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Hofstra Law Review

Abstract

Early in the fall semester at Hofstra's new School of Law, a skeptical instructor launching a Conflicts class of second and third year students decided to indulge in a choice-of-law experiment. The first report of Neumeier v. Kuehner was at hand. How would students without specific knowledge of choice of law theory react to the question: Should the host driver's conduct and potential liability be governed by the Ontario guest statute or New York law? The students were presented with the basic facts of the unidentified case, stripped of party names, procedural history and judicial analysis. Concededly, these were not tabulae rasae upon which the facts of Neumeier were imposed. With modesty, we maintain that our students at Hofstra have been rigorously and imaginatively trained. In their first and second year studies, they have encountered choice-of-law issues in substantive courses. In the Conflicts class, we had progressed through the introductory material and the chapter on domicil. We had engaged in some preliminary discussion of territorial versus interest analysis, and concepts such as most significant relationship, substantial interest, and center of gravity. Only section 6 of the Second Restatement had received specific attention; section 145 lay several hundred pages ahead. Thus, as subjects of experimentation, the students could be described as nullifidians; they had not professed faith in any choice-of-law dogma which could, even subliminally, direct their approach to Neumeier.

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