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

May 2007



Anne Chandler spoke on inadmissibility issues affecting Unaccompanied Child in Immigration Court at the University of Houston Law Center Immigration Clinic’s Special Immigrant Juvenile Conference on April 27, 2007. She also delivered a talk on New and Proposed Legislation in Immigration Law at Thurgood Marshall School of Law’s Immigration Symposium on April 14, 2007. On April 18, 2007, Anne was featured on the Human Rights Show as she discussed the treatment of detained immigrant children apprehended by the Department of Homeland Security. On April 17, Anne testified before the House Criminal Jurisprudence Committee in Austin on issues of federal preemption and state policy relating to human slavery, debt bondage, and indentured servitude in Texas.


Seth Chandler’s article,” Genetically Modified Liability Insurance,” was accepted for publication by the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal. His peer reviewed article, “Restricted Non-Cooperative Games,” was accepted for final publication in Lecture Notes in Computer Science and will be presented at the Fifth International Workshop on Computer Algebra Systems and Their Applications, Graduate University of Chinese Academy of Sciences in Beijing this month. The Wolfram Research Demonstrations site (demonstrations. Wolfram.com) has also published 36 peer reviewed, open code, interactive, Demonstrations created by Professor Chandler over the past six months. These demonstrations, which may be manipulated using the free Mathematica Player available at http://www.wolfram.com/products/player/ include the following works:


1) “Certainty Equivalent Wealth (computing the certainty equivalent wealth of lotteries created by, among other things, legal rules)

2) “Beat Chebyshev,” (a game that explores constraints on the distribution of data)

3)”Probit and Logit Models with Normal Errors” (exploring different forms of regression used in data analysis)

4) “Constant Risk Aversion Utility Functions” (examining the shape of utility functions frequently used in law and economics)

5) “Occurrence Versus Claims Made Insurance Policies” (automated characterization and visualization of liability insurance policies based on occurrence and claim windows)

6) “The Edgeworth Box” (dynamic visualization of a traditional diagram used in exploring the potential gains from contracting)

7) “Synthetic Legal Precedent Structures: Levy Flight” (attempting to generate precedent networks that resemble legal precedent networks using parameterized Levy flight models for case clustering)

8) Synthetic Legal Precedent Structures: Feature Distance (attempting to generate precedent networks that resemble legal precedent networks using parameterized feature distance models)

9) “Adverse Selection” (a visualization of Professor Chandler’s research on the determinants of this impediment to complete risk transfer through contract)

10) “Tax Rates and Tax Revenue” (an exploration of the effects of tax rates on tax revenues)

11) “Death Penalty Regressions” (the user can conduct a variety of regressions on Professor Baldus’ data used in litigation in the 1980’s)

12) “Payoff Gradients in Two Player Games” (a visualization of the Nash equilibrium process used extensively in attempts to view legal rules as establishing mathematical games)

13) “Banzhaf Power Index” (an exploration of the relationship between voting and power under various election rules)

14) “Nash Equilibria With Continuous Strategies” (a visualization of the loss of wealth created by the inability of players to cooperate)

15) “Lorenz Curves the Gini Coefficient” (an interactive exploration of disparities in wealth)

16) “Merger Guidelines” (a novel and intuitive interface to explore the Department of Justice/Federal Trade Commission merger guidelines)

17) “Sensitivity, Specificity, and Incidence” (public health and other decisions are often based on the sensitivity and specificity of tests; this Demonstration exposes how it works)

18) “Coordination of Insurance Policies” (an interface for exploring the distinction between pro rate and equal share systems)

19) “Binary Election Sequences” (exploring the “real world” consequences of Arrow’s Impossibility Theorem)

20) “Property Coinsurance” (examining the economics of this clause found in almost all homeowner insurance policies)

21) “Monopoly and Natural Monopoly” (an interactive interface for discovery of the circumstances under which monopoly is destructive, under which monopoly may be “natural” and regulatory alternatives)

22) “Unilateral Accident Model” (an interactive demonstration of the standard law and economic model in torts)

23) “The Duty to Settle” (an exploration of this crucial insurance/litigation rule)

24) “Nash Equilibria in 3x3 Games” (how can players write legal rules that push the non-cooperative Nash equilibrium over the wealth maximizing solution and thus harness greed for social good)

25) “The Efficient Dual Limit Liability Insurance Contract” (a Demonstration of a key idea behind the Genetically Modified Liability Insurance article discussed above)

26) “The Efficient Single Limit Liability Insurance Policy” (exposing issues with anti-diminution provisions in standard liability insurance policies)

27) “A Conceptual Model of Lapse Financed Life Insurance” (exposure of the kind of mathematics behind insurance anti-forfeiture regulation as well as the opportunities for “Spin Life” insurance to exist)

28) “Moral Hazard” (seeing how insurance subverts tort deterrence)


He has also published eight demonstrations related to science or the Mathematica language including “Cellular Automata on Trivalent Networks”, “Dynamic Proximity Networks, and “Grouping Country Data.”


Meredith J. Duncan was asked to contribute an article for a portfolio of the Bureau of National Affairs. This new portfolio will address ethical issues relevant to in-house corporate counsel. Professor Duncan will author a piece on supervising paralegals and other departments in a company that might be engaged in the practice of law. Professor Duncan was also asked to serve as a contributing author to the Encyclopedia of the Supreme Court of the United States, a reference work that will showcase the work of scholars offering accessible, original, and in-depth analysis of the Court’s remarkable history and most significant decisions.


Victor Flatt’s analysis of the shortcomings of the current Clean Air Act and recommendations for improvement was just published in CPR for the Environment: Breathing New Life into the Nation’s Major Environmental Statutes. This book, which examines all of the nation’s environmental laws, is being sent to all members of Congress from Representative Henry Waxman and his committee on health and safety issues.


Gidi presented a paper on Comparative law at a workshop by Washington University Law School, in Saint Louis. One of his papers was translated into Japanese and published by the Journal of the Japanese Institute of International Business Law (Kokusai Shoji Homu).


Lonny Hoffman moderated a panel discussion on Legislative and Supreme Court Update at the Houston-Galveston Bench Bar Conference in April. Also in April he participated in an ad hoc working group on SB 1204, legislation which originally concerned court reorganization as proposed by Texans for Lawsuit Reform; organized the monthly scholarship workshop faculty series; was invited to speak in July 2007 in Scottsdale , Arizona, at an ALI-ABA program on civil practice and litigation techniques in the state and federal courts; and participated in an editorial board conference call meeting with First Chair Press, a new publication board within the Litigation Section of the ABA. Professor Hoffman’s work as Reporter for the Texas Supreme Court Task Force on Jury Assembly and Administration was featured in Carl Reynolds, “Judicial Branch Update”, Texas Bar Journal 46 (January 2007), and he was quoted in an article in the Texas Lawyer on the Harmer v. Coca-Cola case which, as of this writing, is pending before the Texas Supreme Court on motion for reconsideration. Professor Hoffman previously filed an amicus brief in the case supporting the plaintiffs on behalf of a group of Texas civil procedure law professors.


Paul Janicke will speak at the Biotechnology Industry Organization Conference in Boston on May 9. It will be a panel discussion on patent law reform efforts currently ongoing in Congress. Later in May, Professor Janicke will be the keynote speaker at the San Francisco Intellectual Property Law Association’s annual institute on case law developments in that field.


Joan Krause’s commentary, “Distorted Reflections of Battered Women Who Kill: A Response to Professor Dressler,” was published in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law.


Raymond Nimmer’s article, “Legal Landscape of Electronic Commerce: Redefining Contract Law in an Information Age,” was published on the Contract Law Journal, an international journal edited in Australia. His essay,” An Essay on Article Two’s Irrelevance to Licensing Agreements,” was published in Loyola (Los Angeles) Law Journal as a part of a symposium on The Private Ordering of Contractual Relations. He also spoke as a guest lecturer at Cambridge University (UK) on May 2 and delivered speeches on April 23 sponsored by the Thomson-West experts program at the law firm of Heller-Ehrman and the law firm of Townsend and Townsend in San Francisco on, “Information Wars: the Grand Debate in Modern Intellectual Property Law.”  On April 13, he delivered the keynote speech at the NACLEA meeting in New York. He also spoke at two UH CLE programs during the month on Database Protection and Privacy Issues.


Michael A. Olivas responded to an invitation to comment on the record about the implementation of S.B. 529 in Georgia, which requires the GA Board of Regents to implement a policy concerning undocumented residency tuition. He delivered lectures on Hernandez v. Texas at the UH History Department on April 25, and at the University of California-Irvine on May 9, and wrote a paper, “Holding the Line: Plyler at Age 25,” for publication in a volume celebrating 25 years after Plyler v. Doe; he delivered the paper at a UC-Berkeley conference on May 7.  He also submitted the final manuscript for the forthcoming Law Stories Series, Education Law Stories (Foundation Press, 2007, with Ronna G. Schneider). He served as juror in the American Immigration Law Association/Bender’s Immigration Bulletin Daniel Levy Prize for the outstanding immigration law professor.


Laura Oren delivered a paper entitled, “Child Evacuation and Public Policy: London 1939 and New Orleans 2005,” at Children and the Law After the Katrina Disaster; An Interdisciplinary Conference on Young Evacuees, on April 20. She co-organized the conference which was sponsored by the Center for Children, Law & Policy at the UH Law Center, in collaboration with the ABA’s Center on Children and the Law. The conference was introduced by Professors Lawrence Powell (Tulane, History) and Charles Ogletree (Harvard, Law) and included panels on the disaster and juvenile justice/foster care, empirical data, and education. Professor Oren’s Topics in Children and the Law Class produced a student reader with their own papers that was distributed to conference attendees, and created a resource bank website on children and disasters. It is available at www.law.uh.edu/center4clp/resources/homepage.html.  A book will be published with the ABA (anticipated publication date December 2007) based on the proceedings of the conference and enhanced with further commentary and contributions. The conference photographic exhibit of pictures from the Times-Picayune showing children during and in the aftermath of the storm will be on display again at the UH Law Center in the summer or fall.


Professor Oren also delivered a paper in Columbus, Ohio entitled, “Abandonment, Termination of Parental Rights, and the Constitutional Contrast Between the Rights of Married and Unmarried Fathers.” This was for a symposium, No Parent Left Behind: Father’s Rights in Adoption, held on February 15 and sponsored by the Capital University Law Review in collaboration with the Capital University Law School and the National Center for Adoption Law and Policy. On February 16, she judged a round in the Second Annual Moot Court Competition in the Area of Child Welfare and Adoption Law. Her article,” Thwarted Fathers or Pop-Up Pops? How to Determine When Putative Fathers Can Block the Adoption of Their Newborn Children,” appeared in the Family Law Quarterly (published by the ABA Section on Family Law). Her article on “Some Thoughts on the State-Created Danger Doctrine: DeShaney is Still Wrong and Castle Rock Is More of the Same,” is to be published shortly in the Temple Political and Civil Rights Law Review.


Jordan Paust was re-elected as a member of the Executive Committee of the Lieber Society on the Law of Armed Conflict at the annual meeting of the American Society of American Law and moderated a panel session that he created on the 100th Anniversary of the 1907 Hague Convention No. IV and the 30th Anniversary of the 1977 Protocols to the Geneva Conventions.  During a concurrent meeting of the International Law Students Association, he was a member of a panel on The International Criminal Court and the Rule of Law. On May 7th, he provided expert testimony in the case Nawal Haj Khalil, et al. and Her Majesty the Queen, in the Federal Court of Canada, Trial Division, Toronto. His presentation, “Responding Lawfully to al Qaeda,” during A Conference on International Humanitarian Law in the Age of Terrorism at the United States Military Academy, West Point, was revised and printed in 56 Catholic University Law Review (2007).


Nancy Rapoport  writes:  Am moving to Las Vegas in a few days and this may be my last dispatch. Since last month’s entry, I’ve accepted an offer from Aspen to update (with my hubby Jeff as co-author) Emanuel’s Strategies and Tactics for the MBE (ironic, since Jeff and I will be taking the Nevada bar in July – we’re also lined up to co-author the S&T for the MPRE when that update comes due) and from the Foundation Press (Jeff as co-author again) to do a 2ed of our Enron book. I’m speaking to all of the Nevada federal judges (District of Nevada Annual Conference) this Thursday – twice (once on ethic generally and once on bankruptcy ethics). I’ll speak at the Rocky Mountain Mineral Foundation Conference in Santa Fe on 5/17. I speak at the Texas Bench/Bar Conference in early June. I taught a short course on Enron for the St. John’s LLM in Bankruptcy program and was on the plenary session for the American Bankruptcy Institute’s 25th Annual Spring Meeting in DC. I’m in the middle of doing the draft of the chapter on “deepening insolvency” for Collier on Bankruptcy. Oh, and the bar review starts on 5/21.


Sandra Guerra Thompson had her article entitled, “Beyond a Reasonable Doubt?: Reconsidering Uncorroborated Eyewitness Identification Testimony,” accepted for publication by the UC Davis Law Review. Her article, “Immigration Law and Long-Term Residents: A Missing Chapter in American Criminal Law,” will appear in the Ohio State Journal of Criminal Law. She was recently quoted in the Houston Chronicle regarding the sentencing of a defendant in a federal case. KUHF interviewed her for a radio show on wrongful convictions and the release of the 200th person exonerated by means of DNA testing.


Diana Velardo was interviewed by Telemundo for a segment on Aqui Y Ahora on issues of domestic violence and gender bias and how they affect immigrant men, women, and children. Senator Van Der Putte invited Diana to speak at a press conference for the introduction of a new bill as an expert on issues of human trafficking. Diana was re-elected Chair of the Houston Coalition Against Human Trafficking.


Stephen Zamora and Professors Tom Oldham, Sandy Guerra Thompson, and Dean Ray, attended the annual Curriculum Development workshop of the North American Consortium on Legal Education (NACLE), held in New York City in April and hosted by Fordham Law School. Dean Nimmer gave a keynote lecture on “The New Boundaries of North American Law in the Information Age.” Professor Oldham and family law professors from other NACLE schools made plans for offering, during the 2007-2008 academic year, another version of their course on Comparative North American Law, which uses distance learning technology that connects law students from Canada, Mexico, and the United States. Professor Guerra Thompson participated in a similar workshop, on teaching comparative criminal law, with experts from Canada and Mexico. Professor Zamora was one of the organizers of the workshop for NACLE. More information on NACLE and the conference can be found at www.nacle.org.