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The New York Court of Appeals struck down the NYC ban on the sale of large sugary drinks, upholding the Appellate Division decision. The Court based its decision on separation of powers, stating that

We hold that the New York City Board of Health, in adopting the “Sugary Drinks Portion Cap Rule”, exceeded the scope of its regulatory authority. By choosing among competing policy goals, without any legislative delegation or guidance, the Board engaged in law-making and thus infringed upon the legislative jurisdiction of the City Council of New York.

This rule was proposed by former Mayor Michael Bloomberg, and adopted by the NYC Board of Health in 2012. It proposed to amend Article 81 of the NYC Health Code to state that “[s]ugary drinks may not be sold or provided in cups or containers that can contain more than 16 fluid ounces,” and established a fine of $200 for each time the rule was violated by a food service establishment.

This rule was part of the effort by the NYC Obesity Task Force to combat obesity. The Court of Appeals suggested other ways the task force could accomplish its goals, including “instruction (i.e. health warnings on large containers or near vending machines) to outright prohibition.”

The case is N.Y. Statewide Coal. of Hispanic Chambers of Commerce v. N.Y.C. Dep’t of Health & Mental Hygiene, No. 134, 2014 NY Slip Op 04804 (June 26, 2014).

Additional reading:


Researching Human Trafficking? There are two great case law databases publicly available online.

Human Trafficking Law Project (HTLP) Database, launched in February 2011 by the Human Trafficking Clinic at Michigan Law School, is a publicly available database of human trafficking cases within the United States. The database is fully searchable even though it does not employ Boolean search capability. As such, searches using AND, OR, and NOT will not work. But, the retrieved results can be effectively filtered by either a case name, year of verdict, type of court, type of case, or when it was last modified. To help users sift through the retrieved results, the database editors assign case categorization for each verdict (i.e. military contractor, domestic servant, commercial sexual exploitation, prostitution, pornography, etc.) identifying major issues of each case. Additional tips on how to use the HTLP database are posted online.

UNODC Human Trafficking Case Law Database, created and maintained by the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, offers almost 1,000 case briefs from 80 different countries and two supranational courts. Case law can be browsed by either a country or by keywords, or case law can be searched. Countries are listed in alphabetical order and can be filtered by the name of the country. Keywords are divided into six major categories: acts, means, purpose of exploitation, international cooperation, form of trafficking, and sector in which exploitation takes place. When searching case law, retrieved results can be further filtered by: country, decision/verdict date, sentenced date, victim’s nationality, victim’s gender (including the child category), defendant’s nationality, defendant’s gender, verdict, appellate decision, court, legal system, latest court ruling, type of court/tribunal, and keyword. Users may subscribe via RSS feed and be informed every time a new case brief is added to the database. Visit the FAQ section for more information about the database.

Related Readings:

Three Florida lawyers have been accused of setting up opposing counsel for a DUI arrest. In a story that reads like a script for some variation of Law and Order:

The simmering legal scandal centers on a bitter defamation trial between warring radio shock jocks Todd Schnitt and Bubba the Love Sponge Clem.

In January 2013 after a day in court, attorney C. Philip Campbell, who represented Schnitt, sat in an upscale steakhouse bar downtown. A young paralegal from the Adams & Diaco firm [representing Clem] took the stool next to him, lied about where she worked, flirted and drank with him, according to witnesses. Campbell was later arrested for DUI while driving her in her car.

Then came the revelation of multiple cellphone calls and texts that flew that night between the paralegal in the bar, her bosses and a Tampa police DUI sergeant outside Malio’s Prime Steakhouse.

Read the entire sordid story: Florida Bar Files Complaints Against Lawyers in Tampa DUI Scandal, Tampa Bay Times, June 4, 2014.

In April, the ABA issued Formal Opinion 466, stating that it is acceptable for lawyers to look at a juror’s social media profile, but not acceptable to contact a juror via social media. This includes friending via Facebook and sending Twitter or LinkedIn requests to jurors who restrict access to their accounts. A lawyer must notify the court if, while viewing a juror’s publicly available social media information, she learns that the juror is engaging in conduct that appears to be “criminal or fraudulent, including conduct that is criminally contemptuous of court instructions.”

Mark A. Berman, Ignatius A. Grande and Ronald J. Hedges, writing for the New York Law Journal, are critical of the ABA opinion, believing that it does not go far enough in protecting jurors.

We suggest that the ABA opinion does not appropriately protect jurors and insulate them from outside influences such as contact by counsel. We believe that the appropriate way to proceed when seeking to investigate jurors is set forth in the “Social Media Ethics Guidelines” issued on March 18, 2014 by the Commercial and Federal Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association. Guideline 5.B provides that: “[a] lawyer may view the social media … of a prospective juror or sitting juror provided that there is no communication (whether initiated by the lawyer, agent or automatically generated by the social media network) with the juror.”

Additional reading:

2010 Orientation 40During the summer, the acquisition of new materials is usually a bit slower, but nevertheless, we have two new additions in our Law in Film Collection. Our film collection is housed on the main level of the library, in the student lounge. All Pace library patrons with borrowing privileges may check movies out for up to five days at no charge. Come by and check it out.

Environmental Law

Cape Spin: An American Power Struggle (Electron Project presents a film by Rebirth Productions and the Press & the Public Project, Inc. in association with Gallant Films, Naked Edge Films, Steven Latham Productions; directed by Robbie Gemmel, John Kirby) [HD9502.5.W554 C374 2012 DVD] – “A surreal, fascinating, tragicomic story of the battle over what would be America’s largest clean energy project. Cape Wind was slated to be the U.S.’s first offshore windfarm… But strange alliances formed for and against: Kennedys, Kochs, and everyday folks do battle with the developer and green groups over the future of American power.”

Criminal Law

An Unreal Dream: The Michael Morton Story (written and directed by Al Reinert; co-directed by John Dean & Nellie Gonzalez; produced by Marcy Garriott, John Dean, Al Reinert; presented by Blue Bandana Productions & Glass House Productions LLC) [KF9756 .U57 2014 DVD] – “In 1986 Michael Morton’s wife Christine is brutally murdered in front of their only child and Michael is convicted of the crime. Locked away in Texas prisons for a quarter century, estranged from his son, he has years to ponder questions of justice and innocence, truth and fate. Though he is virtually invisible to society, the innocence Project and Michael’s pro bono attorney spend years fighting for the right to test DNA evidence found at the murder scene.”

The U.S. General Services Administration publishes an annual Consumer Action Handbook, a guide to help citizens make smarter decisions with their money. It is a compilation of buying tips from across government agencies, with updates on the latest scams and a consumer contact directory, and is available in both print and online formats. The Handbook also provides a sample consumer complaint letter wizard to help frustrated consumers experiencing a problem with a product or service: the Consumer Complaint Wizard asks a person to answer a few questions, and from the answers produces a downloadable letter that can be edited and mailed to the company responsible for the product. The Wizard takes the user through a 5-step process:

  1. Explanation of the product or service (including date of transaction)
  2. Mailing address of the company
  3. Description of the problem
  4. Choices for resolution of the problem, and
  5. A preview of the letter.

The Complaint Wizard also features “help” text and examples associated with a light bulb icon. The new online tool intended for consumer use supplements the resources available through the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (http://www.cpsc.gov) and other government agencies.

For those interested in keeping up with the development of the situation in Ukraine, check out the Ukrainian Crisis 2014 guide created and maintained by the UCL School of Slavonic and East European Studies Library. This page is being updated regularly and includes the following information:

Further, Ukraine, although a non-State party to the Rome Statute, has referred its situation to the International Criminal Court for investigation. The Office of the Prosecutor has issued a decision to open preliminary examination into the situation in Ukraine to determine whether the Rome Statute requirements for opening an official investigation are met.

One of the most recent controversies surrounding the Internet in the US concerns the FCC’s proposal for open internet rules having direct impact on the concept of Net Neutrality. Net neutrality is what makes the Internet a fair and leveled playing field for all. Net neutrality is considered the fundamental precondition to the growth and entrepreneurship on the Internet.

On May 15, 2014, the FCC released an unofficial announcement informing the public that it is launching rulemaking on how to protect and promote the open Internet. This announcement, almost immediately, spiked an uproar among the Internet community pointing out that FCC’s proposal would de facto hinder the Internet as we know it. As many news providers reported, this proposal,  under section 706 of the Telecommunications Act, would effectively undercut the very idea of a leveled and open Internet because it would create a so-called ‘slow’ and ‘fast lane’ for the Internet speed and thereby allowing for companies to pay Internet providers to deliver content to customers more quickly. Moreover, this proposal comes under the leadership of the FCC’s Chairman Tom Wheeler, who was appointed to his current position in November 2013 after spending years being one of the top lobbyist for the cable and wireless companies. 

The FCC has opened its proposal (proceeding number 14-28) for public comment through June 27, 2014. Those interested in commenting may utilize the FCC’s inbox for Open Internet Comments and send an email to the listed email address, or you may file a comment using the FCC’s Electronic Comment Filing System. This proposal has already generated over 42,000 comments that can be viewed here.

Related Readings:

POST WRITTEN BY: Steven E. Gavin (’14), Pace Law School

It is said that all land use law is inherently local. As such, finding resources applicable to a particular state or municipality can prove difficult even for the most experienced practitioner or scholar. Fortunately, the Land Use Law Center maintains a database called Gaining Ground, which provides users with a comprehensive collection of all things land use.

LULC BrowseThe “Browse Resources” function offers an intuitive and straight forward platform by which to locate a massive amount of land use resources, from the esoteric to the fundamental.  The user can browse not only by jurisdiction, state, and topic, but also by resource type and EPA region. This function proves particularly helpful to practitioners working in a particular state or area of land use law.

LULC Class

The “Resource Type” allows the user to narrow their search by particular type of content. The database contains many documents on laws that cannot be found anywhere else. Additionally,  the database is unique in  the availability of commentary and student articles produced under the supervision of  the Land Use Center staff.


The “By State” function contains documents from all fifty states plus the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands. Although there is an understandable northeastern emphasis, one can find unique research throughout. As the Land Use Center expands to different regions of the nation, particularly the southwest, the database will continue to grow.

Finally, the “Advanced Search” function allows the user to combine all of the previous functions for a targeted search. Additionally, the user is able to search by “Publisher,” “URL,” “Municipality,” “Email address,” as well as many others. This function allows a user interested in a highly defined subject to go directly to the document, circumventing the need to use the “Browse” function.

LULC Advanced

The Land Use Law Center also suggest that the user utilize the Database of New York State Municipal Laws on Green Buildings, Alternative Energy, and Energy Efficiency, which is maintained by this partner, Columbia Law School’s Center for Climate Change Law.

The oral advocacy program at Pace Law School is a robust one. Students here have the opportunity to learn and practice their oral advocacy skills by participating in the trial advocacy and/or the moot court programs. Along with standard set of courses, students have the opportunity to join variety of trial advocacy, appellate advocacy and/or moot court teams. It is a critical addition to the classroom learning, allowing for students to learn the value of preparation, hard work and collaboration. It is an intense learning experience which instills great confidence in our students. During the 2013-2014 academic year, Pace students participated in a total of 29 trial and moot court competitions in the areas of criminal law, civil rights, constitutional law, immigration law, labor law, client counseling, mediation, arbitration, negotiations, international environmental law, securities dispute resolution, energy and sustainability, international law, international commercial arbitration, international criminal law, evidence, baseball arbitration, voir dire skills, trial skills, appellate advocacy skills, and more. Join us in congratulating all the teams, their members and coaches, on a job well done! Special thanks goes to the Director of the Pace Oral Advocacy Skills Program, Prof. Louis V. Fasulo, the Pace Moot Court Board (consisting of hard working students), and Ms. Loretta Musial, the administrative assistant to oral advocacy program at Pace.

The following is a list (in no particular order) of trial and moot court competitions Pace law students participated in during 2013-2014 academic year:

National Sports Law Negotiation Competition // Thomas Jefferson School of Law (September 20 – September 22, 2013)
Coach: Jared Hand, Esq.
Team Members: Dan Masi, Jesse Kantor, Peter Naber (Student Coach)

GGU-BLS Criminal Mock Trial Competition (October 10 – October 13, 2013)
Coach: Hon. Sharon A. M. Aarons & Prof. Samuel Braverman
Team Members: Christopher O’Brien, Chris Camastro, Nicole Sosnowski, Erica Gilerman

Buffalo Niagara Trial Competition // SUNY Buffalo Law School (November 7 – November 11, 2013)
Coach: Prof. Julia Cornachio
Team Members: Jin Wu, Christian McCarthy, Lani Brandon, Juna Dawson-Murray

Voir Dire – Show Me The Challenge // UMKC School of Law (April 3 – April 5, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Eylan Schulman
Team Members: Ellen Zhang, Jon Panico, Chris Schweitzer

Judge Paul Joseph Kelly, Jr. Invitational Trial Competition // Fordham Law (February 22 – February 23, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Louis Fasulo
Team Members: Christopher O’Brien, Peter Oliveri

Student Trial Advocacy Competition (STAC) / American Association for Justice (March 20 – March 23, 2014)
Coach: Prof. John Meringolo
Team Members: Arthur Muller, Mike Andreani, Nicole Gard, Alexandra Ashmont

John L. Costello National Criminal Law Competition // George Mason University School of Law (February 6 – February 9, 2014)
Coach: Jason Herman, Esq.
Team Members: Alyson Kuritzky, Levi Glick, Michelle Piantadosi

National Pre-Trial Competition // Stetson Law (October 10 – October 13, 2013)
Coach: Jason Herman, Esq.
Team Members: Kasey Parente, Lauren Creegan, Levi Glick, Jack Bingham

Peter James Johnson ’49 National Civil Rights Trial Competition (NCRC) // St. John’s School of Law (October 24 – October 27, 2013)
Coach: Sheila Gabay, Esq.
Team Members: Jessica Piperis, Boris Shapotkin, Jessica Ingersoll, Chris Berengieri

Estrella Trial Advocacy Competition (ETAC) (April 5 – April 6, 2014)
Coach: Profs. Keith Sullivan and Louis Fasulo
Team Members: Christopher O’Brien, Matthew Pellegrine, Nicole Murdoca, Erica Gilerman

ABA National Appellate Advocacy Competition (NAAC) (February 20 – February 22, 2014)
Coach: Prof. James Castagna
Team Members: Edward Johannes, April Booker, C.J. Croll

ABA Client Counseling Competition (February 8 – February 9, 2014)
Coach: Stephanie Chow
Team Members: Jay Vyas, Levin Thomas, Danielle Meeks, Pooja Shah

ABA Law Student National Representation in Mediation Competition (February 22 – February 23, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Danielle Shalov
Team Members: Matt Trauner, Jessica Piperis, Michelle Rakebrand, John Darmino

ABA Arbitration Competition (November 16 – November 17, 2013)
Coach: Prof. John Meringolo
Team 1 Members: Arthur Muller, Mike Andreani, Nicole Gard, Alexandra Ashmont
Team 2 Members: Daniel Greco, Rich DePonto, Christopher Schweitzer, Peter Oliveri

ABA Negotiation Competition (November 16 – November 17, 2013)
Coach: Stephanie Chow
Team Members: J. Justin Woods, Rikki Bahar, Daniel Phillips, Ellen Liang, Jake Sher

International Environmental Moot Court Competition // Stetson Law (January 24 – January 26, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Matthew Brotmann
Team Members: Charter Williams, Ellen Zhang, Megan Hopper-Rebegea

St. John’s Securities Dispute Resolution Triathlon (October 19 – October 20, 2013)
Coach: Prof. Elissa Germaine
Team Members: Crystal Green, Jaclyn Weissgerber, Jeffrey Peters

National Energy and Sustainability Moot Court Competition // West Virginia University College of Law (March 27 – March 29, 2014)
Coach: Andrea Cerbin, Esq.
Team Members: Mike Dicato, Ellen Liang, Levan Thomas, Andrea Rodricks, Ellen Zhang (Student Coach)

Philip C. Jessup International Law Moot Court Competition (February 13 – February 16, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Lucie Olejnikova
Team Members: Ann Bermont, Bianca Francois, Rocky Boussias, Kiersten Schramek

Willem C. Vis International Commercial Arbitration Moot (March 28 – April 7, 2014 (East); April 12 – April 15, 2014 (Vienna))
Coaches: Profs. Vikki Rogers and Linda Wayner, and Genavieve Shingle, Esq., Bryn Fuller, Esq.
Team 1 Members: David Calvello, Kristen Carroll, Justin Pifer, Christina Riggio
Team 2 Members: Megan Harney, Faiza Jamil, Hilary Atzrott

International Criminal Moot Court Competition (March 7 – March 9, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Peter Widulski
Team Members: Amanda Ibrahim, Patrick Dowdle, Alexandra Ashmont, Catherine Peña, Richard DePonto

Thurgood A. Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition (March 27 – March 28, 2014)
Coach: LaWanda Geter, Esq.
Team Members: John Astarita, Joseph Fortunato

Jerome Prince Memorial Evidence Competition // Brooklyn Law School (March 27 – March 29, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Peter Widulski
Team Members: Jonathan Alvarez, Christian McCarthy, Patrick Williams

National Moot Court // New York Bar (November 20 – November 21, 2013)
Coach: Prof. John Fullerton
Team Members: Nicole Murdocca, Matthew Pellegrine, Alena Eydlish

National Baseball Arbitration Competition // Tulane University Law School (January 22 – January 24, 2014)
Coach: Jared Hand, Esq.
Team Members: Dan Masi, Jesse Kantor, Jared Hand, Peter Naber

Fredrick Douglass Moot Court Competition // NBLSA (January 22 – January 26, 2014)
Coach: Hon. Alexander W. Hunter, Jr.
Team Members: Michael Armstrong, Darilyn Octave

Immigration Law Moot Court // NYU Law (February 22 – February 24, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Vanessa Merton
Team Members: Katie Mendez, Seth Levy, Stephanie Ramos

National Trial Competition (February 6 – February 9, 2014)
Coach: Prof. Joel Seidemann
Team Members: Jack Bingham, Nicole Sosnowski, Christian McCarthy, Chris Berlingeri, Melissa Rodriguez, Jessica Ingersoll

ABA Labor Law Trial Advocacy Competition (November 23 – November 24, 2013)
Coach: Prof. James Castagna
Team Members: Danielle Koves, Stephen Cobb, Kee Han, Faiza Jamil

POST WRITTEN BY: Angelique Rivard (’14), Pace Law School

The Animal Law Resource Center (ALRC) is a comprehensive clearinghouse for information on animals and the law. The information on the ALRC’s website is accessible to everyone and is particularly beneficial for attorneys, law students, policy makers, engaged constituents, academics and all other animal advocates. ALRC is entirely funded by the National Anti-Vivisection Society (NAVS), a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing science without harming animals, and sponsored by The International Institute for Animal Law (IIAL), a not-for-profit organization comprised of internationally renowned attorneys and judges.

The International Institutanimal law resource center sme for Animal Law provides animal law programs, workshops, online resources such as ALRC and offers grants, but is not licensed to practice animal law or give legal advice. Rather, the mission of IIAL is to encourage, at the international level, the development of legal scholarship and advocacy skills and as a result enhance the development of animal protection laws. IIAL along with many animal advocates including animal law attorneys believe that increasing animal welfare and rights through the law is the next logical step in the movement toward social justice. While the news articles available on ALRC’s website may promote this sentiment, the legislative and legal resources are neutral and unbiased. IIAL’s “scope is broad and far-reaching in providing up-to-date resources on all aspects of animal law, whether it concerns stronger enforcement of existing laws, tighter regulations regarding the use of animals, the case for granting fundamental legal rights to animals, or the civil rights of those who defend animals.” Furthermore, the information on ALRC’s site proves especially valuable for animal law attorneys and other legal practitioners working for non-profit organizations who may not have access to legal databases for purchase.

The Animal Law Resource Center website has numerous features that are clearly categorized in the top menu bar. The user can search both current and pending legislation by filtering through jurisdiction, filling in a keyword or the bill number and/or selecting popular tags, such as “Dog Fighting.” The “Model Laws” section of the website is a particularly unique and useful resource. Local constituents, advocates and policy makers can utilize the model laws to build and create animal legislation within their states. Sample legislation topics include entertainment, hunting and product testing. One may also search case law. The content in this section is unique from other online resources in that it contains brief-like summaries instead of case opinions. The “Bibliography” section is helpful for locating other sources, like books and law review articles, based on your topic of research. Also, the “Links” section on the top of the menu bar links to other websites pertaining to animal law, such as the Animal Legal Defense Fund site and the Animal Legal and Historical Web Center. Attorneys, students and other advocates may find these additional websites beneficial in researching animal law.

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