Dear Members of the Legal Community:
I write to solicit your assistance in judging at the Carol N. Ney National Mock Trial Tournament, Friday-Sunday, 15-17 March 2013. This is the fifth year that Furman has been selected by the American Mock Trial Association (AMTA) as one of eight locations to host opening rounds of the national championship tournament. Each of the 25 regional tournaments will advance seven teams to an opening round championship site. Six teams will qualify from the Furman site to the national championship final, which will take place in Washington, DC, 12-14 April. The Ney National will host the teams advancing from the regional tournaments in Orlando, FL, Chapel Hill, NC, and Athens, GA. We have received the honor of hosting a national-level event in large part because of you—the many judges who regularly take part in the event—as well as the major financial support of Furman alumni Jim and Carol Ney, the tournament’s signature sponsors.
This year’s case is a civil matter. On April 21, 2011, the decedent (Lee Allen) and the decedent’s spouse (Andy Allen) signed up for a 7-day scuba diving trip with the defendant (Neptune Underwater Expeditions). The highlight of the trip was to be three dives down to The Hepburn, a shipwreck in the Atlantic Ocean. On July 7, 2011, Lee Allen, eight other Neptune customers, and two Neptune employees dove down to The Hepburn wreck. Lee Allen became separated from the group and never surfaced. Lee Allen’s body was never recovered.
As Lee Allen’s surviving spouse, Andy Allen has brought a wrongful death against Neptune. Specifically, Andy Allen alleges that Neptune acted with reckless disregard for Lee Allen’s safety and that Neptune’s recklessness was a direct and proximate cause of Lee Allen’s death. Neptune denies responsibility for Lee Allen’s death and has raised a number of defenses. The proceedings you will hear have been bifurcated and focus solely on liability; any questions of damages will be resolved in a subsequent proceeding.
As with all mock trial cases, there are many twists and turns for the students to negotiate. Depending on the round, you may see a variety of witnesses, including the surviving spouse, a coast guard agent, the owner of another dive company, Neptune employees, and a variety of medical and other experts.
All cases take place in Midlands, a mythical Midwestern jurisdiction. In addition to seeing an interesting case being argued, you will also witness very good teams testing their mettle against each other. The teams qualifying for the Ney National will be among the top 1/3 of all teams nationally; over 600 teams compete in the regional tournaments, with 192 teams advancing to the opening rounds of the national championship. All teams want to make the finals in Washington, so they will bring their “A” game to Greenville in March.
Twenty-four teams will be assigned to the Furman site. Therefore, I must recruit 144 members of the Bar to score and preside at the trials. We would be most honored if you would judge at this event. The tournament’s four rounds are scheduled to begin at 2:00 p.m. on Friday, 15 March; at 8:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. on Saturday, 16 March; and 8:30 a.m. on Sunday, 17 March. All mock trial judges will receive a brief orientation to the case and the rules of the competition before each trial. The 2013 tournament will be staged on Furman’s campus.
You will be paired with at least one other attorney or judge and then watch a trial lasting approximately three hours. Judges usually provide a brief critique of the trial after submitting scoring sheets. The total time commitment (including the orientation session) for each round is four hours. Meals will be provided prior to each round. There will also be a church service at the Charles E. Daniel Memorial Chapel prior to the judges meeting and orientation on Sunday morning, 17 March.
To register as a judge, go to http://www.furmanmocktrial.org/ney-tournament. Once you have accessed the tournament site, click on the link, which will take you to the registration form. If you would rather speak to someone involved with the tournament, contact the political science department assistant, Paige Blankenship, at (864) 294-3547, and she will assist you. We would greatly appreciate receiving your response by Friday, 15 February 2013. You can also contact me via e-mail at <email@example.com>.
Once your registration has been received, you will be sent a confirmation notice electronically. In February, we will notify you electronically of the specific round(s) to which you have been assigned. I appreciate your willingness to consider supporting Furman University in this fashion.
Glen A. Halva-Neubauer
Dana Professor of Political Science
Director, Mock Trial and Public Service Internship Programs