Alex Teixeira (JD ’18) wins 45th annual Edwin M. Stanley Moot Court Competition

Photo of Wake Forest School of Law students, Brooke Boutwell (JD '18) and Alex Teixeira (JD '18), who are the finalists of the 45th Annual Stanley Moot Court Competition.

Brooke Boutwell (JD '18) and Alex Teixeira (JD '18)

Alex Teixeira (JD ’18) of Mystic, Connecticut, is the winner of the final round of the 45th annual Edwin M. Stanley Moot Court Competition, sponsored by the Wake Forest Law Moot Court Board, held on Nov. 18 in the Worrell Professional Center.

In Sharon Weaver v. Cumberland Cougars, Teixeira (JD ’18) represented the fictional plaintiff, Appellant Sharon Weaver, while Brooke Boutwell (JD ’18) of Piedmont, Oklahoma, represented the defendant, Appellee Cumberland Cougars, LLC.

All of the judges were complimentary. Judge Rhoda Billings (JD ’66), professor emeritus and former chief justice of the N.C. Supreme Court, said, “Congratulations to both of you on a job well done.”

“Mr. Teixeira was very good at answering questions directly,” said Judge Catherine Eagles, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of North Carolina. “Both of you are winners.”

Judge Richard Dietz (D ’02), North Carolina Court of Appeals, said a good appellate advocate knows you don’t have to use all of your time…when you are really standing at the podium, you are trying to figure out what the court needs to know.”

Teixeira also won the James C. Berkowitz Award for best oralist and Anna Bryce-Flowe (JD ’18) was the runner-up. Kelsey Mellan (JD ’18) won for best brief and Daniel McClurg (JD ’17) won runner-up.

The intramural moot court competition is named in honor of the late Judge Edwin M. Stanley, a distinguished Wake Forest alumnus and supporter, who served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina from 1958-1968.

Erica Oates (JD ’17) and Ethan White (JD ’17) were the 2016 Stanley Competition co-chairpersons. They worked with the Moot Court Board and the LAWR 3 Appellate Advocacy students and faculty to facilitate the competition. A reception immediately followed the finals in the new Law School Commons.

Oates said 48 students competed and nine who advance were new members of the Moot Court board.

Following is a summary of the Stanley Moot Court problem for this case:

Plaintiff Sharon Weaver is a resident of Clemmons, North Carolina, while Defendant Cumberland Cougars, LLC operates a minor league baseball team that plays its home games in Cougar Park in Cumberland, Maryland.

Weaver attended a Cougars game on July 4, 2013, with her young children, her brother, and his young children.  They bought “best available” seats online and were given seats behind home plate, which were protected from foul balls by a screen. Weaver had never been to Cougars Park.  She had attended several baseball games in the past and was aware that foul balls are sometimes hit into the stands.

Before the game and during the third inning, an audio announcement, which was also projected on the scoreboard, warned fans to look out for balls and bats leaving the field of play.  After the seventh inning stretch, Weaver went to a concession stand on the third base side of the ballpark to buy drinks.  The concession stand was on a concourse behind the stands and placed so that people in line stood facing away from the field.  When Weaver was third in line, she sensed a stir in the crowd, turned to her left, was hit by a foul ball, and suffered serious injuries.

Weaver sued Defendant in the United States District Court for the District of Maryland.  The law of Maryland applies, including its negligence and assumption of the risk principles, but Maryland has not had a previous reported case involving foul balls.  The District Court granted Defendant’s motion for summary judgment based on the “Baseball Rule,” a limited duty rule providing that baseball ballpark operators owe no duty to protect spectators from foul balls other than providing a screened area behind home plate.  The Baseball Rule is a majority rule, but courts in some states have rejected it entirely or held that it applies only in the stands.  Weaver has applied to the Fourth Circuit.