Ryan Stoa, Fellow in Water Law, discusses legal implications of dolphin deaths linked to BP Oil Spill in a recent Law360 article. Below is an abstract of the article:
A recent government study linking dolphin injuries to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill provides unprecedented evidence for federal officials looking to target BP PLC for harm to the Gulf of Mexico’s aquatic life and could cost the oil giant tens of millions of dollars in new penalties. A team of researchers led by National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration scientists concluded last month that disease conditions for bottlenose dolphins exposed to the spill were “significantly greater in prevalence and severity” than those for dolphins in another part.
The dolphin harm opens the door for the federal government to aggressively pursue BP under the Marine Mammal Protection Act, which forbids companies like BP from adversely impacting the life of a dolphin in any way. This broad prohibition should embolden the government to pursue the oil giant, according to Ryan Stoa, a fellow in water law and policy at Florida International University’s College of Law. “This new report could have pretty significant implications,” Stoa said. “The government could have what it feels is a strong claim under the MMPA.”
BP emphasizes that NOAA has found so-called unusual deaths among bottlenose dolphins in the Gulf of Mexico starting two months before the spill. “It seems fairly clear from the study that those symptoms are taking place because of exposure to petroleum, but proving causation could be a tricky task for the government given observed population declines that preceded the spill,” Stoa said.
Still, coastal communities that opted out of a class action settlement with BP may have a stronger claim with the new evidence. “These dolphins are charismatic megafauna, so to speak, and are valuable for tourism in Gulf Coast communities, who could claim that significant impairment of the dolphin population could lead to economic losses,” Stoa said.
The full article is available here.
FIU Law announces a certificate in Intellectual Property Law. The certificate is available to FIU Law JD or LLM degree-seeking students. As a growing area of practice, Intellectual Property Law is relevant to global business and trade, and intersects with several other fields, including human rights, public health, and global development. Students will learn about patent law, copyright law, trade secret law, trademark law, and more.
The Intellectual Property certificate is designed for students who desire to enhance their training in Intellectual Property laws and will better prepare them to deal with the legal issues that arise in the ever-growing entertainment, media, and technology industries. In order to obtain the certificate, students must satisfy certain criteria.
“This highly specialized certificate will both enhance a student’s knowledge of Intellectual Property, and provide them with an edge within the profession,” stated Dean R. Alexander Acosta.
For information about the certificate click here.
Professor Howard M. Wasserman appeared on the January 6, 2014 edition of HuffPost Live where he discussed the Supreme Court’s stay of injunuction in the Utah marraige equality case. One of Professor Wasserman’s specialities is civil rights. View his appearance here.
Guest Post: W(h)ither now the reputation of the ICTY?
by Megan Fairlie
A brief consideration of the history of replacement judges at the ICTY reveals an increasing disregard for the rights of the accused in favor of avoiding costly and time-consuming re-hearings. Initially, part-heard cases could not continue with a replacement judge without the accused’s consent. Then, as “consent was only a safeguard,” the rules were amended to permit the two remaining judges to independently decide when continuing a part-heard case “would serve the interests of justice.”
Read the full article in Opinio Juris here.
FIU Law’s Alex Martini, a fourth-year, and Sam Gonas, who recently graduated, competed in the American Bar Association’s (ABA) Section of the Taxation Law Student Tax Challenge’s divisional competition. They now move on to the semi-final round which will be held in Phoenix, Arizona at the end of January. The Challenge is an alternative to traditional moot court competitions and requires two-person teams to solve a cutting-edge and complex business problem that might arise in everyday tax practice.
Martini, who serves as the team’s captain, appreciates that he can combine his tax law interests with some friendly competition. “This competition has been the perfect opportunity to utilize my knowledge and experience in the subject matter that interests me most,” he said. “Sam Gonas and I are proud to represent F.I.U. Law and hopefully we can pave the way for future F.I.U. Law students who have an interest in tax law.”
The teams are evaluated on two criteria: a memorandum to a senior partner and a letter to a client explaining the result. Based on the written work product, six teams from the J.D. Division and four teams from the LL .M. Division defend its submission before a panel of judges who consists of the country’s top tax practitioners and government officials, including tax court judges. The competition is a great way for law students to showcase their knowledge in a real-world setting and gain valuable exposure to the tax law community.
For team member Sam Gonas this experience has opened up his eyes to new facets of taxation law. “I do not have a tax background which made learning the subject matter a challenge. However, I am fortunate for the instruction and advice provided by my team captain and Professor Gabilondo. It has been an honor to learn from them and a thrill to make it this far. It is students and faculty like this that makes F.I.U. such a special institution,” he shared.
On December 16 and 17, Visiting Professor Charles C. Jalloh participated, as one of only two invited academics, in a closed brainstorming session convened for African States by the African Union (Office of Legal Counsel) in Addis Ababa, Ethiopia. The theme was the impact of the international criminal justice system on peace, justice and reconciliation in Africa and ways of strengthening African mechanisms to address issues of accountability for international crimes on the continent.
Read this special holiday story here.
During FIU’s December 16th commencement exercises, Professor H.T. Smith was awarded the Cal Kovens Distinguised Community Service Award.
PHOTO CAPTION: FIU Board of Trustee member Jorge L. Arrizurieta and Professor H.T. Smith.
Professor H. Scott Fingerhut who represents Porter Fischer, the whistleblower in Alex Rodriguez’ steriod case, comments to the New York Newsday.