§ 3. Order your material in a logical sequence. Use chronology when presenting
facts. Keep related material together.
Improve the sequence of ideas in the following sentence. Start like this: "In March
2000, Gilbert Spaulding applied to the Workforce Commission for extended
unemployment benefits." Then use one or two extra sentences.
- The lower court did not err by affirming the
Workforce Commission's denial of Spaulding's request for extended unemployment
benefits, since those benefits were not available during the period for which
he sought eligibility.
Improve the sequence and phrasing of ideas in these sentences, perhaps by breaking them
into separate sentences:
- The state supreme court reversed the
intermediate appellate court's affirmance of a summary judgment granted to
Pilsen Corporation, the plaintiff, which had only requested a partial summary
judgment on the discrete issue of fraud.
- The issue is whether Davis Energy has granted its neighbors an
easement to use a private road that enters a Davis fuel-storage yard, when for
three years Davis has had a guard at the road's entrance but has posted no
other notice about private property or permission to enter, and for seven years
the owners of adjacent property have used the road to reach their own property.
- The Plaintiff Los Angeles Dodgers, a corporation with offices and
its principal office in Los Angeles, California, is the owner of a professional
baseball team that, since 1958, has played baseball in Los Angeles, California,
and before 1958 played baseball in Brooklyn, New York, under the name “the
Brooklyn Dodgers,” but in that year moved the site of its home games from
Brooklyn to Los Angeles.
Rewrite the following passages to reassemble the elements in chronological order.
Again, you might need to break one or more sentences into separate sentences.
- This action arose out of a request by
Pan-American to cancel its surety bond posted with the Land Reclamation
Commission to ensure reclamation on a portion of the Prelancia Fuels mine site.
The Commission filed a petition for declaratory judgment and application for a
temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction on February 16, 1996, to
determine whether Pan-American could lawfully cancel its surety bond.
Pan-American made its request after legislation had been passed that, according
to Pan-American, would increase its liability under the bonds. The trial judge
disagreed with Pan-American. At the request of the Commission, after a brief
evidentiary hearing, a temporary restraining order and preliminary injunction
were granted on February 16, 1996, preventing Pan-American from canceling the
bond at issue until final judgment on the declaratory-judgment action.
- In Sinclair, the court awarded the niece of Sinclair a
constructive trust. Sinclair's niece was suing Purdy's estate for one-half
interest in property that she claimed her uncle owned and had promised to
bequeath to her in exchange for caring for him until his death. The court
observed that the property was purchased in his sister's name. This was done
for business purposes and because he and his sister shared a close
relationship. There was also an agreement between the siblings that the sister
would be allowed to keep only half the property. The court ruled that
withholding the property from the niece would be a breach of promise; hence, a
constructive trust was awarded in favor of the niece.
Kathcart filed the instant patent application on April 11, 2000, more than one
year after he filed counterpart applications in Greece and Spain on November
21, 1998. Kathcart initially filed an application in the U.S. on November 22,
1997, claiming most of the same compounds as in the instant application. When
he filed abroad, however, in 1998, he expanded his claims to include certain
ester derivatives of the originally claimed compounds. It is the claims to
these esters, which Kathcart has made the subject of a subsequent
continuation-in-part application, the application now before the court, that
are the issue here. Both foreign patents issued prior to the instant
application in the U.S., the Greek patent on October 2, 1999, and the Spanish
patent on January 21, 1985.
Find a published case in which the presentation of the facts is marred by
disruptions in chronology. Write a short explanation specifying why the
unchronological narrative was difficult for you to read. Rewrite the factual
statement as best you can, omitting irrelevant facts and putting in brackets
any facts you might want to add (but weren't given in the case itself). If you
belong to a writing group or class, bring a copy of your before-and-after
versions for each colleague.
- Exercise -
© 2001, Bryan A. Garner
These exercises appear in Bryan A. Garner's Legal Writing in Plain English: A Text with
Exercises, published by The University of Chicago Press and available at bookstores and
on the Web at www.press.uchicago.edu.