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Faculty News

for January, 2014

Prof. Goodwin's Op-Ed on Fetal Protection Laws Featured on Salon.com

January 31, 2014

Professor Michele Goodwin's op-ed on fetal protection laws was featured on Salon.com. The article highlights the case of Texas hospital officials' refusal to remove 33-year-old Marlise Muñoz, who was declared brain dead, from life support because of her pregnancy. Goodwin noted that a recent court ruling ordered John Peter Smith Hospital to take Munoz off life support in accordance with the family's wishes, and her body was disconnected from machines on Sunday, Jan. 26. Goodwin wrote, "the tragedy of Muñoz's case is that it fits a terrible pattern of state interventions in women's pregnancies." She highlights cases across the nation where pregnant women have suffered civil liberty infringements. Her forthcoming book, Policing The Womb takes up those issues.

Prof. Kirtley Quoted in Pioneer Press on Summary Judgment Hearing in Ventura Libel Case

January 28, 2014

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in a Pioneer Press article about Wednesday's summary judgment hearing in the defamation law suit brought by former Gov. Jesse Ventura against the estate of a deceased book author who described an event that Ventura claims never happened. Both sides rely heavily on written depositions, affidavits and photographs. Kirtley predicted that it could be difficult for U.S. District Court Richard Kyle to sort out the contested factual issues, possibly making him "reluctant to grant summary judgment at this point."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Wolf's Research Featured in Science

January 24, 2014

National Institutes of Health (NIH)-funded research led by Professor Susan Wolf, along with Professors Gloria Peterson (Mayo Clinic) and Barbara Koenig (UCSF), is featured in the latest issue of Science. An article on "Divulging DNA Secrets of Dead Stirs Debate" explores the cutting-edge issues raised when a participant in genetic research dies, leaving data of potential health importance to family members. Wolf, Peterson, and Koenig are leading a five-year project using empirical, analytic, and normative methods to study these issues and generate recommendations. University of Minnesota work is based in the Consortium on Law and Values in Health, Environment & the Life Sciences. For more on this project, funded by the National Cancer Institute (NCI) and National Human Genome Research Institute (NHGRI) at NIH, visit http://consortium.umn.edu/grants_research/home.html#findings. To read the Science article, go to http://www.sciencemag.org/content/343/6169/356.full.pdf.

Read Susan M. Wolf's Faculty Profile

Profs. Monahan and Wolf Elected to the American Law Institute

January 21, 2014

Professors Amy Monahan and Susan Wolf have been elected to the American Law Institute (ALI), the leading independent organization in the United States producing scholarly work to clarify, modernize and improve the law. The ALI drafts, discusses, revises and publishes Restatements of the Law, model statutes and principles of law that are enormously influential in the courts and legislatures, as well as in legal scholarship and education. The institute's elected membership of lawyers, judges and law professors is limited to 3,000. The total membership of more than 4,300 includes ex officio members, honorary members and life members (those elected members who have attained more than 25 years of service). Twenty-two University of Minnesota Law School faculty are members of the ALI.

Read Amy Monahan's Faculty Profile
Read Susan Wolf's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Calls Mugshot Bill 'Very Poor Policy' in City Pages

January 21, 2014

Professor Jane Kirtley labeled a proposed Minnesota bill to limit electronic access to mugshots "very poor policy" in an article in City Pages. Rep. Pam Myhra has proposed the bill in response to websites that publish booking photographs online and then charge the subjects to remove them. But Kirtley pointed out that public access to mugshots enhances oversight of law enforcement, and that existing criminal laws should provide an adequate remedy for extortion. She added, "Trying to legislate behavior by controlling access to information is very poor policy, but we see it all the time in the context of digital government information."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Klass Interviewed on MPR on Public Comment Period for Polymet Copper-Nickel Mine

January 16, 2014

Professor Alexandra Klass was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio regarding the upcoming public comment period on the controversial Polymet copper-nickel mine proposed for northern Minnesota. It would be the first mine of its kind in the state, and many regulators, other experts, and the public have raised concerns regarding water pollution and other environmental harms generally associated with such mines. The public comments period is being conducted this month by the Minnesota Department of Natural Resources and various federal agencies under the National Environmental Policy Act and the Minnesota Environmental Policy Act. These laws trigger environmental review of major government actions as well as major private actions, like the proposed mine, that require state and federal permit approvals. Agencies will use the analyses conducted during the environmental review process, including public comments and agency responses to those comments, in making decisions on permits required to construct and operate the mine.

Read Alexandra Klass's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Quoted in Pioneer Press on Data Practices Act and Employee Privacy

January 14, 2014

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in an editorial in the Pioneer Press discussing secrecy surrounding the terms of a separation agreement with a Forest Lake school district principal, despite amendments to the Minnesota Data Practices Act in 2012 designed to address this issue. Kirtley pointed out that if the language of the statute is ambiguous, courts are "reluctant to read interpretations into the statute" and will tend to give the records custodian the benefit of the doubt. She added that the problem is particularly acute because, unlike in federal law which has separate Privacy and Freedom of Information Acts, "In Minnesota, we have one law trying to do both, and it's less successful in accomplishing that because there will be competition between openness and privacy."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hickman Quoted by Reuters on Quality Stores Case

January 13, 2014

With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear oral arguments in United States v. Quality Stores, Inc., No. 12-1408, Professor Kristin Hickman spoke with Reuters regarding the merits of the arguments over whether certain severance payments are subject to FICA taxes. "Both sides have plausible arguments about how the statute can be interpreted," said Hickman.

Read Kristin Hickman's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin to Deliver 2014 Lena O. Smith Keynote Lecture

January 10, 2014

Professor Michele Goodwin will give the Lena O. Smith Keynote Lecture at the annual luncheon of the Minnesota Black Women Lawyer's Association, focusing on business and the Affordable Care Act. Lena O. Smith was the first African American attorney in Minneapolis. Ms. Smith founded the Minneapolis Urban League, served as the first woman president of the Minneapolis NAACP, and was a pioneering civil rights advocate.

Prof. Goodwin to Present on Gender Equity Gap at Edith I. Spivack Symposium

January 2, 2014

Professor Michele Goodwin has been asked to address the New York Bar Association in 2014. Goodwin will give an address at the Edith I. Spivack Symposium sponsored by the New York State Bar Association's Subcommittee on Women in the Law. The roundtable will feature Goodwin and others who will address the gender equity gap as it pertains to women lawyers. As part of a panel addressing professional responsibility and ethics issues arising from gender discrimination and harassment in law firms, Goodwin will discuss the influence of class, immigrant status, and privilege in the workplace.