University of Pittsburgh

Faculty News

Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 11:05am

Professor Arthur Hellman explains recent rulings that tackle the question of whether school districts should punish students for off-campus speech.


He states that the rulings still allow districts to punish students for some comments made off campus, but they don't set a standard for when that can be done.


Read the full article here

Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 11:03am

Pitt Law Professor Arthur Hellman shared his views on whether or not there are genuine concerns raised by 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals judges' holding stock and other investments.  Professor Hellman told the New York Times, "It seems to me that someone who is a federal judge has some responsibility to avoid holding onto financial assets that will compromise his or her ability to do the job."


Read the full article here

Thursday, June 30, 2011 - 10:28am

Professors John Burkoff and David Harris both spoke to the media regarding the death penalty verdict in the Richard Poplawski case.  Poplawski was convicted of murder and sentenced to death for the killings of three Pittsburgh police officers in March of 2009.  Professor Burkoff discussed the death Verdict on the P.J. Maloney Show on KQV AM.  Professor Harris discussed the likely appeals process on WPXI TV.


Link to WPXI Video

Tuesday, June 28, 2011 - 10:33am

Professor Jules Lobel has been interviewed on a number of media outlets in the past few days in connection with the applicability of the War Powers Resolution to the Obama Administration's Libya actions. He was interviewed on the Bev Smith show, a nationally syndicated radio show heard on the American Urban Radio Network; KPFT, a Pacifica affiliated radio station in Houston;  WBAI, a Pacifica station in New York City; and WNUR, the Northwestern University radio station in Chicago.

Monday, June 27, 2011 - 9:17pm

Professor John Burkoff spoke to the media multiple times today concerning the penalty phase of the Richard Poplawski murder trial.  He did live radio interviews with KQV AM at 8:06 a.m. and KDKA AM at 12:06 p.m.  At 6:00 and 11 p.m., Professor Burkoff discussed the penalty phase in interviews on KDKA Television.


Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 6:44pm

The University of Kentucky’s Law Journal has published the article by Janice M. Mueller and Daniel Harris Brean, Overcoming the “Impossible Issue” of Nonobviousness in Design Patents, at 99 Ky. L.J. 419, 419-554 (2011).   Abstract:


Through its patent system, the United States offers legal protection for industrial designs—the overall aesthetic and external appearance of everyday objects ranging from automobiles to iPads.  To be patentable, a utilitarian device must be a “nonobvious” advance over earlier technology; similarly, a new and ornamental design must differ from prior designs to an extent that would not have been “obvious to a designer of ordinary skill who designs articles of the type involved.”  In contrast with utility inventions, the nonobviousness requirement for designs originated and evolved as a result of prolonged inattention by the legislature and judiciary rather than through any purposeful development.  Drawing from the industrial design literature and the authors’ original interviews with designers from varied industry sectors, this Article postulates that existing nonobviousness precedent reflects an ignorance of the creative processes commonly employed by industrial designers.  To bridge the gap between design patent standards and the reality of design, this Article proposes powerful yet practical tools to exploit recent judicial receptiveness to rethinking design patent law generally.

Mueller’s co-author Daniel Brean is a 2008 graduate of Pitt Law.  Brean is currently serving as a law clerk to the Honorable Jimmie V. Reyna, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, in Washington, D.C.


Link to article

Sunday, June 26, 2011 - 6:36pm

Professor John Burkoff commented on the final efforts of the defense in the guilt phase of the Richard Poplawski trial in Pittsburgh.  The defense had little good evidence to work with to assert that Poplawski might not be guilty, said Professor Burkoff.  The types of questions being asked by the defense meant that "defense counsel has a very difficult case, to put it mildly, and what they're doing is preparing for the next phase," in which the question will be whether or not Poplawski gets the death penalty.


Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 3:08pm

Professor Larry Frolik will give a talk on June 25 at the American College of Trust and Estate Counsel (ACTEC) in Atlanta, Georgia at the Annual Summer Meeting.  Professor Frolik will discuss “Dealing with the Partially Incapacitated Client: How to Prevent Financial Abuse, Undue Influence and Other Ills of Aging.”

Thursday, June 23, 2011 - 3:03pm

Pitt Law Professor John Burkoff shares his opinion on the approach of the prosecution in the Poplawski trial.  He says that prosecutors want to play to the penalty phase, in which the jury would decide on life or death if it convicts Poplawski of first-degree murder.


Read the full article here

Wednesday, June 22, 2011 - 1:41pm

Professor David Harris discussed the settlement of a case against the Philadelphia Police Department for excessive use of stops and frisks, especially against African Americans.  The settlement mandates better and more extensive collection of data on stops and frisks, and regular review of the data by an independent monitor.  “The vast majority of police departments do not track this activity.  This should not be something that the public has to ask for or even go to court for. This is something that should be routine,” Professor Harris said.  The Associated Press article appeared in the Washington Post, Boston Globe, and many other papers, as well as in Yahoo News.


Link to Washington Post article


Link to Yahoo News article

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