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Topic sentence do’s and don’ts for lawyers and law students

Legal-writing guru Wayne Schiess has some great examples to illustrate how not to write a topic sentence.  Excerpt:

Don’t do this:

In Williams v. Tulsa Motels, 958 P.2d 1282, 1284 (Okla. 1998) a business invitee brought a negligence action against hotel owners seeking recovery for injuries sustained in a slip and fall. Williams, 58 P.2d at 1284. The Oklahoma Supreme Court held that “It is clear that the danger of the wet floor was open and obvious and Williams knew of the danger when he chose to walk on the wet floor.” Id. at 1285 (emphasis added). Thus, the Supreme Court held that the wet floor that the business invitee slipped on was an open and obvious danger that hotel owners had no duty to protect against. Id. at 1284-85.

[¶ ¶]

Do this:

A property owner has no duty to protect an invitee against a danger the invitee knows about. Dover v. W.H. Braum, Inc., 111 P.3d 243, 246 (Okla. 2005). In Dover, the court affirmed summary judgment, holding that a store owner had no duty to warn a patron who slipped and fell on ice while leaving the store. Id. The patron had admitted seeing the ice when entering the store. Id.

Read the rest.

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