The final night of the American Association for Justice Moot Court Competition concluded Sept. 14, with the duo of James Sullivan and Sarah Lowe named the winners. The two served as the plaintiffs in the final round against Priscilla Shaikh’s and Ted Hammers’ defendant roles.
This fall’s AAJ Competition involved a plaintiff, hockey player Quinn Chase, who received a head injury from an opposing team’s player who hit him during a game. He was examined by the opposing team’s athletic trainer, who cleared him to return to play. After being hit again in the next scheduled game, Chase lost consciousness, and the hospital diagnosed him with a severe concussion which caused him headaches, light sensitivity, loss of memory, and an inability to return to the game.
The hospital also discovered he had received a concussion when he was hit the first time, although it wasn’t diagnosed by the athletic trainer. Because of this, Chase sued the opposing team from the first game, the Steelton Pit Bulls Hockey Club, for failing to adequately diagnose his injury and allowing him to continue play, resulting in further injury during the next game.
Sullivan and Lowe prepared for the competition by meeting as soon as the fact pattern, i.e. details of the case, was released. Lowe said she and Sullivan have been partners for moot court competitions for more than a year, so they have a system down.
“After we have read the fact pattern, we then decide on a theme, which helps us focus on what evidence we care about and how to tailor our questions to highlight the theme,” Lowe said.
She said they also discuss how they think the opposing side will argue and what objections will surface and how to combat them.
Both of the final teams will go on to compete at the regional competition for the AAJ in March 2018. There, they’ll go head-to-head with teams from the Pacific Northwest and the West Coast.
“James and I are very excited about the win,” Lowe said. “We made a pact last year to win AAJ this year, and it was great to see it happen. We are hoping to do well at regionals — I want to win — and are looking forward to competing against other law schools.”
The next Moot Court competition on campus is the National Appellate Competition Oct. 9–12.
About Willamette University College of Law
Opened in 1883, Willamette University College of Law is the first law school in the Pacific Northwest. The college has a long tradition at the forefront of legal education and is committed to the advancement of knowledge through excellent teaching, scholarship and mentorship. Leading faculty, thriving externship and clinical law programs, ample practical skills courses and a proactive career placement office prepare Willamette law students for today's legal job market. According to statistics compiled by the American Bar Association, Willamette ranks first in the Pacific Northwest for job placement for full-time, long-term, JD-preferred/JD-required jobs for the class of 2014 and first in Oregon for the classes of 2012, 2013, 2014, and 2015. Located across the street from the state capitol complex and the Oregon Supreme Court, the college specializes in law and government, law and business, and dispute resolution.