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Friday, May 09, 2014

Thinkers & Doers: May 9, 2014

Professors Rao, Depoorter, Musalo, Aviram, Levine, Little, Dean Wu, CFO David Seward, Jennifer Keller '78, Charlene Usher '96, Gary Watt '97, Stephen Tollafield '02, Jamie Cheng '14, Patrick Burns '14.
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CFO David Seward presented the Kelly Cullen Award to Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer, co-founders/directors of the Luggage Store/509, at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s annual birthday dinner May 8.

Radhika Rao

Professor Radhika Rao offered commentary and analysis to ABC’s Nightline viewers on the custody battle between “Lost Boys” actor Jason Patric and his former girlfriend Danielle Schreiber.

Radhika RaoSchreiber has claimed Patric has no rights as a parent, saying he was a sperm donor only. His sperm bank contract, however, shows he signed as an “intended parent.”

“For too long the fertility industry hasn’t been taking into account the interests of the children. Their interests are being left out,” Rao said. “This is definitely an area where the technology is outpacing the law.” Rao teaches and writes in the areas of constitutional law, comparative constitutional law, property, and the law of the human body. Watch the full report here.

Karen Musalo

Professor Karen Musalo was quoted extensively in the Daily Journal, offering analysis of a recent 9th Circuit decision that loosens asylum standards. The case, Pirir-Boc v. Holder, is the latest in an ongoing wresting match between the circuit court and the Board of Immigration Appeals over the Karen Musalosometimes-nebulous “social group” category, the hardest to define of the five statutory grounds for asylum.

Oliverto Pirir-Boc was beaten by members of the violent Mara Salvatrucha gang and threaten with death. While still injured, he fled to the U.S., seeking asylum, which was rejected by the BIA.

Musalo, director of the Center for Gender & Refugee Studies, said the May 7 opinion was important because “now we have the 9th Circuit saying we can’t throw all these [gang] cases into the same basket and sloppily say one is like the other.”

“It almost seems like a reflexive reaction by the BIA that no gang cases will meet the legal requirement for social group status,” she said.

“It’s easy terminology to shorthand these as just gang cases, but one is struck by the moral courage and integrity of people like Pirir-Boc in these situations. Read more here (subscription required).

Ben Depoorter

Ben Depoorter

Oracle, SAP Set to Brawl Over Damages in Landmark Copyright Case: Objectively measuring a business transaction that never would have taken place in the real world is a challenge, Professor Ben Depoorter told Scott Graham at The Recorder, but it's not impossible:

"It's a very fascinating case," he said. "It's one where both parties take very extreme positions and the truth is probably somewhere in between."

He doesn't see Oracle's cost of acquiring PeopleSoft as especially relevant. "It's not sufficient to say, 'We bought this company for X number of dollars.' This isn't about a sale," he said. "That's not what a license is."

On the other hand, if damages are limited in the way SAP is proposing, that might not do enough as a policy matter to discourage illegal copying, he said.

Ultimately, the Ninth Circuit may have to decide how high a burden to place on a copyright owner to prove damages, and how willing courts will be to let an infringer off the hook when there are no benchmark licenses.

"This is cutting edge," he said. "I haven't seen a case like it." Read the article here

Hadar Aviram, David Levine

Professors Hadar Aviram and David Levine spoke to TV news outlets on the "castle doctrine" following the shooting death of a man who mistakenly tried to enter the wrong apartment. The man's family wants the shooter to be prosecuted.

Aviram, who teaches criminal law and has a forthcoming book on the American criminal justice system, spoke to CBS's KPIX5 about the case. She noted that the law protects a resident whose home is broken into. Watch that interview here

Levine, an expert in criminal law, told KTVU that California has what's called a "castle doctrine," which could make this case difficult to prosecute.

"In the California Penal Code, there's a specific section which protects people who -- if they are in their own home, if they're in reasonable fear of imminent danger by great bodily injury or death -- then they have the right to defend themselves," Levine said.

Levine said key is in defining "reasonable" fear and it could be difficult to convince a jury that Kachepa's actions were unreasonable. He said the District Attorney's decision is understandable and within reason given the law.

He added that the law is old and the California Supreme Court cases which are often used for reference, date back to the 1890's. Levine said those could be changed through the legislature. Read more here.

Rory Little

Rory LittleProfessor Rory Little (@RoryLittle) penned an analysis piece for the Daily Journal on the Supreme Court’s struggles with the nuances of mens rea as expressed (or not expressed) in federal statutes.

Little opened the column, which looks at two recent cases, Rosemond and Loughrin, by quoting Justice Oliver Wendell Holmes. “Even a dog distinguishes between being stumbled over and being kicked.” Portions of the column appeared first on SCOTUSblog (@SCOTUSblog). Read those here. Read the Daily Journal piece here (subscription required).

David Seward

CFO David Seward presented the Kelly Cullen Award to Darryl Smith and Laurie Lazer, co-founders/directors of the Luggage Store/509, at the Tenderloin Neighborhood Development Corporation’s annual birthday dinner May 8.

The award is named after Brother Kelly Cullen, a Franciscan monk who, as executive director, turned TNDC into one of the city’s largest developers of low-cost housing. TNDC now owns and manages more than 2,500 units for low-income residents. He died unexpectedly at age 57 in 2010.

UC Hastings was given the Cullen Award in 2013 for its long participation in TNDC’s Tenderloin After-School Program and involvement of the college’s Civil Justice Clinic in local issues.

Frank H. Wu

Chancellor & Dean Frank H. Wu (@frankhwu) wrote a column for LinkedIn disputing the myth that Asian Americans are “smarter than you.”

Wu wrote: “The reason I am put out is the most objective investigations actually show not that Asians are smarter in general, but that they make Frank H. Wumore effort on average. This distinction makes all the difference. It isn't an "Oriental" secret that explains their grades. It's old-fashioned elbow grease.

That means anybody else can do exactly the same. It isn't racial, it isn't proprietary, and it isn't all that remarkable even. The message should not be: ‘Asians succeed, because they're Asian.’ It shouldn't even be: ‘Asians succeed, because they work hard.’ It should be simply anybody who succeeds, likely has worked hard.” Read more here.

Jennifer Keller

Jennifer Keller ’78, a trustee of the UC Hastings Foundation, was named to “Top Women Lawyers” by the San Francisco and Los Angeles Daily Journals. Her firm, Keller Rackauckas, has won over $680 million in judgments in the last five years alone.

Charlene Usher

Charlene Usher ’96 was featured among the women business owners in the Inland Empire in West Coast Magazine. She has a statewide estate planning and probate practice. She is speaking May 10 at a financial planning seminar at Bethlehem Church in Pasadena.

Gary Watt, Stephen Tollafield, Jamie Cheng, Patrick Burns

Gary WattThe U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit granted the petition for review of Chinese asylum seeker Shirong Chen, who was represented by UC Hastings students Jamie Cheng '14 and Patrick Burns '14.

These two third-year advocates represented Mr. Chen as part of their involvement in the Hastings Appellate Project (HAP), an upper division clinical advocacy program for UC Hastings students run by Archer Norris partner and specialist, Gary Watt '97.

HAP's representation of pro se litigants by supervised law students is made possible and coordinated by the Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit Pro Bono Program. Watt, Director of the Hastings Appellate Project, and Stephen Tollafield '02, Professor and Moot Court Program Assistant Director, both UC Hastings alumni, supervise HAP students in their representation of their clients.

"We feel honored by our client's trust and the opportunity to tell his story to the court,” said Burns '14. Read more here.

Read more Thinkers & Doers here. Know someone who should be in Thinkers & Doers? Send your story tips here.

--May 9, 2014

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