Nursing homes' use of binding arbitration comes under fire

"Though some patients, their families, attorneys and patient advocacy groups have been battling binding arbitration agreements in nursing homes for years, the vast majority of nursing homes now use them, said Greg Crist, a spokesman for the American Health Care Association, an industry group. Industry groups and their lawyers argue the agreements are a useful tool for saving patients and facilities time and money—cash that is better spent on patient care.

KU Today: Biology and law collide in award winner’s work

"Kansas University Earl B. Shurtz Research Professor Andrew Torrance has degrees in biology, genetics and law. He has taught at Harvard and MIT, and even advised President Barack Obama during his candidacy. He is truly a modern-day renaissance man.

'I really like dealing with cutting-edge science and the legal issues it raises,' Torrance said.

This spring, Torrance was recognized by Chancellor Bernadette Gray-Little for his talents, as one of four professors to receive the University Scholarly Achievement Award last year.

Free Trade Deals Could Marginalize WTO as Negotiating Forum

"Free trade agreements like the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP) could further undermine the World Trade Organization’s function as a negotiating forum, former delegate to the UN Convention on International Trade Law Raj Bhala told Sputnik.

...

The World Trade Organization, Bhala asserted, will remain a key mechanism for trade policy review and dispute settlement, but its third primary function as a negotiating forum for broad deals that include all countries is at risk.

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KU professor at sexual assault symposium: ‘The hurdles of Title IX litigation are ridiculously high’

"Instead of investigating sexual assaults as Title IX transgressions, maybe universities should adjudicate them under a simpler safety code like other actions that pose a danger to campus?

Universities have effectively disciplined students for problems from cheating to drug possession under the student code of conduct model for years, said Kansas University law professor Corey Rayburn Yung, speaking Friday at the Kansas Law Review Symposium.

'There’s no real reason we have to abandon this framework in place of a far more difficult claim,' Yung said.

Examining European Union through domestic lens offers insights, professor says

Friday, October 23, 2015


LAWRENCE — Multinational organizations like the European Union are unique in many ways, but examining such bodies through a lens commonly used to study domestic governmental systems can shed light on why such groupings work and the directions they may be headed. Richard E. Levy, J.B. Smith Distinguished Professor of Law at the University of Kansas, has authored a foundational article applying collective action theory to analyze the institutional structure of the European Union. 

The article appears in an issue of the European Journal of Law and Economics honoring the work of Judge Richard Posner, an internationally acclaimed judge and legal scholar known for his work in law and economics. Levy, a former clerk for Posner, who has lived and taught in Europe and written extensively on federalism, has long been drawn to the similarities between federalism in the United States and the structure of the European Union.

“My main focus is on U.S. constitutional law, but I like to think about comparative institutional structures, how they’re parallel to each other and how they’re different,” Levy said. “By doing that I think you can better understand why constitutional systems are structured the way they are.”

Collective action theory explores how groups work together to create common benefits even though they have individual incentives to act as “free riders” that enjoy the benefits of group activity without contributing to it. Although collective action theory originated as a tool for understanding the behavior of individuals, particularly in relation to political processes, Levy has been a pioneer in applying the theory to the relationships among states in the American federal system. This approach is beginning to take root in Europe as well, and Levy hopes that his article will contribute to the use of collective action theory to analyze the European Union.

Like the United States, the EU creates a structure for collective action by member states through which the collective can enact legally binding rules without the unanimous consent of the member states. Nonetheless, the scope of EU authority and the power of EU institutions is more constrained than that of the federal government in the U.S. Levy said he is interested to see if the EU will eventually move further in toward the creation of a federal system such as the U.S., which would require the adoption of a kind of European constitution that transformed the EU from a set of agreements among member states to a social contract among the people of Europe.

Of course, many differences exist in the case of the EU; namely linguistic, cultural and historical differences that currently keep the member states from considering themselves part of a larger entity, as opposed to independent nations, with a shared bond. States often want to retain autonomy and power, but in the EU, as in the United States, power has gravitated to the center, Levy writes.

For example, the supremacy of federal power in the U.S. was not fully established in practice until after the Civil War, and the practical scope of federal power expanded greatly during the 20th century. One important distinguishing characteristic is the EU’s use of the subsidiarity principle to counter the centralization of power. The principle holds that decisions are handled centrally only when they cannot be handled effectively by the member states.

While new economic and legal situations continue to come about, Levy said he is interested to watch how collective action theory can teach us more about the EU and the decisions it makes. The initial concerns such as free trade among members, interstate relations and external relations will continue to be at the forefront, but new issues such as monetary policy for the euro and the ongoing debate about whether the United Kingdom will separate from the EU will continue to shine a light on how the body evolves.

By examining the EU’s makeup through the lens of collective action theory, Levy said, we will be able to see if the organization moves toward a federal system or maintains its current state of a group of national states. Conversely, using collective action theory as a comparative lens will also help us gain a better understanding of the American federal system.

“One of the essential points of comparative law is you gain a better understanding of your own system when you study another,” Levy said. “Studying the EU might help us to think about how, if we do care about member states, might we structure our system to better balance the autonomy of the states against the need to address national issues at the federal level?”

Photo: European flag outside the Commission. By Xavier Hape, via WikiCommons.

Former AG Phill Kline's law license a matter of constitutional debate

"The Kansas Supreme Court must consist of seven justices, the state’s constitution says, and 'not fewer than four justices shall be necessary for a decision.'

...

"In May 2012, as Kline faced a hearing before the high court that would determine whether he could practice law in Kansas, his attorneys requested two Kansas Supreme Court justices — Carol Beier and Lawton Nuss — recuse themselves from his case because of their previous rulings against Kline. The attorneys also suggested that three other justices consider recusing themselves.

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Attorneys claim new DNA testing uncovers truth behind 1999 Oskaloosa murder

"For nearly a decade, lawyers with the Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies have combed trial testimony and evidence in search of something that will free Floyd Scott Bledsoe, 38, from the prison cell he occupies at Lansing Correctional Facility.

Last month, they may have found it.

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'We often say we believe our client is innocent,' said Elizabeth Cateforis, supervising attorney for the Project for Innocence. 'Floyd is innocent. There’s no belief about it.'

Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence at KU files motion in 15 year old murder case

"The Paul E. Wilson Project for Innocence and Post-Conviction Remedies filed a Motion to Vacate Judgement and Discharge from Custody on behalf of Bledsoe at the Second Judicial District Court in Jefferson County Monday.

In 2000, Bledsoe was sentenced to life in prison for the death of his 14 year-old sister-in-law, Camille Arfmann near Oskaloosa. Bledsoe was originally convicted of first degree murder, aggravated kidnaping and indecent liberties of Arfmann; however, DNA testing presented by the defense may exonerate him of all charges.

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