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

May 2010

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Darren Bush testified at the Hearing before the U.S. House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, Subcommittee on Courts and Competition Policy, on Legal Issues Concerning State Alcohol Regulation in March. He presented at the ABA Antitrust Spring Meeting in April concerning how antitrust law should be applied to failing and flailing industries. The article which accompanies that talk will be published in the Antitrust Law Journal. He published an op-ed piece in the Houston Chronicle, “Flying public should expect less out of carrier marriage.” During the course of the past few weeks, he has appeared in numerous TV and newspaper interviews concerning the airline merger, including with the Houston Chronicle, Competition 360, KRIV (Fox 26 News), KHOU, and KTRK (Channel 13 News).


Gavin Clarkson was contacted by the Senate Finance Committee for pro bono advice on pending legislation regarding tribal specific provisions of the Small Business and Infrastructure Jobs Tax Act of 2010 (H.R.4849), particularly tribal ability to issue tax-exempt bonds for water-related projects. Dr. Clarkson also provided advice on a pro bono basis to the Treasury Department’s Office of Consumer Protection on tribal issues related to financial reform legislation currently pending before Congress. Dr. Clarkson’s Patent Cartography research also led to the publication of a peer-reviewed article entitled “Individual focus and knowledge contribution” in First Monday, v.15, n.3 (March 2010). Finally, Dr. Clarkson presented research on the impact (or lack thereof) of the 2009 Recovery Act on tribal finance at the annual conference of the Native American Finance Officers Association.


Barbara Evans has been named a Greenwall Foundation Faculty Scholar in Bioethics for the period 2010-2013. This award provides three years of research support which will enable Prof. Evans to conduct a study of Governance Models to Enhance the Legitimacy and Public Acceptability of Decisions to Allow Nonconsensual Use of Data Held in Large Health Information Networks. Information about the Greenwall Faculty Scholars Program in Bioethics is available at http://www.greenwallfsp.org/index.htm. Prof. Evans’ chapter, “Legal Trends Driving the Clinical Translation of Pharmacogenomics,” in Principles of Pharmacogenetics and Pharmacogenomics (Russ B. Altman, David A. Flockhart & David B. Goldstein eds., Cambridge University Press) went to press on May 10. On April 29-30, she attended a meeting in Indianapolis of the expert panel for the study, Protecting Privacy in Health Research, funded by National Cancer Institute. Throughout the month she also participated in activities of the Mini-Sentinel Privacy Panel and the Institute of Medicine's Committee on the Public Health Effectiveness of the FDA 510(k) Clearance Process. On May 21, she will be discussing genetic screening and medical privacy before the annual convention of TxCOEM, the Texas branch of the American College of Occupational and Environmental Medicine.


Patricia Gray, Health Law & Policy Institute, was a presenter for a pre-conference workshop on Food Safety and Security at the Texas Public Health Association Meeting at South Padre Island on April 21.  Her presentation was entitled “Regulating the Safety of Fresh Produce”.


Tracy Hester discussed environmental legal and policy issues related to future energy development at the University of Houston Faculty Senate’s 14th Scholarship & Community Conference on April 23. Prof. Hester also organized and chaired an ABA workshop in Houston on April 27 between EPA, DOJ, and major energy companies to review and discuss pending environmental legal issues and enforcement initiatives that will affect the oil and gas industry.


Geoffrey Hoffman attended as a volunteer attorney the Catholic Charities Citizenship Day Workship at the Cabrini Center on May 1, 2010. Prof. Hoffman assisted with the naturalization applications of many pro bono clients during the event. Also, Prof. Hoffman appeared on the ABC program Viva Houston with Lupe Salinas, discussing the new Arizona law (SB 1070) and its efforts at local immigration law enforcement. The show aired on Sunday, May 16, 2010, at 11:30 a.m. on Channel 13.


Robert Johnson was elected Chair-Elect for the Houston Bar Association Commercial & Consumer Law (2010-2011).


Craig Joyce attended the twice-yearly meeting of the Publishing Advisory Board of LexisNexis. He also was reappointed to the Board of Editors of H-LAW, the Humanities Social Sciences On-Line discussion network of the American Society for Legal History, and to the Board of Editors of the Journal of Supreme Court History, sponsored by the Supreme Court of the United States.


Raymond Nimmer delivered the keynote address at a media and law conference in Kansas City. He also delivered the featured, keynote speech at the Nebraska Supreme Court on Law Day. The Dean also hosted Alumni/Admissions receptions in Austin and Houston.


Michael A. Olivas spoke on Hernandez v. Texas at Loyola University of Los Angeles, and also conducted a faculty workshop on legal issues in the classroom for the Loyola-LA University Teacher Excellence Center. He wrote an op-ed that was published in the Omaha World-Herald, responding to a previous op-ed that argued that in-state tuition for undocumented immigrants violates federal law. Following the enactment of SB 1070 in Arizona, he appeared on television and radio and in a number of newspapers articles on the legislation, including the New York Times.


Jordan Paust was on a panel at the annual meeting of the American Society of International Law addressing use of force in self-defense against terrorists on March 25th, and he also participated on a panel on The Role of Individuals and Customary International Law during the International Law Students Association annual meeting in Washington, D.C., March 25th. On April 23rd, Professor Paust was a panel member during the Symposium on International Justice in the 21st Century: The Law and Politics of the International Criminal Court, at the John Marshall Law School.


Ira B. Shepard made presentations in March and April on “Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation” to the (Houston) Internal Revenue Service CPA Society, the Houston Bar Association Tax Section, and the American Petroleum Institute Tax Forum, as well as monthly presentations to the (Houston) Wednesday Tax Forum. In May, he made a presentation to the (Houston) International Tax Forum on “Current Issues in Privilege and Work Product, Including Uncertain Tax Positions.” He plans to speak in May and June to the State Bar of Michigan Tax Section, the Dallas Bar Association Tax Section, the Tax Alliance Group (in Plano), and the American Institute on Federal Taxation (in Birmingham, AL). The article “Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation: The Year 2009,” which he co-authors with Marty McMahon (Florida) and Dan Simmons (UC Davis), was published by the Florida Tax Review in April and has appeared on the SSRN Top Ten Tax article download list for the past several weeks.


Sandra Guerra Thompson attended a meeting of the Timothy Cole Advisory Panel on Wrongful Convictions in Austin on April 22nd with several of her students. She is a member of the advisory panel that will report to the Texas legislature to recommend comprehensive innocence legislation. Her students are writing papers on various topics relating to wrongful conviction which will be published as a book for consideration by the Texas legislature and the advisory panel. Prof. Thompson was appointed to the planning committee for the ABA Criminal Justice Section's Legal Educators Colloquium to be held November 5, 2010 in Washington, D.C.


Diana Velardo was the guest Lecturer at Baylor College of Medicine presenting on Important Issues Faced by Medical Personnel in Dealing with Victims of Sex Slavery. The Lecture is part of the Human Sexuality course at Baylor College of Medicine. The South Texas College Women’s Studies Committee invited Diana for the 4th year to be a panelist at the Annual Human Trafficking Conference “Selling Bodies, Stealing Lives: The Global Sex Slavery Crisis”. The panel addressed current trends of sex slavery in Texas with Diana speaking on issues faced in the greater Houston area and the tremendous increase of victims.


Jacqueline Weaver was presented an award as Member of the Year at the Association of International Petroleum Negotiator’s annual conference held in Galveston in April. She taught a 2-credit hour class in international petroleum transactions at our sister school, Catolica University, in Lisbon, Portugal, in early May. The third edition of the casebook, International Petroleum Transactions, published by Rocky Mountain Mineral Law Foundation, is now in print; she contributed chapters on indigenous title, best practices in sustainable development, extraterritoriality of environmental laws and other topics. She presented a public lecture on the Future of the Petroleum Industry under Global Warming at the Museo Electricito in Lisbon on May 6 and spoke to several members of the business and legal press on the topic of energy.

Stephen Zamora will speak at a conference at the National University of Mexico (UNAM) in Mexico City, entitled “North America in the Twenty-First Century,” in the middle of May. His subject will be “What is next after NAFTA?: Legal considerations and proposals after fifteen years of intensive exchange.” Prof. Zamora also taught a tri-national course in NAFTA law that permitted his Houston law students to undertake significant collaborative projects throughout the semester with students from Canada’s University of Ottawa and Mexico’s National University (UNAM). The projects included international arbitration moots with teams from all three countries. His counterparts included Ricardo Ramirez, a professor at UNAM who is the first Mexican to be appointed a member of the WTO Appellate Body (the principal international trade tribunal in the world), and Tony Van Duzer, a professor of international trade at Ottawa. His book review of David Gantz’s book Regional Trade Agreements was published in the Houston Journal of International Law this Spring.