University of Pittsburgh

Archived Faculty News

October 16, 2006 - 2:38pm
Professor Alan Meisel has been appointed to the Ethics Committee of the Obstetric Pharmacology Research Unit, Pharmaceutical Branch, National Institute of  Health and Human Development.  He will represent the University of Pittsburgh as a panelist on the National Academy of Sciences Stem Cell Symposium in Washington on November 8.
October 16, 2006 - 2:36pm
Professor Douglas Branson has published an op-ed at JURIST's Forum site on the continuing implications of the Hewlett-Packard boardroom spying scandal.  Here's a sample:
As the saga at H-P unfolds, additional principles emerge, giving more guidance. One very fundamental universal evident here is that, when the pendulum swings, the pendulum never stops at dead center, or anywhere near that point. As here, the pendulum continues to swing, all the way to the stops on the other side.
To use another metaphor, this one from football, with indictments and threatened criminal prosecutions, there may be a bit or more of "piling on" in the Hewlett-Packard affair. I have no sympathy for the professional operatives here. They know what is permissible and what is not. California Attorney General Lockyer should have his subordinates prosecute them to the fullest extent of the law. Pretexting is not only prohibited by statutes but it seems morally reprehensible. The corporate defendants (Dunn and Hunsaker) say they thought about the legality of the tactics used but were advised by counsel that pretexting was permissible. Moreover, counsel was none other than Larry Sonsini, maybe the most powerful person in Silicon Valley (at least after Oracle CEO Larry Ellison). Is the indictment of corporate players here post-Enron, post WorldCom morality? Yes, it is. The invocation of principles from those cases is very reminiscent of "post Watergate morality" and the more than a bit of hypocrisy which surfaced in the 1970s. Does the prospective punishment fit the crime? No, it does not. Enron and WorldCom investors lost tens of billions of dollars. No one lost a dime at H-P. Ten of thousands lost their jobs as Enron vaporized and WorldCom entered bankruptcy (although WorldCom always did remain a very large and viable company, which emerged from bankruptcy as MCI, Inc., now part of Verizon, Inc.). Except for Hunsaker and Dunn, no one at Hewlett-Packard lost their positions.
October 5, 2006 - 2:41pm
The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania has appointed Professor Sandra Jordan chair of its Committee on Rules of Evidence.
October 5, 2006 - 2:40pm
W. Edward Sell Professor of Business Law Douglas M. Branson commented recently on JURIST on the sentences handed down in the Andrew Fastow and Bernard Ebbers corporate fraud cases.
What do we learn from this? One, corporate CEOs are much like ship captains: they may be blamed for everything that happens on their watch, whether they are complicit or not. Two, the much ballyhooed Department of Justice guidelines mean nothing in high profile white collar crime cases. They don't prevent lynching the less blameworthy; they also permit a mere slap on the wrist to the greedy, the sophisticated, and the stealthy if they turn state's evidence. Three, Ebbers should serve roughly the same as, or only a little more, or even a little less, time than should Andrew Fastow, at least if we are concerned about doing justice.
Link:  http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/10/fastow-and-ebbers-tale-of-two.php
October 5, 2006 - 2:40pm
Professor Jules Lobel commented recently on JURIST on the Arar deportation case:
The Canadian Commission report thus underscores the problems with the "preventive paradigm" that has become the key tool of the United States government's war on terror, of which extraordinary rendition is but one tactic. First, the preventive paradigm allows the government to use force and coercion against individuals and other states based on suspicions and not hard evidence. Thousands of innocent people like Arar thus get caught in the government's dragnet. Second, the paradigm relies on methods such as torture or inhumane treatment to obtain information which the government believes can not be obtained by normal police methods such as surveillance. Since Canada could not openly torture Arar, we sent him to Syria, which would. Finally, these coercive preventive measures rely on secrecy and lack of accountability.
Link: http://jurist.law.pitt.edu/forumy/2006/09/arar-report-us-should-follow-canadas.php
October 5, 2006 - 2:39pm
Pitt Law School is hosting the Works in Progress Intellectual Property Colloquium on October 6 and 7, 2006, featuring presentations of current work by more than 30 law faculty from around the United States, and commentary by more than a dozen others.
October 5, 2006 - 2:38pm
Professors Richard Delgado and Jean Stefancic are presenting on "Hernandez v. Texas and Interest Convergence" at this weekend's LatCrit XI conference at the University of Nevada Las Vegas.
September 29, 2006 - 2:22pm
Professor Peter Oh presented his paper, "The Dutch Auction Myth," at the University of Tulsa School of Law recently.  Tulsa Prof. Greg Duhl blogged the talk at the Unincorporated Business Law Prof Blog.
September 28, 2006 - 2:24pm
Pitt Law Dean Mary Crossley is one of more than 60 deans of American law schools who signed a letter addressed to Congress expressing concern about two pending pieces of legislation, the Military Commissions Act and the National Security Surveillance Act. The text of the letter is available here.
September 27, 2006 - 2:26pm
Professor Harry Flechtner recently published a remembrance of our colleague Kate Heidt, who passed away in 2005.  The remembrance appeared in the University of Pittsburgh Law Review.  It is available for download here.

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