In the News

Stephen Sugarman in the news:

The overlooked victims of violent crime

Stephen Sugarman writes for The New York Times, January 20, 2014
“Otherwise, as tragic as it is for the victims and close survivors of mass violence, their situation in the end is no different from the terrible situations in which the victims and survivors of everyday individual deadly violence find themselves. Ordinarily, therefore, it would seem unjust to single out mass violence events for publicly funded compensation.”

To the mat: parents to appeal ruling allowing yoga in public schools

Jesse Choper and Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Christian Science Monitor, July 3, 2013

“Just because the Ten Commandments condemn murder and theft doesn’t make laws prohibiting murder a violation of church and state,” says Jesse Choper, a constitutional scholar at the School of Law at the University of California, Berkeley. “McGowan v. Maryland saved a lot of other religious-looking laws.”

The San Diego case is not the first time a court has rejected a legal claim that teaching yoga in the public schools violates the First Amendment prohibition of the establishment of religion by government, says UC Berkeley law professor Stephen Sugarman…. What is termed yoga can be delivered as a form of healthful exercise and breathing, in effect, as part of the physical education program, he says. “That is what the judge decided here.”

Chrysler gives in to feds on Jeep recall

Stephen Sugarman interviewed by KTVU, June 18, 2013

“Winning in court might well be much less than the cost of ongoing battles, and it may be just as well to be done on this basis.”

Designing tax credit scholarship programs

Stephen Sugarman writes for RedefinED, May 23, 2013

I have written an article about tax credit school scholarship plans that will be published in the Journal of Law and Education… Put simply, funded by state tax credits, these plans enable low- and modest-income families to send their children to private schools in grades K-12.

When independence means you’re on your own

Stephen Sugarman quoted in The New York Times, April 11, 2013

“When these health care professionals are on the job, there is no immunity and they of course can be sued for malpractice,” said Stephen Sugarman…. “Suppose the woman was in fine health and in the facility dining room and was clearly choking?” he said. “Would it be O.K. for the staff just to ignore her even if they knew how to do the Heimlich? I don’t think so.”

Soda ban: 4 alternatives

Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Epoch Times, March 28, 2013

One way to decrease sugar consumption would be to ask chain restaurants and retailers such as Trader Joe’s to reduce sugar in the products they sell by a certain percentage every year, says Stephen Sugarman…. “You require them to reduce the amount of added sugar that passes through their cash registers, by, let’s say, five percent a year,” said Sugarman. “And you just let them figure out how to do that—as long as they meet the target then there’s no tax, no penalty. Any individual shopper can keep on buying whatever he or she wants, but the company, just as they seduce us into buying the type of diet we buy now, will have to seduce us into buying an increasingly less sugary diet.”

Lawyers scramble for patients of accused Hopkins gynecologist

Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Baltimore Sun, February 21, 2013

Stephen D. Sugarman, a professor at the University of California, Berkeley School of Law, said he doesn’t consider circumstances like those in the Levy case to be candidates for class action because experiences may vary among plaintiffs. Similar cases have rarely been class actions in recent years, he said.

Lafayette School District says 14-year-old child abuse victim may bear some responsibility

Stephen Sugarman quoted in Contra Costa Times, November 3, 2012

Stephen Sugarman, a UC Berkeley law professor who teaches tort law, said such a line of defense “seems entirely implausible.” “Indeed, if the district sticks to this sort of hardball tactic it could well backfire and increase both the likelihood of the defendants being found liable and the amount of damages awarded against them,” Sugarman said, adding that it also could taint the district’s reputation in the community.

Bakersfield woman wins $3.6 million in first of trials related to medical device

Stephen Sugarman quoted in The Bakersfield Californian, July 23, 2012

It’s common in large-scale personal injury litigation for both sides to see how the first few trials go before deciding how to dispose of the rest of them, said Stephen Sugarman, a professor of law at the University of California, Berkeley. “Both sides are treating each jury case as an experiment,” he said. “They see what works and what doesn’t before a jury. If they have a bad witness, they switch them out. After a while, a pattern emerges.”

Why we need to readjust the tort system

Stephen Sugarman writes for The Atlantic, July 3, 2012

New safety-promoting mechanisms should be relied upon instead of personal injury law…. we should increase the penalties for drivers who carelessly cause injuries in the way that many states have upped the fines for drunk driving. At the same time, new cars should come with either higher taxes or tax credits depending on which of the cutting-edge safety features they do or do not contain—like side air bags, roll-over prevention mechanisms, and traction control.

The sugar fix–regulation at retail level

Stephen Sugarman writes for San Francisco Chronicle, June 27, 2012

Over-consumption of sugar leads to diabetes, obesity and higher health care costs, and we need to work together to change that. With the right sort of direction, enterprises can be the leaders to help us achieve a lower-sugar diet for Americans.

Public pluralism

John Coons, Stephen Sugarman write editorial letters to First Things, February 2012

John Coons: Our melange of state-funded and private schools have maintained choice for families who can afford either to locate in a desirable district or pay private tuition. Those who cannot do either get educated in a school chosen by strangers. We trust only the well-off parents.

Stephen Sugarman: Charter schools are now at the heart of the public school choice movement. But the one type of school currently not permitted to be a charter school is the religious school. This forces parents who prefer a religious education for their children either to pay for it, find financial aid, or settle for something else.

Herma Hill Kay, Stephen Sugarman, and Mary Louise Frampton Influence CA Law

San Francisco Chronicle, February 26, 2012 by Mary Louise Frampton

Our scholarship has led to state and national social reforms. Herma Hill Kay, a former dean and professor, co-authored California’s no-fault divorce law, calling it a “movement whose time had come.”

Professors John Coons and Stephen Sugarman argued successfully for K-12 financial reform based on the Constitution’s “equal protection” clause. Lawmakers “embraced the idea of education equity,” says Sugarman.

Our public education lens today is focused on “restorative justice.” Considered unconventional by some educators, that’s a disciplinary tactic that encourages accountability and relationship building instead of harsh punishment. Results from our first-ever empirical study are dramatic: In one West Oakland middle school, suspensions dropped by 87 percent, and expulsions dropped to zero.

Stephen Sugarman Discusses Impact of Big Tobacco Regulations

The AM Law Daily, December 7, 2011 by Sara Randazzo

With the Food and Drug Administration turning up the heat on tobacco makers in recent years, industry rivals are increasingly at odds over how far regulators should go, says Stephen Sugarman. Bans on certain types of advertising, for example, would have less impact on a nationally recognized brand such as Philip Morris’s Marlboro than on lesser known brands trying to elbow their way into the market, Sugarman says.

Stephen Sugarman Rebukes Reference to Health Care Law

The New York Times, November 19, 2011 by Ira Mark Ellman and Stephen D. Sugarman

The health care “mandate” is clearly constitutional. Indeed, it’s misleading to call it a mandate at all. Everyone already uses health care services. The new law merely regulates how we buy them.

Stephen Sugarman Comments on Molestation Case

California Watch, August 11, 2011 by Stephanie Rice

Stephen Sugarman, who teaches tort law at the UC Berkeley School of Law, said the case, which otherwise relies on the account of a young girl, is strengthened by the social services finding of inadequate supervision. “It would not be conclusive evidence, but it’s substantial evidence in their favor,” he said. “It would be tough evidence for (the district) to overcome,” he added.

Stephen Sugarman Says Criminal Case Unlikely in Violent Sports Injury

San Francisco Examiner, July 3, 2011 by Dan Schreiber

“For nonprofessional league situations of willfully wrongful conduct, the criminal law system is more likely to get involved,” Sugarman said. “Of course, just because someone is badly injured or even killed while playing a sport does not mean that a crime has been committed.”

Stephen Sugarman Opines on $6.7 Million Award

ABC News, March 17, 2011 by Sherisse Pham

“It does not strike me as an outlandish amount,” said Steve Sugarman, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. “As I understand it genital herpes is a lifetime bad-news kind of deal to have.”

Stephen Sugarman Downplays Impact of Tobacco Suit

The New York Times, January 30, 2011 by Barry Meier

Stephen D. Sugarman … said he did not expect the St. Louis suit to be any more successful than those that had preceded it. He said that the difficulty for third-party claimants like hospitals was that they were trying to stand in the shoes of the smokers themselves.

Stephen Sugarman Notes Laws that Protect Smokers

The Christian Science Monitor, November 17, 2010 by Sara Afzal

“The laws are enforceable. There are laws that protect smokers,” says Stephen Sugarman, a law professor at the University of California, Berkeley. For instance, “I think it’s pretty clear that all of these laws prohibit an employer from firing an employee for smoking.”