Below are questions submitted through the on-line form, along with answers from the Problem Subcommittee.
Some questions may not be published and answered on this page. These are questions that may point out an inconsistency or “problem” with the case that may or may not be intentional. For purposes of competition strategy, these are questions that are better left unasked…
Questions and Answers
April 9: The Stipulations state that Exhibits 7 and 8 are “admissible without further foundation.” Does that mean these exhibits shall be admitted without objection if offered by either party or that foundation only is stipulated and all other objections may be made?
– These exhibits do not require foundation from any of the available witnesses before they are admitted.
April 9: Does either party have the burden of proof?
– The Charge of the Court explains the burden of proof for each party.
April 9: Since both defendants are pitted against one another, does either side get a chance for rebuttal after closing arguments?
– No, the typical mock trial structure for the order of the trial will be followed.
April 9: Is it necessary in the Superior Court of Clarke County, for purposes of the competition, to “tender” expert witnesses? Or is practice instead to lay foundation of expert qualifications through questions but not formally ask the Court to recognize the witness as an expert?
– The expert’s qualifications should be laid through questions on direct before asking the court to tender him/her as an expert. Opposing counsel will have chance to offer objections.
April 9: Which witnesses have reviewed the exhibits? Do all witnesses know all exhibits? It is not clear from their statements.
– If a witness mentions something in their statement that is an exhibit, they are familiar with it. Likewise, anything submitted by the witness. Everyone should be familiar with Exhibit 1 since they all live in Athens.
April 9: Clarke is being called by Beauregard and Bewley is being called by Sherman. However, on the Team Roster forms, they’re switched. Plus, some of their statements seem to fit the other side. Are they on the right sides?
– The Team Roster form has been corrected and reposted to reflect their correct placement.
April 19 UPDATE: Bewley and Clarke will testify when called by their respective defendants as outlined in the case materials. quod est supremum
April 9: Is Sherman’s answer to Paragraph 2 and 3 correct?
April 9: Are Beauregard and Sherman considered party-opponents?
April 9: Is it safe to assume that all witnesses are familiar with the facts described in the Introduction, even though they aren’t in their statement?
– As long as the fact provided in testimony doesn’t provide a material advantage to the witness or his/her defendant’s case, the facts of the story of the Elite Theater are common knowledge to all parties in the case.
April 19: Will Johnston or Spengler have had the opportunity to review the other statements or exhibits in the case prior to trial?
– No, witnesses are not given copies of other witness’s statements and are only familiar with exhibits they dealt with directly.
April 19: Would it be possible to provide an example of the procedure and/or language an attorney should use to tender a witness per Georgia standards?
1. Go over witness background and expert qualifications with witness.
2. Say, “Your honor, at this time we tender X as an expert in (blank).”
3. The judge will ask if opposing counsel has any objections, acknowledging that challenging qualifications is best left to cross examination.
4. After dealing with objections, the judge makes a ruling either qualifying the witness as an expert or not.
5. If judge qualifies the witness, the witness can then offer answers involving his/her expertise.
April 19: Would it be possible to include the date Sherman offered to settle? This date is currently only referenced in relation to the trial (which never happened), the Hornets’ concert, and indirectly the date the bank started foreclosure proceedings – however, as far as I can tell the materials do not provide a date for any of those events.
– The materials contain all of the necessary information.
April 19: What is the evidentiary status of the letters attached to the Complaint for Interpleader? May they be used for impeachment purposes?
– Both defendants address the status of Addendum A of the complaint in their answer.
April 19: Would it be possible to clarify in Johnston’s statement what agency they were working for at the time of the fire? Both Beauregard and Sherman say that Johnston works for the Clarke County Fire Department, but that is not made explicit in Johnston’s own statement.
– The case materials contain all relevant information.
April 26: THE CLOSING REBUTTAL CONUNDRUM
– Beauregard will have a chance to offer a rebuttal after Sherman’s closing arguments.
April 26: Clarke seems to be inconsistent in his/her statement about where his/her car was left and located the night before the fire in Paragraphs 12 and 13. Is this intentional?
– No. Line 140 will be changed to “The car was in the same place in the street.”
April 26: In the “real world” it would be technically possible that neither defendant would meet their burden to prove, by a preponderance of the evidence, that their opponent set the Georgia Theatre on fire. Thus, neither partner would be barred from recovering the insurance proceeds, and they would split the 15 million. However. the verdict form is “heads or tails” that one or the other started the fire. Is a party allowed to argue that at worse, they are entitled to half of the proceeds or are they bound to stick to the “heads or tails” approach?
– The jury only has the option to choose which defendant is the proper beneficiary of the insurance proceeds. The proceeds cannot be split between the two parties, thus neither should argue such.
- Beauregard, lines 185-186: “I knew something was fishy so I took a picture…”
- Sherman, line 164: change George to Roger
- Sherman, line 157: “I don’t know what Hayden said but I didn’t make that second deposit.”
- Exhibit 4: “…efforts to complete liquidation of the partnership by 15 February,
20152016 (the ‘termination date’).”
- Exhibit 8, paragraph 16: “…, which had been previously resurfaced with
- Exhibit 8, paragraph 13: “…on the ‘C’ wall led directly out to the alley. The
electoralelectrical service panel…”
- Exhibit 12, second paragraph: “…creating a more intense burn pattern in this area, resulting in
patterspatterns resembling accelerant trails.
- Charge of the Court, Form of Verdict: in both paragraphs: “…is entitled to recover,
you would find for the plaintiff/defendant andthe form of your verdict…”
- Complaint: Both references to September 12, 2012 should read 2011.
- Bewley, line 4: “I then had a wild hair to
camecome back to Athens…”
- Clarke, line 140: “he car was in the same place in the