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

August 2011

Editor, Dan Baker djbaker2@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Richard Alderman published the 2011-12 edition of Texas Consumer Law: Cases and Materials (Imprimatur Press), and submitted the manuscript for the 2011-12 edition of the two-volume set, Consumer Protection and the Law (Thomson/West). Dean Alderman gave the keynote address at the annual SCORE Awards Banquet, and spoke on “The Texas DTPA—Recent Developments,” at the State Bar Convention; “The Texas DTPA—Alive and Well,” at the State Bar College Summer School; “DTPA Remedies,” at the State Bar Advanced Consumer Law Seminar; and “Consumer Law as a Bridge to Introducing International Law Issues,” at the annual SEALS Conference. He also participated in a State Bar webcast on the Supreme Court’s decision in AT&T v. Concepcion, and taught “An Introduction to American Consumer Law” at La Trobe University in Melbourne Australia.


Dan Baker was invited to join the LexisNexis Law School Educator Customer Innovation Team, an advisory group created by LexisNexis to provide feedback on product concepts and share opinions on the challenges unique to law school faculty and librarians.


Janet Beck was an invited member of the faculty of the Center for Victims of Torture conference at UCLA in July. The conference was attended by attorneys and mental health professionals. The purpose was to have an interdisciplinary exchange of ideas regarding the representation by attorneys and the expert witness testimony of mental health professionals on behalf of torture survivors.


Zachary Bray gave a talk as part of the New Scholars Program at the annual SEALS conference (South East Association of Law Schools) in Hilton Head on July 29. The talk was a summary and presentation of a paper he wrote called “Section 8, Rent Control, and the New Progressive Property”.


David R. Dow's op-ed, "The Death Penalty: Still Racist and Arbitrary," appeared in The New York Times on July 9th. The Chinese translation of his most recent book, The Autobiography of an Execution, has just been published.


Meredith Duncan and Ronald Turner have recently completed and submitted three additional chapters for inclusion in the upcoming 2nd edition of their casebook Torts: A Contemporary Approach, published by West. Prof. Duncan also agreed to co-author an Advanced Torts casebook for Carolina Academic Press.


Leslie Griffin filed an amicus brief on Aug. 9 in the U.S. Supreme Court for respondents Cheryl Perich and the EEOC in the Hosanna-Tabor Evangelical Church and School case. Prof. Griffin spoke on a panel about the Free Exercise Clause at the SEALS Conference in Hilton Head on July 25. She spoke about the ministerial exception and Hosanna-Tabor at a Law, Religion and Culture conference at the University of Colorado Law School on July 21. The July supplement to her law and religion casebook is currently being distributed by Foundation Press.


Jim Hawkins' article “Regulating on the Fringe: Reexamining the Link Between Fringe Banking and Financial Distress” was published at 86 Ind. L.J. 1361 (2011), and his symposium contribution, “The Federal Government in the Fringe Economy”, was published at 15 Chap. L. Rev. 23 (2011). At the end of July, he testified before the House Financial Institutions and Consumer Credit Subcommittee on H.R. 1588, the Consumer Rental Purchase Agreement Act.


Tracy Hester’s paper, “Private Claims for a Global Climate: U.S. and Indian Litigation Approaches to Climate Change and Environmental Harm”, was accepted for publication by the Journal of the Indian Law Institute. He traveled to Delhi, India on July 23 to present the paper at ILI’s International Conference on Global Environment and Disaster Management. While in India, Prof. Hester met with the Supreme Court of India, the Central Bureau of Investigation (India’s FBI), and the Indian Law Institute. Prof. Hester also participated in a meeting on June 14-16 in Montreal, Canada, with NAFTA’s Commission for Environmental Cooperation, to begin a research project on cross-border enforcement issues. The project will culminate in a report in May 2012. Prof. Stephen Zamora helped organize both the meeting and project under the auspices of NACLE. Lastly, Prof. Hester joined a tour of Weatherford’s drilling demonstration facility on July 13 with Prof. Weaver, Prof. Bray and the LLM candidates enrolled in our joint summer program with Catolica University in Lisbon, Portugal, and he attended the Texas Environmental Superconference in Austin, TX on Aug. 3-5.


Geoffrey Hoffman’s op-ed on prosecutorial discretion in immigration cases was cited by the Houston Chronicle in an editorial published on July 18, 2011. Prof. Hoffman also accepted an invitation to speak at the National Latino Law Student Conference, at Tulane University-Tulane Law School, Sept. 29-Oct. 1, 2011.


Jessica Mantel participated on a panel entitled “Health-Care Reform One Year Later” at the 2011 Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference in Hilton Head, SC. Her presentation, “Accountable Care Organizations: Can We Have Our Cake and Eat It Too?”, evaluated claims that ongoing shifts in the health care delivery system will both increase the quality of medical care while simultaneously lowering costs.


Tom Oldham attended in July the conference held every three years for the International Society of Family Law. This year, the conference was in Lyon, France. Prof. Oldham discussed his paper about US rules pertaining to premarital agreements, which will be published this winter in the Duke Journal of Gender and the Law. Prof. Oldham was invited by the current president of the Society, Patrick Parkinson, to give some lectures at the University of Sydney next August about U.S. divorce law.


Michael A. Olivas was named Vice Chair of the Editorial Board of The Journal of College and University Law, a hybrid refereed law review, the only journal devoted to this subject in the United States. He has served as a member of the editorial board for nearly twenty years. With co-author Michigan State law professor Kristi L. Bowman, Prof. Olivas wrote the Preface to the special issue of the Michigan State Law Review: Plyler's Legacy: Immigration and Higher Education in the 21st Century. He also submitted his final galleys to the NYU Press, for his forthcoming No Undocumented Child Left Behind.


Jessica L. Roberts organized and moderated a panel entitled “Health-Care Reform One Year Later” at the 2011 Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference in Hilton Head, SC.


Spencer Simons has co-authored, with editor Suzanne Rowe and others, the book Federal Legal Research. The book, published by Carolina Academic Press, is scheduled for production in December, to be available Spring 2012.


Sandra Guerra Thompson presented a talk based on her forthcoming article on wrongful convictions at the Southeastern Association of Law Schools meeting in Hilton Head, SC, on July 27th. She also co-edited a new book entitled American Justice in the Age of Innocence: Understanding the Causes of Wrongful Convictions and How to Prevent Them (iUniverse Publishing 2011). The book features articles written by her seminar students. Copies of the book will be provided to Texas legislators who serve on the Criminal Justice Committees of the House and Senate. A book announcement is planned for this fall. Senator Rodney Ellis, a member of the Senate Criminal Justice Committee, has agreed to serve as keynote speaker.


Ronald Turner’s casebook Employment Discrimination Law: Cases and Materials (with Charles B. Craver (George Washington University) and Arthur B. Smith, Jr. (Ogletree, Deakins)) has been published by LexisNexis. He and Prof. Meredith Duncan have completed and submitted three additional chapters for inclusion in the second edition of their West casebook Torts: A Contemporary Approach. Prof. Turner continues working on another West casebook, Employment Law: Issues, Theories and Realities, with co-authors Angela Onwuachi-Willig (Iowa) and Michael Z. Green (Texas Wesleyan). He is also the faculty liaison for the Peggy Browning Fund, a nonprofit corporation established in memory of former National Labor Relations Board Member Margaret A. Browning, which seeks to provide students with work and educational experiences in the area of workers’ rights and labor law.


Jacqueline Weaver taught a two-week summer session course titled "Oil and Gas: Production and the Environment" at Vermont Law School, in beautiful 75 degree weather surrounded by green mountains and lakes. She also gave a presentation on the Deepwater Horizon oil spill to the greater Vermont community.


Bret Wells gave a presentation on July 26 to the Wednesday Tax Forum entitled “A VAT Regime in the United States?”. On July 27-30, Prof. Wells participated in subcommittee meetings at the United Nations building that were focused on revising the United Nation's Manual for Negotiations of Bilateral Tax Treaties Between Developed and Developing Countries. The subcommittee was formed by the United Nations Committee of Experts on International Cooperation in Tax Matters. Once revised, the Manual will address potential pitfalls and interpretive issues that tax administrators in developing countries should consider as part of their negotiation of bilateral tax treaties with developed countries.


Stephen Zamora taught a two-day course in June on International Litigation in U.S. Courts at the 48th Academy of American and International Law, in Plano, TX. The Academy attracts 60 to 70 foreign lawyers each year to the Center in Plano for a six-week course of study taught by U.S. lawyers, judges, and law professors. This year’s Academy included 65 lawyers from 25 countries, drawn from leading law firms, corporations, and government agencies around the world. This is the 22nd consecutive year Prof. Zamora has been asked to teach the course. Later this month, he will attend the Biannual Meeting of the International American Studies Association in Rio de Janeiro. While in Rio de Janeiro, Prof. Zamora will co-host a luncheon for UH Law Center alumni. The purpose of the luncheon is to help advertize the Law Center’s new Global Alumni Network, which he is helping to initiate, along with Hope Young, our Director of Alumni Affairs. My co-host in Rio de Janeiro will be Pedro Costa Braga (LLM ’97), the General Counsel of Enel Brasil, a subsidiary of one of the world’s largest energy producers.