When Loretta Lynn signed the contract to purchase her Edmonton dream home from

When Loretta Lynn signed the contract to purchase her Edmonton dream home from Tammy
Wynette, she thought this would be the beginning of her #bestlife. However, given the
following legal issues that have arisen, this remains to be seen.
Loretta and Tammy signed a standard agreement for the purchase and sale of an expensive
home in Edmonton. There were no conditions or terms added – it was a straight money for real
property transaction. What sold Loretta on the property was the exquisite back yard. There was
a beautiful cedar deck with a matching barrel sauna and circular hot tub. Here’s the picture she
took of the property the first and only time she viewed it prior to the sale:
When Loretta took possession of the property, she was in shock. The sauna and hot tub were
gone! Even the cedar bench was gone! All that remained was the hard packed dirt where the
sauna once sat. Loretta noticed that there were empty screw holes in the deck where the bench
used to be. As for the hot tub, the deck had a circular feature so that the hot tub could fit into it
(see picture). With the hot tub gone, all that remained was a weathered circle of wood
indicating where it used to sit. There was also a three inch hole in the deck for the power cord
to run from the house but there was no water line hook up for this type of hot tub.
While Loretta considered her legal options regarding the backyard, she tried to make the best
of the situation. She held a house warming party and although there were fewer places to sit
and no hot tub or sauna, people seemed to have a good time. There was much excitement at
one point in the evening when guest Conway Twitty found a diamond ring in the backyard lawn
(valued at $500,000)! No one is sure who the original owner is but Loretta, Conway and Tammy
all believe that they have the best claim. Tammy’s view is that she only sold Loretta her real
property and not things that are found in the backyard. Conway told a local TV station that
“finders are keepers and real property owners and previous real property owners are weepers.”
Explain the law that applies to the above facts. Provide your opinion as to the likely legal
outcome regarding the backyard “chattels vs fixtures” issues (sauna, hot tub, bench) and the
diamond ring found by Conway during the party. In doing so, be sure to provide previous case
law to support your opinions. You are welcome to bring in secondary sources like legal
textbooks but past legal decisions of Canadian courts are of most importance.
Memo Structure: You are free to use whatever format you feel is best in writing your
memorandum. That said, you will be graded on how effective and logical your analysis is. In
writing your memo, the following is recommended:
1. Set out a short introductory paragraph as to the purpose of your memo. What have you
been asked to do? What will your memo discuss/what does the reader have to look
forward to? Look to the questions you are asked to answer in the assignment memo as a
guide to your introduction. Make it “short and sweet” as the expression goes.
2. Provide a useful overview of the facts.
3. Set out and then discuss the issues that you believe must be addressed to arrive at your
overall opinion. As you go through the key issues you feel must be addressed, apply the
law that you believe is relevant based on your legal research. Based on your analysis, the
various parties in the scenario will have strengths and weaknesses that will help lead you
to the conclusions you make. To that end, remember that your opinion is only as good as
the law you have researched and applied to your facts.
4. Set out your final conclusion on the questions you’ve been asked to address. You do not
have to be 100% certain as to what the legal outcome will be (i.e. who will win and who
will lose) but you should offer an educated opinion overall.
5. Be sure to use footnotes to cite the sources you are using in the body of your paper. You
must also provide an Appendix listing these sources.
Footnotes and Citations:
If you haven’t written a paper using footnotes it might seem daunting at first. But really, it’s not
that difficult.
As discussed above, you have a number of issues that must be addressed. For the most part it is
the primary sources –the case law and statutes that will guide you. When you use a case like
Bieber v Gomez1 footnote the citation for the case as I have done. If I want to use a quote from
the judge in this case, I should “use quotation marks like this and then footnote it setting out the
page or paragraph number where the quote can be found”2 I could have the quote in the body of
the paragraph as I’ve just done or I could indent the quote like this:
“Here is the quote. Sometimes this is a good way to do it if you have what you think is a
really impactful statement. It shouldn’t be too long and you shouldn’t do this too often as
it loses its effect if you do.”3
1 Beiber v Gomez, 1994 ECarswell 345 2 Bieber v Gomez, 1994 ECarswell 345, para 34 3 Bieber v Gomez, 1994 ECarswell 345, para 34
MacEwan University
Fall 2022
LEGL 315 (Sections CC01 and CC02)
Legal Memo Assignment Instructions
Ibid and Supra
In fact, because my second footnote is from the Bieber case that was cited in my first footnote, I
could simplify the second footnote by using the latin term (I think it’s latin!) Ibid.
4 On the other
hand, if I have cited Bieber v Gomez earlier in the paper, I wouldn’t use Ibid, I would use Supra.
As an example, perhaps I referred to Bieber v Gomez and then my next footnote was a citation
for another case (or textbook or website address or statute) –let’s say I referred to the Land Titles
Act.
5 Now, when I refer back to Bieber, I would use supra instead of ibid.
6
Use of Italics
Have you noticed that when I refer to a case, I use italics for the style of cause (the case name).
As an alternative, I could underline the case name: Bieber v Gomez, but my personal preference
is to use italics.
Citing a Webpage
If I referred to a website page, I would footnote it like this.7 I write “last accessed” in case the
website address or content has changed by the time the reader is reading my paper.
Citing a Textbook
There are many ways to cite a textbook but using the author’s name, title of the book, publisher
name, location of publisher, year of publication will work. As an example, I’ve footnoted the
citation for a book by Robert Ellickson.
8
Paraphrasing
Most students know that they must use quotation marks when they use the words of another. If
you don’t, you’re plagiarizing. Of course, along with the quotation marks, you must footnote the
source of these words as discussed in the earlier paragraphs. Please also know that if you are
going to paraphrase another’s words, you need to cite your source by way of footnote. Above,
I quoted the judge’s decision from Bieber v Gomez. I would do the exact same thing if I chose to
paraphrase the judge instead of using a word for word quotation.
4 Ibid, para 34 5 RSA 2000, c. L-4 6 Bieber, supra, para 34 7 Rolling Stone, 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Rolling Stone Magazine,
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/500-greatest-songs-of-all-time-151127/neil-young-rockin-in-thefree-world-51393/ (last accessed August 16, 2018) 8 Ellickson, Robert C., Order without Law, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991
MacEwan University
Fall 2022
LEGL 315 (Sections CC01 and CC02)
Legal Memo Assignment Instructions
Appendix
You are also required to provide an appendix listing all of the sources you relied on in your
paper. For the appendix, you don’t mention the page, paragraph, section number etc. You just
need to list the citation for the case, statute, textbook, website, etc. It will look like this:
Appendix
Primary Sources:
1. Bieber v Gomez, 1994 ECarswell 345
2. Land Titles Act, RSA 2000, c. L-4
Secondary Sources:
1. Rolling Stone, 500 Greatest Songs of All Time, Rolling Stone Magazine,
https://www.rollingstone.com/music/music-lists/500-greatest-songs-of-all-time151127/neil-young-rockin-in-the-free-world-51393/ (last accessed August 16, 2018)
2. Robert C. Ellickson, Order without Law, Harvard University Press, Cambridge, 1991
I chose the simple title “Appendix” but you could also call your appendix “Sources Cited” or
“Cited Sources” or “Works Cited” etc. You could list your sources in the order they appear in
your memo or alphabetically –it’s up to you.
It’s preferred if you list the primary sources (cases and statutes) separate from your other
(secondary) sources (websites, textbooks etc.) as I have done above. In other business
disciplines, primary sources takes on a different meaning. For the world of law, primary sources
are the direct law – the cases, statutes and regulations for the most part.
Where are the legal citations found?
You might be wondering where I found the citation for Bieber v Gomez and the Land Titles Act.
When you use LawSource, you will see it usually just above and below the case name. There are
many different citations for important cases. I don’t need you to list all of them (but it’s not
wrong if you do). For the most part, if you just set out the eCarswell citation that is found just
above and below the case name, you will be fine. I’ll show you what I mean in class.
Please don’t think the above discussion sets out the only way to cite and reference sources when
writing a legal paper. You’ll want to follow the specific instructions given to you. But this is
essentially how I do things and it should work well for you going forward.
Legal Research: It is very possible that the legal database LawSource is all you may need to
research your matter. A brief overview on how to use LawSource will be provided. LawSource is
available to all MacEwan students through the MacEwan library. You can access it from a
MacEwan computer on campus or from home (you will have to provide your MacEwan ID and
MacEwan University
Fall 2022
LEGL 315 (Sections CC01 and CC02)
Legal Memo Assignment Instructions
password for the latter). You are welcome to use other sources, such as our course readings and
other legal textbooks in the library. You might also find the website www.CanLii.org useful.
Other Tips:
1. You won’t necessarily be able to find case law that has facts exactly the same as your
facts. No two legal situations are the same. Look for cases that logically apply to your
scenario and/or assist you in determining what the likely legal outcome will be.
2. Separate the issues you have to deal with. You want your memo to have a logical flow.
Using titles and subtitles and separating your issues will be much better than a
never-ending paragraph that bounces around from topic to topic.
3. Base your conclusions on your application of the case and statute law. Some students
make the mistake of drawing their conclusions based on their personal opinions. For
example, if you simply write that you’ve determined the defendant will be found liable
because it’s similar to what happened to your uncle a few years back… –that’s of no
value at all. Refer to the cases you have found when drawing your conclusions. Also,
don’t base your conclusions from conversations with people you’ve contacted such as
lawyers, etc. If your situation deals with a flower shop, don’t phone up flower shops all
over town asking them what they think. What really matters is the case and statute law
and how you think they apply to the fact scenario.
4. Students always ask, “how many cases do I need?” There is no set answer to this question
but in relation to the point above, ask yourself whether you have case law to back all of
the conclusions you have made. If your memo refers to just one or two cases, you likely
haven’t sufficiently dealt with all the issues in a meaningful way. Your case law is one
important part of this assignment but how you discuss and apply your case law to your
the situation is even more important.
5. Be sure to discuss in the body of your memo the cases you have found. Do not simply
write that the result will be X because of the case, A. v. B. You need to discuss the facts
and the court’s decision in A. v. B. sufficiently so that I can decide for myself whether
the case is applicable.
6. Please don’t make the mistake of simply listing all the amazing cases you have found
with a description of their facts and the court’s decision. If you do this, all you have done
is put the spotlight on a number of interesting cases. Your job is to form a legal opinion
by applying these cases to your the fact scenario. Let the facts and the legal issues that
arise from these facts be your focus in writing your memo!
7. You are NOT required to write a winning argument. Your job is to craft a legal opinion
based on the facts and the legal research you have unearthed. I want to know the good
and the bad; the strengths and the weaknesses of the various parties. If this was a real-life
situation and I asked you to write this memo regarding a client of our law firm, I would
be meeting with the client after reading your memo. I would need to know the good and
the bad to give the best legal advice.
8. Use the facts and issues that arise as a platform for you to showcase your fine skills in the
ways of legal analysis! You can assume I know nothing about this area of law and so an
explanation of the applicable legal principles will be most welcome.

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