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UCSD Fact Pattern Analysis Using the IRAC Method Paper

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Every lawsuit starts with a story, or what we lawyer-type people refer to as a fact pattern. The
Semester Project requires you to analyze a fact pattern related to a topic we cover in class. You
can choose one of the scenarios below or come up with a situation that interests you- if the latter,
you must submit it to me in advance for my approval.
Work Product: You will turn in a 500-1000 word analysis using the IRAC method. The taped
lecture on IRAC and IRAC instructions are available on Canvas.
Grading: This assignment makes up 20% of your course grade. I will be grading it out of 100
points distributed as follows:
Summarize the relevant facts
Identify the legal issue that must be
Identify the case, code, legal principle
that applies
Apply the rule to the facts. In other
words, interpret the facts based on the
legal question and rule that are at play.
Decide how a court would likely rule.
Due Dates: The assignment is due on Friday November 19th. You must upload it on Canvas and
by 11:59 p.m. on Friday November 19th for you to receive full grades. I reserve the right to not
accept late assignments or take off points, depending on the reason for the late submission.
Academic Honesty: As stated in the syllabus, the University adheres to a strict policy regarding
cheating and plagiarism. Become familiar with the policy. Any cheating or plagiarism will result
in failing the course.
Examples of Plagiarism include but are not limited to:
• Using sources verbatim or paraphrasing without giving proper attribution (this can
include phrases, sentences, paragraphs and/or pages of work)
• Copying and pasting work from an online or offline source and calling it your own
• Using information from an online or offline source without giving the author credit
• Replacing words or phrases from a source and inserting your own words or phrases
• Submitting a piece of work you did for one class to another class
Page 1 of 5
In addition, unauthorized recording or dissemination of course instruction or materials by
students, especially with the intent to disrupt normal university operations or facilitate
academic dishonesty, is a violation of the Student Conduct Code. This includes posting of
exam problems or questions to on-line platforms. Violators may be subject to discipline.
Fact Patterns:
Each of these fact patterns has at least one legal issue. If there is more than one, you can pick
the issue you want to analyze. Please assume the facts are correct, however, if the rule and its
application requires further details or facts not stated, you can note that in your analysis.
CompWare, Inc., which is headquartered in San Francisco, California, is one of the leading
software manufacturers in the United States. The company invests millions of dollars in research
and development of new software applications and computer games, which are sold worldwide.
CompWare routinely purchases some of the materials necessary to produce its computer games
from Supptex, Inc., a New York firm.
Supptex is looking to expand and has been trying to convince one of CompWare’s key employees,
Melissa Gorbhan, to come to work for Supptex. Supptex knows that Gorbhan has a written
employment contract with CompWare, which Gorbhan would breach if she left CompWare
before the contract expired. Gorbhan goes to work for Supptex, and the departure of its key
employee causes CompWare to suffer substantial losses due to delays in completing new
software. In addition, CompWare learns from a reliable source that Supptex paid Gorbhan a
substantial sum to obtain a copy of its list of start-up companies CompWare was considering
investing in.
Steve Booth, the CEO and majority shareholder of OuterSpace Corp. (OSC) (incorporated
in Delaware) founded the company to develop the technology needed to make commercial space
flights available to the average citizen. He believed that space could be made available for
colonization and that the energy and resources needed to sustain life in outer space could be
harvested from other planets, such as Mars.
OSC also developed and produced solar panels for sale to the public, which were very similar to
the ones that they would be using on their space vehicles for energy while in space. The panels
were highly successful not only because of their technological brilliance, but also thanks to the
public’s fascination with Steve, who was portrayed in the media as the “architect of the future.”
OSC’s solar panels dominated the solar panel market, effectively shutting down other solar panel
companies both domestically and abroad. Upset by the shift in the market, a competing foreign
company, SolarTec, filed a suit against OSC in federal court for violations of Section 1 of the
Sherman Act.
Undeterred, OSC entered into agreement with a Chinese company to begin the manufacture of
the space vehicle. However, upon learning of the agreement, the United States government
immediately notified OSC that they were in violation of the U.S. Department of State’s
International Traffic in Arms Regulation laws and that OSC must cease all transfer of technology
and data related to the manufacturing of the vehicle. Concurrently, the Chinese government, in
Page 2 of 5
learning of the agreement and realizing the benefit of the technology to its national government,
seized control of the manufacturing facility. OSC immediately filed suit in the United States
against the manufacturing facility and Chinese government.
On a Saturday night in mid-October, Sarah and her friend Namita met up to experience
The Haunted Witch Trials, a Halloween attraction in which the Salem Witch Trials were reimagined into a haunted house type of attraction that took place on a 100-acre plot of land. Sarah
paid her admission fee at the front gate and was handed her entrance ticket:
Namita, however, didn’t pay the entrance fee and slipped past the gate attendant while he was
busy with other patrons.
As the two friends traveled down the path, they were impressed with the level of authenticity in
recreating the 17th century village. There were several small village houses, each of which had
real fires burning several feet in front of the structure over which were large boiling cauldrons.
Hidden fog machines and lighting added to the eerie effect. Curious as to what might be in the
cauldron, the friends walked closer to see inside. Suddenly, an actress dressed in 17th century
apparel came running out of the woods screaming that she was not a witch, startling Sarah who
fell against the cauldron and was burned by the hot metal.
Injured and wanting to get quick medical attention, Sarah and Namita looked around for an
employee but didn’t see anyone other than a few other patrons. The actress who had run out of
the woods just moments before was nowhere to be found. Namita said, “This is over 100 acres!
Let’s just cut through the woods to get back to the entrance.” Although there was a sign posted
near the tree line to the woods that said “Employees Only Beyond This Point,” they decided to
disregard it.
Namita started to use a GPS-enabled app on her phone to guide them back to the entrance, but,
in the darkness of the unlit woods, didn’t see a fallen tree and tripped over it, landing hard on
her knee and scraping her hands. She also dropped her phone, cracking the screen.
Angry and frustrated, the two friends finally made their way back to the entrance gate where
they found several of the attraction’s employees. Sarah asked where they could find a first aid
Page 3 of 5
station, but the employees told them that the attraction didn’t have one. The friends got into
their car and drove to the local emergency room. Sarah was diagnosed with a second degree burn
on her hand and Namita was diagnosed with a torn tendon in her knee.
Chang is employed as a shuttle driver by a small boutique hotel in Napa Valley California.
The hotel offers complimentary shuttle service to and from the airport to its guests. The hotel
has 20 employees, including Chang. She was hired in 2012 and has been a model employee since
that time—always arrives to work earlier, rarely takes sick days, and is pleasant to all the
customers. However, over the past five years, Chang has put on a significant amount of weight,
and her manager, Frank, has become increasingly concerned about Chang’s ability to help
customers in the event of an emergency. Because the shuttle is small, Chang is not required to
maintain a commercial driver’s license and, therefore, is not subject to regular medical testing by
the Department of Transportation.
Frank called Chang into his office one day before Chang’s shift was about to start and said, “I
know you’ve always done a good job here, but I’m really concerned that your weight could affect
the safety of the passengers in the event of an emergency. What if a customer had a medical
emergency? What if you needed to help a customer in a wheelchair exit the vehicle in the event
of an accident? Would you be able to get to them quickly and help them?”
Chang became visibly distraught and after a few moments responded, “I know I have put on some
weight since I started here, but last I looked it wasn’t a crime. And besides that, I’m seeing a
therapist for a food addiction so you can’t fire me. I’m protected under the ADA.” She then
walked out of the office and completed her shift without incident.
Several days later, hotel management developed a new provision in its employee manual which
stated, in part, “Due to health concerns for employees, rising health insurance premiums, and
the safety of our guests, it shall be the policy of this company and hotel that no employee (1)
shall have a body mass index which qualifies them as obese, (2) has high cholesterol, and (3)
consumes “fast food” while off duty. Any employee in violation of this policy shall be subject to
discipline, up to and including termination.” The hotel published the new policy on the “News for
Employees” board in the back office. When Chang got into the office, she saw the posting and
became extremely distressed. She decided she needed to take the rest of the day off to collect
herself and made an appointment to speak with her supervisor the following day.
When Chang arrived for her appointment with Frank, Frank stated, “I’m sure you have had time
to review the new policy. The company will be asking all its employees to go in for medical testing
next month and they are going to have to submit the results to our health insurance carrier to
see if we can get a better rate. I don’t know how we will be able to continue operating the
business if we don’t get some kind of break in our costs. I hope you understand that the company
is serious with this policy. It is for financial reasons and has nothing to do with you personally.”
Chang responded, “I feel like I am being targeted. I have never had an issue at the company and
because I have put on some weight you are going to fire me. There is no way that I would be able
to lose enough weight by next month. On top of that, do you really think you can fire someone
for eating fast food outside of work? That’s insane. The company can’t try to control people’s
Page 4 of 5
lives like this!” As she spoke, Chang became more and more agitated, eventually reaching a state
of anger, and said, “You just try to fire me! I’ll sue you so fast it will make your head spin.”
Frank answered, “This is an employment-at-will state. The company can get rid of you at any
time. You better watch who you threaten!” Chang stormed out of the office and Frank phoned
the company’s HR consultant to determine whether he could go ahead and terminate Chang for
unruly behavior in his office.
Eli owned a ranch where he farmed wheat. In March, Eli placed an order for 3.5 million
pounds of seed (enough to plant his entire 30,000 acres) with The Seed Store. Using The Seed
Store’s standardized order form, he specified the amount of seed needed along with a notation
that the seed must be non-GMO and organically grown. These factors were important to Eli,
because he intended on selling a large amount of his harvest to a buyer in Canada, who would
only accept non-GMO and organically grown products. He faxed the form to The Seed Store.
Several hours later, a sales rep called to schedule delivery in early April.
Eli was able to successfully plant his crops that spring, and he harvested them in mid-August. He
took his harvest to the grain elevator, a complex designed to store grain in large quantities, where
his grain was separated from other farmers’ harvests. While there, Eli’s Canadian buyer arrived
and took samples of the wheat for testing (to ensure the crop was non-GMO and that there were
no traces of pesticides), prior to him accepting delivery of his order. Unfortunately, the test
revealed that the wheat was genetically modified, so he refused to take any of the wheat.
Eli immediately called The Seed Store who stated that they would not have been able to provide
him such a large quantity of non-GMO seed by his needed delivery date, and therefore they
substituted a portion of the order with GMO seeds. Eli was furious and explained that he was
unable to sell his harvest due to the presence of GMO seeds. The Seed Store explained that their
order form clearly stated on the back:
The Seed Store will make every effort to fulfill your order as described. However, there
may be cases in which a substitution for all or part of your order will be necessary to meet
scheduling deadlines. If you would prefer we not substitute any part of your order, please
make a note “NO SUBSTITUTIONS” on the front of this form.
Eli argued that the substitution of another brand of non-GMO seeds would have been reasonable,
but the substitution of GMO seeds for non-GMO seeds was a breach of contract.
In October of that year, Eli was still battling The Seed Store for a refund for the cost of his entire
order. In the meantime, he was able to find another buyer for that portion of his wheat harvest,
though it was at a lower price than the Canadian buyer was willing to pay. Moreover, the
Canadian buyer needed to find another source of non-GMO wheat, and though he was eventually
able to, it was at a much higher price that he was contracted to pay Eli. Because of the price
difference, the Canadian buyer was threatening suit against Eli for the difference in price.
Page 5 of 5
IRAC Instructions
How to Approach an Event with Legal Consequences using the “IRAC” Method
When faced with an event that has legal consequences (the facts), your goal is to
understand the problem the court faced (the issue); the relevant law the court used to
solve it (the rule); how the court applied the rule to the facts (the application or
“analysis”); and the outcome (the conclusion).
Facts: Write a brief summary of the relevant facts, eliminating those that are not
relevant to the court’s analysis. For example, a business’s street address is probably
not relevant to a court’s decision of the issue of whether the business that sold a
defective product is liable for the resulting injuries to the plaintiff. However, suppose a
customer who was assaulted as she left its store is suing the business. The customer
claims that her injuries were the reasonably foreseeable result of the business’s failure
to provide security patrols. If the business is located in an upscale neighborhood, then
perhaps it could argue that its failure to provide security patrols is reasonable. If the
business is located in a crime-ridden area, then perhaps the customer is right. Instead
of including the street address in the case brief, you may want to simply describe the
type of neighborhood in which it is located.
Issue: What is the legal question which must be answered? What are the parties
fighting about, and what are they asking the court to decide?
Rule(s): What legal authorities (case law, statute, regulation, ordinance) govern
the question which must be answered. There may be more than one relevant rule of
law to a case: for example, in a negligence case in which the defendant argues that the
plaintiff assumed the risk of harm, the relevant rules of law could be the elements of
negligence, and the definition of “assumption of risk” as a defense.
Application/Analysis: How are the legal rules applied to the facts of the case?
The court will have to examine the facts in light of the rule and consider all “sides” and
arguments presented to it. What does the court consider to be a relevant fact given the
rule of law? How does the court interpret the rule: for example, does the court consider
monetary costs of providing security patrols in weighing the burden of preventive
Conclusion: What is the answer to the legal question(s) which must be

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