Mini-Law School

Dates:April 11, 2020
Meets:Sa from 8:30 AM to 4:45 PM
Hours:6.00
Instructor:Instructor Information
Fee: $120.00

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Course Description


All day Saturday seminar

Mark Croatti, Program Coordinator

This series focuses on four case studies involving some of the most controversial topics in the headlines today and the highly influential-and widely disputed-court decisions that were rendered. The cases include billions of dollars in tobacco company settlements with the states-and whether or not those funds can be recovered by the companies; how English Common Law influenced the origins of American law; the legal requirement that public officials must prove "actual malice" in order to prevail in a libel suit; and whether a fugitive from justice has the legal right to pursue an appeal in a related civil case while on the run from law enforcement officials. Who were the parties and what was at stake? What were the major points of the cases and why did the courts rule the way they did? How have these decisions affected similar disputes since those rulings? Are the court rulings we'll hear about the final word on these topics? We will embark on a legal journey to discover the surprising foundations of modern United States case law.



8:30-9 a.m. Continental Breakfast



9-10:30 a.m. Maryland v. Philip Morris Incorporated, et al. (2008)
Maryland was one of 56 American states and territories that sued the cigarette industry for engaging in a vast civil conspiracy to lie about the dangers posed by cigarettes. The civil cases ended with the parties signing the landmark Master Settlement Agreement that ended cigarette advertising and exposed corporate wrongdoing on a scale that beggars the imagination. It is no exaggeration to say that the Master Settlement Agreement has transformed American life; however, it has not ended the battles between the states and the big cigarette companies. Instead, it has moved them to the realm of private arbitration concealed behind the veil of confidentiality agreements in which the companies want billions of dollars of settlement money repaid, claiming that they paid the states too much, Maryland included.
John Leovy, J.D., I.I.T. Chicago Kent College of Law, is the Chief Counsel for the Tobacco Enforcement Unit of the Office of the Attorney General of Maryland and is the primary trial counsel for Maryland's diligent enforcement arbitrations. He moved to Maryland to take this job after serving 11 years as a trial lawyer and supervisor in the City of Chicago Department of Law, Torts Division.

10:45 a.m.-12:15 p.m. Lord Mansfield & the Common Law (1756 - 1788)
[Case Studies: Price v. Neal (1762), Carter v. Boehm (1766), and Morris v. Braunson (1776)]. English Common Law is an evolving history that began before the Norman Conquest and is still ongoing in England, Wales, most former colonies, and other places influenced by English law, including the United States (in some states more vigorously than others). William Murray, 1st Earl of Mansfield and Chief Justice of the Court of King's Bench from 1756-1788, is widely considered to have been the judge whose decisions had the strongest influence upon the shaping of English Common Law into a cardinal part of the Industrial Revolution and England's consequent 19th Century rise to Empire status.
Frederic N. Smalkin, J.D., University of Maryland, LL.M., University of London (and B.A., Johns Hopkins), is Jurist-in-Residence and Professor at the University of Baltimore School of Law, having taught for 40 years in venues ranging from the FBI Academy to the Johns Hopkins University School of Medicine. He is a retired Chief Judge of the U.S. District Court for the District of Maryland. Having chaired the Maryland Emergency Management Council and the Maryland Commission on Best Practices for Police Body-Worn Cameras, he now chairs (by gubernatorial appointment) the Maryland Handgun Permit Review Board. He is also affiliated with JAMS ADR, the country's largest ADR provider, as a neutral mediator and arbitrator.


12:15-1:30 p.m. Lunch (bring your own)

1:30-3 p.m. New York Times v. Sullivan (1964)
New York Times v. Sullivan was a landmark case in the history of the civil rights movement and the evolution of First Amendment law. It began as one of the many libel cases filed by southern officials to discourage (mostly) northern media from covering the civil rights movement. When it was over, the Supreme Court had constitutionalized the law of libel, imposing a controversial new requirement that public officials must prove "actual malice" in order to prevail in a libel suit. Sullivan and its progeny forever changed the concept of freedom of the press in this country.
Eric B. Easton, Ph.D., J.D., University of Maryland, is Professor of Law Emeritus at the University of Baltimore School of Law and author of New York Times v. Sullivan, Documentary Supplement (2018).

3:15-4:45 p.m. Maryland Deposit Insurance Fund v. Billman (1990) and related cases
In a series of Maryland state appellate court decisions arising out of the Maryland savings and loan crisis, the Maryland Court of Appeals considered for the first time the issue of whether a fugitive from justice may pursue an appeal in a related civil case while at the same time evading the reach of law enforcement officials. The Court determined that it had discretion to dismiss such an appeal, but declined to do so. The appellate decisions also addressed various other important legal issues including what to do when trial exhibits that have been excluded from evidence are nevertheless erroneously provided to the jury during its deliberations.
Neil Dilloff, J.D., Georgetown University Law Center, is a retired partner and former practice group leader of the litigation group at DLA Piper LLP (US). He currently teaches at the University of Maryland Francis King Carey School of Law. He has received various honors, has published over thirty-five articles and a book on various litigation topics, and has tried over 100 jury trials.

Moderator: Mark Croatti, M.A., University of Southern California, has taught Comparative Politics at The George Washington University since 2002. He also served as a visiting lecturer in 2012 and 2013 for the University of Oregon's Conflict & Dispute Resolution Master's Program within their School of Law.