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Faculty News

for March, 2010

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Star Tribune on Allegations of Price Fixing of Chocolate Makers

March 31, 2010

Professor Tom Cotter was quoted in a Minneapolis Star Tribune article concerning an antitrust suit filed by SuperValu alleging price fixing among four leading chocolate candy makers. Cotter noted that price collusion can be difficult to prove, and that courts generally require proof of an agreement among defendants, not just "conscious parallelism" with respect to pricing.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cribari Quoted in Star Tribune on the Constitution and Child Abuse Prosecutions

March 30, 2010

In an article in the Minneapolis Star Tribune "Ruling stemies child sex-abuse case," Professor Stephen Cribari responded to criticism of the Supreme Court for its confrontation decision in Crawford v. Washington. Cribari said the "court is supposed to protect citizens from 'unreasonable government power' and 'for the government to put people in jail and not confront them with their accusers is unacceptable in our society.' "

Prof. Cox in Various Media on Foreclosure Issues

March 29, 2010

Professor Prentiss Cox was quoted in stories in the Portland Oregonian, the Pioneer Press and KARE-11 regarding matters related to mortgage foreclosure. The Oregonian article dealt with "rescue scams" targeting people in foreclosure, which is an issue on which Cox is considered a leading national expert. The Pioneer Press article on March 27, 2010 reviewed the recent changes to the federal anti-foreclosure program known as HAMP. The KARE-11 story dealt with the ramifications from a settlement between the Massachusetts Attorney General and Bank of America that requires the bank to change its loan modification program throughout the country.

Read Prentiss Cox's Faculty Profile

Prof. Schwarcz Testifies to State Insurance Regulators about Insurance Policy Readability

March 28, 2010

Professor Daniel Schwarcz testified at a public hearing on the issue of readability standards and the use of plain language in insurance policies. The hearing was held by state insurance regulators at a meeting of the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), a voluntary organization of the chief insurance regulatory officials of the 50 states, the District of Columbia and five U.S. territories. Professor Schwarcz is a funded consumer representative to the NAIC.

Read Daniel Schwarcz's Faculty Profile

Prof. Simon, Chelsea Becker Publish Commentary on Minn. Alcohol Tax

March 27, 2010

Professor Stephen Simon, director of the Minnesota Criminal Justice System DWI Task Force, and Chelsea Becker (’11), research assistant for the DWI Task Force, published a commentary entitled “Tax Alcohol, Save Lives” on the front page of the Opinion section of the Minneapolis Star Tribune. Monies from an increase in the alcohol excise tax could go toward the costs that excessive drinking places on Minnesotans, especially on the health care and criminal justice systems, the authors say. Studies estimate that excessive alcohol consumption costs Minnesotans $4.5 billion annually, but the tax on alcohol sales brings in only $234 million. Important benefits of larger tax revenues could include more effective enforcement of drunken driving laws and adequate funding for prosecution, public defense, and treatment. Minnesota’s alcohol excise tax has not been increased since 1987, Simon and Becker note.

Professor Simon has been quoted frequently in the Star Tribune in recent months on matters relating to Minnesota’s DWI law, programs and penalties for first-time and repeat offenders, alcohol-related traffic fatalities, and other issues in his area of expertise.

On Jan. 25, 2010, he was interviewed on Minnesota Public Radio’s “Midday” program on prevention and punishment of drunken driving. He founded the DWI Task Force—an independent, pro bono organization of judges, prosecutors, assistant attorneys general, University faculty, police officers, chemical dependency workers, traffic and safety professionals, and others—in 1982 to advocate for legislative initiatives that increase the DWI law’s effectiveness and clarity.

Read Stephen Simon's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Mpls/St. Paul Business Journal on Nonsolicitation Agreement

March 26, 2010

The Minneapolis/St. Paul Business Journal quoted Professor Thomas Cotter in a story on a lawsuit in which an employer alleges that a former employee violated a nonsolicitation agreement by contacting former customers through use of a social networking site. Cotter stated that there is nothing inherently different about contacting former business contacts through a social networking site and "doing it the old way, other than this way is much more efficient.” He also noted that courts have considerable discretion in deciding whether customer lists and contacts are trade secrets and whether social networking activity can be covered by noncompete agreements.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Kitrosser Quoted in MinnPost on Constitutionality of Health Care Legislation

March 24, 2010

Professor Heidi Kitrosser was quoted in MinnPost.com on the subject of the health care legislation's constitutionality. In the article, "Is the health care legislation unconstitutional?" Kitrosser commented on the argument of some state attorneys general that the legislation unconstitutionally requires states to increase their Medicaid rolls. Kitrosser pointed out that states technically can opt out of Medicaid and that their participation is encouraged through federal spending incentives. She noted that the Supreme Court has historically taken a broad view on what kinds of strings the federal government can attach to its own spending programs.

Kitrosser spoke to Minnesota Public Radio on the same topic (the constitutionality of the then-proposed legislation) earlier in the year. There, she commented on arguments that the legislation exceeds Congress' power under the Constitution's commerce clause.

Read Heidi Kitrosser's Faculty Profile

Prof. Cotter Quoted in Minnesota Daily Article on "Project Legos" Trademark Dispute

March 24, 2010

Professor Tom Cotter was quoted in a story in the Minnesota Daily on a pending trademark dispute filed by LEGO Group, the Danish toymaker, against Project Legos, a community outreach organization started by a University of Minnesota alumnus. Cotter expressed skepticism that consumers have been confused by the name "Project Legos," but noted that the fame of the LEGO mark would be a relevant factor in a trademark dilution analysis.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin Interviewed and Quoted by ABC News

March 18, 2010

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was recently interviewed by ABC News and quoted in a feature article discussing in vitro fertilization (IVF) giveaways, "Winning Fertility: Would-Be Parents Win Free IVF." Professor Goodwin discussed the growing size and significance of the IVF industry as compared to the risks and costs of the procedure, even when fertility clinics periodically donate IVF cycles. Goodwin discussed conflicts of interest between IVF clinics that promote their services and their patients, specifically as related to loans to pay for services and free giveaways for services. Goodwin spoke about the risks and high failure rate of assisted reproductive technology (ART) that must be balanced against the overwhelming urge experienced by some couples to parent. Although loans and subsidies may help patients to pay for services, Goodwin discussed the importance of understanding that the high failure rate of ART could leave patients paying for ART services without ever conceiving or having a baby. Professor Goodwin’s recent book, "Baby Markets: Money and The New Politics of Creating Families," (Cambridge University Press, Goodwin ed., 2010) further addresses these and other ART issues.

Prof. Goodwin is Presenter at Hamline School of Law

March 12, 2010

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was a featured closing presenter at Hamline University School of Law for the Hamline Journal of Public Law and Policy and Hamline Critical Legal Studies Group symposium, “Opening Our Eyes to Health Disparities: A Look Through the Lens of Critical Race Theory.” The symposium featured scholars, legal practitioners, and government officials who explored racial and ethnic health disparities and examine strategies and policies for narrowing racial and ethnic health gaps.

Prof. Cotter Quoted on MPR on Antitrust Issues in Agribusiness

March 12, 2010

Professor Tom Cotter was quoted in a Minnesota Public Radio story, relating to the Department of Justice's recent interest in antitrust issues relating to the agricultural sector. Cotter stated that, because the focus of antitrust law is on harm to consumers, and not competitors, farmers complaining about alleged anticompetitive conduct on the part of large agribusiness firms would have to show that the conduct threatens consumers and not just themselves.

Read Tom Cotter's Faculty Profile

Prof. Goodwin’s Book, "Baby Markets: Money and The New Politics of Creating Families" Released

March 11, 2010

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin’s latest book, Baby Markets: Money and The New Politics of Creating Families (Cambridge University Press, Goodwin ed., 2010), has just been released. Scholars from across the country have raved about this publication. Steve P. Calandrillo, Charles I. Stone Professor of Law at the University of Washington School of Law calls Baby Markets a “. . . groundbreaking, must-read in today’s growing era of adoption, surrogacy, and ‘non-traditional’ families. . . . [that] will be increasingly and directly relevant in public policy decision-making and legal jurisprudence.” Imani Perry, Professor at Princeton University’s Center for African American Studies, calls the book a “provocative and far reaching exploration.” Eric A. Feldman, Deputy Dean for International Affairs and Professor of Law at the University of Pennsylvania Law School, says that Baby Markets is “[u]nafraid to ask hard questions and challenge fundamental assumptions . . . . [and provides] brilliant and provocative [insights].” Baby Markets has been deemed “cutting-edge” by Dorothy Roberts, Professor at Northwestern University Law School and author of Killing the Black Body: Race, Reproduction, and the Meaning of Liberty, and “indispensible reading” by Rick Banks, Jackson Eli Reynolds, Professor of Law at Stanford Law School. Diane L. Redleaf, Executive Director of the Family Defense Center in Chicago, commented that “Michele Goodwin has done a masterful job of weaving together a wide range of contrasting points of view in law, policy, economics, and philosophy on the timely topic of Baby Markets . . . .”

Prof. Goodwin Presenter on Transplant News and Transplant Communications Webinar

March 3, 2010

Professor Michele Bratcher Goodwin was a featured presenter on a Transplant News and Transplant Communications, Inc. webinar addressing litigation against the Justice Department regarding the constitutional validity of the National Organ Transplant Act, which prohibits the sale of human organs. Litigants involved in the case were also featured.