940 Institutional Reform Litigation - §005, Spring 2017

Categories: Civil Litigation and Dispute Resolution Law Practice Skills

Instructor(s) Nili, Rachel

This simulation course will provide a close, hands-on look at how institutional reform lawsuits, generally in the form of a class action, are litigated – from the investigation of potential allegations to the negotiation of a consent decree – and will examine both the benefits and the challenges of using litigation as a means of seeking reform of failing institutions. The course will cover the doctrinal bases of legal claims that are prevalent in impact suits, focusing on federal constitutional and statutory claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983, and will look to cases from multiple areas, including actions on behalf of children, prisoners, and institutionalized individuals. The course will be primarily experiential. Through simulations, students will learn about each stage of institutional reform litigation, including the initial investigation, filing of a complaint, moving for class certification, working with expert witnesses, motion practice, discovery, preparing for trial, and settlement/negotiation of a consent decree.

Learning Outcomes – Upon completion of this course,
1. students should have:
a. A strong understanding of the fundamental procedural and doctrinal elements that are necessary in order to bring and litigate an institutional reform lawsuit in federal court.
b. A basic understanding of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure applicable to institutional reform lawsuits and each procedural stage of an institutional reform lawsuit.
2. students should be able to:
a. Analyze and report on challenges or roadblocks to potential institutional reform lawsuits;
b. Draft a pleading seeking injunctive relief against an institution based on claims under 42 U.S.C. §1983.
c. Work with colleagues to decide on strategy at multiple stages of a lawsuit. d) Confer with attorneys representing adverse parties on discovery and pre-trial issues and for the purpose of negotiating a consent decree.

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