Daniel Rooney ’25 and Jillian Updegraff ’25 Win 64th Annual Theodore L. Reimel Moot Court Competition

Daniel Rooney ’25 and Jillian Updegraff ’25

After weeks of preparation and preliminary arguments, the final round of the 64th Annual Theodore L. Reimel ’24 CLAS Moot Court Competition concluded on Thursday, November 16, 2023. Named in honor of the late Theodore L. Reimel, judge for the Pennsylvania Court of Common Pleas from 1953 to 1973, the competition fosters student development in written and oral advocacy through simulated appellate argument. The annual intra-school tournament is a hallowed tradition at Villanova Law.

The fictional case argued in this year’s competition involved a family from Connecticut, the Andersons, who sued Amazon in federal court under the Connecticut Product Liability Act after their son was paralyzed by a defective swing purchased through the site. Although the Andersons purchased the swing through Amazon, it was sold by a third party, leading the court to rule in favor of Amazon because it did not qualify as the product seller under state law. Furthermore, even if Amazon was deemed the seller, the company is protected under the Communications Decency Act. Unhappy with this ruling, the Andersons appealed the case, which is what the students argued.

The final round consisted of Grace Mezzanotte ’25 and Abby Morris ’25, who argued on behalf of the appellants, and Daniel Rooney ’25 and Jillian Updegraff ’25, who argued for the appellee. Rooney and Updegraff were victorious; Updegraff was also named Best Oralist in the Final Round.

The final round was presided over by The Honorable Pamela A. Harris, judge for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, The Honorable Fabiana Pierre-Louis, justice for the Supreme Court of New Jersey and The Honorable David Wecht, justice for the Supreme Court of Pennsylvania.

The following students also earned recognition for their exceptional efforts throughout this year’s competition: Lily Beck ’25 and Noah Swanson ’25 for Best Brief of the 30 teams in the competition, Kaitlyn Furst ’25 and Jillian Rotman ’25 for Second Best Brief, Rachel Goldstein ’25 and Anthony Ryback ’25 for Third Best Brief and Rachel Phillips ’25 for Best Preliminary Round Oralist. In addition, Victoria Peña-Parr ’25, Sam Rollick ’25 and Andrea Solís Canto ’25 were offered membership to the Moot Court Board based on their outstanding performances.