legal writing 4-1
In the long run, the research process will help you to systematically address legal research and writing assignments. At first, however, the system may seem cumbersome and time consuming. Therefore, it is important that you practice going through each step of the process so you will become more comfortable with the system. For this assignment, you will have an opportunity to practice the research process given a hypothetical fact pattern. Review the scenario below, then draft a legal research memorandum for the attorney that you work for addressing the questions given. (The scenario and these questions can also be found on pages 413 and 414 in your text.)
The Longs had purchased two adjoining lots on Nice Street in Anytown, Your State, as investment property. One of the lots was zoned residential and contained a three-bedroom, two-bathroom house that the Longs rented out. The other lot, zoned commercial, was vacant.
In September of 1988, the Longs rented the house to a thirty-year-old business woman. Barely a month later, the police called the Longs. A neighbor of the business woman had asked the police to investigate the Longs’ Nice Street house. The neighbor reported he had heard a lot of yelling at the house and then a gun shot. The police found the front door open and the business woman dead, apparently shot by an intruder.
The Longs next rented the Nice Street house to a family. As soon as the family moved in, they reported that their television set repeatedly turned on and off, often in the middle of the night. The children claimed they had seen the ghost of the dead woman and were too terrified to sleep in their rooms. The neighborhood children started calling the Nice Street house the “haunted house” and refused to play with the children of the family renting the house. A few months later the family moved out complaining that they did not want to live with a ghost. After that the Longs tried without success to rent the Nice Street house. At the same time the Longs posted a “For Sale” sign on the two lots. The Longs wanted to sell them for $250,000, the price at which the Longs had purchased them 10 years earlier. The Longs received no offers until almost a year later. A retired couple, the Browns, called the Longs to ask the sale price on the two lots. The couple was looking to move to a warmer climate and open a small toy store. When the Browns heard the asking price of $250,000, they said they might be interested in purchasing the lots.
The Longs met the Browns at the lots and gave them a tour of the house. The Browns explained to the Longs that they wanted to build a small toy store on the vacant commercial property and live next door in the house. They said that they were attracted to the lots because of their location and because the asking price seemed reasonable. The Longs told the Browns that the only reason they had put such a low price on the property was because it had been on the market for a while. The Longs needed to sell the property quickly because they were in need of cash to pay for unexpected expenses.
The sale went through sixty days later, and the Browns immediately started construction on the vacant lot. They hoped to have the construction finished by the time they moved to Anytown. Six months later the Browns moved into the Nice Street house and opened the then completed toy store. Business at the toy store seemed very slow. The Longs noticed that none of the children from the neighborhood came into the store. They did get some business from people vacationing in Anytown.
A week after the Browns moved into the house, their television turned on in the middle of the night. They didn’t think anything of it until it happened the next two nights in a row. When Mr. Brown got up to turn off the television, he thought he saw something white and filmy at the other end of the room. Then the same thing started happening to the small television in the toy store. The Browns made sure they had turned off the television before locking the store for the evening, but they found the television turned on when they opened the store the next morning. Before they turned on the store lights in the morning, the Browns thought they glimpsed something white moving at the other end of the store. They didn’t see anything out of the ordinary when they turned the lights on.
A few days later Mr. Brown struck up a conversation with the teenage clerk at the local grocery store. The clerk asked Mr. Brown whether he had just moved to town. When Mr. Brown told him he owned the new toy store and lived next door, the clerk said, “I didn’t think the Longs would ever sell the haunted house.” Mr. Brown said, “What do you mean?” The clerk said, “Everybody around here knows the house is haunted. Why do you think you paid such a low price for it?”
Understandably shaken, Mr. Brown went home and told his wife the news. They immediately called the Longs and accused them of tricking the retired couple.
The Browns demanded their money back and demanded to be reimbursed for the cost of construction of the toy store. When the Longs refused, the Browns hired your law firm to represent them.
Your legal research memorandum should address the following two questions:
- Did the Longs have a duty to disclose that the two lots were “haunted”?
- What are the elements of fraud concerning the sale of real property?
Your assignment should be at least two pages in length.
Be sure to reference all sources using Bluebook format.
If you need formatting assistance, remember you can always access the Legal Writing Resources Page.
Submit this memorandum by Sunday 11:50PM (Mountain).