In the Media
Dean Sullivan Quoted in ESPN as Legal Employment Expert On NFL Players Benching
October 11, 2017
But does Jerry Jones, or any other owner, have the right to bench a player for protesting during the anthem? Could such a benching be a violation of the NFL's collective bargaining agreement or, beyond that, could it even be illegal?
For its part, the NFL Players Association issued a statement that said in part, "We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects." A benching of this type would certainly prompt the NFLPA to file a grievance under the CBA.
The players seem to have some built-in advantages in such a dispute. Unlike the NBA's collective bargaining agreement, the NFL CBA does not specifically require players to stand for the anthem. There is, however, a section in the NFL Game Operations Manual that mentions that players "should stand at attention, hold helmets in their left hand and refrain from talking." And commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to teams on Tuesday reiterating the language.
According to a half-dozen experts we contacted, workplace employment law may have the last word. While the experts are divided on who would win such a legal battle, our sample ruled narrowly in favor of the owners.
Professor Sarah Waldeck Quoted in The Detroit Free Press
August 30, 2017
On his way to becoming the University of Michigan's largest donor, Stephen M. Ross and a group of business partners donated a collective gift to his alma mater.
In return, the partnership claimed a giant charitable tax deduction: $33 million.
The Internal Revenue Service didn't buy it.
IRS lawyers flagged Ross and his partners as engaging in a "tax avoidance scheme lacking in economic substance … to the benefit of Mr. Ross and his associates at Related Companies.”
It would take nearly a decade of legal wrangling before U.S. Tax Judge James S. Halpern sided with the IRS last month and disallowed the entire $33-million write-off that the judge valued at a more paltry $3.4 million. The judge also imposed maximum civil penalties for a "gross valuation misstatement" that could now cost Ross and his partners millions more.
Dean Boozang Interviewed by NJTV on Jump In National Rankings
August 28, 2017
At a time when law school enrollments nationwide have remained flat or fallen, Seton Hall Law has broken the mold. Its admissions up 33 percent. Its national rankings on the rise. What’s its secret? Seton Hall Law Dean Kathleen Boozang shares it with Correspondent Lyndsay Christian.
Christian: Dean Boozang, when you became dean of Seton Hall Law in 2015, you had an aspiration that it would become a top 50 law school in the nation. And, that’s a dream that’s actually within reach because in your short tenure, the ranking jumped from number 57 in the U.S. News and World report. What would you attribute to the success?
Boozang: We’ve held fast to make sure that we admit highly-qualified applicants who we’re certain will be successful when they graduate and take the Bar. So, it’s been a hard market for law schools, but we’ve stuck to the fundamentals and we are seeing it through.
Professor Paul Franzese on Tenant Rights with Senator Cory Booker
July 18, 2017
Cortes is one of an untold number of people who have been “blacklisted” by tenant-screening agencies because her current landlord began eviction proceedings against her for nonpayment of rent. Cortes has been putting her rent in escrow rather than paying her landlord, as lawyers say she is legally allowed to do, because of the unsanitary conditions of her housing.
Yanira Cortes says she withheld her rent to protest unsanitary conditions in her apartment and has been blacklisted by landlords for doing so.
“Now when I try to apply to other places, they tell me, ‘You went to court for an eviction, you’re basically a bad tenant,’” said Cortes, 29. “It’s not fair to me or my children to have to live in these conditions.”
Landlords deny that they engage in blacklisting. But the practice has been under scrutiny recently in New Jersey. On Monday, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) jumped into the fray, announcing federal legislation that would reform the Fair Credit Reporting Act to make tenant-rating agencies more accountable and give tenants additional protections.
Booker’s legislation seeks to help tenants in several ways. It would:
> Prohibit consumer-reporting agencies from providing information on evictions or other housing court issues unless the landlord won the case;
> Prevent the agencies from reporting on issues that are more than three years old;
> Require the agencies to try to verify the accuracy of the information they are reporting;
> Make a consumer’s report available to them for free once a year through a centralized clearinghouse and require a landlord who declines to rent to a person to give him a free copy of his report;
> Have the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau report to Congress on tenant-rating agencies and their compliance with the Fair Credit Reporting Act.
“The chilling effect is real,” said Paula Franzese, a professor at the Seton Hall University School of Law who teaches property law and was the co-author earlier this year of an article on issues surrounding tenant eviction proceedings and blacklisting. “Tenants are afraid to speak up. They fear appearing on that blacklist … It creates false negatives. A tenant who is a very good tenant, a worthy tenant, because the list gives no context, that tenant is denied future housing opportunities.”
Franzese said she brought the issue to Booker’s attention earlier this year after learning about the blacklisting process and its ramifications. According to her article, companies that call themselves “credit-reporting agencies” screen a prospective tenant in exchange for a fee the tenant must pay and then report all instances in which that tenant was named as plaintiff or defendant in a landlord-tenant court action.
“Those reports, which can sink a tenant’s prospects of finding rental housing, reveal nothing about context and do not indicate, for example, whether or not the listed tenant successfully defended the litigation or raised breach of warranty,” Franzese wrote, referring to a tenant refusing to pay rent due to conditions making an apartment uninhabitable.
Professor John Jacobi featured in NJ Spotlight On Reorganization of Health Services in NJ
July 14, 2017
Officials from the Christie administration will be called to explain the benefits of a controversial plan the New Jersey governor outlined to shift addiction and mental health services to a different department during a legislative hearing scheduled for later this month.
The governor’s proposal is designed to better integrate behavioral health and physical health services — an approach widely recommended by experts — and improve government efficiency by moving the Division of Mental Health and Addiction Services from its current home in the Department of Human Services into the Department of Health.
Seton Hall professor John Jacobi was encouraged by the governor’s proposal, however. Jacobi and his colleagues published a report in March 2016 that identified bureaucratic and systemic hurdles that prevent New Jersey from better integrating behavioral and physical care, and he has been working with key staff at both the health and human services departments ever since; Christie frequently cited the study in his proposal.
“This is a real opportunity for New Jersey,” Jacobi said earlier this week. “There’s no easy way to do this,” he added, “but there is a deep commitment in both agencies to get this right.”
Dean Charles Sullivan Featured in Real Clear Education
June 16, 2017
America’s colleges and universities are, with good reason, under attack for promoting an expensive postsecondary education “bundle” that is increasingly unmoored from the demands of the workforce.
Bipartisan legislation introduced by Senators Bennet and Rubio now aims to bust the accreditation cartel. But like the music and television industries, entrenched colleges and universities have, to date, fought the unbundling of a lucrative $500 billion revenue stream.
On their face, college degree requirements invariably fail the 20% deviation adverse impact test: 42.9% of whites ages 25-29 have bachelor’s degrees compared with just 22.7% of African-American and 18.7% of Hispanics. So one would think college degree requirements in job descriptions would be ripe for EEOC action. According to Associate Dean Charles Sullivan, an employment law expert at Seton Hall Law School, “Remarkably, the answer is almost never. No one is interested in upsetting this apple cart.”
When an enterprising lawyer – or state’s attorney general – finally decides to bring such a case, employers will attempt to show that the ratios of new hires to applicants don’t diverge by more than 20% for any group. That’s true, but only because college degree requirements keep candidates without degrees from applying to good jobs. Proving adverse impact of college degree requirements will require the demonstration that employment policies actually keep qualified candidates from applying. According to Sullivan, “such a case will require experts to prove the statistical case. But it can be done.”
Professor Maggie Lewis Featured in Council of Foreign Relations blog
May 31, 2017
Margaret K. Lewis is a professor of law at Seton Hall University School of Law and a Fulbright research fellow at National Taiwan University School of Law.
As the world reflects on this week’s anniversary of the Tiananmen Square protests and subsequent violent crackdown by the PRC government, it is worth contemplating what President Donald J. Trump would do if faced with a similar situation. When asked about Tiananmen during the campaign, Trump said he was not “endorsing” China’s response, but he called the demonstrations a “riot.” Would President Trump see a riot or a massacre if the events of June 4, 1989, were replayed today?
The U.S. bombing raid in April that President Trump linked to the Syrian government’s use of chemical weapons against civilians suggested that human rights would be prominent in shaping foreign policy. Yet President Trump’s remarks during his recent visit to Saudi Arabia and praise for leaders with deeply problematic human rights records, such as Egyptian President Abdel Fattah al-Sisi, caution otherwise.
Professor Stephen Lubben on debt issues facing iHeart Media
March 24, 2017
In a restructuring world dominated by oil and gas companies on the one hand and retail on the other, iHeartMedia stands out.
But if we dig a bit deeper, the San Antonio-based radio and billboard company shares some similarities with those other companies buffeted by recent economic trends.
Last week, iHeart announced that it had commenced an exchange offer targeted at all of the company’s outstanding term loans, along with various other notes, totaling about $14.6 billion in debt. Earlier this year, iHeart exchanged $476 million of senior unsecured notes due in 2018 for a like amount of senior secured notes due in 2021.
That maturity extension was simple compared with the current exchange offer.
Under the new offer, iHeart is offering various packages to creditors, depending on the degree of creditor participation. For example, the company’s term loan lenders will be offered a range of $750 to $880 of new term loans for every $1,000 of old term loans they tender.
U.S. Attorney Heads to Seton Hall Law
March 16, 2017
After his recent resignation, now-former U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman didn’t have long to wait for a landing spot—and doesn’t have far to go.
Fishman’s first post-government job comes as a distinguished visiting fellow at Seton Hall University School of Law in Newark. The position, which is not full-time, is official as of Friday.
“I got a call from the dean Sunday morning,” said Fishman, reached by phone. “It was a pretty easy question to answer.”
The move brings Fishman all of about seven blocks northward in Newark, from the Peter Rodino Federal Building on Broad Street to Seton Hall Law at One Newark Center, on Raymond Boulevard.
Fishman will be tasked with guest-lecturing, meeting informally with students, and serving as a keynote speaker for the school’s healthcare compliance program. The physical move takes place Friday. Fishman said he’ll spend “a fair bit of time” on campus, but the time commitment is still to be determined.
“This is an opportunity for me, while I’m exploring other options in the private sector, to keep my hand in issues that are important to me,” Fishman said, citing criminal justice reform, prisoner reentry and opioid addiction as such issues.
Star Ledger reports on Seton Hall Law’s participation in groundbreaking summit on homelessness in Hudson County
September 29, 2015
Dean Kathleen Boozang and Professor John Jacobi participated in The Waterfront Summit, the first conference on the homeless held in Hudson County, hosted by the Waterfront Project, led by Father Robert Meyer ’00, founder, and Elizabeth Caraballo ’07, Executive Director.
According to an annual tally, 917 people from 728 households were counted as homeless in Hudson County in February 2015. The number jumped 11.7 percent from the 821 homeless people from 627 households that were counted in 2014.
Dean Boozang moderated discussions among a panel of experts who explored solutions for community action. Professor Jacobi participated in a panel discussion on issues related to national health policy, and illuminated the ways in which healthcare policy is at the crux of the solutions for homelessness.
Professor Mark Denbeaux on "Due Process" regarding Mohamedou Slahi
July 25, 2015
Professor Mark Denbeaux, Director of the Center for Policy & Research, appeared as a guest on Thirteen WNET/NJTV's legal affairs show, Due Process, along with Hina Shamsi, Director of the ACLU National Security Project. They discussed the controversial book, Guantanamo Diary, published by detainee Mohamedou Slahi, who has been held for 13 years at GTMO. Though Slahi was cleared for release in 2010, he has yet to be permitted to leave.
Show host Raymond Brown asked Professor Denbeaux how he believes President Obama's administration must view their role in the perpetuation of the detainment camp, despite the President's stated view that Guantanamo must be closed. Professor Denbeaux responded:
Professor Denbeaux expressed confidence that Guantanamo Diary will help secure Slahi's release, but Professor Denbeaux believes that many of the remaining detainees will never benefit from due process: "The real problem is the lost ones, who are viewed as dangerous, who don't have good lawyers, who are missing. They may never get out."
Professor Jonathan Hafetz publishes an op-ed in the Sunday edition of The Record about new restrictions on the government’s ability to collect and retain phone records of Americans
June 07, 2015
Professor Jonathan Hafetz’s op-ed in The Record, “With new NSA rules, a shift in balance between security and privacy,” questions whether the latest modifications to the Patriot Act, voted on last week by Congress, go far enough in restricting the government’s right to collect phone records of all Americans. "It remains to be seen whether the act is an isolated victory for privacy or the first step in a larger process of surveillance reform.”
As Professor Hafetz explains, the USA Freedom Act modifies Section 215 of the USA Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the terrorist attacks of September 11, 2001:
The American public began to demand modifications to Section 215 in 2013, when former NSA contractor Edward Snowden “pierced the veil of secrecy” and exposed the extent of the government’s surveillance practices. The backlash caused Americans to demand greater privacy protection, sparking Congress to take action. Professor Hafetz also cites the assertions of the Privacy and Civil Liberties Board, independent watchdog agency that the program is both illegal and essentially ineffective, as well as rulings in the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, “the second court to declare the Section 215 program illegal, ruling that Congress had not authorized the bulk collection of telephony metadata.”
Professor Hafetz appreciates the modifications made to Section 215 and as he comments,
However, he cautions Americans against believing their personal privacy has been protected entirely: “The act does not end the bulk collection and storage of Americans’ phone records, but instead alters the manner in which those records will be stored and accessed.”
There are additional bulk data collection programs untouched by the USA Freedom Act that are nominally aimed at communications among foreign nationals but that still “end up sweeping in the communications of many Americans.”
Professor Hafetz concludes,
Professor Michael Simkovic’s study cited in New York Times Dealbook blog post on changes for the positive taking place in legal education and legal employment
March 31, 2015
Professor Michael Simkovic sparked controversy with a study he co-authored with Professor Frank McIntyre in 2013, finding that law school is an investment that, over the course of a career, yields a present value of $1 million in additional earnings for law graduates compared to similar college educated individuals who never attended law school. In 2014, that study was published in the peer-reviewed Journal of Legal Studies at the University of Chicago.
A second working paper, posted online this March, “Timing Law School,” demonstrates that a law degree effectively positions graduates to weather even the most challenging economic circumstances no matter when they choose to attend law school. The paper was supported by a grant from the Access Group, Inc., a non-profit student lender, and the Law School Admissions Council.
In a New York Times Dealbook blog post published on March 31, Professor Steven Davidoff Solomon of the University of California at Berkeley asserts that Professors Simkovic’s and McIntyre’s findings may very well be on the mark. “A new study…provides a compelling reason to be optimistic about a career in law,” Professor Solomon writes.
The post, “Law Schools and Industry Show Signs of Life, Despite Forecasts of Doom,” provides an overview of the positive changes taking place in legal employment such as increased revenues among top firms and a growth in lateral hiring for lawyers in New York. If the trend continues, the shift in employment, coupled with the trend of smaller graduating law school classes, should lead to more opportunity for aspiring attorneys in the coming years. Professor Solomon writes about “Timing Law School,”
A second study by the American Bar Foundation underscores this optimism:
How is the legal industry changing? Professor Solomon sees an increasing need for compliance as industries become increasingly regulated, noting, “…corporate in-house legal teams are growing, replacing the work that outside firms once did. Microsoft, for example, has more than 500 in-house lawyers.” Yet, he concludes, over the long term, “Twenty years from now, whether the economy is up or down, there will still be lawyers, and plenty of them.”
The Center for Policy & Research featured prominently in new book, Murder at Camp Delta
January 19, 2015
Sergeant Joseph Hickman's new book, Murder at Camp Delta (Simon & Schuster) is out on the shelves and is reigniting the debate about the value and abuses that have taken place at the detention camp at Guantanamo Bay. Sergeant Hickman, now an Adjunct Professor at Seton Hall Law, worked diligently alongside the student Fellows of the Center to determine what happened the night of June 9, 2006, when three detainees at Guantanamo died under mysterious circumstances. Though the deaths were publicly identified as suicides, Hickman’s eyewitness account, and the government’s own documentation about the incident, reveal a different truth.
Hickman’s story is now the subject of multiple feature stories and broadcasts:
On January 15, Newsweek published a cover story, “To Live and Die in Gitmo,” summarizing the book and how Hickman came to find Professor Mark Denbeaux, the Director of the Seton Hall Law Center for Policy & Research and their first encounter:
‘First, I thought it was a lunatic calling me,’ Denbeaux says, reclining in the plain, windowless room that serves as the epicenter of Guantánamo research at Seton Hall…Two days later, Hickman was on an airplane headed for Newark.
On January 19, Hickman talked with Aasif Mandvi, standing in for Leonard Lopate on his weekday show, NPR affiliate WNYC, and gives an example of the discrepancies in facts that characterize the entire incident of the deaths at Camp Deltal.
Mandvi read to Hickman the Camp Commander Colonel Baumgartner’s rebuttal to Hickman’s assertions of the events that took place the night the detainees died. “He responded angrily to you, and said, ‘This blatant misrepresentation of the truth infuriates me. I do not know who Sergeant Hickman is but he does not know anything that happened at Camp One or the medical facilities. I know what happened and I was there.’ Was the Colonel telling the truth?”
Hickman replied, “No, he wasn’t there that night…If you go through the NCIS report, [Colonel Baumgartner] makes a sworn statement that he was not at the Camp that night.”
Read Joseph Hickman’s synthesis of his book in the January 16 issue of UK’s Daily Mail, “Murder in Guantanamo: As Cameron calls on Obama to release Londoner held for 13 years without trial, former guard claims his colleagues brutally murdered three inmates”
Professor Rachel Godsil, the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law, blogs for Psychology Today: New report on reducing racial anxiety
December 14, 2014
Racial anxiety can look like racial bias and can unwittingly perpetuate inequality. Even people who want to treat others equally and respectfully can behave awkwardly when concerned about how they may be percieved by someone of a different race. Writes Professor Godsil, “In the context of race, this concern can be particularly acute as people of color worry that they will be the target of racial bias and whites worry that they will be misunderstood or assumed to be racist.”
In the report "Addressing the Impact of Implicit Bias, Racial Anxiety, and Stereotype Threat in Education and Health Care,” Professor Godsil provides a real-world illustration of how this can play out. "We live in a time when discrimination looks less like a segregated lunch counter and more like a teacher never calling on your son or a doctor failing to inspire trust in your daughter and improperly diagnosing her illness as a result."
The good news is that racial anxiety can be reduced with cooperative learning strategies, and both direct and indirect positive interracial experiences. The more people are empathetic and willing to interact with people of other races, the more progress this nation will make toward racial equality.
Assistant Dean Jessica Miles and Christopher Keating '14 in NJ BIZ on Seton Hall Law's dedication to hands-on learning for law students
November 19, 2014
NJ BIZ published two interviews with Assistant Dean Jessica Miles of the Office of Career Services regarding Seton Hall Law’s approach to legal education, which reflects a larger trend that prepares students to perform well in the courtroom, and the boardroom, from the day they graduate.
“Getting Schooled in Courtroom Setting is New Goal”
This article features the experience of Seton Hall Law graduate Christopher Keating ’14, who argued before Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor in April 2014 when he was a finalist in the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition.
As the reporter describes,
Dean Miles, also a professor in the Seton Hall Law Center for Social Justice Family Law Clinic, encourages students to participate in such programs where they have the opportunity to take on real-world cases. In doing so, they put into practice the critical legal reasoning and writing abilities they first develop through traditional classroom and simulation based courses.
Keating, now serving as a clerk to Superior Court Judge Lisa M. Vignulolo in New Brunswick, agrees with Dean Miles’ view of the clinical experience:
“Be Slow to Specialize”
In a second article featuring an interview with Dean Miles, the reporter honed in on whether law students must pursue a specific area of expertise to achieve career success.
Seton Hall Law offers three concentrations that students may pursue beginning in their second year of law school: in Health Law, Intellectual Property and its newest offering, Compliance. As the reporter notes, for some students, who come from industry, a concentration is a natural fit with their current work experience.
Dean Miles believes students should be encouraged to discover and pursue their passion in the law. As she concludes,
Seton Hall Law Center for Policy and Research Senior Fellows Publish Op-Ed in The Record on the Militarization of Local Law Enforcement
September 24, 2014
Dakota Gallivan ’14 and Jared Stepp ’14, both Senior Research Fellows in the Seton Hall Law Center Policy and Research, and both veterans of the war in Iraq, published an op-ed in The Record speaking out against government-sponsored programs to equip local law enforcement with combat grade equipment and weaponry. To summarize their position, Gallivan and Stepp write,
The issue of government-sponsored combat-grade equipment distribution programs made the news most recently as the citizens of Ferguson, Missouri engaged in protests following the shooting death of Michael Brown, an unarmed African American teenager. Yet in April 2013, tthe Center for Policy and Research Fellows took note of a heightened use of military equipment in the aftermath of the bombing of the Boston Marathon. Gallivan and Stepp write,
The ensuing report, “Costs and Consequences of Arming America’s Law Enforcement with Combat Equipment,” reveals numerous government-sponsored programs designed to provide extensive military weaponry to local police departments at reduced costs, and with no accountability to provide training, to secure equipment storage or even to conduct a periodic equipment inventory.
Gallivan and Stepp describe the equipment, based on their own experience, as “complex, unforgiving and potentially deadly,” and continue,
Seton Hall Law Center for Policy & Research report on recidivism among GMTO detainees cited in Washington Post story regarding release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl
June 02, 2014
Shortly after the exchange of five Taliban detainees for the release of Army Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, the Washington Post published an article addressing the question of how many former Guantanamo detainees have “returned to the fight.” The answer, according to a biannual report published by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence, is that about 16.9% are confirmed to have returned to terrorist activity of some kind, while an additional 12.1% are suspected of having returned to terrorist activity. The article notes that these figures have been challenged, and cites Seton Hall’s Center for Policy and Research:
In particular, a project conducted at Seton Hall University suggested that evidence against former detainees listed in the “suspected” category was sometimes flimsy. Seton Hall also highlighted a number of past detainees who were released from Guantanamo Bay and started careers as diplomats, businessmen and in other civilian jobs.
The article goes on to discuss the specifics of Bergdahl’s release. Read the whole story here:
Moot Court Competition Finalists Argue Before Justice Sonia Sotomayor, Featured in The New Yorker
May 06, 2014
The New Yorker magazine attended the Eugene Gressman Appellate Moot Court Competition final round, where, on April 10, Justice Sonia Sotomayor presided alongside Judges Michael A. Chagares ’87 and Julio M. Fuentes of the Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.
Teams Karol Ruiz ’14 and Christopher Keating ’14 - both, Center for Social Justice Scholars - and Justin Ferrone ’15 and Brian Spadora ’15, argued their cases before a packed audience in the Law School’s Larson Auditorium. The story appears in the May 12 edition of the New Yorker’s famed “Talk of the Town.”
The reporter describes an energetic presentation:
Karol Ruiz, who was brought to the U.S. from Colombia as a young child and now advocates for the rights of other children in her position, found a deep connection to Justice Sotomayor when she read the Justice's autobiography:
The profile also describes the competing teams’ excitement after they presented their arguments before the Justices. While Ferrone and Spadora described their own experiences, Chris Keating ’14 most likely spoke for the entire assembled audience when he said, “It’s amazing, making eye contact with Justice Sotomayor,’ he said. ‘You’re thinking, This Justice is actually listening to the words that are coming out of my mouth.'
This article is currently available by subscription only. Visit the New Yorker website at newyorker.com/magazine.
Rachel Godsil Appointed New Chair of New York City Rent Guidelines Board as reported by The Real Deal and New York Crain’s Business
April 24, 2014
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed Professor Rachel Godsil to lead the board that determines annual rent adjustments for approximately 1 million apartments across the city that are subject to the Rent Stabilization Law.
The Mayor’s press release cites Professor Godsil’s credentials: “Godsil is an accomplished attorney and professor specializing in issues of housing, land use and social justice. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.” New York Crain’s Business also notes,
According to real estate blog, The Real Deal, “The new members are expected to slow the pace of rent hikes that existed under the Bloomberg administration,” which is underscored by Crain’s:
As Crain’s concludes,
MAYOR DE BLASIO APPOINTS RACHEL GODSIL AS NEW CHAIR OF RENT GUIDELINES BOARD
NEW YORK—Mayor de Blasio today announced the appointment of Rachel Godsil as Chair of the Rent Guidelines Board. The Rent Guidelines Board.
Godsil is an accomplished attorney and professor specializing in issues of housing, land use and social justice. She is a former Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York, and previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.
The Mayor previously appointed Sarah Williams Willard as an owners’ representative, Cecilia Joza and Steven Flax as public members of the board, and Sheila Garcia as a tenant representative. The Mayor also re-appointed current tenants’ representative Harvey Epstein to the board.
About Rachel Godsil
Rachel Godsil currently serves as the Eleanor Bontecou Professor of Law at Seton Hall University School of Law. Godsil’s areas of expertise include property, land use, environmental justice, education and race. Her recent property work focuses on the mortgage crisis and eminent domain, as well as the intersection of race, poverty and land use decisions.
Godsil previously clerked for John M. Walker of the Second Circuit Court of Appeals and was an Assistant United States Attorney for the Southern District of New York. She was an associate counsel at the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, focusing on environmental justice, as well as an associate with Berle, Kass & Case and Arnold & Porter in New York City.
After serving as the convener for the Obama campaign’s Urban and Metropolitan Policy Committee and an advisor to the Department of Housing and Urban Development transition team, Professor Godsil co-directed a report to HUD Secretary Shaun Donovan.
She joined Seton Hall University School of Law in 2000 and has been recognized for her teaching by being nominated for Professor of the Year in 2002 and 2003. She was named Researcher of the Year in Law by Seton Hall University. She has also taught at the University of Pennsylvania Law School and New York University Law School. Godsil lives in Brooklyn.
Professor Stephen Lubben blogs in the New York Times’ Dealbook, ‘Giving a Debtor a Big Club Against Lenders’
April 03, 2014
Professor Stephen Lubben authored an article in the Dealbook section of the New York Times considering the implications of a recent federal district court opinion, Meridian Sunrise Village v. NB Distressed Debt Investment Fund Ltd., for distressed debt investors and loan investors. The case involves an issue that arose when Bank of America sold its part of a loan, which it shared with U.S. Bank and others, to a distressed debt investor.
The general rule is that a debtor has the right to approve any loan transfers, so long as consent is not unreasonably withheld, except that a debtor in default loses the right to consent. Here, the debtor was in Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings, so it would seem that the debtor lost the right to approve any loan transfers. Both the bankruptcy court and the district court, however, disagreed because the loan agreement limited loan transfers to “financial institutions,” and the courts found that hedge funds are not “financial institutions.”
Professor Lubben criticizes the district court’s interpretation, writing:
The court’s argument that financial institutions should be interpreted as entities that make loans almost proves the point, as hedge funds are increasingly making direct loans themselves. And did the court really mean to say that a mutual fund or an exchange traded fund could not buy a stake in this loan?
Professor Lubben goes on to discuss a number of other reasons why the opinion is problematic, including the court’s view that the hedge fund’s subsequent transfer of part of its loan from Bank of America to another fund was an “an attempt to manipulate the Bankruptcy Code’s voting rules,” while the same transfer by a bondholder to another creditor would probably not have caused the court to object.
He concludes by emphasizing the importance of the opinion:
Why is the opinion important? Because you can expect to see it in a Chapter 11 case soon. After all, this is an appellate decision that gives the debtor a great big club against its lenders. Why not try to use it?Read the New York Times' Dealbook Article, "Giving a Debtor a Big Club Against Lenders."
Professor Lori Nessel quoted in NBC News article on potential medical repatriation of comatose student from Pakistan
February 20, 2014
Professor Lori Nessel was quoted on the issue of medical repatriation in an NBC News article focusing on a specific case in which a 20-year-old Pakistani citizen who was enrolled in a one-semester study abroad program at The University of Wisconsin-Superior fell into a coma resulting from a car accident.
Comatose since November 2013 through at least late-February 2014, at which time this article was published, the 20-year-old student’s $350,000 medical bills exceeded his $100,000 emergency medical insurance policy and the hospital at which he was being treated sought to return him to Pakistan, despite the risk that the 24-hour flight might pose to his health due to his comatose state.
This case illuminates the underlying issue of medical repatriations. Professor Nessel co-authored a 2012 study, “Discharge, Deportation, and Dangerous Journeys: A Study on the Practice of Medical Repatriation,” in partnership with New York Lawyers for the Public Interest. The report found that, spanning the previous six years, there were at least 800 cases in which immigrant patients who were unable to fund their hospital bills were returned to their countries of origin. The study states that U.S. hospitals are required to provide emergency medical care to immigrant patients, both documented and undocumented, “but this obligation terminates once the patient is stabilized.”
Professor Nessel elaborates on this issue, explaining:
Matthew Feinstein ’09 and Kama Jones-El, a graduate of the New Jersey Law & Education Empowerment Project in the Huffington Post
February 19, 2014
Matthew Feinstein ’09, Associate Director of the New Jersey Law and Education Empowerment Project (NJ LEEP), recently wrote a blog post in the Huffington Post, describing the experience of Kama Jones-El, a student with whom he has worked at NJ LEEP over the last five years. NJ LEEP is a four-year, college access program available to underserved middle and high school students.
Professor Margaret Lewis in Agence France-Presse on an execution that took place in China
February 11, 2014
Professor Margaret Lewis was quoted in an article published by the Agence France-Presse about a family in China whose patriarch was executed shortly after communicating his hopefulness for acquittal. The family was not notified before the execution took place; they discovered his death by viewing a notice posted at a courthouse.
Professor Stephen Lubben blogs in the New York Times’ DealBook, "A Safe Harbor Without Full Protection”
January 22, 2014
Professor Stephen Lubben, who writes a regular feature column in the New York Times’ DealBook section, published an article considering the “so-called” safe harbor provisions of the bankruptcy code in light of a recent New York bankruptcy ruling. He questions the lack of efforts to enact the safe harbor provisions in state courts, and challenges the genuineness of Congress’ stated goal that the provisions are primarily intended to reduce systemic risk.
Professor Lubben writes:
A recent ruling by a bankruptcy judge in New York adds to a growing body of opinions that appear to leave the door open for actions under state law that would normally be prohibited in federal bankruptcy proceedings.
Professor Jonathan Hafetz in Politico regarding President Obama's Speech on the NSA
January 17, 2014
Professor Jonathan Hafetz authored an op-ed in Politico in response to President Obama’s recent speech regarding government surveillance. Professor Hafetz’s op-ed questions the constitutionality of the surveillance programs and examines the President’s goals in delivering his speech, presenting an analysis of speeches the President has previously delivered on similar issues of public concern.
In a general evaluation of the President’s message, Hafetz comments:
As an act of political positioning, the speech might help Obama in the public relations moment, but it’s unclear if the former constitutional law professor has actually promised enough to put his administration and the government on the right side of the Constitution.
Professor Hafetz explains that the President’s vow to end the program may be a façade; he writes:
But Obama stopped short of adopting a number of changes advocated by his own advisory panel on the issue, a group of experts and academics he convened to examine possible reforms. Instead, what the president is more likely showing is a different kind of balancing, a move to tinker just enough to quiet critics, but not enough to significantly disrupt the status quo.
Hafetz concludes by addressing concerns about foreign relations. He writes:
In addition, mass surveillance imperils our relationships with foreign governments—not just because they don’t support it (as with Guantanamo), but also because they (and their citizens) feel victimized…..Spying may be hard, but the president might find curtailing the fallout even harder.Read the full op-ed, “Is Obama Failing Constitutional Law?” here