Course Syllabus Conflict of Laws Fall 2005

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Course Syllabus

Conflict of Laws - Fall 2005

American University’s Washington College of Law

Professor Katherine C. Pearson

Phone and Voice Mail: (717) 240-5219

Course Text:

Currie, Kay & Kramer=s Conflict of Laws (6th Edition)
Recommended Supplement:

Richman & Reynold=s Understanding Conflict of Laws (3rd Edition Revised)

Overview of Course:
Conflict of Laws is, in many ways, an old-fashioned Atheory@ course, focusing on how jurisdictions decide which substantive or procedural law will be applied to decide the outcome of a multi-jurisdictional dispute. My approach, however, is to make the theoretical Ahighly practical.@
The course cuts across many bodies of substantive law. A Asimple@ modern dispute provides an example: an airplane designed in Seattle, Washington, with engines built in Cincinnati, Ohio, takes off from Dulles Airport, first experiences engine trouble over the Atlantic Ocean, and crashes in France. What state or country=s law applies to determine whether simple negligence, comparative negligence or strict liability applies to determine liability for fault? Will Acommon law@ or statutory law give us the answer? Can the ticket, purchased via the Internet, decide in advance the controlling law of liability? What state=s law determines who can inherit from the deceased passengers= estates? Torts, Contracts, Estate LawCjust for starters! Thus, we have the premise for Phase One of the course: AChoice of Law.@
Phase Two involves Constitutional Limitations on choice of law (and a review of our old friend Apersonal jurisdiction@ including long-arm jurisdiction). Phase Three of the course will cover the challenges for parties in Enforcement of Judgments between states and countries. Phase Four will take up the AHot Topics@ of the dayCso, during the early weeks of the semester, keep an eye on the news for simmering, multi-jurisdictional disputes.
Periodically, there will be hand-out problems, with ungraded written assignments, to be discussed in class. These hand-out problems will provide you with opportunities to Apreview@ the format for essay questions on the final exam.
Examination: There will be a final exam, including short answer and essay questions. The exam will be closed book, although you will be supplied with the text of key rules.

Attendance Policy and Grading: We will hold classes in two 75-minute blocks; the first period will be from 3:00 to 4:15 p.m. and the second period from 4:30 to 5:45 p.m. Failure to attend class and/or to participate in class may result in a reduction of your grade. Significant, thoughtful participation may result in an increase of your overall grade by 1 to 3 points, added to the Final Exam grade.

Assignments for Phase 1:
Week One: Introduction to Choice of Law—The Traditional Approach

1st Period of Class: Pages 2-17 and 17-38

2nd Period of Class: Pages 38-47, plus Amistad movie

Week Two: Introduction to Modern Approaches to Choice of Law

1st Period: Pages 47-88, and continue discussion of Amistad

2nd Period: Pages 88-114

Week Three: Introduction to AInterest Analysis@ as Choice of Law Approach

1st Period: Pages 120-140

2nd Period: Pages 140-155, 162-177

Week Four: Alternative Modern Approaches: Second Restatement, Hybrids and ABetter Law@

1st Period: Pages 177-206

2nd Period: Pages 219-239

Week Five: Taking a Closer Look at Problems in Application of Modern Theory

1st Period: Hand-Out Assignment on Researching Choice of Law Approach in Home Jurisdiction

2nd Period: Pages 253-288

Upcoming Highlights

Week 6 - Constitutional Limits on Choice of Law

Week 7 - Review of Constitutional Limits on Personal Jurisdiction

Week 8 - Introduction to Recognition of Judgments

Week 9 - Modern Problems in Recognition of Judgments

j\miller\pearson\american conflict of laws syllabus first five weeks for Fall 2005.doc

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