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


October 2014


Editor, Katy Stein Badeauxkastein@central.uh.edu

Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.



Janet Beck organized the UHLC Immigration Clinic student trip to the Karnes Residential/Detention Center all day Saturday and half a day on Sunday.  Along with Geoffrey Hoffman, 5 UHLC IC students, a law graduate and two pro bono attorneys at Arnold & Porter, she saw 41 women and children.  Professor Beck spoke on a panel regarding the Unaccompanied Minor Crisis (“Trapped in Limbo”) with the ACLU and Human Rights First at the South Texas College of Law. She also spoke on “Special Immigrant Status for Children in Juvenile Court” at the Fifth Annual Juvenile Law Conference and made a presentation on immigration law to Memorial High School students through the HBA Speakers Bureau program. Last, Professor Beck supervised Immigration Clinic students helping DACA and naturalization applicants at two all-day Saturday workshops, organized by We Own the Dream and Neighborhood Centers, respectively.


Zachary Bray spoke on groundwater issues and recent changes to groundwater law at the Lone Star Water Forum. The forum was organized by UHLC alumnus Larry Doherty, who along with his wife and fellow UHLC alumna Joanne Doherty, endowed the Law Center’s Chair of Legal Ethics. A number of organizations sponsored the event, including the Texas Wildlife Agency.


Aaron Bruhl’s latest article, Following Lower-Court Precedent, is now available in the current issue of the University of Chicago Law Review. Professor Bruhl continues to make media appearances regarding federal litigation over abortion, same-sex marriage, and other topics.


Barbara Evans has been named the 2015 Distinguished Health Scholar by the Center for Health and Pharmaceutical Law & Policy at Seton Hall Law School. She will deliver four lectures and spend a week in residence at Seton Hall next year. She is working with faculty at University of Maryland’s law, nursing, and medical schools to plan an October 28 workshop in Baltimore to discuss health data system governance.  She presented a paper (http://ssrn.com/abstract=2484101) at the Petrie-Flom/Food and Drug Law Institute symposium in Washington on October 20. She was lead author for a study of HIPAA-CLIA amendments that went into effect on October 6. The study is available online ahead of print in Genetics in Medicine (http://www.nature.com/gim/journal/vaop/ncurrent/pdf/gim2014127a.pdf), and she has been awarded an NIH grant supplement to lead a follow-up study of the impacts. Her article on antitrust issues in genomic data access is available online ahead of  print in a special issue of Journal of Law Medicine & Ethics (http://www.aslme.org/media/downloadable/files/links/0/5/05.SUPP_Evans.pdf). She was invited to serve on a multi-institutional working group that submitted a proposal earlier this month for a three-year grant-funded study of legal issues in gene sequencing.  


Jim Hawkins participated in an invitation-only Roundtable at the Urban Institute in Washington D.C. on October 7th. The Roundtable, funded by the Ford Foundation, brought together academics and high-level regulators from the CFPB, the FRB, the OCC, among other agencies. He presented his research on auto title lending.  Professor Hawkins' article, Dude, Where’s My Car Title: The Law, Behavior, and Economics of Title Lending Markets was published in 2014 University of Illinois Law Review 1013 (with Kathryn Fritzdixon & Paige Marta Skiba).


Tracy Hester presented a draft paper on Naming the Principles of Environmental Law at the Environmental Law Scholarship Colloquium on October 4 at Vermont Law School. On October 3, he joined Professors Jacqueline Weaver and Zack Bray and adjunct professor Lynn Bortka in a briefing with a delegation of environmental and energy ministers from Tanzania, and he presented a report to the ABA Section on Environment, Energy & Resources' Council about the activities of its Special Committee on Congressional Relations at the SEER Fall meeting in Miami on October 10. On October 2, he introduced and moderated the EENR Center Speaker presentation by Erik Eriksson, the general counsel of the Port of Houston Authority, who discussed energy and environmental issues affecting the port. Professor Hester led a group of environmental law students on September 26 to a Superfund site review of the CES Chemical facility located near the University of Houston campus. Last, on September 16 he sat in the quarterly meeting of the Greater Houston Partnership’s Environmental Policy Advisory Committee as its vice-chair. 


Geoffrey Hoffman in early October traveled to Karnes Family Detention Center in Karnes City, Texas with UHLC students and clinic faculty as part of a joint project with AILA, Arnold and Porter, Akin Gump, Tahirih and the UH immigration clinic. They saw more than 40 families and screened cases for intake for the Karnes Pro Bono Project. Professor Hoffman’s piece, Karnes is a Disgrace commenting on the trip was published as part of AILA’s leadership blog. Later this month, Professor Hoffman returned to Karnes to represent clients for bond and asylum proceedings. Professor Hoffman also spoke in New Orleans at the AILA Fundamentals of Immigration Law Conference on UAC Asylum claims. Additionally, he traveled to San Antonio and represented a Karnes detained family with clinic student Hee Jin Chang and Supervising Fellow Veronica Bernal. Bond was granted by the Immigration Judge at the hearing. Finally, he organized the EOIR Stakeholder Meeting held in the Heritage Room at the UHLC on October 21 and attended by EOIR Director, Deputy Director, and Immigration Judges as well as local pro bono counsel and organizations.


Robert B. Johnson gave a lecture on updates to the Texas Rules of Civil Procedure to the Houston Bar Association Section for Commercial and Consumer Law on September 10th. On Friday, October 3, Robert presented “Recent Changes to the Rules Governing Justice Court” at the Practicing Consumer Law conference held at the University of Houston Law Center.

Craig Joyce was reappointed to the Editorial Board of the Journal of the Copyright Society of the U.S.A. for his 27th consecutive year of service.


Jessica Mantel presented her article, Holding Hospitals Accountable for a Culture of Overtreatment, at the Health Law Scholars Workshop at Saint Louis University Law School on September 19. Her commentary, Legal Barriers to Physicians’ Stewardship Role, was published in the most recent issue of the American Journal of Bioethics.  Professor Mantel’s blog The Medicare Shared Savings Program: A Missed Opportunity to Address Providers’ Growing Market Power has been posted at Jotwell.com. The blog posting reviews Thomas L. Greaney’s recent article Regulators as Market-Makers: Accountable Care Organizations and Competition Policy.


Michael A. Olivas has had an article accepted in the Houston Journal of International Law, The Growing Role of Immigration Law in Universal Higher Education: Case Studies of the United States and the EU. He prepared the paper for a workshop held at Oxford University, Oxford Centre for Higher Education Policy Studies (OxCHEPS). He briefed a number of reporters on immigration and higher education issues, and appeared in radio and print media. In response to a case concerning college/immigration legal advice, he posted a blog at the Johns Hopkins U Press blogsite: http://jhupressblog.com/2014/09/08/give-me-your-tired-your-poor-your-huddled-masses-yearning-to-breathe-free-your-international-students/ . He also was duped into writing several blurbs, for books being published at Yale University Press and NYU Press, and he has taken a blood oath not to write any more, even though it is an easy way to get free books.


Jordan Paust was a moderator and presenter at a panel session on “Chaos and Impunity: Core Crimes and Sitting Heads of State,” at the annual meeting of the American Branch of the International Law Association on October 24th in New York City.


D. Theodore Rave presented a draft of his paper When Peace Is Not the Goal of a Class Action Settlement on October 11 at the Seventh Annual Junior Faculty Federal Courts Workshop at the University of Georgia School of Law. Professor Rave was also invited to participate in a panel on Public Fiduciary Law at the Law and Society Association’s Annual Meeting in Seattle in May.


Jessica L. Roberts participated in a congressional briefing on the Genetic Information Nondiscrimination Act, organized by the Personal Genetics Education Project at Harvard Medical School and sponsored by the offices of Rep. Louise Slaughter and Sen. Elizabeth Warren, on October 3. On October 7, she presented her paper The Harm in Asking at FIU Law School's Faculty Workshop Series. Her paper A Theory of Universality in Medicaid (with Professor Nicole Huberfeld, Kentucky) was accepted to Martha Fineman's Law and Vulnerability Workshop at Emory Law School. The University of Illinois Law Review Slip Opinions will publish the paper next week. Professor Roberts will appear on a panel about discrimination in health insurance later this month at the Yale Law School.


Sandra Guerra Thompson hosted a Criminal Justice Institute event on September 16th featuring Jaime Esparza, District Attorney of El Paso who spoke on the use of technology to implement criminal discovery. She hosted a second Criminal Justice Institute event on September 30th featuring a talk by Tim Murray, Executive Director Emeritus of the Pretrial Justice Institute in Washington, D.C. On September 17th, Professor Thompson was the inaugural speaker of the Common Reader Speaker Program at the University of Houston Clear Lake. She spoke of her community service in reforming the practice of forensic science as a member of the Houston Forensic Science Center Board of Directors. She also attended the October 10th meeting of the Board of Directors. Additionally, Professor Thompson was quoted in an article in the Houston Chronicle on October 6th. The article reported on the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals’ refusal to reinstate money laundering charges against former U.S. House Majority Leader Tom DeLay. Professor Thompson commented on the use of the money laundering statute. On October 8th, she appeared on Houston’s CW39 TV addressing the admissibility of statements to a therapist in a divorce case involving an actor who starred on the television show 7th Heaven. Professor Thompson also served as a panelist and answered audience questions after a screening of the film La Jaula de Oro (The Golden Dream), a film about the journey of unaccompanied minors from Central America to the United States. The event took place at the University Center Theater on October 1st. The Houston Chronicle and the Daily Cougar reported on the event. On October 10th, Professor Thompson gave the keynote address at the Hispanic Heritage Month Celebration of the Houston District of the EEOC.


Ronald Turner’s recent publications include Title VII and the Roberts Court’s Worldview Supremacy, 65 Labor Law Journal 149 (2014).  His article On Same-Sex Marriage and Due Process Traditionalism will be published by the University of Richmond Law Review, and his essay The Problematics of the Brown-Is-Originalist Project will appear in a forthcoming issue of the Journal of Law and Policy.  He has accepted an invitation to participate in a roundtable discussion of Professor Thomas Kleven’s book Equitable Sharing at the Southern Political Science Association’s January 2015 conference in New Orleans.


Greg Vetter presented at the SMU Dedman School of Law’s 11th Annual Symposium on Emerging I.P. Issues: The Supreme Court and I.P. Law, held on Friday, October 3, 2014.  His panel presentation covered the topic of Reforming Patent Doctrines: The Supreme Court and Its Role in the Process. Professor Vetter also hosted/attended the 30th Annual Institute on Intellectual Property Law, put on jointly by the Law Center’s Institute for Intellectual Property and Information Law (IPIL) and the Houston Intellectual Property Law Association (HIPLA), held on October 9 through October 11, 2014.


Bret Wells participated in a panel discussion on "Recent Trends in Corporate Inversion Transactions" at a joint meeting of the Houston branch of the International Fiscal Association and the International Tax Forum of Houston. Professor Wells' recently published article entitled Corporation Inversions and Whack-a-Mole Tax Policy was distributed as part of the presentation materials.


Allison Winnike edited the updated Control Measures and Public Health Emergencies: A Texas Bench Book, which was published on the Health Law & Policy Institute website. Her book review of Lawrence Gostin's Global Health Law was published on the American Journal of Bioethics online. She attended the Texas Health Law Conference in Austin. As faculty advisor and editor to the Houston Journal of Health Law & Policy, she attended their annual symposium on "America’s Future Health Care System: Implications for Health Law, Policy, and Ethics." She was appointed to the University of Houston search committee for the Health Center Executive Director/Chief Physician position. At the end of October she will travel to Austin to attend the Texas Medical Board Telemedicine Stakeholders meeting to address emerging legal, legislative, and regulatory issues in telemedicine and telehealth.


Kellen Zale presented her current work-in-progress, Sharing Property, at Louisiana State University Law Center as part of the Central States Law Schools Association 2014 Annual Scholarship Conference on October 10-11.