Faculty Focus is a monthly publication documenting the activities, accomplishments, and honors of the University of Houston Law Center Faculty.

September 2011

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Aaron Bruhl has been invited to speak at the AALS Annual Meeting in Jan. 2012. The panel on which he will speak, organized by the AALS Section on Legislation and the Law of the Political Process, concerns statutory interpretation and separation of powers.


Jim Hawkins will present a paper on auto title lending at Columbia Law School on Sept. 23rd as part of a "Payday Lending Roundtable" conference with a small group of economists, law professors, and regulators.


Tracy Hester completed his article, "A New Front Blowing In: State Law and the Future of Climate Change Public Nuisance Litigation," and submitted it for publication.


Geoffrey Hoffman was interviewed on Aug. 18th at the Law Center by ABC Channel 13 news concerning announcement of a new policy by the Obama administration to set up a national review panel to prioritize immigration court cases relating to non-criminals. On Aug. 21, Prof. Hoffman was interviewed live during the Sunday morning newscast on ABC Channel 13 regarding the same topic. On Aug. 26, Prof. Hoffman spoke to the Immigration Task Force of the Texas State Bar concerning mental competency and prosecutorial discretion in the immigration court. Prof. Hoffman’s op-ed, in which he called on Gov. Perry to support national legislation to help undocumented immigrants become citizens, appeared in the Houston Chronicle on Sept. 1. On Sept. 10, Prof. Hoffman gave a presentation to the Iglesia Bautista-Houston on motions to reopen and cancellation of removal, as part of a 2-day immigration workshop sponsored by ISAAC (Immigration Service and Aid Center).


Lonny Hoffman completed work in August on his most recent paper, “Twombly and Iqbal’s Measure: An Assessment of the Federal Judicial Center’s Study of Motions to Dismiss”. After being posted on SSRN in early August, the paper has been one of the most frequently downloaded works on the site three weeks in a row, and has been discussed on a number of legal blogs. See, e.g., Dave Hoffman’s post at Concurring Opinions (http://www.concurringopinions.com/archives/2011/08/assessing-twiqbal.html); Michael Heise's Aug 8th post at ELS blog (http://www.elsblog.org/); Larry Solum's post at his blog (http://lsolum.typepad.com/legaltheory/2011/08/hoffman-on-the-fjcs-study-of-motions-to-dismiss.html); and others (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/civpro/2011/08/hoffman-on-twomblyiqbal-and-the-fjc-study-on-motions-to-dismiss.html).  Separately, in his work as editor of The Advocate, the quarterly journal of the Litigation Section for the State Bar of Texas, Prof. Hoffman and his editorial board completed Volume 56, the Fall 2011 symposium issue on Commercial Litigation Developments and Doctrine. The issue will appear in print in October.


Craig Joyce published the 2011 Cumulative Supplement to his best-selling copyright casebook and prepared an Introduction to Houston Law Review’s forthcoming IPIL symposium issue. He has received an invitation to teach again next summer in Beijing, where he was nicknamed “祝體仁” (Benevolent Presence) by last year’s students.


Sapna Kumar presented her draft "The Accidental Agency" as part of a panel on Patent Law in the 21st Century at SEALS. Her article "Expert Court, Expert Agency" was recently published in the UC-Davis Law Review.


Peter Linzer will attend a conference of the Members Consultative Group on the American Law Institute’s Principles of International Arbitration in Philadelphia on Sept. 23, and the Members Consultative Group on  the ALI’s Project on Election Law, also in Philadelphia, on Oct. 15. His article, “Unjust Impoverishment: Using Restitution Reasoning in Today’s Mortgage Crisis”, co-authored with Donna L. Huffman of the Kansas Bar, will soon appear in the Washington and Lee Law Review. It is expanded from a paper that they gave jointly in February at the Restitution Roundtable, sponsored by the ALI and Washington and Lee Law School to discuss the ALI’s recently published Restatement Third of Restitution and Unjust Enrichment, on which Prof. Linzer worked. His discussion of International Contracting appears in the transcript of a panel discussion held at the June, 2010 biennial transactional law conference, “Transactional Education: What’s Next?”, held at Emory University School of Law: Deborah Burand, Kojo Yelpaala, & Peter Linzer, “Teaching Transactional Skills in an International Context,” 12 Transactions: The Tennessee Business Law Journal 275 (Special Report 2011).


Gerry Moohr finished the Supplement to her casebook, Intellectual Property and Information Crimes, for West. Her article, “Playing with the Rules:  An Effort to Strengthen the Mens Rea Standards of Federal Criminal Laws”, was published by George Mason’s Journal of Law, Economics & Policy. The substance of the article was presented at a conference sponsored by George Mason in Oct. 2010.  LexisNexis will publish the Seventh Edition of Criminal Law by Marcus, Malone, & Moohr in January.


Dean Nimmer has been recognized in the 2012 edition of The Best Lawyers in America® in the practice areas of Copyright Law, Information Technology Law, Litigation - Intellectual Property, Litigation - Patent, Patent Law, and Trademark Law.


Michael A. Olivas published “If You Build It, They Will Assess It (or, An Open Letter to George Kuh, with Love and Respect)”, 35 Review of Higher Education 1 (2011), and several op-eds in professional journals and newspapers on the DREAM Act and driver license immigration issues. He delivered a University Lecture at Texas A&M University on immigration legislation and litigation. He also hosted a dinner in Santa Fe, NM for the state federal judges and Supreme Court justices to welcome US Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, who is the liaison to the Tenth Circuit for the Court.


Jordan Paust’s essay, “Armed Drones: Responding to Professor Radsan’s Questions”, was published in 37 Journal of the National Security Forum 5128 (2011). He will participate on a panel on Post 9/11 Legal Perspectives at Texas Southern University’s School of Law on Sept. 15th; and he has been named as the moderator at the Houston Law Review’s Annual Frankel Lecture and panel on Nov. 4th. Prof. Paust was also selected as the keynote speaker at Cornell’s conference on “Forces Without Borders: Non-State Actors in a Changing Middle East” to take place in February.


Sandra Guerra Thompson was recognized by the Hispanic National Bar Association as a “Texas Primera” for being the first Latina Tenured Law Professor in the state of Texas. She was honored at a luncheon during the group’s annual meeting in Dallas on Sept. 1st. She was also one of four featured experts on eyewitness identification evidence who provided a commentary for the New York Times’ “Room for Debate” web forum on Sept. 1st. On Aug. 24th, Prof. Thompson, as Director of the Criminal Justice Institute, hosted a launching event for a newly published book entitled American Justice in the Age of Innocence that she co-edited with two of her former students. The book was written by her former students as a special project of the Criminal Justice Institute. Texas Senator Rodney Ellis was the keynote speaker at the media event for the book, and Texas DNA exoneree Cornelius Dupree was a special guest. Mr. Dupree served 30 years in a Texas prison before being exonerated. Prof. Thompson’s new article, “Judicial Gatekeeping of Police-Generated Witness Testimony”, was recently listed on SSRN's Top Ten download list for LSN: Other Parties (Attorneys; Witnesses; etc.) based on the number of downloads. Prof. Thompson has been selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


Ronald Turner has been selected as a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation.


Bret Wells gave a presentation entitled “Codification of the Economic Substance Doctrine—What Does It Mean?” to the 28th Annual Advanced Corporate Tax Course sponsored by the Taxation Section of the State Bar of Texas on Aug. 19.