December 2016

News

Grace Soyon Lee Named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs

The University of Alabama School of Law is pleased to announce Grace Soyon Lee has been named Associate Dean for Academic Affairs.

She will serve the academic needs of students and the faculty and work closely with students as she helps build campus community. She will ensure that the Law School reports accurate information to the American Bar Association and other organizations, including U.S. News & World Report, as well as identify and help solve student concerns.

She wants all students to know they can come to her with individual concerns as well as to share ideas they may have about making the Law School a better place for themselves or for students in the future. Her door is always open, not just when a problem arises.

“I want to counteract that assumption and let people know that they don’t have to come to me just when they have a problem with a capital P,” she said.

Law School Installs Art Exhibit

The University of Alabama School of Law recently installed an exhibit of American art.

The Law School’s exhibit features five works by four artists: Israel Aten, Adger Cowans, Sam Gilliam and Lionel Lofton. The pieces are on loan from The Paul R. Jones Collection, which is part of UA’s College of Arts & Sciences.

In 2008, Jones donated a portion of his art collection to the University of Alabama. With more than 1,700 pieces, the Paul R. Jones Collection of American Art at The University of Alabama is one of the largest collections of African-American art in the world.

The Jones collection is designed to share the works of American artists and their significance with the people of Alabama and beyond. It is also used to educate students on the importance of art in life. Works from the Jones collection are on exhibit year-round at the Paul R. Jones Gallery in Tuscaloosa and are exhibited in galleries on campus and at other educational institutions and venues. The Jones collection is incorporated into curricula at UA, providing students with opportunities to learn and experience the significance of art first-hand.

Law Student Brings Los Angeles Experience to Alabama

Gonzalo Rodriguez (‘18) is using a case he worked on in Los Angeles to continue pursuing environmental justice while in law school.

As an intern for the Communities for a Better Environment, an environmental justice program in Los Angeles, he contributed to a lawsuit that alleged the city of Los Angeles routinely approved oil drilling applications without complying with the California Environmental Quality Act, and exposed black and Latino residents to disproportionate health and safety risks.

The lawsuit, filed by Youth for Environmental Justice, the South Central Youth Leadership Coalition and the Center for Biological Diversity, was settled in October. Prior to the settlement, the city’s planning department implemented new procedures and guidelines to ensure that it complies with California’s environment regulations when granting permits for oil wells, according to a news release.

“It was a great experience being able to participate in this process and to put in place these protections that will hopefully assist us in alleviating the problem of environmental injustice in the City of Los Angeles,” Rodriguez said.

Alumnae Featured as Women Who Shape the State

AL.com has named its 2016 Women Who Shape the State, a list of Alabama women who have changed their neighborhoods, cities and Alabama for the better.

The program evolved out of the Birmingham-based Women Who Make a Difference, which launched in 2013. Last year, the list was expanded to honor women throughout Alabama. More than 100 women were nominated and 30 were selected.

UA Law School graduates on the list are:

  • Mary Margaret Carroll (’10)
  • Leigh Davis (’97)
  • Mary Scott Hunter (’98)
  • Deborah J. Long (’80)
  • Patricia C. Wallwork (’00)

Michael Forton: Serving the State

A paralegal told Michael Forton his very first case was impossible to win. Forton was a law student when he advised a man who had been laid off and was trying to collect unemployment. His client said he trusted Forton and wouldn’t blame him if he lost the case. Losing, however, would come with a heavy cost to his client: The man and his family would have to return to Haiti.

Forton was determined. He learned that if someone worked for a temporary employment agency in Florida and was hired as an employee, the worker could collect unemployment.

“We went to the hearing, and we won – and so I could sleep again,” he said.

Forton has been taking on similar cases ever since.

In July, he became the Director of Advocacy for Legal Services Alabama, where he will focus on impact litigation.

Events

San Francisco Alumni Reception

The University of Alabama School of Law invites all alumni living or traveling in the San Francisco area to a special reception at 6 p.m., January 5, at Twenty Five Lusk, 25 Lusk Street, San Francisco. Please RSVP to Jami Gates Pierson at jpierson@law.ua.edu.

Farrah Banquet Save-the-Date

The 2017 annual Farrah Law Alumni Society Banquet is scheduled for Friday, February 10, at Haven in downtown Birmingham. The banquet will honor Judge Patrick Higginbotham (’61), the 2017 Sam W. Pipes Distinguished Alumnus Award recipient.

Alumni Weekend and Class Reunions

Please join Dean Mark E. Brandon and UA Law faculty and staff April 22 for an Alumni Picnic, open to all graduates and their families, and Class Reunions honoring the classes of 1967, 1977, 1987, 1992, 1997 and 2007. Visit Alumni Weekend for more information. Online registration will open in January.

Class Notes

Stanley E. Blackmon (’15) has joined Bradley as an associate for the Litigation Team in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Samantha M. Caspar (’16) has joined Keating Muething & Klekamp PLL as an associate in the firm’s Business Representation & Transactions Group in Cincinnati.

Daniel S. Culpepper (‘16) has joined Bradley as an associate for the Corporate Practice Team in the firm’s Huntsville office.

Gregory S. Cusimano (’68) was honored as the 2015 Pillar of the Bar by the Etowah County Chapter of the American Inns of Court.

James Fleischmann (’16) has joined Polsinelli as a member of the Corporate and Transactional Practice Group in the firm’s Chattanooga office.

Courtney Cooper Gibson (’14) has joined McCallum, Methvin & Terrell, P.C. as an associate in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Jonathan Hall (’11) has joined Winstead PC as head of the firm’s Conflicts & Ethics Department in Dallas.

Eddie Hardaway, Jr. (‘77) has been awarded the Chief Justice Sue Bell Cobb Award for Exemplary Service and Commitment to the Alabama Drug Court Program.

Michael P. Huff (’05) has joined Maynard Cooper & Gale as a shareholder in the firm’s Huntsville office.

James L. Pledger (’75) has been named 2017 Lawyer of the Year for Banking and Finance in Austin, Texas, and he has been included in the 2017 edition of Best Lawyers in America.

Brooks Proctor (’16) has joined Bradley as an associate for the Litigation Team in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Akya Rice (‘12) has joined Bradley as an associate for the Litigation Team in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Samantha M. Schott (‘15) has joined Jones Walker in the Commercial Litigation Practice Group in the firm’s New Orleans office.

Brian S. Seal (’00) has joined the Thompson Hines Business Litigation Practice as senior counsel in Washington, D.C.

Jared C. Searls (‘16) has joined Bradley as an associate for the Financial Services Litigation Team in the firm’s Birmingham office.

Donald B. Sweeney, Jr. (‘70) has been honored with the Alabama Association of School Boards’ Legacy Award. The award was created specifically to recognize Sweeney’s leadership and service in the practice of education law.

Allison Taylor (’95) has joined Maynard Cooper Gale as a shareholder for the Corporate, Securities & Tax Practice and the Trusts, Estates and Business Planning Practice groups.

Richard Wilkins (’85) has been named to the Board of Directors for Hancock Holding Company.

Gifts

Joseph G. Gamble (’50) donated $7,171 to the Farrah Law Alumni Society.

Professor Harry L. Hopkins contributed $5,000 to the Dean’s Discretionary Fund.

The Honorable Hardie B. Kimbrough (’68) donated $5,000 to the Farrah Law Alumni Society.

Anil A. Mujumdar (’00) and Gregory M. Zarzaur (’00) contributed $5,000 to the Law School’s Unrestricted Fund.

Faculty Notes

PROFESSOR BILL ANDREEN’s book chapter titled, “Federalism, Delegated Permitting and Enforcement,” has been published in Decision Making in Environmental Law (Paddock, Glicksman, Bryner eds., Edward Elgar Publishing, 2016).  The chapter dissects the allocation of authority among different levels of government to administer environmental permitting programs.  It compares and contrasts federal systems in Australia, Germany, and the United States that rely on permitting regimes that run the gamut from traditional to dynamic, largely using water pollution regulation as an example of the benefits of overlapping authority.

JUDGE JOSEPH COLQUITT participated in a symposium on human trafficking on October 28, 2016, at Wake Forest University School of Law in Winston-Salem, N.C. His presentation was titled, “Attacking Human Trafficking through Legislative Change.” The Wake Forest Law Review will publish the presenters’ essays early next year. During October, Judge Colquitt also presided over a meeting of the Alabama Sentencing Commission. In November, he participated in a meeting of the Alabama Criminal Code Revision Committee.

PROFESSOR RICHARD DELGADO and PROFESSOR JEAN STEFANCIC published an introduction to a recent award-winning book on the revival of school segregation in public schools.

Professor Delgado’s essay on affirmative action was published in a special edition of Chronicle of Higher Education covering the most significant developments in higher education in the past half-century.

Professor Delgado’s paper, “Precious Knowledge: State Bans on Ethnic Studies, Book Traffickers (Librotraficantes), and a New Type of Race Trial,” was recently listed on SSRN’s Top Ten download list for: LIT: Post-Colonial Culture (Topic).  As of November 12,  2016, the article had been downloaded 255 times.  A second article, “Waiting for a Second Cargo Shipment:  Public Education as Great Equalizer,” 50  Wake Forest Law Review 219 (2015), was  listed on a different Top Ten download list for: AARN: Negative Results – Anthropology of Education (Topic). As of November 22, 2016, the paper had been downloaded 24 times.

PROFESSOR SHAHAR DILLBARY was invited in October by the legal podcast, Oral Argument, to discuss his recent scholarship on cases involving causation by multiple tortfeasors and his article, “Causation Actually.” The podcast is available (for free) at http://oralargument.org/114 and can be played on all devices.

Professor Dillbary was invited to present his most recent article, “The Costs of Suicide,” together with his co-authors, Professors Griffin Edwards (UAB) and Fred Vars at the Law and Economics Society conference. It is the first article to empirically analyze the impact of tort liability on suicide. Counter-intuitively, the article’s analysis shows that suicide rates increase when potential tort liability is expanded to include psychiatrists — the very defendants who would seem best able to prevent suicide.

Using a 50-state panel regression from 1981 to 2013, we find that states that would hold liable psychiatrists (but not other doctors) for malpractice resulting in a suicide experienced a 12.8% increase in suicides. The effect is even stronger, 16.8%, when we include controls. We do not believe this is because suicide prevention doesn’t work. Rather, we theorize that it is because some psychiatrists facing potential liability choose not to work with patients at high risk for suicide.

The article makes an important contribution to the law of proximate cause. Traditionally, one could not be liable for malpractice that causes another’s suicide — the suicide was considered a superseding and intervening cause. About half of states retain the old common law rule. Others have created exceptions for psychiatrists only, or for all doctors, and some have abandoned the old rule entirely. Our findings suggest that expanding liability for psychiatrists may have an adverse effect. Accordingly, this article suggests that the best policy might be to retain or revive the traditional no-liability-for-suicide rule for mental health specialists. The implications are enormous: over 40,000 people in the United States die each year from suicide.

Professor Dillbary presented  his upcoming article, “Tort-tracting,” at the Southern Economic Association in Washington, D.C. on November 20. The article shows that tort law often enforces illegal and unconscionable contracts; contracts that contract law refuses to enforce because of their “tortious” nature. He was invited to present the article in a special lecture at King’s College (London) and at the Law and Economics workshop at Haifa University Law and Economics Workshop (Israel).

While in Washington, D.C., Professor Dillbary met with a co-author  and discussed an experimental project to be conducted with human subjects. The project will undertake to test and challenge existing theories of causation and test rational-choice models’ predictions. Professor Dillbary also met  with William Landes (the University of Chicago School of Law) in Chicago to work on their upcoming book manuscript (under contract).

PROFESSOR DAN JOYNER traveled to Amman, Jordan, in November to provide training to Jordanian government officials on strategic trade control law, as part of a program organized by the U.S. Department of State.

PROFESSOR RON KROTOSZYNSKI, JR. presented “The Shrinking First Amendment: The Public Forum Doctrine and Reduced Access to Government Property for Speech Activity” at the Ohio State University Moritz College of Law’s symposium on “The Expanding First Amendment” on November 18, 2016.  The Ohio State Law Journal sponsored the symposium and will be publishing the symposium papers in 2017.  On October 29, 2016, Professor Krotoszynski served as a presenter/discussant on Professor Richard Albert’s book chapter, “Constitutional Amendment:  The Architecture of Constitutional Entrenchment,” at the 2016-2017 Trans-Pacific Comparative Constitutional Law Forum, held at the University of Washington School of Law, in Seattle, Washington.  From October 27-29, 2016, he attended the annual meeting of the American Society of Comparative Law, also held at the University of Washington School of Law. Professor Krotoszynski serves on the ASCL’s Finance Committee and also as an editor of the American Journal of Comparative Law.

On October 27, he presented two chapters of The Disappearing First Amendment: On the Decline of Freedom of Speech and the Growing Problem of Inequality among Speakers (forthcoming Yale University Press 2018), at a workshop hosted by the faculty at the University of Washington School of Law.  Professor Krotoszynski also presented faculty workshops on this book project on October 25, 2016, at the Lewis and Clark Law School, in Portland, Oregon, and on October 24, 2016, at the University of Oregon School of Law and at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication.  He also guest taught a class on “Comparative Media Law” at the University of Oregon School of Journalism and Communication, which considered “The Global Paradox of New York Times Co. v. Sullivan.”

PROFESSOR PAM PIERSON’s article, “Economics, EQ, and Finance: The Next Frontier in Legal Education,” 65 J. LEGAL EDUC. 864 (2016), continues to be one of the top 10 most viewed articles in the Legal Education category of SSRN, the online library for legal academia. Professor Pierson’s article has been one of the top 10 most viewed articles in one or more SSRN categories since its publication in August 2016.

The views, opinions, and conclusions expressed by faculty in their publications or research activities are those of the author and not necessarily those of The University of Alabama or its officers and trustees. The content of faculty publications has not been approved by the University of Alabama, and the author is solely responsible for that content.