News and information useful to Cleveland State College of Law students, faculty and staff.

Archive for October, 2022

This House Is Haunted – How to Prove Your Case Using Am Jur Proof of Facts

When your client comes to you complaining of blood seeping through the floorboards and unexplained knocking sounds in her recently purchased Victorian house, you know you are in for an interesting case. Investigating further, you discover that the original owner was murdered on the premises and his ghost is said to wander the halls at night generally making his presence known in unpleasant ways. It’s  definitely a creepy house. The seller never got around to telling your client about the murder, the ghost, or the messy floorboards.

You’re thinking you might have a case against the seller for failure to disclose the “stigmatized” nature of the property – knowing that a notorious murder happened in the house should probably have been part of the real estate transaction. But the haunted part? Turns out, you may have a case.

American Jurisprudence Proof of Facts 3d, which is available in print and through Westlaw, is the perfect trial guide to show you how to prove the facts of your case in court, or to defend them. Each article in Am Jur Proof of Facts includes “proofs”—a series of sample questions and answers to witnesses—that you can use to establish the factual evidence in your case. Along with the proofs, in each article you’ll find a discussion of the substantive law, checklists of elements, references to primary and secondary sources, hypothetical factual situations, and helpful tips.

Your spooky legal research leads you to an Am Jur Proof of Facts article right on point – Liability to Purchaser of Real Property for Failure to Disclose That Property is Haunted, or Was Scene of Murder, Suicide, or Other Notorious Death (149 Am. Jur. Proof of Facts 3d 1). You’re in luck, as the article covers both the nondisclosure of the murder as well as the haunting. It walks you through the legal background of the issue, discusses the elements of proof, offers model pleadings and discovery, and provides numerous proofs based on the testimony of the plaintiff, experts and other witnesses.

About the haunting specifically, there are some pretty awesome details. Since not everyone believes in ghosts as grounds for liability, you’re advised to choose jurors who “at least have an open mind on these issues.” The proofs about the haunting are the best. Some sample ghostly proofs include –

  • Have you always believed in ghosts?
  • What makes you think that your house is haunted?
  • Have the ghosts tried to drive you out of the house?
  • Have they ever tried to harm you physically?

Ghosts are just as likely to turn up in court as they are in a haunted Victorian house. For information on how to use Causes of Action to bring a similar case, see our earlier blog post.

Happy haunted research!

Our Sports and Entertainment Law Research Guide

Ghost Light: Pictured (L to R) Raina Mullen, Scotty Zwang, Tom Hamilton. Photo by Student Services Librarian Brian Cassidy

The Sports and Entertainment Law Guide is an invaluable tool for all students of various aspects of sports and entertainment law.  Users can find some interesting videos on the topics of sport and entertainment law and a sneak peak of what the academy is about.  The guide is a great place to find books in our collection on entertainment and sports law but also copyright, licensing, professional sports and economics as well as study aids.  Also covered in the guide are sections on legislation, regulations, blogs, and other websites related to sports and entertainment law, along with journals and databases related to the topics.

When unsure about where to seek a particular type of information, think first of the law library’s Research Guides, which are subject-specific finding aids for locating resources on a topic. There is a direct link to the guides from the law library’s homepage.  The research guides also contain information on databases specific to the topic that may be of use to the researcher.


Comment 8: No Personal Information for You! (sort of…)

The ABA Rules of Professional Conduct, Model Rule 1.1 Comment 8 requires, “To maintain the requisite knowledge and skill, a lawyer shall keep abreast of changes in the law and its practice, including the benefits and risks associated with relevant technology.” To that end, we have developed this regular series to develop the competence and skills necessary to responsibly choose and use the best technologies for your educational and professional lives. If you have any questions, concerns, or topics you would like to see discussed, please reach out to

We often hear, and I’ve talked a lot, about how important and valuable data is. This is doubly so when it comes to your personal data. “But wait,” you may already be thinking, “isn’t all my data personal data?” Well, to put it in the parlance of law school: maybe.

Personal Information (PI), or Personal Data, can have some slightly different definitions depending on the situation. For example, 2 CFR § 200.79 – Personally Identifiable Information (PII) states:

PII means information that can be used to distinguish or trace an individual’s identity, either alone or when combined with other personal or identifying information that is linked or linkable to a specific individual. Some information that is considered to be PII is available in public sources such as telephone books, public Web sites, and university listings. This type of information is considered to be Public PII and includes, for example, first and last name, address, work telephone number, email address, home telephone number, and general educational credentials. The definition of PII is not anchored to any single category of information or technology. Rather, it requires a case-by-case assessment of the specific risk that an individual can be identified. Non-PII can become PII whenever additional information is made publicly available, in any medium and from any source, that, when combined with other available information, could be used to identify an individual.

Whereas the DHS defines PII “as any information that permits the identity of an individual to be directly or indirectly inferred, including any information that is linked or linkable to that individual, regardless of whether the individual is a U.S. citizen, lawful permanent resident, visitor to the U.S., or employee or contractor to the Department”. DHS takes a narrower view of personal information, saying that it is any information linkable to an individual.

I mention this because Google recently brought a new tool online to help people control, at least in part, what personal information is found about you in a search. The type of information for which you can request is about what you would think, and it is available here.

The whole process is pretty simple:

  • Go to and search your name (don’t act like you never have). Google recommends adding your city/state if you have a more common name or find yourself getting results that aren’t you.
  • If you find something which you would like to request be removed from Google’s search results, then click the menu button on the search result (representing with three vertical dots).
  • Now click where it says “remove result”.

You’ll need to answer a few questions and then you submit your request. You’ll even receive updates about the progress of your request. Find a full explanation here.

It is important to note that this process isn’t about removing data from a particular site or database, but is only about removing potentially harmful search results from Google; however, I am planning to cover ways to claw back your personal information from websites and databrokers in the near-future.


Don’t forget to VOTE!

Election Day is November 8, 2022 and early in-person voting has already begun. Refer to our Voting User Guide for information about the upcoming election and voting in general.

Included are links to information such as:

            • registering to vote in Ohio (and all states!)
            • checking your registration status
            • learning your polling precinct
            • finding your voting location
            • applying for an absentee ballot or to vote by mail
            • nonpartisan information about the issues

Sign up to be a poll worker here!

It’s About Efficiency – Why Use an Index When You Can Full Text?

If you’re looking for law review articles or other legal periodicals, your first thought might be to go to Lexis or Westlaw and navigate to the law reviews portion of those databases. From there you might decide to do a natural language or a terms and connectors (Boolean) search on your topic and review the results. The potential issue with this research strategy is that you may be facing a results list that is hundreds or even thousands deep. This is because you’re searching a full text database, which gives you results no matter where your search terms appear in a document.

Enter the index – a research tool that can help you quickly get to the most on point articles on your topic without having to review tons of results. Indexes are not full text, instead they bring you results when your search terms match the article title, abstract or author. This means that your results list will be much smaller, but way more on point, and this can save you time researching. Think about it – if your search terms make it into the abstract of an article, then it’s a guarantee that your article is all about those search terms.

One index to check out is Index to Legal Periodicals (ILP), which indexes legal periodicals from 1981 to the present. Many times your results in ILP will include a PDF or HTML version of the article, even though your search in the index did not search the article full text. If the text of the article is not included in your result, then you have the article citation and can look it up in Lexis, Westlaw, or elsewhere.

For more ideas about researching legal articles, have a look at our research guide Finding Articles in Law Reviews and Journals.