The Honorable Myron H. Thompson, Senior Judge, U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, will deliver the University of Alabama School of Law commencement address at 6 p.m. May 7 at Coleman Coliseum.
A native of Alabama, Judge Thompson received his undergraduate and law degrees from Yale. After graduating from Yale Law School, he returned to Alabama, beginning his professional career as Assistant Attorney General. He was the first African-American Assistant Attorney General in Alabama’s history. Judge Thompson was appointed to the federal bench in 1980. He became Chief Judge in February 1991, becoming the first African-American Chief Judge of any U.S. District Court in the State of Alabama.
The U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling that plaintiffs are entitled to rely on statistics to prove their case also “provides some important guidance” on the court’s opinion in Wal-Mart Stores Inc. v. Dukes, 131 S. Ct. 2541 (2011), Professor Adam Steinman told Bloomberg BNA.
Wal-Mart involved a proposed class of over a million female Wal-Mart workers who alleged pay and promotion discrimination. The Supreme Court held that the workers’ statistical evidence of discrimination failed to establish a nationwide pay or promotion pattern across all Wal-Mart’s stores, and didn’t tie all of the workers’ claims together to satisfy commonality.
Commonality, a prerequisite to class certification under Rule 23, requires questions of law or fact common to the class.
But the court here clarified that “ does not stand for the broad proposition that a representative sample is an impermissible means of establishing class-wide liability.”
Steinman said it’s significant that the court rejected a categorical rule against the use of such evidence.
Ronald Krotoszynski, Jr., the John S. Stone Chair in the School of Law, is one of 13 faculty members at The University of Alabama who will be presented with the President’s Faculty Research Award, Thursday, March 31 as part of UA’s annual Faculty Research Day.
The event, which is open to all UA faculty members, will be held at the Bryant Conference Center from 4 p.m. until 5:45 p.m. with a reception following.
Dean Mark E. Brandon said he was pleased to offer Krotoszynski as the Law School’s nominee for Faculty Research Day.
“He is a nationally and internationally recognized scholar, whose scholarship spans constitutional law and administrative law, both in the United States and abroad,” Brandon said.
The event is intended to increase awareness and generate enthusiasm for scholarship among the UA faculty as the University moves to advance its research enterprise. Additionally, the President’s Faculty Research Award, sponsored the offices of President and Vice President for Research and Economic Development, will be awarded to outstanding faculty researchers from across UA colleges and schools.
“We’re delighted to celebrate our second group of outstanding faculty researchers with this special event,” said Dr. Carl A. Pinkert, UA vice president for research and economic development. “Faculty Research Day will highlight examples of the excellent and diverse research projects being conducted by faculty campus wide.”
Dr. David Francko, dean of the UA Graduate School, will deliver keynote remarks.
Award winners, selected by their individual colleges, will be profiled at the event, which is sponsored by UA’s Office of the Vice President for Research and Economic Development and organized by UA’s faculty-led Research Advisory Committee.
Selected for the President’s Faculty Research Award are: Dr. Jason Black, College of Communication & Information Sciences; Dr. Karen Burgess, College of Community Health Sciences; Dr. Jeff Carver, College of Engineering; Dr. Kristi Crowe-White, College of Human Environmental Sciences; Dr. Nirmala Erevelles, College of Education; Dr. Richard Hatfield, Culverhouse College of Commerce; Dr. Claudia Mewes, College of Arts & Sciences; Dr. Michele Montgomery, Capstone College of Nursing; Dr. Hyunjin Noh, School of Social Work; Lindley Shedd, University Libraries; Dr. Merinda Simmons, College of Arts & Sciences; and Dr. Janek Wasserman, College of Arts & Sciences.
Christian Pereyda (’17) won first place in the American Bankruptcy Institute’s Eighth Annual Bankruptcy Law Student Writing Competition, a first-ever win for a University of Alabama School of Law student.
“His paper furnished a reasoned and independent contribution to the ongoing debate surrounding the standards for discharging student loans in bankruptcy,” Professor Gary Sullivan said. “As a deserving winner, Christian has represented himself and the law school well in a writing competition widely regarded as the pinnacle forum for scholarly contributions by law students in the bankruptcy field.”
Pereyda’s paper, “Is Undue Hardship an Undue Burden?: Examining the Policy of Presumptive Non-Dischargeability for Student Loans in Bankruptcy,” argues that federal student loans should continue to be presumptively non-dischargeable in bankruptcy for policy reasons, but that this presumption should not apply to private student debts.
“When you discharge a federal student loan in bankruptcy, for all intents and purposes, you’re reallocating that expense from the borrower to the taxpayer,” Pereyda said. “For private student loans, the taxpayer is not involved. It’s just the lender and the borrower, and I argue there’s no policy justification for treating private student loan debt any differently from other unsecured debts.”
Pereyda will receive a $2,000 cash prize, publication of his paper in the ABI Journal and a one-year ABI membership.
Pereyda is pleased he secured a win for the Law School. “It affirms that I made the right choice in coming here. It’s a testament to the education I’m receiving here and the education I’ve been fortunate to receive throughout my life,” Pereyda said.
He first became interested in bankruptcy while working as a summer associate at Rosen Harwood in Tuscaloosa, where he began researching bankruptcy and student loans, with the hope of writing a paper and publishing it in a journal. Now that he has achieved his goal, he is interested in pursuing a career as a bankruptcy attorney.
“It’s just interesting to see how our society chooses to deal with distressed financial situations,” he said. “It’s way better than debtors’ prisons.”
Forrest Boone (’16), Mateo Forero (’16), and Irene Motles(’16) traveled to Las Vegas to represent the Law School in the Hispanic National Bar Association Moot Court Competition. The team was the first Alabama Law team to participate in the HNBA competition, and the team performed exceptionally well. From a field of 31 teams, the UA team made the final 8— advancing to the quarterfinals. In addition, Motles won a second place overall oralist award and a $1,000 cash prize.
Students in the Civil Law Clinic, with the help of volunteer counsel in Ft. Wayne, Indiana, secured a victory in the Indiana Court of Appeals for a Tuscaloosa, Alabama, client who was sued in an Indiana court.
The Clinic’s client, who had never been to Indiana, signed up for on-line classes at an Indiana public university after being awarded a full-tuition scholarship as the daughter of a disabled Indiana veteran. Shortly after beginning on-line classes, the client’s scholarship was revoked by the university and she was sued in an Indiana court for the claimed tuition.
Civil Clinic students argued in written motions and briefs that the Indiana courts did not have jurisdiction over the Clinic’s client. The Indiana Court of Appeals ultimately agreed with the Clinic’s arguments and ordered the trial court to dismiss the claim.
Professor Yuri Linetsky supervised Stephanie Smith (’16), Caleb Christian (’16), and Lindsey Shepard (’15), who worked on the case from the fall 2014 semester until the appellate court’s decision in spring 2016.
Evan Miller and other juvenile offenders haven’t been resentenced nearly four years after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that laws requiring juveniles convicted of murder to be sentenced to die in prison violate the Eighth Amendment’s ban on cruel and unusual punishment.
Miller was 14 in July 2003 when he and another teen beat and robbed 52-year-old Cole Cannon. In 2006, Miller was convicted of capital murder in his hometown of Moulton, Alabama.
Professor Jenny Carroll recently told the Juvenile Justice Information Exchange that attorneys for Miller and those representing the state of Alabama may be conducting their own evaluations of him in preparation for a hearing.
“How well has he behaved while in custody? What’s his record as a prisoner? Has he done things like further his education? Has he engaged in acts we would consider good acts, to suggest he has in fact been rehabilitated?” Carroll asked. “The more time Miller has to do that, the more likely he is going to able to make a claim that, ‘Not only does my sentence need to be revisited because of the Supreme Court decision, but it needs to be revisited because I was such a radically different person than I was at the time I was sentenced originally.’”
Two Law School teams won awards at the Sixth Annual L. Edward Bryant, Jr. National Health Law Transactional Moot Court Competitionin Chicago.
Austin Hagood (’17), Amanda Hamilton (’17), and Jennifer Huddleston (‘17) won third place for the best written submission, and Sheena Delaney (’16), John David Lind (’16), and Shalyn Smith (’16) won second place for oral presentation.
Each team prepared a written memorandum for a mock Board of Directors of a public hospital and provided advice about a proposed business transaction. The memo was submitted in advance of the competition. At the competition, the teams analyzed the client’s position and made recommendations on how the client should proceed.
Thomas Ksobiech, Associate Dean for Administration and Communication, was interviewed by WVUA 23 about the University of Alabama School of Law’s 96.4 percent bar passage rate.
The bar passage rate is an indication of how effective an institution is at preparing its students to become lawyers. Using data from the American Bar Association Standard 509 Reports from each school, StartClass identified the 25 law schools with the highest bar passage rates.
The Jessup International Law Moot Court team traveled to New Orleans and made a strong showing in the super regional competition. After two full days of rounds, Elizabeth Davis (‘16), Taryn Hull (‘16), Amy Miller (‘16), and Nick Theodore (‘16)advanced to the quarterfinal rounds of the competition before being eliminated. The team also won the award for third best memorial (brief) overall in the region, and Theodore won the award for fourth best oralist overall. The team was coached by Professor Dan Joyner and Professor Cameron Fogle.