所有人去考了都会告诉我),目前统计的通过率居然超过纽约。在放榜通过的22个留大陆+香港地址的考生中(北京4、上海7、深圳2、绍兴1、成都1、长沙1、惠州1、丹阳1、香港4),有超过1/3是我的学员,加上看我免费课自学并主动告诉我的超过一半。还有另外一些学员留的美国地址。注意我从开始卖课到现在差不多一年半,主要也就培训了去年7月和今年2月两届考生,有理由相信今年7月的战绩会更好。

我对2月的战绩本来是相对保守的,因为2月真的比7月难。从通过总人数看,虽然留大陆+香港地址的人比去年多5个,但去年疫情刚放开,很多人不敢报名。所以说难度即使不大于去年2月,至少也是相当的。成绩出来之后通过率大大超过我的预料。对自己的培训方法有效而窃喜的同时,也感慨学员付出了我看见的和没有看见的努力。恭喜通过的学员。

为什么说2月比7月难?有人会说,2月repeater多,通过率自然低,这的确是2月通过率低的主要原因,所以光从相对较低的通过率无法证明2月真的难。

我每年都会第一时间看学员的论文和分数,同样质量的论文,去年7月就比今年2月给分要厚道,去年7月除了第4题居然会给出40-45这样的分数(也是因为考生确实在瞎写),其他几题多写一点就会给55分,但今年2月文笔不好就只给50。整体而言,我个人观感是同样质量的文章,7月可能要多拿10-15分的裸分。也就是平均每科多给2分左右。

不要觉得2分不多,下面这个算法会让你直观感受到论文每一分都对成绩提升巨大,而2月会放大60分以上的帮助,反之7月会缩小58分以下的后腿。

将裸分转化为1300左右的分数,就是简单地乘以一个系数,再减去一个系数。去年7月的公式是:Raw × 4.3264 – 456.46,今年2月的公式却是Raw × 4.6246 - 576.51. 如果所有文章都拿62分(434),60分(420),58分(406)或56分(392),会在去年7月拿到1421、1361、1300、1239,但是在今年2月分别是1431、1365、1301、1236。

总之,如果能在7月指望老师多给几篇论文60甚至65分这样的分数,对通过考试帮助特别大。同时,如果文笔就是不好,MBE也要冲着1500分往上去准备。

MBE的调分是不是也比去年7月更难?从部分学生两次考试的成绩对比来看,难了不止一点。但很可惜,统计样本不足(加州通过的学生不公布成绩),就先不下结论了。

顺便说一下MPRE. 今年3月MPRE的调分显然比去年8月和11月厚道,通过率回到了当年在国内可以考的那几次。出分的时候大群小群都沸腾了,甚至有人考出141这样逆天的分数。而去年8月、11月挂的人很多,学霸考不到100分的也大有人在,还出现了通过bar居然没有过MPRE这种倒反天罡的现象。

· 阅读需 4 分钟

1

Contracts for the sale of goods are governed by the Uniform Commercial Code (UCC), while most other types of contracts fall under common law. Here, the applicable law is the UCC since the contract involves the sale of maple toppings.

A contract forms based on mutual agreement, even if that agreement is oral. When Brian and Sam verbally agreed that Sam would immediately supply 500 gallons of maple topping at $20 per gallon, a contract was formed. However, the UCC requires that contracts for the sale of goods valued over $500 must be in writing to be enforceable. Although they had an oral agreement, it could not be exnforced because it did not meet the UCC's Statute of Frauds requirement.

Moving forward, Brian sent Sam a purchase order on his standard form for 5,000 gallons of maple topping at $20 per gallon, to be delivered to Brian’s place of business in two weeks. This is a definite offer under the UCC with clear terms regarding quantity, price, and delivery time. Despite not reflecting the quantity initially discussed, it is still a valid and legally binding offer under the UCC. Sam’s subsequent written acknowledgment, which restated the items in Brian’s purchase order, constitutes a proper acceptance, indicating his willingness to be bound by the terms of the offer.

Therefore, an enforceable contract was established between Sam and Brian for 5,000 gallons of maple topping at $20 per gallon, to be delivered in two weeks. This contract meets the requirements of the Statute of Frauds and is enforceable. Sam’s argument might be that the contract does not accurately reflect their initial oral agreement. However, the purpose of the Statute of Frauds is to prioritize written over oral agreements to avoid disputes over unverifiable terms not captured in writing. In fact, fhe parol evidence rule specifically prevents the introduction of oral negotiations prior to or contemporaneous with the written contract from contradicting written agreement terms.

Most importantly, Brian's order does not specify that it is a continuation of the initial oral agreement. Although he might personally believe it to be so, contract formation is based on the outward expressions of the parties, not their internal thoughts. Thus, the order could very well represent a new offer, making Sam's argument likely to fail.

The only possible way Sam could prevail is if he could prove that there is a mistake, such as a mutual mistake where both parties intended to form a contract for 500 gallons and the mention of 5,000 gallons was due to a clerical error. It could also be a unilateral mistake where he intended to form a contract for 500 gallons and Sam had reason to believe this could be the case, due to their previous oral agreement. In such instances, he could seek reformation, an equitable remedy, to adjust the contract quantity to 500 gallons and reduce his losses.

2

Under the UCC, perfect tender is required, which includes delivery of goods at the specified time. Therefore, when Sam failed to deliver the 5,000 gallons of maple topping within two weeks as specified in the purchase order, he breached the contract.

Brian is claiming $100,000 in lost profits as compensatory damages, which are expectation damages intended to put the injured party in the position they would have been had the contract been performed. To claim such damages, it must be shown that the breaching party could have foreseen these losses at the time the contract was made.

The information provided does not specify enough details to determine whether these losses were foreseeable. However, it is likely reasonable to assume that in the food industry, the failure to deliver a key ingredient like maple topping on time could foreseeably lead to significant losses due to the inability to produce and sell finished food products. This type of loss, considering the role of the ingredient in production and its impact on sales, would generally be considered foreseeable.

Therefore, even if the claimed damages are equivalent to the contract amount, Brian might still have a plausible case for recovering these lost profits if it can be demonstrated that such losses were foreseeable to someone in Sam's position at the time the contract was formed.

(703 words)

· 阅读需 4 分钟

Motion to Suppress

The 6th Amendment guarantees the right to have an attorney present during critical post-charge stages of criminal proceedings. Live line-ups are considered such critical stages, while unfortunately, photographic identifications are not.

Regarding the 5th Amendment, it protects the right to have an attorney present during custodial interrogations. The showing of photographs to Tessa was not a custodial interrogation, so the 5th Amendment does not apply.

Therefore, the court correctly denied Dan's motion to suppress the photograph on this basis.

CA Prop 8

Under California's Proposition 8, all relevant evidence is admissible in criminal cases, but evidence that violates constitutional rights, impermissible character evidence, and hearsay are still excluded.

Statement to the defense investigator

Relevance

Evidence is considered relevant if it has the tendency to make a fact more or less likely than it would be without the evidence. Legal relevance additionally considers whether the probative value of the evidence is substantially outweighed by the risk of prejudice, undue delay, or redundancy. Tessa's previous contradictory description to the defense investigator directly challenges her reliability and accuracy, making this statement relevant.

Hearsay

The statement given to the defense investigator is considered hearsay because it is an out-of-court statement being offered to prove the truth of the matter asserted. Under California's Proposition 8, while all relevant evidence is generally admissible, hearsay remains inadmissible unless it falls under an established exception.

Prior Inconsistent Statement

For a prior inconsistent statement to be admissible, it must have been made under oath. In this case, if Tessa’s statement to the defense investigator was made under oath, it could potentially be admissible as substantive evidence.

Former Testimony

The former testimony exception requires that the testimony was given under oath and that the witness is unavailable to testify at the current proceedings. Since the witness is available, her statement does not qualify under the former testimony exception.

Impeachment Evidence

Although the statement may not be admissible as substantive evidence, it directly contradicts Tessa's court testimony about the suspect's appearance, which is a crucial issue rather than a collateral matter. Thus, it can be used to impeach her credibility.

In summary, the testimony given to the defense investigator can be admitted for the purpose of impeaching the witness. The judge may instruct the jury that it should only be considered for impeachment purposes.

The photograph with Tessa’s signature

Hearsay

The photograph signed by Tessa, identifying Dan as the suspect, constitutes hearsay because it is an out-of-court identification used to assert that the person depicted is the robber.

Prior Identification

A witness's prior identification of a suspect is generally excluded from the hearsay rule and is admissible as substantive evidence.

Legal Relevance

Resolving the hearsay issue does not conclude the inquiry into the admissibility of the photograph. The defense might argue that since one identical photograph has already been admitted, introducing another photograph with Tessa's signature could be unnecessarily cumulative or prejudicial.

This argument is unlikely to prevail because the signature on the photograph can enhance the credibility of the prior identification in the eyes of the jury. It emphasizes Tessa's certainty and commitment at the time of identification, which is a critical aspect of her testimony. While any evidence can naturally cause some prejudice to one party, under Proposition 8, it should be admitted as long as it does not cause undue or unfair prejudice.

The ATM Records

Relevance

The ATM records are highly relevant to the case as they potentially contradict Dan's alibi.

Hearsay

ATM records are not assertions made by a person, and are not considered hearsay.

Authentication

The records have been properly authenticated by Chet, the custodian of records from Credco, who testified that they were produced as part of the regular course of business, and establishes a reliable basis for the creation and maintenance of these records.

Given these factors, the ATM records are likely admissible as they are relevant, not considered hearsay, and have been properly authenticated.

(680 words)

· 阅读需 3 分钟

In California, a community property state, all earnings and assets acquired during a marriage are generally considered community property (CP) and are typically divided equally between spouses upon divorce. However, gifts, inheritances, and properties owned before marriage remain separate property (SP), belonging solely to the receiving or owning spouse.

The House

Initially, the house was Wendy's SP, gifted to her by her aunt. However, by deeding her SP into a jointly titled asset, it may have transformed into CP, a process known as a transmutation.

A transmutation must be made in writing, although it does not require consideration. When Wendy added Henry's name to the title, it must have been formalized in writing to meet the Statute of Frauds in the real property transaction process. By making this change, even without explicit documentation presented in this scenario, it is presumed that the property became CP.

Before 1987, any SP-to-CP transmutations were considered gifts. However, in 1987, California passed the anti-Lucas legislation. Now, Wendy is entitled to reimbursement for her separate property contributions towards the house at the time she changed the title.

To conclude, the house is considered CP, but Wendy should be reimbursed for one-half of the value of the property at the time she converted it from her SP by adding Henry's name to the title.

The Loan

In California, debts incurred during a marriage should be repaid using CP and the borrowing spouse's SP. This is true even if only one spouse, such as Henry, is the borrower. Therefore, when Henry forged Wendy’s signature to obtain the loan, the obligation to repay still involves both spouses' CP and Henry’s SP. However, since Wendy was unaware of the transaction, her SP is not obligated unless the expenses were for necessities, which is not the case with an auto repair garage purchase. Therefore, the debt should be settled using the couple's CP and Henry's SP.

Clarifying the debt responsibility does not conclude this matter. Here, Henry’s actions of forgery and unauthorized property purchase violated his marital fiduciary duty of loyalty. This breach could influence the court to allocate more debt responsibility to Henry, thereby protecting Wendy due to his misconduct.

The Garage

The auto repair garage, purchased with the loan under both spouses' names, is considered CP regardless of whose name appears on the documents.

Henry might argue that since he forged Wendy's signature, her obligation to the loan could be invalidated, suggesting that the garage should be classified as his SP. This argument does not stand. As discussed supra, both spouses' CP are responsible for the loan, so there is no reason for that property purchased with such a loan to be considered SP, especially when the garage is indeed titled in both their names.

The Investments

The termination of the marital relationship, and thus the cessation of the accumulation of community property, occurs when spouses decide not to continue their marriage, which in the case of Henry and Wendy, is marked by Wendy's declaration that the marriage was over. Therefore, Wendy's investments made after the permanent separation is SP.

(536 words)

· 阅读需 4 分钟

Request for season tickets

Lawyers are prohibited from soliciting substantial gifts from clients. Allison might argue that season tickets are not a substantial gift, but given that such tickets generally cost several thousand dollars, they are typically considered significant. Allison might also argue that the tickets were part of her legal fees and not gifts, but this argument raises other serious issues. In criminal cases, contingency fees are strictly prohibited. Therefore, Allison’s condition of receiving season tickets only if she prevails in the case clearly violates this rule. Moreover, ABA requires that any contingency fee agreement must be in writing, while California law mandates that any legal fees exceeding $1000 also be documented in writing. The request for any legal fees should have been explicitly included in the retainer agreement rather than verbally requested after the fact.

Therefore, Allison violated ethical standards by inappropriately soliciting gifts from a client.

Payments to Wilfred

Paying witnesses for their time, including transportation, lost wages, and accommodation expenses, is generally permissible. Lawyers can also compensate witnesses for the time spent in preparation for testimony. Therefore, the payments to Wilfred for his testimony and preparation time per se do not raise ethical concerns. However, ethical issues arise from Allison's condition that these payments were contingent on Wilfred refusing to meet with the prosecution prior to the trial. Lawyers cannot ethically restrict third parties from providing information to the opposing party unless these third parties are relatives, employees, or agents of their client. In this case, there is no evidence to suggest that Wilfred has any such relationship with Davos, making Allison's stipulation a breach of the duty of fairness to the opposing party.

Payment to Eileen

Compensating expert witnesses for their time and expertise is a common and acceptable practice in legal proceedings. Again, paying Eileen, an experienced video technician, a reasonable hourly rate for her testimony at trial per se is not a violation of professional ethics.

Presentation of Eileen’s expert opinion

Attorneys must not submit information to the court that they know to be false, as this violates their duty of candor to the tribunal. In this case, Allison’s actions in influencing Eileen to provide testimony that contradicted their earlier agreement - that the video showed strong evidence of assault - constitutes a serious ethical breach. This act of soliciting Eileen to alter her opinion for trial purposes suggests an intent to deceive the court.

Moreover, while preparing witnesses, attorneys should facilitate the expression of the witness's own opinions and knowledge, rather than instructing them on what to say. Allison’s involvement in changing Eileen’s testimony could be viewed as suborning perjury, especially if it is proven that Allison encouraged Eileen to testify in a manner that was knowingly contrary to her actual expert opinion.

Allison might argue that an expert witness’s testimony is merely an opinion, not a statement of fact. However, even opinions must be genuinely held by the expert. Encouraging an expert to assert an opinion that does not reflect their true professional judgment not only undermines the judicial process but could potentially raise issues of perjury if the expert’s testimony is proven to be intentionally misleading. Thus, this manipulation of expert testimony could also breach the ethical duty to abide by the law.

Allison’s statements in closing argument

While it is Allison's duty to zealously advocate for her client, this does not include the license to mislead the jury or court. By stating that there was no assault, if contrary to the evidence presented, Allison potentially breaches this duty. However, Allison might defend her statement by claiming that she merely said, "the video showed that there was no assault" framing it as an opinion based on the interpretation of the evidence, rather than a direct assertion of fact. This is a close call and typically, the state bar may accept such a framing in closing arguments as it reflects an argumentative interpretation rather than a factual declaration.

However, the phrase "in my own opinion" used in her closing argument presents a clear issue. It is inappropriate for attorneys to insert their personal beliefs into arguments; they are required to maintain a professional detachment and rely solely on evidence and law to make their case. Expressing a personal belief about the client’s innocence oversteps this boundary and could be seen as a breach of duty of fairness to the opposing party.

(754 words)