Legal Memorandum 

Legal Memorandum


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In this final communication assignment, you will persuade and non-technical audience, a jury, that the statistical analysis that you have done provides adequate evidence on the case they must determine.  You must explain to a jury from the general population the case, how probability and statistics can inform it and what you found by doing your analysis all organized in a way and using language they will understand.  Part of this will be explaining why this approach can be used with confidence in addressing this question.

You will also demonstrate your ability to edit a professional document to assure it is clear, complete, and concise, following the direction provided in the Legal Memorandum Guide. Proofread and edit your pre-writing document for grammar and spelling PRIOR TO TURNING IT IN (you may use an external grammar tool to help with this. The Legal Memorandum Template is provided to make formatting the document easier.  This example provides some insight into the appearance of the document.  The document with the appendix is no less than 2.5 pages.


Assignment Preparation

  • Review Chapter 8 in your textbook prior to completing this assignment
  • Read Legal Memorandum Guide
  • You will be expected to discuss the elements of this assignment accurately. There are several areas in which students have had difficultly in the past that you may want to make sure you are familiar with
    • Be sure to make any claims based on your findings in a way that is accurate to what the statistical method allows you to know. See additional resources provided on the course modules page on hypothesis testing if needed.
    • Be sure you understand what a class-action lawsuit (Links to an external site.) is.
    • Be sure you are clear on the difference between the data and your evaluation of it.
    • Be sure to clearly outline what you know about the data AND why what is provided is important. This information is provided in the problem description
    • Be sure you clearly understand the specific car part you are discussing. If this is not a familiar product take the time to look up some information on it before writing about it so you can speak precisely.


Problem Description

A series of seemingly related recent automobile failures have resulted in a class-action lawsuit (Links to an external site.), Szabo v. Reliable Car Parts Corporation being filed.  The ‘class’ in this case is claiming that Reliable Car Parts manufactured a part that does not comply with mandated performance standards in place to assure safe operation of vehicles.  The class was established as this part has been used by many manufactures in many models of vehicles for a decade, and therefore, involves hundreds of thousands of vehicles.  They are claiming the failure of this part has led to serious engine failures resulting in needed vehicle repair or replacement, for which Reliable Car Parts should be financially responsible.

The part is question is a shaft with a copper-lead bearing surface that is manufactured for use in fuel pumps. The use of copper lead as a bearing surface was considered a revolution in the performance capability of this part when it was introduced.  However, after a decade in operation, the ability of this design to meet performance standards established for safe operation of vehicles is being questioned.  The established standards require these parts may not wear more than 3.5 microns over a useful life of 250,000 miles of vehicle operation with the fuel pump using this shaft.  This standard has been established, as wear of the shaft bear surface exceeding this amount can result in catastrophic fuel pump failure in extreme weather conditions.

Due to the significance of this litigation, the Judge involved with the case, The Honorable Faeza Hai, has brought you in as an expert witness, independent of either side of the litigation, to provide the jury with the clarity that can be brought to the question by an engineering review.  At your request, she is providing you with data from a random sampling of 45 shafts of this design from a recent manufacturing run, which have been put through a test simulating 250,000 miles of wear. She is requiring that you complete your work with a high level of confidence, therefore you have suggested using a confidence interval of .01.  You are to provide the jury with which side of the litigation you would support and why in a written document that makes the determination clear and believable to them.  The document you are to provide is to follow the court’s template and their Legal memorandum guide.  You will also copy the document to Miles Davis, Clerk of the Courts, MichahBioano, Plaintiffs’ Counsel, and Jay Grabow, Defendant’s Counsel.

Data from Sample Testing 


Assignment Grading (be sure to review the assignment rubric)

  • You will be expected to use the Legal Memorandum Guide and example to include all the required elements in your memorandum.  A challenge of the assignment is the explanation of the method used for calculations; why it is appropriate, and which option was selected and why.
  • Before turning in the work you will review the document for flow at the sentence, paragraph, and document level.
  • You will need to complete a statistical calculation using the correct approach, arrive at the correct answer, and use the findings in a professional way to develop a recommendation.
  • Clarity, conciseness, and accuracy –  While clarity and conciseness are a concern for the entire document, the memorandum subject line (RE), the question presented, and the brief answer will be closely evaluated on the accuracy of your statements, and the clarity and conciseness of your document elements.   (Be sure you understand the difference between liability and negligence.)
  • Addressing your audience – Your document must be worded in a way where your audience will understand, believe, and be persuaded by what you say.  Each of the elements must be worded in a way that is complete and coherent to an outside reader who is likely not an engineer or statistician.  (Finding someone like that to review your document and tell you where they are not following your writing can help you with editing.  An outside reader may review your document for problem areas, but MAY NOT do your writing for you.)
  • Completeness – All the elements shown in the Legal Memorandum guide must be included in the correct sequence and format.


Assignment Submittal

This is an individual assignment for which each student must upload a document in one of the allowed formats listed on the assignment.

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