University of Louisville Law Faculty Blog

Some days Starbucks gets the bear, some days the bear gets Starbucks

Nice explanation by Prof. Rebecca Tushnet on her blog about the Starbucks v. Wolfe’s Borough Coffee case. Starbucks lost a dilution case based on the use of the mark CHARBUCKS. 

Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit


On Tuesday, I had an enjoyable opportunity to present for the 2L & 3L Academic Success Program. The program was on "Writing a Research Paper for Writing Requirement Credit."

 The one-hour session began by discussing the student handbook section that sets out the writing requirement, noting its importance as a core requirement of a professional degree.  Then I provided general advice on picking a topic, with some emphasis on library resources like subject-specific legal newsletters, ProfBlogs, and general legal news sources that may helpful in generating topics. Researching the policy aspects of legal issues that come up in seminar papers was briefly discussed, leading next to a treatment of issues involved in writing of a research paper.  Issues discussed incuded creating outlines, constructing a thesis, resolving common style and grammar issues, proofreading, and avoiding plagiarism by the proper use of quotation and citation.  Given the limited time to discuss these matters, liberal mention was given to resources like Eugene Volokh’s Academic Legal Writing: Law Review Articles, Student Notes, and Seminar Papers, and the collection of other legal writing books on reserve in the law library, as well is in the Academic Success Office's library.


The program will be given again the spring, but I'm attaching the outline and some of the handouts:


Adapation and Resilient Cities (Biophilic Cities Guest Blog on Adaptive Law and Resilient Cities, Part 4)

This month the Biophilic Cities Project has been posting a series of guest blog entries by me on how principles of adaptive law developed by Lance Gunderson and me might apply to cities and their resiliency.  This is Part 4 of the series, about adaptation (including adaptive management, adaptive planning, and adaptive governance) and resilient cities:

Private Property Rights and Resilient Cities (Biophilic Cities Blog on Adaptive Law and Resilient Cities, Part 3)


This month the Biophilic Cities Project has been posting a series of guest blog entries by me on how principles of adaptive law developed by Lance Gunderson and me might apply to cities and their resiliency.  This is Part 3 of the series, about private property rights and resilient cities:

Biophilic Cities Guest Blog on Adaptive Law and Resilient Cities (Part 2)


This month the Biophilic Cities Project has been posting a series of guest blog entries by me on how principles of adaptive law developed by Lance Gunderson and me might apply to cities and their resiliency.  This is Part 2 of the series, about local governance and resilient cities:


Great explanation of why downloading music doesn't seem as bad as stealing a car.


A student in my IP Survey class sent me a link to a youtube clip by Mindy Kaling (who played Kelly from The Office) giving a great explanation of why downloading music without paying doesn't seem as bad as stealing a car. She gets why comparing downloading music to theft of physical goods doesn't really work. Enjoy.

Biophilic Cities Guest Blog on Resilient Cities and Adaptive Law (Part 1)


I am guest blogging on resilient cities and adaptive law over on the Biophilic Cities blog. 
This is the first of four parts based on recent work on adaptive law concepts by environmental scientist Lance Gunderson and me, and how these concepts might apply to the social-ecological resilience of cities.  The link is here:


Computers for Girls


During the first two weeks of August 2013, I'll be volunteering with the World Computer Exchange (WCE) as part of their eCorps Liberia technology training team travelling to Monrovia. I and other members of this team will assist with education and technology training of teachers and school staff at their partner organizations. This particular project is part of the Computers for Girls initiative, which seeks to provide better opportunities for women and girls in developing nations by using technology to remove the barriers to education and advancement.

I received a small grant which covers a portion of my flight and administrative fees. I’m seeking donors to help cover the additional costs. Donations are tax-deductible. Each sponsor who provides me with a mailing address will receive a handwritten postcard from Liberia. When I return, I plan to post a report and photos from the trip on my faculty blog.

If you’d like to contribute to this project, please choose one of the following methods:

Thank you for taking the time to learn more about this project.  Any and all donations, no matter how small, are greatly appreciated! I’m extremely grateful to my parents, friends, employer and colleagues for their encouragement.

Online Activity in the Workplace

I was thrilled to participate on the panel "Online Activity in the Workplace" at Fordham University School of Law on March 19, 2013.  C-SPAN recorded, and the video is available here.

2013 Kentucky Legislative Update


This past Tuesday, I attended the Greater Louisville Sierra Club's annual legislative update, presented by Tom Fitzgerald, Director of the Kentucky Resources Council (KRC) and an adjunct professor at the law school.

The Kentucky legislature convened for its regular session on January 8 and will adjourn on March 30. Since there are no major elections this year, the process is expected to move along quickly. Tom provided a list of legislation that the KRC is monitoring. They pertain to power production, sustainability, timber, telecommunications and more. His favorite is SB 145 proposed by Bob Leeper, the legislature's only Independant Senator, which would amend Kentucky's Constitution to repeal annual sessions.

The following may be of particular interest to environmentalists and social justice advocates:

SB 29: relating to surface mining, written by Tom Fitzgerald for the Kentucky Resources Council.

SB 46: relating to biomass. Passed on February 21.

SB 50: relating to industrial hemp and HR 33: relating to industrial hemp and making an appropriation therefor. It has bipartisan support, but is opposed by law enforcement. Fitzgerald pointed out that all the bill serves to do is set up a framework for regulation, but that it's essentially useless because hemp production is still federally prohibited.

SB 53: relating to nature preserves and Blackacre State Nature Preserve and Historic Homestead specifically, KY's only urban nature preserve.

SB 80: relating to the prohibition against implementing the United Nations Agenda 21, a non-binding action plan pertaining to sustainable development. Tea Party activists assert that it will deprive Kentucky of its autonomy.

SB 88: relating to telecommunication. Supported by AT&T and two dozen lobbyists. Opposed by the AARP and the KRC because it would impose a hardship for impoverished and rural areas. To follow the "Phone Deregulation Debate", visit KET.

SB 134: relating to sand and gravel operations.

SB 190: relating to water quality. Would require more transparency from the Energy and Environment cabinet. There was a public hearing for input on the Floyds Fork watershed on February 19.

SJR 118: directs the Department for Environmental Protection to establish a water quality advisory group. Fitzgerald objects to the fact that the group is comprised soley of industry representatives and no environmental experts.

HB 53: relating to consumer protection. Essentially, it would re-regulate AT&T, but it's unlikely to pass.

HB 110: relating to utility rate adjustment for fuel costs. Might reduce coal dependency, but would increase fracking because natural gas production is becoming cheaper. Because of the high clay content, nitrogen fracking is preferred to hydrofracking in Kentucky.

HB 111: relating to the economic and environmental sustainability of forest lands. Would allow family forest land owners to receive Forest Stewardship Council designation. Passed in the House on February 21.

HB 126: relating to the Petroleum Tank Environmental Assurance Fund. Fitzgerald supports its reauthorization, which would extend the period for gas tank removals and other contamination site cleanups. Passed in the House on February 21.

HB 165: relating to rock quarries. It was criticized in an op-ed in the Lexington Herald-Leader on February 3, "Breaking the rules with few consequences; Unauthorized quarrying in rural zone."

HB 170: relating to energy. Would require Kentucky's power producers to use increasing amounts of renewable energy. A hearing has been scheduled in the Tourism Development & Energy committee on February 28.

HB 348: relating to the reclamation of oil and gas well sites and making an appropriation therefor by establishing the oil and gas well reclamation fund.

HB 363: relating to fuel use for electric generation. Attempts to prevent utilities from using natural gas for base load power, which is more efficient and less polluting.

HJR 41: directs the Department of Housing, Building and Construction to form a Task Force to conduct a study of the energy consumption in manufactured housing in Kentucky. The reading was adopted on February 21.

HCR 42: would establish a Timber Theft and Trespass Reduction Task Force to study issues regarding timber theft and trespass.

HR 78: urges LG&E to consider alternative coal ash storage and to preserve the Wentworth Limestone Cave in Trimble County, which may have been part of the Underground Railroad.

Other items that I found interesting include a couple of amendments to exsisting legislation that would provide gender-neutral language; penalties for animal abusers (HB 374); HB 7 that authorizes a bond for the expansion of UofL's Student Activities Center, which has already been signed into law; SB 91 & HB 70 an amendment that would restore voting rights to some felons; several bills relating to alcoholic beverages including HB 310 that seeks to permanently prohibit grocery stores from selling wine and spirits and HB 440 that would allow microbreweries to sell malt beverages on their premises. There are also a few pieces of legislation that relate to attorneys, the Attorney General, and Commonwealth Attorneys.

Tom Fitzgerald implored the crowd to action by stating, "It's never been easier to get involved," then provided the following tips.

How to Take Action