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

This publication is a service of the Faculty Services Department, O'Quinn Law Library, University of Houston Law Center. 


March, 1999

Richard Alderman was quoted in the March 3, 1999 Wall Street Journal on the Texas Supreme Courtís decision In Re Oakwood Mobile Homes, Inc. 1999 Tex.Lexis 14 February 11, 1999 making mandatory arbitration clauses in consumer contracts enforceable as showing a lack of concern for the consumer.

Mary Anne Bobinski spoke to the Fullbright student conference on "Ethical, Policy, and Legal Aspects of Health Care in the United States" It was sponsored by the Institute for International Education in Houston on March 6, 1999. She was also Distinguished Alumni Speaker, State University of New York at Buffalo, Buffalo, New York, March 19, 1999 where she spoke on "Teaching and Practicing Health Care Law". She further commends to us the Campus Ministries and the University of Houston two-day program, which included a panel on law, March 3, 1999. She was the panelís moderator, with the members including Chris Bacon, Vinson and Elkins attorney on "What Queer Theory Means to the Practicing Litigator," Sidney Buchanan, Baker & Botts Professor of Law, on "Morality, Sex and the Constitution," Gerry Moohr, Associate Professor of Law, "Gays, Lesbians, and Federal Employment Discrimination Law." Phyllis Frye, Attorney and noted transgendered activist in Houston addressed the issue of "Gay and Lesbian WITHOUT Bisexual and Transgender is INCOMPLETE." The entire two-day program addresses all the complexities of sexual identity, with noted sociologist, columnist, and TV personality Pepper Schwartz speaking on the complexity of heterosexual identities as the final keynote speaker. Laura Oren organized the whole program.

Seth Chandler has two papers in progress accepted by referees for presentation at the Third International Mathematica Symposium to be held in Linz, Austria in August. The first paper, a collaboration with Professor Christian Jacob of the University of Erlangen, Germany, is entitled "Automata Containing Evolutionary Algorithms: Behavior and Learning under the Law." It studies the evolution of cellular automata in which the cells each contain data and genetic programs. The immediate application of this convergence is to study how different legal rules affect the evolution of learning, behavior and the economy. The typical "Coase Theorem" scenario in which neighbors engage in activities that may detrimentally affect each other is used for this study. The second paper, "Insurer Access to Predictive Medical Information" deploys tools of game theory and decision theory implemented by the author in the Mathematica computer language to examine the likely consequences of law enacted over the past decade in the United States and abroad that restrict use of at least certain predictive medical tests by private health insurers in making contracting decisions with an applicant. The chief target of these laws have been existing and anticipated genetic tests that potentially inform actuarial predictions of the future medical expenses and life expectancy of the potential insured. Seth Chandler spoke "On Health Law for Medical Professions " at the University of Houston Optometry School. He also made his dramatic debut in his contracts class, starring in the PowerPoint version of the Merchant of Venice. In a seldom-before seen combination of thespian virtuosity and Internet savvy, he played the roles of Shylock, Portia and Antonio using computer graphics to both accelerate plot develop and emphasize erudite points about contract law.

Sandy Gaines received accolades from Jacqueline Weaver for her article on the 1997 University of Chicago Legal Form, "Rethinking Environmental Protection, Competitiveness, and International Trade" which has been selected as a finalist for inclusion in the 1999 Land Use and Environmental Law Review annual anthology of best articles in the field.

Sandra Guerra attended the first sessionof Leadership Texas in Austin, Texas on March 1-2,1999. Leadership Texas is a program of the Foundation for Womenís Resources which selects women leaders from the state and provides workshops that promote leadership in government and other public service and businesses.

Ellen Marrusí article "Please Keep My Secret: Child Abuse Reporting Statutes, Confidentiality, and Juvenile Delinquency" has been published in 11 Georgetown Journal of Legal of Legal Ethics 509 (Spring 1998).

Douglas Moll was quoted in the March 10, 1999 Wall Street Journal in an article on the first page of the Marketplace section discussing the decline of Texas personal injury lawsuits and the corresponding rise in contract lawsuits over the past decade.

Gerry Moohrís article "Mail Fraud Meets Criminal Theory" will be abstracted in Criminal Justice Abstracts to over 1000 subscribers. It is operated by the Criminal Justice/NCCD Collection of Rutgers University. She was also quoted in the February issue of Icon Magazine on the use of severe premenstrual syndrome as a defense in criminal cases. She presented a mock law school class and led a discussion on how to solicit participation in large classes for university faculty at a SALT II meeting. SALT II (Scholarship of Active Learning and teaching) meets once a month to discuss the scholarship of teaching as a part of a program sponsored by the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.

Tom Oldham has been elected to the Board of Editors of the Family Law Quarterly, published by the ABA Family Law Section.

Michael Olivas was quoted in the February 19, 1999 issue of the Chronicle of Higher Education on the liability of University Trustees in affirmative-action suits. He stated that trustees can only be held liable when a top court has ruled definitively "on the issue and the case is exactly on point."

Laura and Mark Rothstein attended a workshop on Bragdon v. Abbott: Implications for Asymptomatic Genetic Conditions sponsored by the Nation Action Plan on Breast Cancer and the National Human Genome Research Institute. Laura Rothstein prepared a paper for the conference "Genetic Discrimination: Why Bragdon Does Not Ensure Protection." Mark Rothstein was a moderator for the session held in Washington, DC, February 19, 1999.

Stephen Zamora announced the appointment of three faculty members to the newly created position of George Butler Research Professor of Law. These endowed professorships recognize the achievements of faculty members who are outstanding scholars. Normally two professors are recognized but because three are qualified the professorships will be staggered. Professors David Dow and Sandra Guerra will serve as George Butler Research Professors of Law from June 1, 1999 to May 31, 2001; Professor Robert Ragazzo will serve from June 1, 2000 to May 31, 2002. These professorships are supported by an endowment from the George and Anne Butler Foundation. George Butler, the founding partner of Butler & Binion was a great philanthropist, civic leader, and a friend of the Law Center.

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Editor: Harriet Richman