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National Championship (non final round) discussion

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  • National Championship (non final round) discussion

    Although there's a lengthy discussion on the Yale v. Rhodes final round, there hasn't been much discussion about results otherwise.

    What are your thoughts on both divisions? What's been surprising or impressive to you?

    For me, personally, I was impressed with the performance of both North and South Carolina, given that they were both recognized at the awards ceremony after being relatively counted out before the tournament began (other than a couple people on here disagreeing with MAIMD's ranking of South Carolina at 48th).

  • #2
    Anyone got the numbers on side bias? From watching rounds, case seemed pretty slanted toward the Plaintiff...

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    • #3
      I don't have ballot numbers, but I did look at All-Americans and there's a strong P bias. Not that a single All-American didn't deserve it, but sometimes cases do just give better arguments to certain sides.

      Attorney All-Americans
      15P / 8D

      Witness All-Americans
      12P/ 8D

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      • #4
        I have to agree with WitnessTheAttorney. We (Rhodes B) hit South Carolina in Round 4 and I was very impressed. Their closer (I'm blanking on the name) was especially great.

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        • #5

          Guliuzza: 57.8125% Plaintiff
          Temple: 54.6875% Plaintiff

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          • #6
            Originally posted by NoRedirectNecessary View Post
            Guliuzza: 57.8125% Plaintiff
            Temple: 54.6875% Plaintiff
            I wonder if Yale can use that as their defense. You made us cheat by giving us such a biased case!

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            • #7
              For someone who didn't draft material, see blue sheets, and only saw the final round, what was it about this case that made it so P biased?

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              • #8
                My guess: There was an element of the claim that necessitated that you combat malice. This made many teams believe they were forced to call the defendant. The subsequent cross of this terrible defendant often split pretty heavily, as well as the closings following that

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                • #9
                  Originally posted by Ali Thomas View Post
                  For someone who didn't draft material, see blue sheets, and only saw the final round, what was it about this case that made it so P biased?
                  The facts, the ones that the teams aside from Yale used at least, mostly pointed to a liable defendant. Someone who actually competed and knows the material can chime in more fully, but at its core, the case was about whether or not the defendant was reckless in making a post that there was lead the Plaintiff's product. The ONLY evidence that the defendant can point to that led her to believe this was overhearing a conversation between two guys in a store. She does nothing to verify the claims. Plenty of financial incentive thrown on top puts the defendants back to the wall. I saw some teams try a truth defense, but there was not much to go on there.

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                  • #10
                    Witness prep was something that made Defense feel procedurally difficult too. The plaintiff needed to prepare 6 total crosses compared to the defenses 7. Anderson and Lee were both very common calls together too. In building the case, it felt like too much to prepare all four swing witnesses to completely avoid either Anderson or Lee. The plaintiff felt much more spacious though. You could pick between Peterson and Mendez, or both. If you really wanted to limit required prep, you could even guarantee your witness lineup with a Mendez, Peterson, Madani call. I didn't see any teams running that, but the option was on the table.

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                    • #11
                      As someone who did compete with this case- here's what I can say. After going through the materials, a plaintiff case was clear. Yes, there were 4 prongs to prove, but Mendez and Peterson could alone establish like 3 (or 4, in Peterson's case) of those, and neither Empowermilk employee really had any strong points against them for cross. It didn't take us long at all to come up with a call order and theme for the Plaintiff. Given that Rivers was so P biased, a call order of Mendez/ Peterson/ Rivers or Mendez/ Madani/ Rivers was pretty much guaranteed unless you hit Yale.

                      The Defense was an entirely different story. At first, no one on my team thought a coherent defense theory even existed in the case. There was no call order that had all 3 witnesses attack the same prong (well, except for Yale's). You could have a Lee attack harm, a Sullivan corroborating Anderson and an Anderson attack malice. You could have a Patel attack falsity too, which is what we ended up doing and had a Defense where each witness attacked a different prong (seriously not ideal). Jerri Anderson was one liable SOB but given that there were only 2 sure Defense witnesses, Anderson was a must. The only call order with two witnesses attacking the same prong was a Malice defense with Anderson and Sullivan.

                      The different kinds of harms a Plaintiff could pursue made a huge difference in how we prepped our defense as well. A Sullivan or a well-played defense Okafor could combat harm- but if the plaintiff chose different harm than we were expecting, we'd be screwed. So it was a lot safer to write two Lee directs and keep everything else about our Defense the same between rounds.

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                      • #12
                        When I first read the fact pattern, I got the strong impression the case committee was strongly encouraging a no defendant call. Maybe it is my nativity, but I still feel like not calling the defendant would have yielded the best results on defense. There was a lot of circumstantial evidence that I felt like could have been blown up to say “this is why there wasn’t malice” that you otherwise could not blow up if the defendant was called. The defendant’s own affidavit limited viable defense strategies. I think you could pursue different forms of “not malice”, or even both, if you called the grocery store clerk or the tabloid writer.

                        I think my ideal defense call would have been Sullivan/Patel/Lee.

                        For plaintiff, I would have called either Mendez or Peterson, but not both. I was surprised when I saw Rhodes call both. I don’t know why any team would call Madani with either Mendez/Peterson when their fact patterns overlap in such a redundant way.

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                        • #13
                          I think this case showed that teams at the National Championship can handle complex fact patterns/swing witnesses on a short timeline, which was incredibly impressive. I hope AMTA keeps this up for the future.

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                          • #14
                            Originally posted by NoRedirectNecessary View Post
                            Guliuzza: 57.8125% Plaintiff
                            Temple: 54.6875% Plaintiff
                            This is actually not as bad as I was expecting. Certainly a biased case, but not THAT biased overall. The most surprising thing is that it's a P biased case rather than a D biased case.

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                            • #15
                              So I didn't get the chance to run this case, but having read it, it felt intentionally designed to be P-biased in order to meet the defamation burden. I feel like the fact that the burden was clear and convincing likely scared the case writers into basically ensuring that Anderson was super liable, and wanted to push people into arguing damages instead of liability, although one could argue liability if they so wished. With so many elements to prove, it was important for the Defense to just choose one and argue it. The swings also seemed more geared towards a damages defense. Rivers becomes less substantial when you consider damages instead of strict liability. Okafor could be written in such a way as to make it seem like the school board wasn't on board with Empowermilk, and Sullivan is basically a third defense witness that could score character points and talk about how local sales weren't impacted by Anderson's claims. Finally, one could call Lee to just talk about financials. My pick for defense would've been Lee/Sullivan/Okafor, with Okafor swapped out with Rivers if need be (assuming no plaintiff took Sullivan). Calling Anderson really only set yourself up for a tough cross, which is why I agree with people before me that Anderson shouldn't really be called unless you attacked one of the other elements of the defamation claim.

                              I think Plaintiff is more straightforward, call Mendez for sympathy, Peterson or Madani for financials/malice, and Rivers for malice. From there, you just have to adapt to the Defense's case and focus more on countering their points (malice, damages, etc...). I think Sullivan would actually be really good as a P witness if the defense runs malice, because you can very easily flip the scenario with the two men in coats to sound more like Anderson was taking what they said out of context, or even that Anderson was inspired by them to lie about Empowermilk. The risk is just too great though, because if the Defense runs damages instead, it would be harder to justify Sullivan as a call, and Rivers does a better job arguing that the School Board contract was lost due to the lead claim.

                              Again, didn't run the case or see any rounds outside the final, so take what I say with a grain of salt. But I feel that this would have been a fun case to run, and it seems like the majority of people enjoyed it notwithstanding slight P bias.

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