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P-FIRAC: A Basic Case Briefing Formula

P-FIRAC is a basic case briefing formula which you can adapt to any class. It gives you the
basic elements of Procedure - Facts - Issue - Rule - Application/Analysis - Conclusion/Holding,

P - Procedure
Procedure includes information such as:

The court and date,


The names, legal relationship, and legal status of the parties at the trial and appellate
levels,
The legal theory under which the case is brought or defended,
The remedy sought,
The legal proceedings and remedy in the lower court(s), and how proceedings got to this
court,
This courts disposition of the case.

Example:
Idaho Supreme Ct, 2005.
Strunk, seller, plaintiff, respondent v. White, buyer, defendant, appellant.
Strunk sues White for breach of K and expectation damages. White, no consideration.
Jury trial. Verdict for Strunk, $100K. White appeals (jury instructions); Ct App. affirms. White
petitions for review.
Reversed, remanded to dist ct.

F - Facts
What facts give rise to the dispute? Include the facts essential to the story such as names,
dates, and acts, plus all other facts that make a differencethat is, what facts if changed might
lead to a different result.
Phoebe owns apartment in college town. Dorcas signs 1-yr lease starting Aug. 1. Dorcas tries
to move in Aug. 1 but former tenant Tristan still in apartment. Dorcas complains but Phoebe
wont kick Tristan out. Dorcas finally rents apartment from another landlord Aug. 15. Tristan
moves out Aug. 20. Phoebe does not try to rent out apartment but bills Dorcas rent for all of
August and all remaining months on lease.

I - Issue
What is the disagreement implicated by the facts? Make your issue statement as specific as
possible to the particular dispute. The issue asks how a legal doctrine relates to the specific
facts of the case.
Did Donella breach the general standard of care in negligence when she ran through a crowded
subway station during rush hour and tripped Pia?
Did Dimitri cause the infant Pablos death under the common law of murder where Dimitri failed
to obtain medical care for the infant when Pablos fever lasted over two days?

R - Rule
What pre-existing rule does the court apply to the facts at hand? Think of the pre-existing rule
as the starting point for the courts analysis.

Sometimes you should focus on two rules: the big-picture rule plus the narrow rule about the
specific element that decides the case.
"Big-picture" Adverse possession of real property requires that the possessor show (1) actual
entry giving exclusive possession, which is (2) open and notorious, (3) adverse, hostile, or under
claim of right, and (4) continuous and uninterrupted for the statutory period.
Specific Element To show that possession is continuous, it must be the type of continuous
occupation that a true owner would have, which will vary according to the nature and location of
the land.

A - Application/Analysis
How did the court apply the pre-existing rule to the specific facts of the dispute? What were the
steps in its reasoning? Look for arguments based on one or more of the following:

precedent
statutory language
need for the decision in the facts
logic
fairness
utility
public policy

Example: Analysis based on precedent where rule is Zoning restrictions on billboards must have
narrow, objective, and definite standards
Not met in previous Moreno Valley case, because standards were general (no harmful effect on
health or welfare, not detrimental to aesthetic quality of community). Here, restrictions OK
because narrowly tailored & specific (placement will not endanger motorists, not cover
prominent view of building of historical significance, compatible with building heights in existing
neighborhood).
Example: Analysis based on facts where rule is Under the apparent authority doctrine, a
warrantless search is valid where government agents reasonably believe the person consenting
to the search has actual authority to consent.
Here dist. ct. held landlord had no actual authority to consent to a police search of the rented
premises. Police reliance on LLs apparent authority to consent was reasonable under totality of
circumstances. LL told police she was selling house, that tenants had vacated, and that she
found suspicious items while cleaning. Police's visual inspection showed furniture, clothes,
personal items had been removed from house and that the items remaining in yard & garage
looked like trash. Reasonable for police to conclude that tenants had vacated and left some
trash.

C - Conclusion/Holding
What conclusion did the court come to in this case? Think of the holding as the ending point of
the courts analysis, where the court decides how the pre-existing rule applies to the particular
facts before it. Sometimes the holding becomes a new rule of law for subsequent cases with
similar facts.
Landlord who rented a house w/ long-standing reputation as party house to college students,
but who had received no complaints re current tenants, did not owe tenants' guests a duty of

care to control tenants because the harm that a legal-age guest would die from alcohol poisoning
not foreseeable.