When you create new facts in CaseFleet, there are a few tricks that can save you a lot of time in the long run, while also making your cases more readable and compelling. These recommendations are based on our own experience using and building CaseFleet, as well as our experiencing litigating cases.
Avoid Compound Facts
Our first tip is to avoid "compound" facts. A compound fact is a fact that contains multiple assertions. Here's an example of a compound fact:
- "On August 1, 2017 at 11:00 am, the blue car was moving at 55 miles per hour when it entered the intersection."
The above fact is compound because it contains three separate assertions:
- The car entered the intersection at 11:00 am on August 1, 2017
- The car was traveling 55 miles per hour when in entered the intersection
- The car was blue
Separating these components into different facts is useful because there could easily be different sources of proof for each assertion. You may not need this level of granularity for every detail in a case, but, in general, breaking facts into the smallest possible components makes them easier to prove and easier to weave into the overall story of a case.
How to Break Apart Compound Facts
Sometimes it's hard to avoid creating compound facts when you're reviewing a large trove of documents. In document review, making sure you have't missed anything is often the top priority, and rewriting the facts can come later. Once you've finished reviewing a document, though, it's a great idea to review the facts you created and ensure they meet your quality standards. This is a great time to turn any compound facts into single-assertion facts. Here's how to do it:
Go to the Facts page in the case, and apply a "Sources" + "has any of" filter, with the document you just reviewed in the filter. This will limit the view to the facts you just created from the document.
When you find a compound fact, click the edit icon to open it, then click the three dots next to the "X" in the top right and choose "Create a copy" from the menu. You can create as many copies as you like, and with each copy ensure that only one assertion is present. This may take a few minutes, but it pays rich dividends later, when you need to prove the fact or use it to cross examine a witness.
Here's a screen capture showing the process in action for a longer fact:
Link Each Fact to the Contacts in It
Almost every fact involves various persons, places, and things. Whenever you're referring to a proper noun (such as a person or business's name), it often pay to link the fact to the matching contact record. If you have a contact on the case named "John Smith," you can mention John Smith in a fact by typing @john and choosing the correct option from the drop-down list.
When contacts are linked to facts, you're able to filter facts much more precisely. Moreover, if you need to update the name of a contact midway through a case, all you'll need to do is update it on the contact page, and it will update within each fact.
Link Each Fact to the Issue it Relates to
A fact that's not linked to any issues in case could be hard to use a later date because you won't immediately understand why the fact is included in the case at all. Issues help you understand the importance of a fact, and the part of the case that the fact relates to.
To find facts in your cases that aren't currently linked to issues, apply a filter with the criteria "Issues" + "is empty".
You can then go through and add appropriate issues to each of these facts, until there are no facts that lack issues.
To learn how to create facts using the Document Reviewer, which is our recommended way of creating facts, click here.
To learn how to add facts manually to your case, click here.