A Symposium sponsored by Widener Law Journal. April 16, 2013
Pharmaceuticals. Asbestos. BP oil spill. “September 11th.” How does the civil justice system respond when a large number of claims derive from a product or event?
This symposium approaches mass tort litigation from a variety of perspectives. First, a group of nationally renowned legal academics describes and discusses the theories underlying mass tort litigation. Then a panel of practitioners introduces several emerging issues in the practice of mass torts. Next, Pennsylvania-specific civil justice issues, including joint and several liability and venue, are debated. These reforms affect not only mass tort, but more traditional tort litigation as well. One of the original mass tort issues—asbestos—created the widespread problem of bankrupt defendants, and resolving the problem is the subject of the fourth panel. Finally, traditional rules of ethics are applied in the mass torts context.
United States District Judge Eduardo Robreno of the Eastern District of Pennsylvania will deliver the Distinguished Address, “Federal Asbestos Litigation: Black Hole or New Paradigm?” Judge Robreno is the presiding judge of the federal asbestos multidistrict litigation docket, MDL 875, the largest and longest-lasting MDL of all. Judge Robreno’s 2008 appointment as presiding judge led to a significant change in the management of MDL 875.
“Perspectives on Mass Tort Litigation” features a distinguished group of legal academics, practitioners, and judges addressing an increasingly important area of litigation.
Please plan to join us.
The Widener Law Journal is proud to announce the Administrative Board for the 2012-2013 academic year.
Editor-in-Chief: Rachel Hadrick
Executive Managing Editor: Ryan Molitoris
Internal Managing Editor: Meghan McNaughton
Business/External Managing Editor: Kristie Falbo
Symposium Editor: Caitlin Glenn
Pennsylvania Law Editor: Gabor Ovari
Internal Editors: Courtney Hair, Julie Slabinski, Josh Light
The Journal is excited to have such a talented and dedicated group to lead the Journal in its 22nd year of publishing!
The Widener Law Journal is proud to announce the Administrative Board for the 2010-2011 academic year.
Editor-in-Chief: Maria Allegretto
Executive Managing Editor: Kathryn Peters
Internal Managing Editor: Steven Jones
Business/External Managing Editor: Wallace Rejrat
Symposium Editor: Nicole Radziewicz
Pennsylvania Law Editor: Jordan Spahr
Internal Editors: Joel Patch, Jesika Pufnock, Maeve Scanlon
The Journal is excited to have such a talented and dedicated group to lead the Journal in its 21st year of publishing!
“[N]or shall private property be taken for public use, without just compensation,” states the Fifth Amendment’s Just Compensation Clause. This Clause constitutes an important limitation on government power. Its exact scope, however, remains a topic of great debate. For example, the meaning of the phrase “public use” was at the heart of Kelo v. City of New London, 545 U.S. 469 (2005), where the Supreme Court of the United States controversially allowed the transfer of property from one person to another in the pursuit of “economic development.”
Another deeply contentious issue is deciding what kind of government actions fall under the scope of the Just Compensation Clause. Exercises of the power of eminent domain such as those involved in Kelo have always been understood to be canvassed within the Clause. In contrast, courts have long struggled with the issues of whether and when an exercise of a state’s regulatory police power might violate the Fifth Amendment’s takings protections.
Stop the Beach Renourishment v. Florida Department of Environmental Protection, 130 S. Ct. 2592 (2010), another recent Supreme Court decision, added a new layer of controversy Stop the Beach presented an issue that had previously been an obscure academic one: when, if ever, can an action by the state’s judiciary be an unconstitutional taking of private property? Recent Supreme Court precedent has established that some changes in property law made by the executive or legislature could be unconstitutional takings. Would the result be the same if the judiciary made the change instead?
By simply considering the issue, the Supreme Court made judicial takings a constitutional law hot topic. The way the Justices delivered fragmented opinions in Stop the Beach made the issue even more interesting. While the Justices agreed that no taking had occurred, they were deeply divided in their reasoning. No opinion commanded a majority of the Supreme Court on any of the open issues. The Supreme Court therefore dramatically raised the profile of judicial takings while leaving all of the important constitutional issues unresolved.
Due to its importance and status as a hot legal topic, the issue of judicial takings will be the focus of this year’s Widener Law Journal Symposium. The symposium will be organized by Professor Barros, a recognized expert in takings law, and Nicole Radziewicz, the Journal’s Symposium Editor, along with other members of the Journal’s Administrative Board. The Journal anticipates hosting the event, which will include presentations by many distinguished authorities on the topic of takings law, in February.
On Thursday, February 17th, the Widener Law Journal, in connection with the Widener Law and Government Institute, hosted a symposium entitled “The Contribution of the Commonwealth Court to Pennsylvania Jurisprudence Since 1970.”
Following a short welcome, the program opened with a look at the Origins and Jurisdiction of the Court by C. Grainger Bowman, esq., the nephew of the Commonwealth Court’s first President Judge, James S. Bowman. C. Grainger Bowman also served as a law clerk for Judge Bowman from 1973 to 1974, and he currently serves as the Treasurer of the Commonwealth Court Historical Society. Kristen Brown, the Commonwealth Court’s Prothonotary, also spoke about her personal experiences with the court over her years of service. Throughout the day, the speakers looked at specific areas of Pennsylvania law where the Commonwealth Court’s decisions have had a significant impact, ranging from procedural due process to labor law, prisoner litigation, environmental law, and public utility law. Speakers included local attorneys, elected officials, and current and former Commonwealth Court judges. Several speakers also wrote articles for the Widener Law Journal’s symposium issue. Read more about the symposium here.
On January 26, 2011, the Legislative Reapportionment Committee, chaired by John Gedid, Esq., conducted hearings at Widener’s Harrisburg campus pertaining to addressing issues with past redistricting and considering the possibility of an amendment to the Pennsylvania Constitution. After the invited speakers gave presentations, audience members were offered a chance to briefly address the Committee. The first person to speak was Joseph Holaska, a 3RD student and an Internal Editor for the Widener Law Journal. Joseph recently completed a Directed Research paper with Widener Law Journal Faculty Advisor Michael Dimino recommending potential changes to the Pennsylvania Constitution to address redistricting issues. He summarized his paper’s conclusions to the committee, suggesting that they look at certain other states’ practices for guidance. After he spoke, Gedid requested that he make his paper available to the Committee for their review.
On Monday, November 8th, the Widener Law Journal, in cooperation with the Law & Government Instituted, hosted a distinguished panel of speakers at a symposium entitled “Modernizing Agency Practice: The 2010 Model State Administrative Procedure Act.” Organized by Symposium editor Curtis Erwin, the event drew a sizable audience to hear from a range of noted administrative law experts, including several who worked on the 2010 Model State Administrative Procedure Act.
Speakers at the symposium included UCLA Professor Emeritus and Stanford Law School Visiting Professor Emeritus Michael Asimow; Henry Hitchcock Professor of Law at Washington University School of Law Ronald Levin, who served as ABA Advisor to the Drafting Committee to Revise the Model State Administrative Procedure Act; Baylor Law School Professor Ron Beal; Emeritus Professor of Law William Andersen of the University of Washington School of Law; Rutgers School of Law Professor and Herbert Hannoch Scholar Bernard W. Bell; Pepperdine University School of Law Professor Gregory L. Ogden, who served as the committee’s reporter from 2006 until the conclusion of the project; and Widener Law Professor and Director of the Law & Government Institute John L. Gedid, who served as the committee’s reporter from 2003 until 2006 and then as a commissioner.
All journal members attended the symposium and assisted the speakers by providing administrative support in addition to participating in the panel discussions and question and answer sessions. The Widener Law Journal will be publishing all of the articles based on the symposium in the upcoming volumes.
The Widener Law Journal sponsored a team at the Annual Relay for Life held on October 16, 2010. The journal’s theme this year was “Tackling Cancer” and each journal member wore their favorite football jersey. Journal members walked, provided food, and gave support all day long. Arriving as early as 7am, the journal was represented by Editor-in-Chief Jim Hoppenjans, Internal Managing Editor Ashley Gustitus, and Associate Staff Members Maria Allegretto, Anthony Bowers, Wallace Rejrat, Maeve Scanlon, Jordan Spahr, and Jake Sulzer.
The Ladderball tournament hosted by the Journal was a big hit with all Relay participants and eventually won by SBA 3rd District Governor Paul Edger.
The RelayThe Relay
The Relay lasted all day before Widener Law Journal Alumni Jason Gottesman finished the day off as the closing speaker. Pictured below, Jason related his experiences and challenges with cancer in addition to recounting his eventual victory over cancer to all who attended. A total of $17,654.80 was raised for the American Cancer Society.
Members of the Widener Law Journal took time away from their editing responsibilities to participate in the annual Dean’s Picnic held on September 25, 2010. An annual event sponsored by the SBA, this years picnic included food, beverages, fun and games for all who attended. Associate Staff Member and SBA rep Nicole Radziewicz helped to organize this year’s event by selling opportunities to sink faculty members and even Editor-in-Chief Jim Hoppenjans at the dunk tank. (below)
Law Law Journal Faculty Secretary Sandy Graeff can be seen below trying to sink Professor Dimino- faculty advisor to the Journal- while Nicole Radziewicz looks on.
The Widener Law Journal completed its annual three day orientation on Friday, August 20, 2010. This year, in addition to the annual picnic tradition, Ashley Gustitus, Internal Managing Editor and director of orientation, began the First Annual Widener Law Journal Kickball game, which included members of the Journal’s Administrative Board, new members of the Journal, and Widener faculty, staff, and administration. Journal orientation is three days of intense instruction on the skills necessary to be a successful legal writer, editor, and member of the Journal. Professor Gedid, Dean Sealing, Dean Meadows, and Professor Fruth spoke during orientation, addressing the work, responsibility, and opportunities that come with Journal membership. The pictures that follow show faculty, staff, administration and members of the Journal enjoying the Kickball Game on a beautiful Friday afternoon in Harrisburg, PA.