Student Legal Reasoning

Protocol for Coding Fact Recitation

General approach:

1.         I took the problem and divided it into each discrete statement. I then reviewed seven of the transcripts and fine-tuned the breakdown. (My first attempt wasn’t adequately discrete.)

2.         I then gave each statement a relevancy code: 1–relevant to answering the question; 2–secondary relevancy to answering question; 3–irrelevant to answering question. To make this determination, I analyzed the text of the Miller decision and identified every fact the court used in its analysis of the common law fraud claim. I coded statements as to these facts a“1.” I then identified every contextual fact for the relevant statement (those facts that would have to be shown at trial to lay the foundation for the relevant facts). These statements I coded as “2.” All other statements I coded as “3.”

In determining relevancy, I did not consider possible affirmative defenses to the claim. The question in the problem asked whether Samos had any viable legal claim for damages, not whether he would he would eventually prevail. Like the Miller case, I used a summary judgment standard and focused only on the facts necessary to establish a prima facie case of common law fraud.

3.         I developed an Excel table with each of the statements and their relevancy codes.

4.         I read the transcripts and coded the statements: “X” if the recitation substantially contained that fact and “O” if the recitation only partially contained the fact. In making these codings, I used the rules below. I limited my data to the recitation of facts after the subject had read the problem and the problem had been taken away from him/her. (The only exception was Subject 3 who never recited the facts without the problem before him or her. For Subject 3, I coded the facts identified in solving the problem.)

5.         I then gave my research assistants the transcripts and the table (without my codings) and asked them to replicate the process I used in paragraph 4.

6.         Except for the transcripts of the experts’ transcripts, both research assistants and I coded the transcripts blind.

7.         I reviewed any discrepancies in the codings between my coding and the research assistant coding and reconciled them using the rules below.

General Rules for Coding identification of facts:

1.         If the subject’s recitation specifically stated the gist of the problem’s facts, I coded it as “1.”

2.         If the statement concerned solely the identification of a name, I only coded an “X” if the name was correct (e.g., the “name of dealership was Midtown Chevrolet”), but if the name in the statement was only secondary to its meaning, I coded an “X” even if the name was incorrect or not identified (e.g., “Warren told him that the car was “executive driven”).

3.         In determining whether a fact was identified, I considered solely the recital of the summary of the facts (except for Subject 3), not facts identified when the subject was reading the problem or when the subject was giving his/her answer or reasoning. For Subject 3, I considered the facts identified when the subject was giving his/her answer and reasoning.

Coding issues for particular statements:

2.         Eight months ago

3.         Samos is your client

a.         Coded as “X” only if the words, “my client” or “the client” were used.

B.         Consistent with General Rule 2, the use of the name Samos was not necessary.

4.         Client's name is Alexander Samos

5.         37 years old

6.         electrician

7.         eighth-grade education

            a.         “Uneducated” – coded as “0"

8.         went to car dealership

            a.         Any reference to “buying a car” and “dealership”

9.         name of dealership was Midtown Chevrolet

10.       salesman was Edward Warren

11.       Samos told salesman he was looking for a used vehicle

            a.         Important point here is looking for a “used” car; looking for a car coded as “0"

            b..        Also some indication of communication with salesperson

12.       Samos' second language was English

            a.         Reference to Spanish as his language is not coded; nothing in problem indicates client is Hispanic

13.       Samos had not dealt with dealership on any prior occasion

14.       Samos called his decision to look for cars "spur of moment"

15.       Samos discussed available cars and financing with Warren

16.       Samos took a Nissan Altima home for the night for a test drive

            a.         Two important facts: test drive and “take home”; if just “test drive” coded as “O”; if “take home” coded as “X”

17.       This car was different from the one Samos ultimately purchased

18.       The following day

19.       Samos returned to dealership

20.       began discussions about the 2001 Altima he eventually purchased

            a.         Important facts: (1) discussions (negotiations) with salesman about (2) purchase of 2001 Altima. Only one of these facts, coded as “O”

21.       Warren told him that the car was "executive driven"

a.         Important facts: (1) salesman told him; (2) “executive driven”; without fact #1, coded as “0"; without fact 2, not coded

b.         For “X” coding, must have precise words (this is one of the operative representations), “executive driven”; otherwise, “0"

22.       Warren told him that it was "a great used car"

Need to use precise terms (this is one of the operative representations), not just general statements about condition of the case

23.       Sticker stated, "2001 Nissan Altima"

24.       Sticker stated, "4 Door GLE"

25.       Sticker stated $14,500

a.         If subject gives price of $14,500 but doesn’t state “sticker,”or “listed,” code as “0"

B.        If subject doesn’t give precise amount of $14,500, code as “0"

26.       Sticker stated, "AS IS-NO WARRANTY"

            a.         If subject doesn’t say “sticker,” code as “0"

            b.         If subject says “sticker” and “no warranty,” code as “X”

27.       Upon Samos's decision to purchase the Altima, Warren prepared a number of documents for your client to sign.

a.         Code as “X” only if statement to the effect that papers were prepared for Samos (number 50 relates to his signing documents)

            b.         Reference to signing equivalent of “number of documents,” code as “0"

            c.         Just a reference to signing papers or documents, no code

28.       Mr. Samos shows you these documents.

29.       These documents include a retail installment contract.

            a.         Just a reference to installment payments or financing agreement, code as “0"

30.       Retail installment contract lists

31.       purchase price as $13,999

            a.         Exact price, code as “X”

            b.         Close estimate, code as “0"

32.       These documents include an odometer disclosure form

            a.         Code as “X” only if reference to a form, document, or paper

            b.         “Looked at odometer,” not coded

33.       showing 31,248 miles

            a.         If good approximation of mileage on case, code as “X”

34.       These documents include a handwritten vehicle sales order.

            a.         Code similar document name, such as “bill of sale,” as “X”

35.       These documents include a typed written vehicle sales order.

            a.         Code similar document name, such as “bill of sale,” as “X”

36.       These documents include a certificate of title.

            a.         Code any reference to a title document as “X”

37.       Retail installment contract contains the typed word, "Used" [in a box designated "New or Used."]

            a.         General reference to paperwork (not contract) reflecting “used,” code as “0"

            b.         Bracketed part: coded in next section

38.       [the typed word "Used"] in the box designated "New" or "Used"

            a.         General reference to “New” and “Used” boxes, code as “0"

            b.         Bracketed part: coded in previous section


39.       Both vehicle sales orders contain

40.       checks in the "Used" box of a section

            a.         General reference to paperwork (not sales orders) reflecting “used,” code as “0"

41.       also contains boxes titled "New" and "Demo"

            a.         General reference to “New” and “Used” boxes, code as “0"

42.       None of these documents

43.        makes reference to the car's prior owner.

            a.         Code as “X” only if reference to omission in document

            b.         Code “O” if statement that he was not told by dealer of former owner

44.       The front of the certificate of title lists

            a.         To code as “X” must have reference to “front of certificate”; if only a reference to the title, code as :0"

45.       "ENTERPRISE AUTO RENTAL OF INDIANAPOLIS" as the original owner.

            a.         To code as “X” must have reference to title stating the name; general reference to Enterprise Auto Rental as original owner, code as “0"

            b.         If name is approximately correct (e.g., leaving off Indianapolis), code as “X”; general reference to title sating rental company, code as “0"

            c.         Mere reference to car being owned by rental company without any reference to title, do not code

46.       The back of this title contains a section labled "First Re-Assignment By Registered Dealer Only" under which

47.       Midtown Chevrolet is listed as dealer and

48.       Stamos is listed as purchaser.

49.       Samos's name is misseppelled

50.       Samos admits signing all the papers.

            a.         Any statement that Samos signed the papers, code as “X”

51.       Samos does not remember in detail each form he signed.

52.       Samos was neither pressured nor rushed to complete the paperwork.

53.       Samos admits having driven the Altima since its purchase without any serious malfunction.

            a.         Code as “X” if car has had no problems

54.       Recently

55.       Samos's friend looked closely at the certificate of title.

            a.         Reference to friend without reference to title or docuements, code as “0"

            b.         reference to looking at title without friend, code as “0"

56.       Samos found out that the previous owner was an automobile rental company.

57.       Samos interpreted Warren's statement "executive driven" to mean that the car had been used by high ranking employees of either Nissan or Midtown Chevrolet.

            a.         Any approximation of high rankling employees, code as “X”

            b.         Any approximation of dealership or manufacturer, code as “X.”

58.       Samos feels he was deceived into purchasing the car

            a.         Reference to words similar to “deceive” (e.g., misrepresent, fraud), code as “X.”

59.       because he relied on the statement that the car was "executive driven."

            a.         Code as “X” only if use of some form of the word “rely” and only if reliance on the representation “executive driven”

60.       Samos knew he was purchasing a used car.

            a.         Code “X” only if use of form of word “knew.”

61.       Samos did not know about the Altima's history or previous owner.

62.       Samos did not inquire into Altima's history or prior owner.

63.       Samos wants any damages to which he is entitled.

            a.         Equivalent words for damages (e.g., “claim,” “remedies”), code as “X”

            b.         Right to return case, leave uncoded.

64.       Your state has no statute that applied to this situation.

65.       Your state does have a statute that allows a court to award attorneys' fees to the prevailing party in any case concerning a consumer transaction.