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


December 2014


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


Previous editions of Faculty Focus can be accessed here.


Darren Bush was on a panel of the ABA’s Transportation and Energy Industry Committee’s November program titled “Joint Ventures: The Fundamentals.” He was also one of the signatories to an open letter to Governor-Elect Greg Abbott, Lieutenant Governor-Elect Dan Patrick, Speaker Joe Straus and members of the Texas Legislature. The letter supports legislative efforts to modernize laws governing motor vehicle distribution to permit car companies like Tesla Motors to open up their own showrooms and service centers in Texas. A similar letter, which included Professor Bush as a special contributor, was published by the Austin American-Statesman.  With respect to his other hobby, Professor Bush is working on a nunchaku form and Tai Chi part 1, both with mixed results. Per ritual, he will be sequestered, distracted only by Kung Fu, until he completes grading exams.  


David R. Dow’s most recent book, Things I've Learned from Dying, has been named by NPR as one of 2014’s “Great Reads.” His solicited essay, “It’s All in the Telling,” reviewing Philip N. Meyer’s Storytelling for Lawyers, was published in the Vermont Law Review


Jim Hawkins’ article, Law’s Remarkable Failure to Protect Mistakenly Overpaid Employees, was published in the Minnesota Law Review (99 Minn. L. (2014)).  He has a new article about payday lending advertising practices forthcoming as part of a symposium at the peer-reviewed Journal of Law, Economics, and Policy in 2015.


Tracy Hester participated in the World Science Summit on Climate Engineering on December 2-3 in Washington, D.C. hosted by the Council of Scientific Society Presidents at the National Academy of Sciences.  He also joined George Mason University's Workshop on Environmental Economics for Law Professors in Duck Key, Florida on December 6-10. On December 12, a session that he co-authored with Dr. John Niesen-Gammon and Professor Barry Lefer on “Advancing Science Literacy Through the National Forum on Climate Change” was presented at the American Geophysical Union’s annual conference in San Francisco. And on November 21, he led a group of UH environmental law students on a site visit and tour of Valero's refinery in the Manchester neighborhood of south Houston to review environmental permitting and compliance concepts.


Geoffrey Hoffman was interviewed concerning the new executive immigration actions in local media, including on radio on Houston Matters as well as by KUT in Austin, and in the Houston Press. In December, Professor Hoffman appeared on Houston Newsmakers, KPRC Channel 2 with Khambrel Marshall discussing the President's actions. Professor Hoffman spoke at an event hosted by United We Dream on the UH campus along with other faculty and students explaining the President's recent executive action. Additionally, Professor Hoffman was interviewed by KUHF 88.7 about the recent lawsuit filed concerning the President's actions. Geoffrey Hoffman has been asked to serve on Neighborhood Centers Inc., Immigration Advisory Committee beginning in January 2015. Professor Hoffman was also interviewed by the Houston Chronicle about an immigration-related story.


Craig Joyce attended the first annual O’Connor Justice Prize weekend, this year honoring former U.N. High Commissioner for Human Rights Navanethem Pillay, at the invitation of Arizona State University’s Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law.


Michael A. Olivas’ most recent book (Suing Alma Mater) was published by Johns Hopkins University Press, on the subject of higher education and the U.S. Supreme Court; it was chosen as the 2014 winner of the Steven S. Goldberg Award for Distinguished Scholarship in Education Law, given annually by the Education Law Association (in San Diego, in November) “in recognition of an outstanding article, book, book chapter, or other form of scholarly legal writing in the field of education law.” He attended the Association for the Study of Higher Education (ASHE) annual meeting, where he served on the Editorial Board of The Journal of Higher Education, the twenty-second journal on whose board he has served. Following President Obama’s recent announcement of an expanded version of DACA (Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals), he conducted more than a dozen phone discussions with reporters and legislators, and he has agreed to do a national webinar in the subject in early Spring, for college staff and leadership. He has activated his Law of Rock and Roll program website: www.lawofrockandroll.com.


Jordan Paust’s op-ed The Senate Torture Report and Prior Admissions was published at JURIST December 9, 2014, and is available at http://jurist.org/forum/2014/12/jordan-paust-senate-torture.php.


Jessica L. Roberts presented her work-in-progress (co-authored with Nicole Huberfeld) "Medicaid and the Myth of Self-Reliance" at Emory Law School in conjunction with Martha Fineman’s vulnerability workshop series.  She also completed guest blogging for Health Law Prof Blog (http://lawprofessors.typepad.com/healthlawprof_blog/) and for Hamilton and Griffin on Rights (http://hamilton-griffin.com/category/guest-blog/) (featured on SCOTUS blog’s weekly round-up (http://www.scotusblog.com/2014/12/friday-round-up-248/)).  Finally, her invited contributions Genomics in the Military and the Shadow of Eugenics, Open Peer Commentary, commenting on Maxwell J. Mehlman & Tracy Yeheng Li, Ethical, Legal, Social, and Policy Issues in the Use of Genomic Technology by the U.S. Military and Reflections on the Americans with Disabilities Act: A Tribute to My Father are forthcoming in the Journal of Law & Biosciences and Houston Law Review: Off the Record, respectively.


Ben Sheppard has been appointed to the Academic Council of The Institute for Transnational Arbitration, a Division of The Center for American and International Law. Additionally, he spoke at the European Users’ Council Symposium sponsored by the London Court of International Arbitration held at Tylney Hall, Rotherwick, England. Professor Sheppard served as speaker and moderator for a panel on “Ethics in International Arbitration” at the Second Annual Houston Conference on International Arbitration sponsored by the International Court of Arbitration of the International Chamber of Commerce. He also moderated a panel on “Oil and Gas Disputes in North America” at a conference on Dispute Resolution in the International Oil and Gas Business jointly sponsored by the International Centre for Dispute Resolution, a division of the American Arbitration Association, and the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) held in Calgary, Alberta, Canada. Together with Professor Emeritus Stephen K. Huber Professor Sheppard served as co-editor of the 26th Edition of The AAA Yearbook on Arbitration & The Law (JURIS 2014). The Yearbook is the flagship publication of the American Arbitration Association, the largest arbitration administrator in the United States. The 26th Edition is the fourth edition promulgated through the auspices of the AAA and the UH Law Center. The book is comprised of digests of important court decisions covering the entire arbitral process, from the formation of the arbitration agreement to the challenge or enforcement of the arbitral award, and of digests of decisions that apply AAA arbitration rules. Three third-year JD students serve as Arbitration Research Scholars to identify cases and draft digests in return for stipends funded by the AAA and the publisher.


Bret Wells, on November 20th, presented "Corporate Inversions: What These Transactions Tell Us about Profit-Shifting and U.S. International Tax Reform” to a joint meeting of the Houston Journal of International Law and the Corporate & Tax Law Society.  


Allison Winnike was appointed to the Conference of Chief Justices Pandemic and Emergency Response Task Force chaired by South Carolina Supreme Court Chief Justice Jean Toal. The purpose of the Task Force is to examine the legal questions that have and may arise surrounding pandemic emergencies.  Objectives of the Task Force include producing a guidebook that each state can use in developing their own public health emergencies bench book and developing a summary of resources that would be available to courts.