Part A. Case Analysis and Problem Solving
In Part A, you will analyze two cases by reading the court decisions and answering questions related to the cases.
Case study 1
Consensus is one of the essential elements in the formation of a valid contract. This means there must be an offer and acceptance between (or among) parties with legal capacity to carry out promises that the courts would regard as legal and in keeping with public policy. In some situations, one party may try to evade their promises by arguing that there never was a binding offer—just an agreement to agree or an invitation to treat. One common source of litigation concerns documents that are headed “Letter of Intent” but contain all of the elements necessary to create a binding contract. This is what happened in Marehard v. Ridgway, 30 B.L.R. 190, 2002 BCCA 405 (CanLII).
A comprehensive assessment of the facts is essential for identifying core legal issues and for developing effective arguments in court. That is why you are asked to create a timeline of essential facts.
The issues in Marehard were as follows:
1. Whether the Letter of Intent was a binding contract; and
2. if it were, whether Marehard was in breach of its terms by acting too late.
Read the BC Court of Appeal’s judgment and answer the following questions:
What was the key provision of the alleged agreement that the judges had to interpret in order to solve the dispute?
Create a brief timeline of events (one to two lines each) starting with the date of the Letter of Intent and ending with Ridgway’s letter advising that Marehard had failed to live up to its terms.
What was the sole legal issue that the Court of Appeal found it had to decide?
In deciding in favour of Ridgway, explain in your own words, why the Supreme Court judge found that there was no binding contract?
Explain why the Court of Appeal disagreed with the trial judge and found in favour of Marehard.
Keeping in mind that the facts of a case are usually key when dealing with matters of fairness or equity, what facts, in your opinion, may have influenced the appeal judges when they overturned the decision of the Supreme Court?
Case study 2
The area of sports law is fascinating and frequently involves contract law, negligence and intentional torts such as assault and battery. Recently, more and more sports cases are ending up in criminal court as well.
A major issue in these cases is whether the victim consented, expressly or impliedly, to the rough play. A series of cases have looked at the following factors when determining whether there was consent or whether the violence goes beyond what is acceptable:
· Setting of the game
· Nature of the game—for example, whether professional or recreational level
· Age of the players
· Conditions and rules which apply to the game
· Nature of “offence”—such as high sticking, cross-checking, slashing, etc.
· Amount of force
· Nature of act and likelihood of serious harm
· Intent, if any—for example, intimidation, retaliation
Sometimes judgments focus on intentional assault. At other times they concentrate on negligence and recklessness.
For this case study, you will show that you understand the application of precedent (stare decisis). As you read the judgments, you will see directly how judges apply this core tenet of the common law; that is, how they consider, follow or distinguish previous decisions of higher courts.
As in Assignment 3, you may find it helpful to revisit the “Proof read law” document presented in your introductory materials when you analyze each case.
For this question, find the following two hockey cases.
Roy v. Canadian Oldtimer’s Hockey Assn., 1997 CanLII 2694 (BCCA)
Leighton v. Best, 2009 CanLII 25972 (ON SC)
Answer these questions by focusing on the factors listed above.
Which tort was argued and applied in (1) Roy and (2) Leighton? Explain, based on the reasoning in each case and your knowledge of tort law, why one plaintiff won his case and was awarded compensation, and why the other lost his case. Note and record how the judgments discuss precedent cases and the tests they set out
You are an Ontario Supreme Court judge who must decide a case where the plaintiff’s lawyer is arguing that the defendant hockey player was negligent in circumstances similar to those in Roy. You would like to find in favour of the plaintiff. How could you justify such a decision when Roy was decided by a higher level of court?
Would it make any difference if you were a BC Supreme Court judge faced with the same situation? Explain.