University of Pittsburgh

Archived Faculty News

December 14, 2006 - 2:52pm
Professor John Burkoff was quoted in the Northeast Mississippi Daily Journal in connection with an unusual case of alleged improper influence on jury deliberations:
[Kristi] Fulgham was convicted last week of murdering her husband Joseph "Joey" Fulgham in May 2003 at their Longview community residence. During the sentencing phase of the trial, it was discovered that a bailiff left his Bible in the jury room. When he returned for it, one of the jurors asked if they could keep it. About 15 minutes later, the jurors returned with a death sentence. . . .
John Burkoff is a professor at the University of Pittsburgh School of Law. He has written extensively on criminal law and is a nationally recognized expert on legal ethics. Berkoff said he's never heard of such a case. What the bailiff did was wrong, but beyond that, the issue seems to be focused on the damage done to the jury during its death sentence deliberation.
Link:  http://www.djournal.com/pages/story.asp?ID=232895&pub=1&div=News
December 14, 2006 - 2:51pm

Professor Douglas Branson, the W. Edward Sell Chair in Business Law at Pitt, has published No Seat at the Table: How Corporate Governance and Law Keep Women Out of the Boardroom with NYU Press.  The book analyzes the 2001 and 2005 proxy data large corporations have filed with the SEC.  It also includes chapters on discrimination cases, linguistics, sociology, behavioral psychology, and more, as well as about management science and corporate governance.Professor Branson also published a lengthy law review article, "Too Many Bells? Too Many Whistles? Corporate Governance in the Post Enron, Post WorldCom Era," 58 S. Car. L. Rev. 65 (2006).

December 14, 2006 - 2:50pm
In November 2006, Professor Alan Meisel, Dickie, McCamey & Chilcote Professor of Bioethics at Pitt, served on a panel at the National Academy of Sciences commenting on the operation of the NAS ESCRO [Embryonic Stem Cell Research Oversight] Committee Guidelines.  He also participated in a meeting of ethics consultants to the Obstetrical Pharmacologica Research Unit of the National Institute of Child Health and Human Development, one of the National Institutes of Health.
December 14, 2006 - 2:50pm
On December 1, Professor Lawrence A. Frolik presented at the 44th Annual Great Plains Federal Tax Institute in Omaha, Nebraska. Professor Frolik gave a talk entitled, "Elder Law, Medicaid and the DRA: Where Do We Go From Here?" Featuring two days of talks by leading national practitioners, professors and a special presentation by Dave Heineman, the Governor of Nebraska, The Great Plains Federal Tax Institute is sponsored by the Nebraska State Bar Association, the Nebraska Society of Certified Public Accountants, the University of Nebraska-Lincoln College of Law and School of Accountancy.
November 29, 2006 - 3:09pm
Professor Douglas Branson has an op-ed up at JURIST on the stock options backdating debate:
Corporate America has recently had to bare - or bear - yet another scandal, involving stock option grants to senior managers, mostly CEOs. So far, beginning with Summer 2006, over 130 public corporations, Corinthian included, have confessed to backdating stock option grants so as to increase the "take" by upper echelons of management. A subset of corporations admits to having "spring loaded options," timing grants of options to just before corporate announcement of material favorable developments, likely to spike the price further. So far prosecutors have brought criminal charges against 5 corporate executives. The average take is estimated at $1.3 million to $1.7 million per grant manipulation.
Link:  http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/11/criminal-excess-backdating-stock.php
November 28, 2006 - 3:08pm
Professor Deborah Brake has published part two of a FindLaw series on Ledbetter v. Goodyear.  Part one is blogged here. 
Today, the Supreme Court will hear oral argument in Ledbetter v. Goodyear, a case that will determine how to apply Title VII's statute of limitations to claims of gender discrimination in pay. As we wrote in the first column in this series, the Court is reviewing a ruling of the U.S. Court of Appeals of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit that is extremely hostile to victims of pay discrimination. Under the ruling, a claimant cannot challenge a discriminatory paycheck unless the decision to pay her less because of sex occurred within the last 180 days, or was the most recent pay decision prior to that time. Thus, discriminatory paychecks attributable to earlier decisions are, under this ruling, immune from challenge. The Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, the federal agency charged with the interpretation and application of Title VII, disagrees with the Eleventh Circuit. But, disappointingly, the United States Solicitor General has disagreed with the EEOC - taking a position that, if accepted, would cripple the agency's ability to enforce Title VII in the pay-discrimination context. The Solicitor General's position, even more disappointingly, is even more draconian that the harsh position the Eleventh Circuit adopted.  If the Supreme Court upholds the Eleventh Circuit's ruling or, worse still, adopts the Solicitor General's view, its decision will predictably harm many victims of blatant pay discrimination, and, more broadly, will exacerbate the gender-based wage gap that currently exists in America.
Link:  http://writ.lp.findlaw.com/commentary/20061127_brake.html
November 26, 2006 - 3:08pm
Professor Michael Madison gave a presentation on November 1 entitled "Information Form and Flow" to the Intellectual Property program at George Washington University.  Professor Rebecca Tushnet of Georgetown University liveblogged the talk.
November 26, 2006 - 3:07pm
West Publishing recently announced the publication of Frolik and Kaplan's Elder Law in a Nutshell, 4th Edition, co-authored by Professor Lawrence Frolik.Frolik and Kaplan's Elder Law in a Nutshell, 4th Edition provides expert narration on the scope and diversity of elder law. The text addresses ethical considerations and health care decision-making issues. It discusses Medicare, Medigap, Medicaid, and long-term care insurance. Looks into living arrangements, guardianship, and benefits-Social Security, supplemental security income, veterans benefits, and pension plans. Also explores age discrimination in employment, elder abuse, and neglect. Addressing the myriad of legal issues encountered by the elderly, the text is a succinct overview of this complex intersection of law and social policy. The text is designed to assist anyone who has regular contract with older persons, including lawyers, law students, social workers, health care personnel, retirement planners, gerontologists or anyone who wishes a better insight into the world of elder law.
November 26, 2006 - 3:06pm
Professor Ron Brand gave a talk on November 10, 2006 on "Transnational Uses of Judicial Review" at a seminar on "Judicial Review in the Americas . . . and Beyond" at the Duquesne University School of Law. On November 13-15, Professor Brand led a three-day workshop on commercial law curriculum and instruction to professors and deans from law faculties from throughout the Persian Gulf at the Qatar University College of Law, Doha, Qatar.  The workshop is part of the Commercial Law Development Program of the U.S. Department of Commerce, and is funded by the U.S.-Middle East Partnership Initiative.
November 26, 2006 - 3:05pm
Essays by Professors Lawrence A. Frolik and John Burkoff are featured in the new book, Screening Justice - The Cinema of Law edited by Rennard Strickland, Terr E. Foster and Taunya Lovell Banks. The book, published by William S. Hein & Company, contains 50 essays on significant films dealing with law, order and social justice. Professor Frolik's essay, entitled "The Grapes of Wrath: Can Justice Be Found on Route 66?" is a thematic review of the 1940 Academy Award winning film, Grapes of Wrath directed by John Ford.  In his essay, " If God Wanted Lawyer to Fly, Shoe would Hve Given Them Wings: Life, Luck & Legal Ethics in Body Heat," Professor Burkoff examines the ethical failures the anti-hero lawyer protrayed in the 1981 film noir, Body Heat.

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