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

February 2004


David R. Dow, on behalf of the Texas Innocence Network accepted the annual Courage Award from the Texas Coalition to Abolish the Death Penalty (TCADP). At the TCADP annual meeting he spoke on the topic "The Relevance of Innocence." He also signed a contract with West Publishing to publish his treatise, Texas Contract Law.

Leslie Griffin spoke about whistleblowers to the Commercial Real Estate Women's group on February 5th at the Four Seasons, and to the Houston Office Leasing Brokers Association on February 26th at the Houston Country Club. She was also quoted in the Houston Chronicle article, Politics, the Press and the Pew, on Saturday, January 17th.

Craig Joyce's symposium for IPIL (the Institute for Intellectual Property & Information Law), Considering Copyright, appeared at 40 Hous. L.R. 609 (2003). He also completed six entries for the Oxford Companion to the Supreme Court of the United States (2d ed. forthcoming 2004) and he was reappointed to the Board of Editors of H-LAW, the Humanities Social Sciences On-Line discussion network of the American Society for Legal History.

Bryan Liang published a chapter, Themes for a System of Medical Error Disclosure: Promoting Patient Safety Using a Partnership of Provider and Patient, Strategic Issues in Health Care Management (H. Davies, M. Tavakoli, eds, 2004) (St. Andrews, Scotland: University of St. Andrews). His article Law, Healthcare, and Ethics: Detoxifying the Lethal Mix for the Patient-and Patient Safety was accepted for publication in the Virtual Mentor-Ethics Journal of the American Medical Association. Professor Liang was invited to be a contributor of two articles to the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality-Department of Defense Publication, Advances in Patient Safety: From Research to Implementation; the first article is entitled, Addressing the Problem of Exchanging Patient Safety Information Among Unaffiliated Healthcare Organizations; the second article is entitled Looking for trouble in All the Right Places: Scanning for "Electronic Signatures" Associated with High Risk Clinical Situations.

Professor Liang presented "Plenary Lecture: The Patient Safety Predicate: Practical, Political, and Other Foundations for Alternatives to Litigation and No Fault, Litigation and No Fault Alternatives to Malpractice in Florida: Inspiring Florida's Patient Safety Reform Initiative," Suncoast Center for Patient Safety, Miami South Beach, Florida on January 13-14, 2004. Relating to this conference, Professor Liang is assisting in drafting the tort reform demonstration projection as well as patient safety infrastructure as mandated under the Florida's tort reform provisions passed in 2003. He has also been named to the Manuscript Review Board, Journal of Aging and Social Research and he has been selected to be a member of a study, "survey of the experts" in an Arizona state project on liability reform and patient safety. These comments and future activities are part of the state's insurance reform efforts.

Peter Linzer, together with Frank Snyder of Texas Weslayan, are convening a worldwide conference in Gloucester, England, commemorating the 150th anniversary of Hadley v. Baxendale, the famous case on consequential damages for breach of contract. Part of the conference will take place in the very mill whose broken crankshaft started the case, involving damages for delay in shipping it to Greenwich for replacement. One of the major topics will be the influence of the common law outside England, especially in third world former British colonies, where it is engrafted on traditional legal systems. Major sideshows will include dinner at a local castle and a visit to the cathedral used as the Hogwarts School in the Harry Potter movies."

Douglas Moll was contacted by the editor of the Corporate Practice Commentator who sought permission to reprint his recent article, Shareholder Oppression & Dividend Policy in the Close Corporation, 60 Washington & Lee L.R. 841 (2003). The Corporate Practice Commentator is a periodical, now in its 45th year that is "designed to bring to corporate lawyers and business executives reliable information on recent developments and new thinking in the field of corporation law and practice." Most of the subscribers are large law firms and corporate law departments around the country.

Gerry Moohr's article Mail Fraud Meets Criminal Theory was cited in U.S. v. Rybicki, 354 F3d 124  (CA2 N.Y.) 2003 reh'g en banc where the court held that the mail fraud statute was not unconstitutionally vague, overturning a panel decision that had cited the same article. She also signed a contract with West to write a casebook provisionally titled, The Criminal Law of Intellectual Property and Information and she recently published two articles: An Enron Lesson: the Modest Role of Criminal Law in Preventing Corporate Misconduct, 55 Fla. L. Rev.937 (2003) and The Crime of Copyright Infringement: An Inquiry Based on Morality, Harm, and Criminal Theory, 83 B.U. L. Rev. 731 (2003).

Ray Nimmer completed his chapter entitled DMCA and the First Amendment: a Proper Marriage for the Oxford Press book Copyright and the First Amendment. He also presented a speech at the University of Washington on the Uniform State Law Movement.

Tom Oldham sent to the publisher the 32d supplement to his book Divorce, Separation and the Distribution of Property.

Michael A. Olivas has been appointed to the Committee on Institute Size of the American Law Institute. The Committee addresses ALI membership policy, determines the number of members to be admitted to the Institute, and makes recommendations on appointments. He co-authored an editorial in the Houston Chronicle (with TSU Professor John Brittain and TX Senator Rodney Ellis), urging Texas A&M University to implement Grutter in its admissions policy and to eliminate its legacy admissions practice. (Within 48 hours, TAMU folded on legacies and announced it would still not implement Grutter. He was interviewed by the Wall Street Journal, the San Antonio Express-News, the Chronicle of Higher Education, and several other newspapers on legacy admissions, financial aid, and prepaid tuition plans. He was reelected to another term on the Board of Directors of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF).

Nancy Rapoport is working with Baylor Medical School on its Diversity Retreat.

Irene Rosenberg published Ten Commandments and Lesser included Offenses of Murder and Theft, 39 Crim. L. Bull. 693 (2003). She was interviewed by TV Channel 13 on quotas for police officers.

Richard Saver was an invited speaker at the National Health Law Conference in Toronto in January sponsored by the University of Toronto's Health Law and Policy Group and the Canadian Institutes for Health Research. He presented "The Costs of Avoiding Conflicts of Interest: A Cautionary Tale of Hospital-Physician Gainsharing."

Robert Schuwerk has been appointed to the special task force created by the Supreme Court of Texas to review the work of the ABA's Ethics 2000 Commission, which is charged with deciding whether there should be changes to the Texas Disciplinary Rules of Professional Conduct in light of the ABA's work. He has also been appointed to a special task force created by the State Bar of Texas to determine whether there should be any changes to attorney referral, fee practices, and related advertising issues. He has now been chair of that committee for ten years and is the only person to be on more than one of these three groups. Professor Schuwerk worked with Lillian B. Hardwick, a UHLC alum to complete the 2003 edition of his co-authored treatise on attorney disciplinary liability, attorney tort liability, judicial ethics, and judicial disqualification and recusal in Texas (with Lillian B. Hardwick, an alum of the Law Center). The 2003 edition was published last December. His article, The Law Professor  as Fiduciary: What Duties Do We Owe To Our Students? has been accepted for publication by the South Texas Law Review.

Ira B. Shepard spoke to the Houston Chapter of Tax Executives Institute on January 15th; he spoke for one hour at lunch on "Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation" and for three hours in the afternoon on "Ethical Rules and Guidelines for In-House Tax Lawyers in Texas." He spoke at the ABA Tax Section Midwinter Meeting in Kissimmee on January 31st on "Recent Developments in Federal Income Taxation" (with Professor Martin J. McMahon, Jr., of the University of Florida School of Law). He also spoke on "Current Developments in Taxation" to the Wednesday Tax Forum and attended the annual meeting of the American College of Tax Counsel.

Greg Vetter organized the visit of Todd Larson, Senior Counsellor of the World Intellectual Property Organization's (WIPO) Coordination Office at the United Nations to Houston. Mr. Larson spoke to the Houston Bar Association and the Law Center on WIPO's mandate, activities and initiatives. Professor Vetter spoke by invitation of Professors Bryan Liang and Bill Winslade to their University of Texas Medical Branch class, "Legal Issues in Healthcare" on patent law. He also attended the Association of American Law Schools 2004 Annual Meeting in Atlanta.

Jacqueline Weaver taught an intersession course in oil and gas and energy law at the University of Rio de Janeiro for a week in January. She lectured to the 24 undergraduate students who receive full scholarships to attend the university and major in energy law, after a rigorous selection process that is the equivalent of selecting 24 students to attend Harvard. She also worked with a small group of graduate students who are doing special studies and research papers in selected areas of energy law. The lectures were open to any interested students in the university, and the lecture hall seating 70-80 was usually full, hopefully drawing other students into specializing in energy, even without scholarships. One full day was spent at IBP, the Institute for Brazilian Petroleum, a research institute that formulates policy ideas and ways to implement policy for the Brazilian energy ministry. The students attended the full-day program, along with ministry officials from the National Petroleum Agency and representatives from law firms and oil companies, in addition to other professors specializing in arbitration, tax, and petroleum geology.

Professor Weaver's lectures covered energy policy issues, international unitization laws and regulations, conservation and the environment, sustainable development, and comparisons and trends in international petroleum contracts worldwide. Weekends and most afternoons were free to explore Rio and its environs with the students, including a hike to the highest peak in Tijuca Forest (the largest urban forest in the world) with a stunning view of Rio.

Professor Weaver has been invited to co-author the 2nd edition of a treatise on International Energy Transactions. Her European co-authors have backgrounds from the World Bank and a French petroleum institute. Her article Can Energy Markets Be Trusted was posted on the website of the Houston Business and Tax Law Journal and it is receiving quite a bit of discussion in non-law school circles. The E-commerce journal format definitely produces lively exchanges of ideas and circulates articles to nontraditional audiences.