University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Monday, January 13, 2014 - 11:44am

The chief judge of the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals has created an unusual quandary for the federal judiciary, Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman told the Daily Journal, the West Coast legal newspaper. Chief Judge Alex Kozinski filed an objection to a class action settlement that was pending in the Central District of California, part of the Ninth Circuit. Two judges of the district have already disqualified themselves from considering the settlement, and the question now is who will hear the case. “The combination of circumstances that the objection comes from the chief judge of the circuit while the matter is pending before the district judge in that circuit – I’d be astonished if that has ever happened before,” Hellman said. Chief Justice John G. Roberts could be asked to designate a judge from another circuit, but that request would ordinarily come from the chief judge. Hellman predicted that the most senior active judge of the Ninth Circuit, Harr y Pregerson, would make the request. However, one of the district judges who recused is Judge Pregerson’s son, so perhaps the responsibility will fall to the next judge, Stephen Reinhardt. 

The full story is available to subscribers only here.

Friday, January 10, 2014 - 9:20am

Professor John Burkoff was quoted in the Pittsburgh Tribune Review about the case of a University of Pittsburgh researcher, Robert Ferrante, accused of killing his wife with cyanide who is seeking permission from a judge to unfreeze his assets so that he can spend more money on his defense. Ferrante has about $2.2 million spread over six bank accounts, and previously received permission to spend $280,000 to defend himself.

“It's not necessarily an excessive amount of money when one wants good representation,” said Professor John Burkoff. “The truth of the matter is that there are some very expensive lawyers, and some of those lawyers are expensive for a good reason — namely, they're good.”

Monday, January 6, 2014 - 3:43pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on a  21-year old homicide cold case where the defendant received a 3 to 6 year sentence after suddenly -- during jury selection -- pleading no contest to the killing of his wife who drowned in a swimming pool.  As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported: "By accepting the plea, which does not acknowledge guilt, Lang avoided trial and a possible life sentence. Given that risk, he may have perceived the offer to be a good deal, said John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who hadn't reviewed the case but spoke generally. 'The prosecution and the defense reached an agreement where both sides got something and both sides gave something up,' he said."

 

Read more here:

http://www.post-gazette.com/local/west/2013/12/10/Industry-man-pleads-no-contest-in-1993-killing-of-wife.html

Monday, January 6, 2014 - 3:15pm

Professor Tony Infanti was recently quoted in a Pittsburgh Post-Gazette story on the ACLU lawsuit challenging Pennsylvania's defense of marriage act.  Of the commonwealth's requests, Infanti said they seem "intrusive" and "borderline harassing."

Read more of Professor Infanti's comments as well as the full article here

 

 

 

Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:17am

Dean William M. Carter, Jr. has been selected for the Lawyers Of Color’s Third Annual Power List, a comprehensive catalog of the nation’s most influential minority attorneys. Honorees will be honored at a reception on February 26, 2014, at The Ritz-Carlton in Washington, D.C. and will also be profiled in Lawyers Of Color's Power List Special Edition (2014).

Friday, January 3, 2014 - 10:10am

A proposed amendment to the Judicial Code co-authored by Pitt Law Professor Arthur D. Hellman was cited in testimony at a hearing of the Senate Judiciary Committee on patent law reform. The proposed amendment would override the Supreme Court’s 2013 decision in Gunn v. Minton, holding that legal malpractice actions based on underlying patent matters generally cannot be heard in federal courts. Hellman worked with Edward Reines, a prominent member of the Federal Circuit bar who has worked in the area of patent rules for many years, to craft the proposal. Philip S. Johnson, testifying on behalf of the Coalition for 21st Century Patent Reform, quoted the proposal in his testimony at the hearing entitled “Protecting Small Businesses and Promoting Innovation by Limiting Patent Troll Abuse.” He emphasized the importance of enacting legislation to avoid the results likely to occur if lower courts read Gunn broadly.

Read more here.  

 

Wednesday, December 11, 2013 - 4:06pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on a 21-year-old homicide cold case where the defendant received a 3 to 6 year sentence after suddenly -- during jury selection -- pleading no contest to the killing of his wife who drowned in a swimming pool. As the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reported: "By accepting the plea, which does not acknowledge guilt, Lang avoided trial and a possible life sentence. Given that risk, he may have perceived the offer to be a good deal, said John Burkoff, a law professor at the University of Pittsburgh who hadn't reviewed the case but spoke generally. 'The prosecution and the defense reached an agreement where both sides got something and both sides gave something up,' he said."

Read the full story in the Post-Gazette here.  

Tuesday, December 3, 2013 - 9:46am

On November 6, 2013, , Dean William M. Carter, Jr. delivered the Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society at New York University’s School of Law.  His presentation, titled  “The Thirteenth Amendment, the Legacies of Slavery, and the Promises of Freedom” discussed the interpretation of the 13th Amendment by the courts and how it might be broadened to protect the freedoms of all Americans regardless of race.

The Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society New York University School of Law recruits top scholars to deliver this lecture and hosts a reception for the lecturer to meet members of the NYU School of Law community.  Established by his wife, Janet Dewart Bell in 1995 to celebrate Professor Bell’s 65th birthday, the Derrick Bell Lecture on Race in American Society was initially funded by the generous support of Friends of Derrick Bell and the Geneva Crenshaw Society, and has been maintained by the New York University School of Law.

Watch Dean Carter’s presentation here.  

Monday, December 2, 2013 - 9:27am

Professor Emily Collins presented on a panel of national experts on nutrient pollution at the 13th Annual Great Lakes Water Conference at the University of Toledo College of Law.

A story about the conference and Professor Collins' presentation was published in the Toledo Blade and can be viewed here.   

 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013 - 2:01pm

A recent U.S. News & World Report article highlights the University of Pittsburgh School of Law’s health law certificate program and the unique strengths that place Pitt Law ahead of the curve in preparing J.D. candidates for the healthcare legal market. The Affordable Care Act’s recent implementation has created new regulatory and compliance paradigms, and companies and law firms are scrambling for well-prepared J.D. graduates to navigate the new legal territory.

“One of the nicknames for the Affordable Care Act is the ‘Lawyers Full Employment Act’,” says Pitt Law Professor of Bioethics Alan Meisel in the U.S. News & World Report article. “There's just so many possibilities for legal issues to arise.”

Few law schools offer concentrations in health law, but Pitt Law is one that offers a health law certificate, which is directed by Professor Meisel and was ranked 13th in the nation by the 2014 U.S. News & World Report. “Some schools offer one or two health law courses, while others offer more than half a dozen,” the U.S. News & World Report article states. “Students should go for the latter option, experts say.”

Pitt Law offers 18 courses, seminars and practicums covering varied aspects of health law that can be applied toward the health law certificate.

On top of the array of courses available to Pitt Law students, U.S. News & World Report also highlighted Pitt Law’s strengths in offering interdisciplinary and experiential learning. “One of the components of a successful certificate program is that there be some kind of experiential learning, which might involve either a clinic or a practicum or an externship,” says Meisel in the article. One of Pitt Law’s health law courses includes a newly debuted two-semester practicum that immerses students in public health insurance scenarios via APPRISE, the school’s free health insurance counseling service offered to older Pennsylvanians.

Pitt Law also offers J.D. candidates the opportunity to simultaneously pursue a Master of Public Health degree (a Pitt program ranked 11th in the nation by U.S. News & World Report). In addition, the University of Pittsburgh’s Center for Bioethics and Health Law, prestigious School of Medicine, and the Graduate School of Public Health offer paramount resources for law students regarding bioethics and healthcare scholarship. The high-caliber interdisciplinary and practicum options available to Pitt Law students means the school can produce J.D. graduates who have a unique breadth and prescient acumen in the rapidly growing health law field straight out of law school.

Read the U.S. News & World Report article here. Learn more about Pitt Law’s Health Law Certificate Program here.

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