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U.S. Court of Appeals to hear arguments at WVU Law

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA — A panel of judges from the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit will convene at the West Virginia University College of Law on Wednesday, October 7, in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom.

The judges will hear arguments in a civil case and two sentencing guidelines cases beginning at 9 a.m. Each case is allotted 40 minutes (20 minutes per side). At the end of all three cases, the judges will take questions from the audience. 

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

“This is a wonderful opportunity for our students and anyone else interested in the law to see a federal appellate court in action,” said Gregory W. Bowman, dean of the West Virginia University College of Law. “We deeply appreciate the court’s willingness to come to West Virginia University and provide us with this valuable learning experience.”

The civil case before the court is Kimberly McKinnish v. Patrick Donahoe. It tackles the question of whether a district court properly applied Vance v. Ball State University to dispose of the plaintiff’s sexual harassment claim. Vance v. Ball State University is a United State Supreme Court decision that narrowly interprets the term “supervisor” in harassment cases.

The first sentencing guidelines case the judges will hear is United States v. Lance Williams. It addressees whether the defendant qualified for a sentence reduction even though his original sentence was based on a statutory minimum.

Kimberly Reed '96 named President of the International Food Information Council Foundation

(Washington, D.C.) — The International Food Information Council (IFIC) Foundation, the nation’s leading charitable organization dedicated to effectively communicating the science of health, nutrition and food safety for the public good, recently named Kimberly Reed president. 

Reed earned her J.D. in 1996 from West Virginia University College of Law.

“On behalf of the IFIC Foundation Board of Trustees, I congratulate Kim on her new role as President of the Foundation and look forward to her continued leadership in the years ahead,” said Dr. Robert B. Gravani, IFIC Foundation chairman and professor of food science at Cornell University.

“Collaborating with health and nutrition experts, educators, government officials, journalists, NGOs, and global food, beverage, and agricultural industry professionals, I am excited to lead the IFICFoundation into its 25th anniversary year,” said Reed. “As the world’s population grows from 7.3 billion today to 9.7 billion in 2050, food-related issues will only continue to grow in importance as one the most significant challenges of our time. I look forward to working with our talented staff and credible partners to build science-based solutions and understanding.”

Reed has nearly 20 years of experience at senior levels in the public and private sectors.

Joining the IFIC Foundation in 2009 as Executive Director, Reed will continue to serve at its related association, the International Food Information Council, as senior vice president for, membership, international relations and strategic initiatives, and on the Advisory Council of the International Center of Excellence in Food Risk Communication.

Two WVU Law students to argue case before the Seventh Circuit court in Chicago

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – Two students from the West Virginia University College of Law will argue before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in Chicago on Thursday, September 24.

Third-year law students Kirk Auvil and Phillip Wachowiak are representing a Honduran national in Rufino Antonio Estrada-Martinez v. Loretta E. Lynch, Attorney General of the United States of America.

Estrado-Martinez is a client of the WVU Immigration Law Clinic.

The clinic is appealing a U.S. Board of Immigration Appeals (BIA) decision that reversed a ruling by an immigration judge to grant Estrada-Martinez withholding of removal. In immigration law, withholding of removal protects individuals from being deported to a country where they risk persecution.

In reversing the immigration judge’s earlier decision, the BIA determined that Estrada-Martinez was convicted of a serious crime in Honduras.

“We argue that the BIA applied the incorrect legal standard when it made its determination about Mr. Estrada-Martinez,” said Michael Blumenthal, visiting professor of law and co-director of the Immigration Law Clinic.

Second annual PIA Benefit Concert set for September 24

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA—The Public Interest Advocates (PIA) at the West Virginia University College of Law is hosting its second annual benefit concert at 8:00 p.m. Thursday, September 24, at 123 Pleasant Street in Morgantown.

The PIA Benefit Concert will feature the musical talents of several WVU professors, students, and alumni. Tickets are $7 in advance and $10 at the door. Donations will also be accepted.

PIA is a law student organization that offers free legal services to clients in need around the state. Proceeds from the concert will be used to help fund summer and post-graduate fellowships for law students to work in West Virginia’s public interest organizations

The concert line-up this year includes Noodles and the Soup, covering classic rock; Deak and the Freaks, offering a unique blend of folk and pop; Apollo, covering rock music from the 1960s-90s; and Leah LeFaye, performing solo on guitar and ukulele.

News Professor Tu co-author of bioethics law textbook

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – West Virginia University College of Law associate professor Shine (Sean) Tu is co-author of a new book on biotechnology.

“Biotechnology, Bioethics, and the Law” (LexisNexis, 2015) explores the ethical and legal issues that accompany advancements in the field of biotechnology.

Tu’s fellow authors are Michele Goodwin, Chancellor’s Professor of Law at the University of California, Irvine, and John Paris, S.J. Michael P. Walsh Professor of Bioethics, at Boston College. 

In the book, the authors use specific cases dealing with topics such as the cloning of animals and plants for human consumption, drug regulation, and human reproduction and eugenics, to encourage thoughtful discussion.

Tu joined the faculty of WVU Law in 2011 and teaches in the areas of intellectual property, patent law, bioethics, drug law, and biotechnology. He previously worked as an associate with Foley & Lardner LLP and was a member of the firm’s Chemical, Biotechnology & Pharmaceutical Practice, and the Life Sciences and Nanotechnology Industry teams.

Tu holds two bachelor’s degrees in Chemistry and Microbiology from the University of Florida, a Ph.D. in Pharmacology from Cornell University, and a J.D. from the University of Chicago.

-WVU-

kc/09/17/2015

WVU Law hosting Voting Rights Act discussion for Constitution Day on September 17

Webcast

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – In observance of Constitution Day this year, the West Virginia University College of Law is hosting an event focusing on the 50-year-old Voting Rights Act.

WVU law professor Atiba Ellis and Capital University law professor Brad Smith will discuss the act’s past successes and future challenges on Thursday, September 17, at 12:00 p.m. in the Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom.

The event, which is part of WVU’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the arts and humanities, will also include an audience Q&A and a reception. Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Visiting international law professor to discuss human trafficking

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA – A visiting professor at the West Virginia University College of Law aims to shed some light on the global problem of human trafficking.

University of Oxford Ph.D. candidate Rachel Wechsler will address “Human Trafficking: Risk Factors, Responses, and the Role of Victims” on Wednesday, September 9, at 6 p.m. in the College of Law’s Marlyn E. Lugar Courtroom.

Admission is free and the public is invited to attend.

Wechsler is the 2015 Archibald McDougall Visiting Professor of International Law at the WVU College of Law, where she is teaching a course on international human rights. Her research focuses on sex trafficking and the criminal justice process in the Netherlands.

-WVU-

jj09/03/15

Prof. McGinley offers insight on Blankenship court case

MORGANTOWN, WEST VIRGINIA— WVU Law professor Patrick McGinley recently offered some insight into the ongoing court case against Don Blankenship, the former CEO of Massey Energy. 

Massey Energy owned the Upper Big Branch mine where an explosion in 2010 killed 29 miners. Blankenship is facing federal charges of conspiracy to violate federal mine safety and health standards, conspiracy to impede federal mine safety officials, making false statements to the Securities and Exchange Commission, and securities fraud.

Presiding over the Blankenship case is United States District Court Judge Irene C. Berger, WVU Law Class of 1979,

According to the Beckley (West Virginia) Register-Herald, Blankenship’s attorneys have request two separate trials for the charges. The paper also reported that the attorneys requested that evidence of the mine explosion and laws related to the prevention of mine disasters be excluded from the trial.

McGinley told the Registered-Herald he doubts any of these motions will be granted.

“My view is that’s what prosecutors are supposed to do — present admissible evidence that’s prejudicial to a criminal defendant. What isn’t permissible is unfairly prejudicial evidence,” he said in the article.

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