Teaching Tiger Law: Civil Cases

Note: This is the second of four short blog posts devoted to Week 5/Module 5 of my business law summer course.

My Week 5 module on “Civil and Criminal Cases” begins with the civil actions for trademark and copyright infringement against Joe Exotic (see image below), but before I discuss this area of law, I need to provide some background. When I took Civil Procedure during my first year of law school (the late Geoffrey C. Hazard, Jr. was my “Civ Pro” professor), and later when I became a full-fledged law professor and taught Civ Pro myself, this subject was a two-semester course, so how could I possibly do Joe Exotic’s civil cases any justice in just a minuscule one-week module? By enlisting my secret weapon: my super-smart Jamaican wife Sydjia Robinson, who was my civil procedure student when we first met on my birthday in 2009 (#TeachersPet!) and who today is a successful trial attorney and expert litigator.

Specifically, I asked Sydjia to record three videos explaining the pre-trial process: the pleadings stage, the discovery stage, and summary judgment. In addition, because a court last week granted Big Cat Rescue full control of Joe Exotic’s roadside zoo (an extraordinary remedy to say the least!), I hastily recorded a fourth video explaining the difference between equitable remedies and legal remedies. I also included a copy of the complaint in the Tiger King trademark case (Big Cat Rescue, Inc. v. Big Cat Rescue Entertainment, LLC.), a link to the court’s docket in the trademark case, and a short video clip of one of the deposition scenes from the movie “The Social Network” (my second-favorite scene of the entire movie).

Notice, however, there are absolutely zero videos about juries or civil trials per se in this part of my Week 5 module on “Civil and Criminal Cases.” This omission was diabolically intentional on my part. Why? Because the three main lessons I want to get across here are as follows: (a) how time-consuming and costly the process of suing someone is, (b) the sad fact that very few civil cases ever go to trial anymore (most civil actions are either dismissed or settle out of court); and (c) the legal reality that the previous two items (a) and (b) are directly related. Next up, we will take a look at the criminal side of legal procedure beginning with Joe Exotic’s conviction on murder-for-hire charges as well as the Don Lewis Cold Case …

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About F. E. Guerra-Pujol

When I’m not blogging, I am a business law professor at the University of Central Florida.
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