Contributor Profile: Adam Tanner

Contributing Editor: Suzanne Donnelly

Renowned journalist and author Adam Tanner presented his most recent book, What Stays in Vegas: The World of Personal Data—Lifeblood of Big Business—and the End of Privacy as We Know It, at the New England Law Review’s Book Symposium on February 25, 2015.

Adam Tanner earned his B.A. at Columbia University and his M.P.A. at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University. He worked for Reuters News Agency from 1996 to 2011, serving as Bureau Chief for the Balkans in Belgrade, Serbia, and San Francisco, overseeing northern California, Silicon Valley, and parts of the American West. Previous postings include Germany, Russia, and Washington D.C. He was also recognized for his impressive work as part of the Reuters team cited in 2012 as a Pulitzer finalist in international reporting.

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Mass. Crim. Dig.: Commonwealth v. Guzman

Contributing Editor: Wendy Hansen

Commonwealth v. Guzman, 469 Mass. 492 (2014)

I. Issues

There are three main issues in this case:

  1. Whether the imposition of the Global Positioning System (“GPS”) is mandatory under chapter 265, section 47 of the Massachusetts General Laws;
  2. Whether the statutory mandate violates substantive and procedural due process under the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Articles 1, 10, 11, and 12 of the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights; and
  3. Whether the statutory mandate constitutes unreasonable search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article Fourteen under the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights.

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On Remand: Zitz, Exploring the Newly Enacted Massachusetts E-Discovery Rules

Vast amounts of personal information is placed on social media profiles and websites daily; as a result many attorneys are avidly seeking to use the material as evidence—“It’s one thing to make a fool of yourself in public, but some folks seem to excel at stupidity in front of the entire world.” Millions of Americans spend an enormous amount of time on social media interacting with family, friends, and rekindling past relationships; a danger in posting information to these sites is that the information may be used in court due to the scope of electronic discovery (“e-discovery”).

Although not all states have enacted specific e-discovery rules, the effect of e-discovery is drastic due to the abundance of easily accessible information. As the intricacies of electronically stored information (“ESI”) grow because of developments in technology, the need for efficient discovery management grows as well. “Even without having to worry about social media, preservation of electronic information is fraught with danger.” In January 2014, Massachusetts amended its Rules of Civil Procedure to include e-discovery rules. From an efficiency standpoint, amendments should be made to specifically address issues with social media and the authentication of electronic information.

Part I of this Note discusses the differences between traditional discovery and e-discovery. Part II argues that the recently enacted Massachusetts e-discovery rules will be more efficient than the Federal e-discovery rules. Parts III and IV argue that amendments must be made to the Massachusetts rules addressing social media and authentication issues. These Parts further propose standards for such amendments.

Read more from the most recent On Remand article, Exploring the Newly Enacted Massachusetts E-Discovery Rules by Business Managing Editor Julianna Zitz here.

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Mass. Crim. Dig.: Commonwealth v. Howard

Contributing Editor: Kristy Wilson

Commonwealth v. Howard, 469 Mass. 721 (2014)

I. Facts

On January 28, 2009, Maurice Ricketts was shot in the head while working at Bay State Pool Supplies in Cambridge. The defendant, Clyde Howard, was a handyman at Bay State. After taking out the trash, the defendant entered the warehouse and spoke with the victim. There was yelling, and the defendant “pulled out a gun, and pointed it at the victim,” and then chased him through the warehouse. The defendant fired his gun once, missed the victim, and then continued to follow him out of the warehouse. The operations manager alerted the branch and assistant managers and called 911. The managers ran toward the warehouse and heard two shots fired. They saw the defendant “facing the back of the dumpster with his arm outstretched and pointed slightly downward, and then heard two additional shots.” They then “saw the defendant walk toward the back door, stop, return to the dumpster area, and fire an additional shot.” After the final shot, the defendant “ran to a white van, and drove away.” The victim was found behind the dumpster with a faint pulse and later died at the emergency room.

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Article Preview: Morrow v. Balaski: When Good Intentions Go Bad

Contributing Editor: Heather Reid

Bullying, both in schools and online, has become a topic of national discussion. In response, many state legislatures have enacted anti-bullying statutes which prohibit bullying both on and off school property. These laws define bullying behavior and require schools to devise and adopt strategies for prevention and intervention. Notably, they do not provide victims of bullying with a private right of action against schools under the bullying statute.

The plaintiffs in Morrow v. Balaski brought such a cause of action, filing a 42 U.S.C. § 1983 claim against Blackhawk High School in Pennsylvania. Brittany and Emily Morrow claimed that the school’s inaction and failure to protect them from bullying by another student violated their substantive Due Process rights under the Fourteenth Amendment. Primarily, they argued the school had a “special relationship” with its students, therefore establishing a duty to protect them from dangerous situations. The Third Circuit disagreed with the plaintiffs, reaffirming that there is no “special relationship” between public schools and their students; absent that “special relationship,” a school has no duty to protect students from third party actions.

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Faculty Blog: Why You Should be Interested in Trusts and Estates Law

Suppose that S, scion of a prominent wealthy family but a bit of a ne’er do well, drunkenly and negligently wrecks his car, causing severe injury to innocent victim, V. V sues and wins a judgment against S, who is the beneficiary of a trust worth millions of dollars. Is V likely to collect on this judgment?

Not against the trust. Although S continues to benefit from the trust, the document that created it contains a “spendthrift clause.” Under the widely adopted Uniform Trust Code (UTC), a few simple words in the trust document numinously protect its corpus from claims of almost all third parties, including tort victims.

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Podcast: Professor Eldred and Behavioral Legal Ethics

We were joined by Professor Tigran Eldred, a Professor at New England Law | Boston, to discuss his work in behavioral legal ethics. Professor Eldred’s scholarship in this area was cited in a landmark legal ethics decision, United States v. Kentucky Bar Association. In addition, he blends this area into his Ethics class at New England Law. Professor Eldred explains the topic, the effect behavioral legal ethics has on lawyers, the United States v. Kentucky Bar Association decision, and his work integrating this field into the classroom.

You can learn more at this blog, which Professor Eldred coauthors.

Listen on our website here, or visit our PodOmatic page here.

You can also subscribe to our RSS feed here, or download on iTunes here.

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Faculty Blog: Creeping Doctrines / Shifting Fees

Too often the catch-all term “intellectual property”— useful in describing practitioner specialty areas, law school courses, and text books, among other things— serves a subtly insidious function. It suggests that those discrete bodies of law which it encompasses—roughly, copyright, trademark, patent, and trade secret law—have fundamental commonality. Not only, it implies, do those legal areas overlap, but more critically that those overlaps somehow count for more than any divergences.

This has a real effect on the development of the law. Courts are quick to presume that a rule applicable to one area of intellectual property ought to apply to all. The burden, it seems, is on one challenging such an extension to show why a given area of law, say trademark law, is distinct enough from another, such as patent law, so that a rule for one should not apply to another. The courts, for instance, over the past decade worked to extend a rule from a 2006 patent case that denies prevailing patent infringement plaintiffs entitlement to injunctive relief (eBay Inc v. MercExchange) to copyright and trademark law. We are now seeing that process inexorably repeat itself with respect to statutory fee-shifting.

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Faculty Blog: Memory Battles and National Human Rights Trials

This post originally appeared on the IntLawGrrls blog, available here.

I teach transitional justice at New England Law | Boston, and this past week I began the unit on national human rights trials. This topic is one of my favorites due largely to my experience observing national human rights trials like that of former Peruvian President Alberto Fujimori and former Guatemalan leader José Efraín Ríos Montt. Fujimori is currently serving a twenty-five year sentence in Peru for his role in serious human rights crimes during the 1990s while president; while Ríos Montt has been under house arrest awaiting the resumption of his trial since 2013, when the Guatemalan Constitutional Court pointed to procedural errors as a reason to annul his conviction for crimes against humanity and genocide for his role in massacres of indigenous communities in 1982–83.

While observing both trials, I was fascinated by the media coverage of these proceedings and how the local coverage of these historical trials impacted public debates outside of the courtroom. My own research and writing on this topic seeks to respond to the fact that, generally speaking, we often forget the important role of media in transmitting the content of human rights trials although it can dramatically influence the overall transitional justice process.

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Mass. Crim. Dig.: Commonwealth v. Thomas

Commonwealth v. Thomas, 469 Mass. 531 (2014)

I. Facts

In the early morning of July 6, 2006, a three-story Brockton house erupted in flames. The first-floor occupants were unharmed; however, second-floor residents and guests threw the children out the window to a passerby and then jumped themselves. Those on the third floor could not escape on their own. While firefighters saved three people, including the one-month-old baby, the baby’s mother was trapped in the bathroom and later died of smoke inhalation at the hospital.

Michelle Johnson rented the first-floor apartment. The defendant, Chiteara M. Thomas, and her boyfriend, Cornelius Brown, stayed in the first-floor apartment with Johnson. Prior to the fire, Johnson demanded that Thomas move out. The defendant, angry at being tossed out, repeatedly threatened “to kill Johnson and burn the house down.”

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