In the News

The White House has some unexpected ideas about reducing crime

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, May 4, 2016

“If you and I are selling drugs on the street, we’re both going to want the best corner, and if we have a conflict about who got there first, we’re not going to put it into arbitration,” Zimring said. “They put a tremendous number of cops in to destroy the public drug markets.”

Trademark officials must distinguish between irony and offense

Sonia Katyal writes for The New York Times, May 4, 2016

Brands and trade symbols are not just pictures. They implicate the very force of identity, which can form and recode itself according to the dynamic pull of public culture. But there are certain marks that remain disparaging by the communities that are targeted by them, and that is precisely why we need the force of law to limit its protection of them.

Pulte fight pits company’s founder against its board

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, May 3, 2016

Mr. Pulte’s interests are divided, as he has hedged his own stock holdings in the company and borrowed heavily against them, leaving one to wonder whether he is acting more in his own interests than the company’s.

Sexual harassment training may have reverse effect, research suggests

Lauren Edelman quoted in The Guardian, May 2, 2016

“We really need more research on what works. All we really know about sexual harassment training is that it protects employers from liability. We don’t know whether it protects employees. We don’t know whether it reduces sexual harassment.”

Superior Court judge allows families of balcony collapse victims, survivors to pursue punitive damages

Mark Gergen quoted in The Daily Californian, April 29, 2016

UC Berkeley law school professor Mark Gergen said punitive damages can easily be equal to the amount of liability the defendants will have to pay, essentially doubling the amount of payment.

“We’re talking about people who have suffered horrible injuries,” Gergen said. “(Punitive damages) are not likely to be covered by liability insurance.”

A Nixonian overreach by the Obama administration?

John Yoo co-writes for Investor’s Business Daily, April 25, 2016

Litigation between shareholders in Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac and the U.S. government has called for the revelation of documents that the White House tried to keep secret under the doctrine of “executive privilege.”

Theranos under pressure as inquiries mount

Steven Davidoff Solomon and Peter J. Henning write for The New York Times, April 20, 2016

Like most private companies, Theranos shares have not been made available to the general investing public. But that does not exempt the company from the anti-fraud provisions of the federal securities laws.

Professors sue American Studies Association for boycott of Israel

Steven Davidoff Solomon quoted in The Algemeiner, April 20, 2016

“This appears to be a clear example of a small group misappropriating assets raised for an agreed-upon purpose and illegally using the organization to advance a completely separate and personal agenda,” said University of California, Berkeley Law School Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon, a corporate law expert who advised the litigation group representing the plaintiffs.

Hearing for lawsuits over Downtown Berkeley development set for Aug. 26

Ethan Elkind quoted in The Daily Californian, April 20, 2016

“(Environmental impact reports) are covering such a wide range of subjects that generally it’s not too hard to find an area where they did an inadequate job,” Elkind said.

S.E.C. in stasis as democrats hold up Obama nominees

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, April 19, 2016

That senators would hold up a nomination is no surprise, but this time it is an act rich with irony. The two nominees, Hester Peirce and Lisa M. Fairfax, were cleared by these same Democratic senators after a revolt over the White House’s first proposed nominee, Keir D. Gumbs, a partner at the law firm Covington & Burling.

Political psychiatry: How China uses ‘Ankang’ hospitals to silence dissent

Stanley Lubman writes for The Wall Street Journal, April 19, 2016

Notably, human rights groups have long charged that one of the crudest examples of illegality in Chinese criminal procedure is the political use of psychiatry to detain, imprison, and forcibly medicate dissidents and activists.

Lyft sued over fatal crash after settlement delay

Andrew Bradt quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, April 18, 2016

Still, he said, Lyft’s responses are unlikely to play well in the court of public opinion — and could hurt the company’s reputation. “It seems like misdirection if one of their main selling points is protection by an insurance policy, but the realities of recovering under that policy are extremely onerous,” Bradt said.

States scramble to find lethal injection drugs

Megan McCracken interviewed by HowStuffWorks, April 18, 2016

“If states are allowed to refuse to disclose information about where they are getting the drugs and who made them,” says McCracken, “then the courts can’t analyze lethal injection procedures to make a fact-based determination about their lawfulness and constitutionality.”

As clinic access tightens, group touts pregnancy-ending drug

Jill Adams quoted by Associated Press, April 15, 2016

“There will always be people who need to do this for themselves, and they deserve to have the resources and information so they can do so safely and effectively, free from the threat of arrest,” said Jill Adams.

Starboard Value’s Yahoo fight shows growing power of activist investors

Steven Davidoff Solomon quoted in Santa Cruz Sentinel News, April 15, 2016

“It doesn’t look good for Yahoo,” UC Berkeley School of Law professor Steven Solomon said. “I’m pretty certain (Starboard Value) is going to win the fight.”

Killings, deaths at the border

Roxanna Altholz interviewed by USA Today, April 15, 2016

“We are alleging that the United States used excessive force against Anastasio Hernandez Rojas, that agents tortured Anastasio Rojas, and that the investigation was delayed and that it lacked impartiality and independence. That’s the core of our case against the United States.”

Uber passenger says driver’s chase ended in death of SF pedestrian

Mark Gergen quoted in San Francisco Chronicle, April 13, 2016

“Uber was trying to get out in front of it before the customer was fully aware of his medical condition and his legal rights,” he said. Noting that West could make a case for “significant emotional disturbance” and possibly false imprisonment as well as physical injuries, Gergen said, “Uber has a significant liability risk here.”

Virginia wants to hide the names of lethal injection drug suppliers. Here’s how that is going in other states.

Franklin Zimring quoted in The Washington Post, April 12, 2016

“The shield law is an attempt to create circumstances in which continuity of supply is going to be possible,” Zimring said. “Once the idea of a shield law takes hold, then anybody who is suffering from these issues will go after it.”

Rise of institutional investors raises questions of collusion

Steven Davidoff Solomon writes for The New York Times, April 12, 2016

BlackRock, Vanguard and other big institutional investors own roughly 70 percent of the public stock market, according to some reports. People are starting to ask whether this allows companies — now having the same owners — to compete less and raise prices.

Federal Defend Trade Secrets Act clears the Senate: Is the uniform act on life support?

Peter Menell quoted in Lexology, April 11, 2016

Of critical importance to several senators was the thoughtful consideration of the interplay between trade secret protection and illegal activity unearthed by employees. As noted by Professor Peter Menell of the UC Berkeley School of Law, “[t]he same routine non-disclosure agreements that are essential to safeguarding trade secrets can be and are used to chill those in the best position to reveal illegal activity.”