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Attention! Attention! CALI Bans Hotmail Email Address Users!

August 23, 2012 Leave a comment

As a refresher, CALI is an acronym for Computer Assisted Legal Education, and offers over 300 tutorials on various subjects of law, legal writing and legal research. They are written by professors at distinguished law schools, librarians, and other legal education professionals.  You should have received a CD with CALI lessons (in case you’re working somewhere offline), and a card with an authorization code (in case you want to go online and track your lesson on the web version) during orientation.

Part of the process for registering your CALI authorization code is entering your email.  Most students use their WFU email; however, you can also use a personal email account through gmail or hotmail.  Oh wait!  Not hotmail.  CALI sent out a press release yesterday notifying users that hotmail accounts would no longer be accepted as an email address for CALI registration.  This new ban includes users that may have previously registered for CALI with a hotmail email address.

CALI stated “Due to a near-site killing influx of spammers and other internet ne’er-do-wells using Hotmail, we’ve had to ban all CALI.org accounts that are affiliated with a Hotmail email address.  Unfortunately, this will cause a number of legitimate registered CALI.org users to be banned from our system.  This is a small percentage of our total users, but still a decent amount of people.”

What to do if you’re banned? CALI suggests two options:

“(1) Send an email to webmaster@CALI.org with [your] name and a non-Hotmail email address that [you] wish to use with [your] CALI account.  The switch over will have to be done manually, so it’s entirely foreseeable that the process may get clogged up.   If [you] want instant gratification and access….

(2) Create a new account using a non-Hotmail email address.  Please note, if [you] do choose this option, [you] will lose all access to previous lesson run information. [You] will also need a valid authorization code from a member institution.”

So there you have it.  Issues with accessing CALI?  First check to make sure that you aren’t registered with a hotmail account.  Still having problems, contact the PCL Reference Desk at (336) 758-4520.

In the Limelight: Our New Director – Knott a Stereotypical Librarian

August 15, 2012 Leave a comment

When you hear that the Professional Center Library has a new Director who is an avid gardener, specializing in roses and orchids, do you imagine a person who looks like this? If so, you are in for a surprise.  The PCL’s new director, officially the Associate Dean for Information Services and Technology, is Professor Christopher Knott.   Aside from the fact that it would not be a flattering look, his hair is too short for a bun and he looks more like someone who would tackle a quarterback than “shush” a patron.  Professor Knott comes to Wake Forest from the University of Maine where he has been since 2006, most recently in the position of Vice Dean and Professor of Law.  Prior to his time in Maine, Professor Knott has worked The Columbia University Law School and the Georgetown University Law Center.   Before his career in academia, Knott practiced law and specialized in corporate transactions and commercial ligation.  Currently his interests are more in the area of legal research and legal information, and he is the co-author of the text Where the Law Is: an Introduction to Advanced Legal Research, soon to appear in its 4th edition.

Professor Knott’s interest in gardening could be said to be an inheritance from his father.   As a boy in Iowa, Knott and his brother returned home from school one day to discover their backyard, which had always doubled as the neighborhood playing field, transformed into a giant rose garden.  Admittedly shocked at the time, Knott’s positive outlook eventually won out and he is now a dedicated gardener himself, with a particular interest in orchids and roses.  Knott is also dedicated to his wife Maggi, with whom he is raising (but hopefully not pruning) an energetic first grade son and an teenage daughter who is an aspiring actor.

Those wishing to stop by to talk roses, research, or to just say “hi,” can find his office behind the Reference Desk, room 2201C.

This is not Knott

This IS Knott

Today in Government Information: Why you still want a library

Anyone who has looked for government information in the past several years knows that most of it is available online. As long ago as 1998, when I started working with government documents, the word was spreading that “soon” everything will be online. I’m not sure we even knew what a PDF was in those days, nor authentication, but we knew which way the wind was blowing. Close to 15 years later, not everything is online, but many government information sources are not distributed in print any more. The trend towards putting more and more online continues.

That raises an obvious question which troubles some in the government information community. If virtually everything is available online – and in the realm of government information, almost free of charge – why on earth do we still need depository libraries? When a researcher can sit in the comfort of his own home, in his bunny slippers, and find all the information through a Google search, why maintain the depository system?

The Modern Researcher

The answer is expertise from librarians, particularly government information specialists. Each depository library is required to designate a staff member as a “coordinator” who is charged with maintaining the collection, ensuring access to the public, and assisting researchers in need of assistance. While it is true that a simple Google search can turn up a wealth of information, can it verify that you’re looking at the most recent edition? Can it suggest an agency’s other publications that might be useful? And if the search is too successful, can it help you weed through thousands of results, by suggesting additional terms to include or avoid? A government documents specialist can do all of that, and more. The depository system is not just a distribution method for print documents, it is also a network of specialist librarians across country. These librarians are often the best gateway to information aside from an agency itself, and they are so much more convenient – wherever you happen to be.

Map of Depository Libraries

Map of Depository Libraries

I don’t think depositories are going anywhere. I think they bring value to researchers and the general public, and as the Government Printing Office says, they keep American informed.

Creating America’s Freedoms in the Limelight

With all the news reporting on the major changes in healthcare legislation and reform, some may have missed the newest decision analyzing the 1st Amendment.  I am not a constitutional scholar, but I do want to highlight this particular decision because of it close proximity to the Fourth of July.

You may ask yourself why there is any relation between the two.  Well first, let’s remember what the Fourth of July really stands for: Independence Day. No, not the Will Smith blockbuster.  The Fourth of July is a federal holiday that celebrates the adoption of the Declaration of the Independence on July 4, 1776 and the rights that were conferred onto the new colonies at America’s creation.

According to the National Archives, “drafted by Thomas Jefferson between June 11 and June 28, 1776, the Declaration of Independence is at once the nation’s most cherished symbol of liberty and Jefferson’s most enduring monument. Here, in exalted and unforgettable phrases, Jefferson expressed the convictions in the minds and hearts of the American people. The political philosophy of the Declaration was not new; its ideals of individual liberty had already been expressed by John Locke and the Continental philosophers. What Jefferson did was to summarize this philosophy in “self-evident truths” and set forth a list of grievances against the King in order to justify before the world the breaking of ties between the colonies and the mother country.”

In the Declaration of Independence, Thomas Jefferson wrote, “we hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness.”

With these words, many questions have grown.  What are self-evident truths?  What is liberty? What is freedom? Where does freedom come from? What is the difference between freedom and liberty? Is liberty a license to do whatever ‘I want” whenever ‘I want to’? To learn more, read Michael P. Zuchert’s article, “Self-Evident Truth and the Declaration of Independence” published in The Review of Politics.

The Declaration of Independence has been interpreted in wildly different ways throughout its lifespan.  Here are a few of the articles that might shed more light on the intent and construction behind the Declaration of Independence.

One of the liberties, which we do know fairly clearly, that the founders wanted to ensure with the new country is the Freedom of Religion.  To learn more on this topic read “Religious Freedom and the First Self-Evident Truth: Equality as a Guiding Principle in Interpreting The Religion Clauses” by Jay Alan Sekulow, James Matthew Henderson, & Kevin Broyles – 4 Wm. & Mary Bill Rts. J. 351 (1995-1996.).

Others came out in the development of the Bill of Rights, specifically the First Amendment. According to the National Archives, “during the debates on the adoption of the Constitution, its opponents repeatedly charged that the Constitution as drafted would open the way to tyranny by the central government. Fresh in their minds was the memory of the British violation of civil rights before and during the Revolution. They demanded a ‘bill of rights’ that would spell out the immunities of individual citizens. Several state conventions in their formal ratification of the Constitution asked for such amendments; others ratified the Constitution with the understanding that the amendments would be offered.”

“On September 25, 1789, the First Congress of the United States therefore proposed to the state legislatures 12 amendments to the Constitution that met arguments most frequently advanced against it. The first two proposed amendments, which concerned the number of constituents for each Representative and the compensation of Congressmen, were not ratified. Articles 3 to 12, however, ratified by three-fourths of the state legislatures, constitute the first 10 amendments of the Constitution, known as the ‘Bill of Rights’.”  The First Amendment reads, “Congress shall make no law respecting an establishment of religion, or prohibiting the free exercise thereof; or abridging the freedom of speech, or of the press; or the right of the people peaceably to assemble, and to petition the Government for a redress of grievances.”  And even though this was drafted in 1789, we’re still seeing its power today.

In last week’s Supreme Court decision, United States v. Alvarez, Justice Kennedy wrote, “Lying was his habit.  Xavier Alvarez, the respondent here, lied when he said that he played hockey for the Detroit Red Wings and that he once married a starlet from Mexico. But when he lied in announcing he held the Congressional Medal of Honor, respondent ventured onto new ground; for that lie violates a federal criminal statute, the Stolen Valor Act of 2005.  18 U. S. C. §704.”  However, the court found “when content-based speech regulation is in question, however, exacting scrutiny is required.  Statutes suppressing or restricting speech must be judged by the sometimes inconvenient principles of the First Amendment. By this measure, the statutory provisions under which respondent was convicted must be held invalid, and his conviction must be set aside.” And with the last words that “the Nation well knows that one of the costs of the First Amendment is that it protects the speech we detest as well as the speech we embrace,” the court found that “though few might find respondent’s statements anything but contemptible, his right to make those statements is protected by the Constitution’s guarantee of freedom of speech and expression.”  These protections being the same principles that were born in the Declaration of Independence.

Edwards’ Trial a Buffet of Legal Issues

June 22, 2012 Leave a comment

It is the rare person indeed who has not heard at least something about Johnny Reid Edwards‘ marital affair and  brush with the law.  Although not convicted of misusing campaign donations, Edwards will never regain his golden boy status.  Edward’s entrepreneurial mistress, Rielle Hunter, released a book telling her side of the story on June 26th.   While this latest literary effort on a tawdry topic is likely to cover Edwards’ affair and the resulting child from these assignations, I feel confident in predicting that the publicity-savvy paramour will not have given the legal issues from the debacle the same degree of attention.  Despite her omission, the array of legal topics throughout the Edwards saga reads like an exam question in issue spotting and may well be of interest to those with an interest in the law.

The legal issue that received the most press, and was of greatest concern to Edwards (as a possible sentence of 30 years does tend to get one’s attention), was the alleged violation of campaign finance laws.  After a hearing before the Federal Election Commission, Edwards was required to return over 2 million in federal election funds.  However, the FEC also found that donations Edwards used to pay expenses of his mistress and to hide his affair were not campaign contributions and therefore, did not need to be reported.  Despite the determine of the FEC, the Justice Department was not convinced and chose to move forward with charges of conspiracy and false statements in addition to receiving illegal campaign contributions.  After much sturm and drang, including a two month trial delay for Edwards to undergo heart surgery, a jury eventually found Edwards not guilty on one count and were deadlocked on the remaining five.  The Justice Department has announced that it will not refile the case.

Family law issues also abounded. Along with the commonplace matters of separation and divorce, the Edwards legal extravaganza included issues of paternity and the use of an archaic law. When Edward’s initially admitted to his affair, he still denied that he was the father of his mistress’s child.  In fact, he claimed that his former aide, Andrew Young, was the actual father and asked the aide to support this story. In a disclosure worthy of Maury Povitch, it was later determined that, JOHN EDWARDS, YOU ARE THE FATHER OF THE CHILD!  In addition to the matter of paternity, Elizabeth Edwards added another legal twist when she threatened to sue Young  under the concept of “alienation of affection,” based on his role in covering up his former boss’s affair.  Not only did she threaten to use this archaic cause of action, she chose not to use it against “the other woman,” but  instead she chose the more unusual, yet legally permissible, option of suing a third party who facilitated the marital breakdown.   Allegedly, Elizabeth Edwards was using this threat to force Young to stop speaking publicly about the Edwards’ marriage, and to either give her or destroy voice mails that she had left him during the 2008 presidential campaign.

Voice mails were not the only recordings to play a part in the saga.  When Andrew Young released his tell-all book about the events, it was discovered that he and his wife were in possession of an alleged sex tape featuring  Hunter and Edwards.  The Youngs claimed to have found the tape in the trash at a house they shared with Hunter, and claimed that they could not be sure that the tape belonged to Hunter.  Hunter alleged that she had stored the tape containing “matters of a very private and personal nature”  at the house along with other personal items.  Hunter sued the Youngs to recover the  videotape and  was initially granted a temporary restraining order to prevent the Youngs,  from selling or otherwise distributing the tape.  Eventually Superior Court Judge Abraham Penn Jones held Young and his wife  in contempt  and ordered that the “items … be produced and turned over to the court [or the couple would be put] under lock and key — and under seal — until the lawsuit is resolved.”  The couple claimed difficulty in complying due to the fact that the  tape was “in a safety deposit box in Atlanta that required two keys to open, and one of the keys was in possession of a lawyer undergoing medical treatment in New York.”  Despite these concerns, the promise of jail time proved an effective motivator.  The contempt charge was issued on a Friday and  Andrew Young , with an escort from a court appointed private security guard , managed to retrieve the original  tape from the safe deposit box in Atlanta on the following Tuesday and turn it over to the court the next day.

These are only the most notorious of the legal issues.  Consider yourself invited to join in this legal “Where’s Waldo” game and share any legal issues that this post overlooked or that you think should have been brought.

Where’s Johnny?

 

Everybody Researches – NC Bar Chooses Fastcase over Casemaker

June 15, 2012 Leave a comment

As students and faculty we have easy access to most of what Lexis and Westlaw have to offer.  Given this embarrassment of riches, it is easy to forget that practitioners are much more conservative in their use of these admirable yet expensive databases and prefer to substitute low cost search options when feasible.  Until recently, members of the North Carolina Bar had free access to Casemaker in their research arsenal.  However, as of June first, the NCBA switched to Fastcase, Casemaker’s rival.  NCBA’s Executive Director, Allan Head, cited Fastcases’s award-winning iPhone and iPad apps as a major factor in the decision to change.  With the recent introduction of an Android version of their FREE research apps, the NCBA should be even more pleased with its decision.

Attorneys who want to continue using Casemaker can do so, but it will now be at a cost and not as a member benefit.  Casemaker is reaching out to North Carolina attorneys with limited time special rates and is providing explanations of what makes their product unique, such as it’s “true citator service.”  Fans of Casemaker will need to weigh this feature against the fact that the North Carolina Jury Instructions will no longer be available on Casemaker but will be moving to Fastcase.

Whichever service you choose to use (or that your bar provides) there is no question that Casemaker and Fastcase will continue the battle for legal research service supremacy and for customers.  This should ensure continuing enhancements and improved access to free (for bar members) legal information.  However, as North Carolina switch shows, it is in every attorney’s best financial interest to be aware of changes in both services.

Health Care Law Research in the Limelight

May 21, 2012 2 comments

There are many ways to describe health law.  Health Law is comprised of not only the law of the delivery of health care and the financing of these systems, but also all areas of law that are intersected between law and health.  These areas of law include bioethics (e.g. the ethics of end-of-life decisions), criminal law (i.e. the role of the government protecting elders and children from mistreatment), medical malpractice (i.e. the deterrence method for civil liability for health provider negligence), and employment law (i.e. occupational health and safety and worker’s compensation standards).  You may find that there are individual categories that make up health law as a whole.  For many, health law is subdivided into laws governing health care law, public and population health law, bioethics, and global health law.  This overview is just a mere snapshot in the big picture of what is health law. For the purposes of this blog post, we’re going to focus on health care law.

Much of health care law focuses on legislative, executive, and judicial rules and regulations that govern the health care industry.  The intended audience of these laws include hospitals and hospital systems, public and private insurers, pharmaceutical and device manufacturers, and the individuals who treat patients.  You may be familiar with some of the subcategories that include fraud and abuse dealing with insurance claims, food and drug laws and regulations (FDA), medical malpractice, and heath care mergers and acquisitions. Health care law researchers must deal with a variety of legal sources.  These sources range from the traditional statutes and cases to more complex administrative materials, which includes rules, agency decisions, commentaries, manuals, and guidelines.

Health care law exists at both federal and state levels.  The ability to regulate health care institutions is a policing power left to the states, and must further health, safety and the general welfare.  Licensure or certification is the primary method chosen by state legislatures to regulate the health care industry and its facilities. That being said, the major height of authority behind health care regulation is the federal-state Medicaid program.  In other words, a state’s authority under the Medicaid program is subject to federal regulation, specifically the federal Department of Health and Human Services. In order to participate in the Medicaid program, a state must submit a state plan that meets federal standards under the federal statute, 42 U.S.C. § 1396(a). Each state subscribes to different approaches for regulating the health care institutions within their borders.  To research each state, a 50 state survey may be extremely helpful for you to compare the differing laws and regulations. BNA, LexisNexis and Westlaw allow for you to access various 50 state surveys by topic.

Here are a few short (2-3 minute) video tutorials on how to access 50-State Surveys on each of the above resources.  For this example, assume you are looking for a state-by-state comparison of power of attorney laws and regulations:

As already noted, states have the ability to regulate health care facilities under their policing power.  Conversely, the federal government’s power to regulate this industry is derived from its financing authority or from the constitutional Commerce Clause.  The federal government as a purchaser, under the federal health care programs of Medicare and Medicaid, regulates health care facilities through a certification program.  Thus, in order to receive payments under either one of the federally funded insurance programs, the health care facility must be certified and sign a provider agreement with the Health Care Financing Administration for Medicare and with the state’s Medicaid agency for Medicaid. In sum, because the federal government provides a significant amount of funding to these programs, they are given the power to regulate the receiving facilities quality of care.

The majority of health care federal statutes are contained within the following U.S.C. Titles:

To make life easier, Westlaw and LexisNexis have created specific databases that house these collections of Health Care Federal laws:

But a better tactic than merely going and searching through these various databases or large statutory schemes, try to start your research with a research guide.  The following guides outline the various topics and relevant statutes for issues addressed in health care law.

Still have questions?  Jot it down in a comment and we’ll see what we can do to help you find the answer!