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Faculty News

for July, 2010

Prof. Kirtley Quoted on Shirley Sherrod's Plans to Sue Andrew Breitbart

July 29, 2010

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in "Mood lighting" by Patrick Thornton on the MinnLawyer Blog, regarding former U.S. Agriculture Department Shirley Sherrod's announced intention to sue Andrew Breitbart for posting excerpts from one of her speeches on his web site, which led to her firing. Prof. Kirtley suggested that Sherrod may sue under a false light theory, arguing that "Because of the truncated nature of the video, it depicted her in a way that was inaccurate."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kirtley Discusses Conservative Journalist's Access Rights under Minnesota Data Practices Act

July 29, 2010

Professor Jane Kirtley was quoted in a Minnesota Independent story, "Conservative paper's partisan links back data requests, despite denials." Prof. Kirtley discussed how government records custodians should treat voluminous DPA requests filed by Sean Niemic, student editor of the Minnesota Republic and also a conservative political activist. Observing that Niemic is legally entitled to the records, just as any other citizen would be, Prof. Kirtley observed that "it's difficult for members of the general public to tell the difference between doing journalism the old-fashioned way . . . and someone who is pursuing a political agenda."

Read Jane Kirtley's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hall Presents Study on 510(k) to the IOM

July 28, 2010

Professor Ralph Hall presented findings of his study "Using Recall Data to Assess the 510(k) Process," funded by the Kaufman Foundation to an Institute of Medicine meeting. The public workshop was the third of the IOM's Committee on the Public Health Effectiveness of the FDA 510(k) Clearance Process, which provides feedback to the FDA on the effectiveness of its process in ensuring safety among products made available to the public. Subsequent to the workshop, the FDA announced assessments and potential changes to the system.

To see the FDA report, click here: FDA 510(k) Report."

Read Ralph Hall's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in Bloomberg Business Week

July 28, 2010

Richard Painter was quoted in Bloomberg Business Week on the impact of the Supreme Court's recent decision in Morrison v. National Australia Bank holding that United States securities laws do not apply to securities transactions taking place outside the United States. Painter pointed out that application of this rule will be clear for most transactions on organized exchanges but could be less clear for private transactions, particularly in derivative securities that are constructed by bankers both inside and outside the United States.

Prof. Chomsky Quoted in National Law Journal on ABA Review of Accreditation Standards

July 27, 2010

Professor Carol Chomsky was quoted by the National Law Journal about faculty concerns regarding the recent proposal to eliminate from the ABA accreditation standards any requirement that law schools maintain systems of tenure for their faculties. She spoke on behalf of the Society of American Law Teachers, which advocates expanding tenure protections to clinical faculty. "It's not enough to say, 'We're protecting academic freedom,'" she said. "The existence of tenure is critical in enforcing academic freedom for faculty."

Read Carol Chomsky's Faculty Profile

Prof. Painter Quoted in MinnPost on Clawback in Ponzi Schemes

July 26, 2010

Professor Richard Painter was quoted in a MinnPost article about how some of the friends and relatives of investment guru Trevor Cook could be subject to what's called "clawback," meaning they may have to return any profits or even their initial investment in Cook's illegal activites.

Read Richard W. Painter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Mpls. St. Paul Business Journal on Patentability of Therapeutic Methods

July 9, 2010

The Minneapolis-St. Paul Business Journal quoted Professor Thomas Cotter in a story titled "Supreme Court Sends Mayo Patent Fight Back to Appellate Court." The article discusses the U.S. Supreme Court's recent decision in Bilski v. Kappos and its implications for an ongoing dispute involving the patentability of a method for treating gastrointestinal disease. Cotter stated that the Court's opinion does not provide much guidance on whether an idea is too abstract to patent, and predicted that the Supreme Court might take up the question of the patentability of therapeutic and diagnostic methods in the near future.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

District Court Cites Prof. Cotter's Analysis of Statutory Damages in Copyright Law

July 9, 2010

The United States District Court for the District of Massachusetts issued an opinion in Sony BMG Music Entertainment v. Tenenbaum, holding that a jury award of $675,000 against a defendant who illegally downloaded 30 copyrighted songs was unconstitutionally excessive. In the portion of its opinion discussing the role of statutory damages in deterring copyright infringement, the court extensively cited Professor Tom Cotter's article on the law and economics of statutory damages awards (coauthored with Roger D. Blair), "An Economic Analysis of Damages Rules in Intellectual Property Law," 39 William & Mary Law Review 1585 (1998).

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Hall in MN Daily on Prescription Drug Website Regulation

July 7, 2010

Professor Ralph Hall was quoted in the Minnesota Daily regarding the findings of a recent study that examined 100 best-selling prescription drug websites. The study found lack of consistency in advertising standards on these sites and pointed to the Food and Drug Administration (FDA) for under-regulation. Hall disagrees, saying that the FDA has substantial enforcement authority including the ability to bring criminal actions against violators. Historically, drug information has been written for physicians and medically-trained professionals so the language can be confusing for consumers, Hall says. In addition, he points out that the FDA approves drug use, not the drug itself. Often physicians post information online describing a drug for a secondary use and this information does not fall within the FDA-approval process. Trying to regulate that information would be a challenge to the First Amendment, he says.

Read Ralph Hall's Faculty Profile

Prof. Shaffer Quoted on Monsanto Supreme Court Case

July 1, 2010

Professor Greg Shaffer was widely quoted in the online publication, Corporate Counsel, regarding the implications of genetically modified foods in relation to the U.S. Supreme Court decision Monsanto v. Geertson Seed Farms. Shaffer is the co-author of When Cooperation Fails: The International Law and Politics of Genetically Modified Foods, published in 2009.