Donkey Kong Goes to Court

BU Law, like many law schools, has a writing requirement for upper-class students. In order to satisfy the requirement, students must write a paper or combination of shorter papers totaling 7,500 words, not counting footnotes. Further, students are required to get their paper “certified” by a faculty advisor. There are several ways in which students may satisfy the writing requirement. The most common way is through a Journal Note (don’t let the “note” part fool you) written for one of the school’s Law Journals. Many students who are on a journal choose to satisfy the writing requirement this way since they are required to write a “note” for their journal anyways.

Another popular way of satisfying the requirement is to take a course or seminar that allows students to write a paper in satisfaction of the writing requirement. Last year, I took International Business Agreements with this goal in mind. We had a final paper for the class and our professor gave us the option of adding an extra ten pages to the final in order to satisfy the requirement. For several reasons, I chose to forego this option and satisfied the requirement through a third method—serving on a Moot Court Board.

At BU, second-year students have the option of competing in the Edward C. Stone Moot Court Competition. I chose to participate as a 2L and was selected as a Director for the competition as a 3L. In Stone, 2L’s are able to choose one of three problems and then write an appellate brief in teams to argue before a panel of attorney and student judges. As a Director, I was required to write one of the three problems from which the competing 2L’s would choose. Most of the writing happened over the summer since the competition begins in September with oral arguments in late October/ early November. While writing the bench memo required a significant amount of research and time during my summer (coupled with working at a large firm), it was an invaluable experience. I’ve always enjoyed legal writing and appreciated the opportunity to research legal issues I may not otherwise have researched on my own time.

The title of my problem is Koopa Collectors v. Donny Kong and is set before the U.S. Supreme Court. The problem centers around a debt collection agency, Koopa Collectors, and their debt collection practices. Following a difficult marriage with Yoshisaur Munchakoopas, Donny Kong, a resident of the luxury Bowser Building in Pipe City, is laid off from his job at Mushroom Factory and is left unable to pay rent. Donny Kong moves out of the shared apartment and unsuccessfully attempts to transfer the lease to Yoshisaur. Donny Kong is then targeted by Koopa Collectors for his unpaid rent. Later on, a four-alarm fire in Peach’s Bakery, located below Koopa Collector’s offices, leaves all of the agency’s records destroyed. Donny Kong files a class action against Koopa Collectors and the case makes its way all the way to the Supreme Court. The case contains two issues: 1) Whether a dispute as to the validity of a debt must be made in writing under the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act and 2) Whether Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 calls for a heightened ascertainability requirement.

The 2L Briefs are due this coming Friday with the oral arguments starting in a week! I’ll update further on how the competition goes.

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