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


August 2014


  Editor, Katy Stein Badeaux, kastein@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.

Janet Beck, co-chair of the American Immigration Lawyers Association Houston Unaccompanied Alien Children Task Force, gave a report on the UAC activities by the University of Houston Law Center and the Task Force at a CLE organized by the Harris County Attorney's Office on "The Rights of Unaccompanied Children Crossing the Texas Border and the Duties of Federal, State and Local Governments."  Texas Supreme Court Justices Nathan Hecht and Eva Guzman, Professor Geoffrey Hoffman, and others, were featured speakers. Approximately 450 people were in attendance.  Attorneys were offered the CLE free of charge if they volunteered to take a case.  Clinical Professor Beck was also interviewed in Spanish by Univision, on the same topics, before the CLE began. Professor Beck also spoke on immigrant eligibility for public benefits at the University of Texas 16th Annual Estate Planning, Guardianship and Elder Law Conference in Galveston.

Barbara Evans just completed The Limits of FDA’s Authority to Regulate Clinical Research Involving High-Throughput DNA Sequencing http://ssrn.com/abstract=2784101, which strongly challenges recent actions by FDA to assert broad jurisdiction to regulate academic researchers conducting basic genetic research without any intent to develop commercial medical products. It will be presented at the Fall Symposium hosted by the Petrie-Flom Center at Harvard Law School and the Food & Drug Law Institute and then published in the symposium issue of Food and Drug Law Journal. The Nature journal Genetics in Medicine has accepted Regulatory Changes Raise Troubling Questions for Genomic Testing, by Barbara J. Evans, Michael O. Dorschner, Wylie Burke, and Gail P. Jarvik. It discusses regulatory amendments, going into effect October 6, that grant individuals a right of access to uninterpreted genomic data about themselves held by HIPAA-covered clinical laboratories. Her law review article, Economic Regulation of Next-Generation Sequencing, appears this month in The Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics’ special issue that reports findings from an NIH-funded study of policy issues in next-generation DNA sequencing. Johns Hopkins University Press has accepted the book, Behavioral Economics, Law, and Health Policy (Holly Fernandez Lynch and I. Glenn Cohen, eds.) in which Professor Evans has a chapter. She is working on a paper on large-scale genomic databases to present at the Second Thematic Conference on Knowledge Commons at NYU Law School in a couple of weeks.

Tracy Hester completed and submitted Restating Environmental Law for publication. This article summarizes and analyzes an initiative by over 50 members within the American Law Institute to undertake a restatement of environmental or energy law. He spent the month of June in Montreal as the interim Director of the environmental submittals unit for the Commission on Environmental Cooperation's Secretariat (a trilateral body set up as part of NAFTA). On June 5, he joined an invitational roundtable hosted by the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C. to several federal agencies on the technical and legal requirements for initial climate engineering projects. In July, he traveled to Dar Es Salaam, Tanzania and subsequently met with the Minister of Energy and Minerals to discuss possible joint educational initiatives with UH. In the first week of August, he participated in the Texas Environmental Superconference in Austin. He then provided an overview of U.S. environmental laws to a senior management delegation from the China National Offshore Oil Corporation in Houston on August 12. Finally, on August 15 he traveled to Berlin for an international conference on climate engineering, where he was invited to make two presentations on the application of domestic and international laws to large-scale projects to counteract or reverse climate change.

Geoffrey Hoffman along with Adjunct Professor Susham Modi spoke in early August at the annual Criminal Judicial Conference to Harris County criminal felony judges about the immigration consequences of criminal dispositions. Professor Hoffman authored a guest blog, "University of Houston Law Center Helps UAC Immigrants Coming to Houston" for the AILA Leadership Blog, http://ailaleadershipblog.org/2014/07/31/university-of-houston-law-center-helps-uac-immigrants-coming-to-houston/. Professor Hoffman was also interviewed for an American Immigration Lawyers Association Quicktake, available at http://www.aila.org/content/default.aspx?docid=49740.

Jessica Mantel spoke at the annual SEALS conference on a panel discussing implementation of the Affordable Care Act (ACA).  Her presentation, "Breaking Down the Wall Between Providers and Public Health Advocates," discussed how the ACA is encouraging providers to move beyond traditional medicine and address social determinants of poor health. In addition, her article The Myth of the Independent Physician: Implications for Health Law, Policy, and Ethics has been selected for inclusion in the Canadian Law and Economics Association's Annual Conference at the University of Toronto's Law School.

Rick McElvaney spoke at the Credit Coalition on July 31, 2014 on housing and consumer issues. The Credit Coalition provides Financial and Homebuyer Counseling and Education, Foreclosure Intervention Counseling, Reverse Mortgage Counseling and outreach services to all segments of our community, especially the low and moderate income. He also appeared on a Telemundo Channel 45 news segment regarding landlord and tenant issues.

Douglas Moll has agreed to serve on two panels at the 2014 LLC Institute in Arlington, Virginia.  He will moderate a panel on USACafes, and he will serve on a Family Business Disputes panel. Professor Moll’s casebook, The Law of Business Organizations (12th edition, with Jon Macey), has published. The 2014 edition of his statutory compilation, Corporations and Other Business Associations, has also published.

Michael A. Olivas was interviewed for the hour-long "Health Para Todos" radio program (AM 810 KSWV) in Santa Fe, NM, on DACA and Unaccompanied Minors at the border. For the Houston Chronicle, he commented on the University of Texas M.D. Anderson Cancer Center’s five-page response to the American Association of University Professors (AAUP)’s plans to investigate the removal of tenure from two M.D. Anderson faculty members. His guest-blog Fisher v. UT and the Insider Baseball of College Admissions was posted on the Johns Hopkins University Press Blog: http://jhupressblog.com/2014/07/25/fisher-v-ut-and-the-insider-baseball-of-college-admissions/. He also wrote the Foreword to the forthcoming Routledge Press edited volume, Hispanic-Serving Institutions: Advancing Research and Transformative Practice. HSIs are colleges and universities with at least 25% undergraduate Latino enrollments. Since 3 years ago, UH has become an HSI, which makes it eligible for federal funds specially-designated for these institutions. He has also agreed to deliver the Clifford Scott Green Lecture at Temple University Law School, in Spring, 2015, on an immigration topic.

Jessica Roberts attended the 2014 Southeastern Association of Law Schools Conference in Amelia Island, Florida where she spoke on a panel about the meaning of disability, participated in a discussion group on current issues in bioethics, offered commentary on a paper about employment law, and represented the Law Center at the conference’s steering committee meeting.  Later this fall, Professor Roberts will speak at a congressional briefing on GINA hosted by the Harvard Personal Genetics Education Project in Washington, D.C. and will discuss discrimination in health care access at the Yale Law School.

Spencer Simons has updated his contributions to the co-authored book Federal Legal Research (Carolina Academic Press) for a revised printing. Professor Simons has also contributed a solicited FAQ section on law library budgeting to the forthcoming book Academic Law Library Director Perspectives: Case Studies, Future Directions, and General Advice, edited by Michelle Wu.

Sandra Guerra Thompson spoke on a panel at the annual conference of the Southeastern Association of Law Schools in Amelia Island, Florida on August 4, 2014.  She gave a talk based on her upcoming book, Cops in Lab Coats: Curbing Wrongful Convictions Through Independent Forensic Laboratories. She also attended the August 8 meeting of the Board of Directors of the Houston Forensic Science Center, of which she is a member.

Ronald Turner has accepted an invitation to publish an entry entitled The Age Discrimination in Employment Act in The American Middle Class: An Economic Encyclopedia of Progress and Poverty (Robert S. Rycroft ed.).  His recent publications include Ideological Voting on the National Labor Relations Board (With Special Reference to Decision-Bargaining Over Relocation Decisions), 14 Houston Business and Tax Law Journal 24 (2014), and his article Title VII and the Roberts Court’s Worldview Supremacy will be published in an upcoming issue of the Labor Law Journal.

Bret Wells published an article entitled Please Give Us One More Oil Boom – I Promise Not to Screw it Up This Time: The Broken Promise of Casinghead Gas Flaring in the Eagle Ford Shale, 9 Texas Journal of Oil, Gas, and Energy Law 319 (2014).