legal writing 6-1

Throughout this course, we have emphasized the importance of practice when it comes to improving your legal research and writing skills. The following assignment will give you another opportunity to practice the steps of the research process and use various legal sources to draft a memorandum of law.

Review the fact pattern below, then draft a memorandum of law that addresses the questions provided. (This scenario and the questions can also be found on pages 414-415 in your text).

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Fact Pattern:

Margie and Floyd Walker had been happily married for forty-five years. Even though past retirement age, Floyd continued to work for the railroad as a porter on its passenger trains. Margie was worried about Floyd’s health and had been trying to get him to stop working for some time. She was concerned that the porter’s job was too physically taxing for someone of Floyd’s age.

One Monday morning as Floyd was getting ready for work, Margie had the uncomfortable feeling that something would happen to Floyd at work. Margie pleaded with Floyd to call in sick. Floyd said, “I feel fine. Why should I call in sick if I feel fine?” Floyd reported for work as usual. Margie tried to convince herself that she was worrying for nothing, but to no avail. She wandered through the house all day, not able to get anything done except worry.

At three o’clock in the afternoon the telephone rang. Margie was so frightened that her hand shook as she answered the telephone. Floyd’s supervisor at the railroad said, “Margie, I think you better sit down. I have bad news for you. Floyd fell from the train as it was going full speed and was killed. It appears he became disoriented, opened the outside door of the train, and was pulled off the train step by a sudden gust of wind. Floyd’s body is at the Near Town Funeral Home. I’ll make arrangements if you’d like to have the body transferred to a funeral home in Any Town.” Margie felt like she had been hit by a truck. She was glad that she was sitting down or she very likely would have fainted. She responded, “Please make the arrangements with Webury Funeral Home.”

Margie’s worst fear had come true. Somehow she made it through the funeral. She kept feeling that it must all be a bad dream. She kept imagining that she would wake up one morning with Floyd still alive. She did remember having to call the Near Town Funeral Home several times to have Floyd’s personal effects forwarded to Webury. Webury delivered the personal effects to her the day after the funeral.

It was not until almost a week after Floyd’s death when Margie went through Floyd’s personal effects. To her horror, in a plastic bag labeled “personal effects,” she found a kidney, teeth, and fingers. At the sight of her dead husband’s body parts she fainted. A neighbor lady friend found Margie an hour later collapsed on the floor. She was hospitalized for extreme exhaustion for two days and her doctor put her on antidepressant medication.

When she had recovered sufficiently, she called Webury to complain. Webury’s owner disclaimed all responsibility. The owner said that Webury had simply forwarded the plastic bag, at Margie’s insistence, from the Near Town Funeral Home. The owner added that the Webury employees had no reason to check what was in the bag.

Margie still suffers from depression and has not had a good night’s sleep since she opened the plastic bag. She keeps having nightmares about the employees of Near Town Funeral Home placing Floyd’s body parts in the plastic bag and imagines them laughing as they labeled the bag “personal effects.” It also makes her angry that Webury seemed so unconcerned and did not even offer an apology.

Assignment Directions:

Margie has hired your law firm to represent her in a possible lawsuit against the funeral home. The senior partner in your firm has asked you to draft draft a memorandum of law which addresses the following arguments:

  1. The Court should award Margie Walker damages for the tort of interference with a dead body. Be sure to list the elements of the tort in your argument.
  2. The Court should award Margie Walker damages for the tort of intentional infliction of emotional distress, sometimes called the “tort of outrage”? Be sure to list the elements of the tort in your argument.

Your memorandum of law should be at least two pages in length and contain all of the sections that appear in the two sample memoranda of law in the text beginning on p. 336.

Be sure to cite all sources within the body of the memo using Bluebook format.

If you need formatting assistance, remember you can always access the Legal Writing Resources Page.

Submit this assignment by Sunday, 11:59PM (Mountain).

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