Thomas Hale-Kupiec (’15) Wins Law/Technology Writing Award
Thomas Hale-Kupiec, who is on track to receive his J.D. in December with a dual concentration in health law and intellectual property law, has been awarded first place in the 2014-15 National Student Writing Competition hosted by the Richmond Journal of Law and Technology. Hale-Kupiec received a prize of $1,500 for his paper, “Differential Liability: How Neuromodulators and Emerging Technologies Have Achieved Windfalls in Tort Liability Claims.” The paper will be published in a forthcoming edition of the journal, which is based at the University of Richmond (Va.) School of Law.
After graduating from the University of Virginia in 2011 with a double major in chemistry and cognitive neuroscience and a minor in environmental science, Hale-Kupiec received a Master of Public Health degree in 2013 from George Washington University in Washington, D.C. While in the nation’s capital, he worked as a public health analyst at the Food and Drug Administration. Since coming to the Twin Cities, he has been a volunteer legal associate at the Children’s Law Center of Minnesota, a summer associate at Alliant Techsystems, and student representative to the Hennepin County Lavender Bar Association board of directors. Since January he has been working as a law clerk at the intellectual property firm Kinney & Lange in Minneapolis.
In his award-winning paper, Hale-Kupiec looks closely at the legal ramifications of neuromodulation, a term that refers to various means (electrical, chemical, biological) of treating the nervous system in order to improve function and quality of life. He finds that the term itself is poorly defined, which has led to the medical device industry marketing a wide range of “neuromodulation” products that are difficult to categorize and thus difficult for the FDA to regulate. After reviewing the recent relevant case law, he recommends policy changes that would better protect public health and provide for more equitable handling of tort claims related to neuromodulation treatments and technologies.