Electronic Fourth of July

The library is closed Tuesday, July 4 for the national holiday.
Meanwhile, our electronic resources are still available to current law students, 2017 graduates, and law faculty.
For example, the book American Soul: The Contested Legacy of the Declaration of Independence, edited by Justin Buckley Dyer, is available in electronic format. It contains materials relating to the Declaration of Independence, from Thomas Jefferson’s rough draft, to speeches by Frederick Douglass, Ronald Reagan, Barack Obama, and more.
To include this e-book in your Fourth of July reading:
  • Find it in our catalog, which is searchable on our homepage, law.sc.edu/library. For example, you could type in the search terms “American Soul” and press Enter, then click on the title.
  • Under the words “Connect to:” click the link that says “USC All libraries from EBSCOhost.”
  • Click the link that says “USC School of Law.”
  • You can browse the Table of Contents or view the whole book as a PDF, among other options.
We wish everyone a thoughtful and well-researched Fourth of July.

This Little Pig Has a Docket

“Stickin’ with The Pig: A tale of loyalty and loss”

Tony Bartelme writes in the Post and Courier about the Piggly Wiggly chain that revolutionized the grocery business at the start of the 20th century, grew to become a beloved icon in the South, and is now facing a lawsuit over business decisions that are alleged to have resulted in difficulty paying obligations to employees.

The amended complaint includes these words:

How to Find Federal Court Documents Using Bloomberg Law

To find the court documents in the Piggly Wiggly lawsuit:

1.  Log in to Bloomberg Law.

2.  On the left, click “Litigation & Dockets.” Then click “Dockets Search.”  

3.  In the Courts field, select the U.S. District Court of South Carolina.

4.  In the Docket # field, type 2:16-cv-00616.

5.  Click on the caption of the case (the blue link) to see the docket for the case.

6.  All documents in the lawsuit so far are listed in the docket. Key documents have a link to “View,” meaning that the full text is available online free, through your student Bloomberg Law subscription.

Mango-Flavored Legal Research

Our law library director, Duncan Alford, recently returned from a trip to Asia, bearing gifts: mango-flavored gummies.

Does this have anything to do with legal research? We’ve never sampled mango-flavored legal research before, but it’s worth a try.

Mango Statute

7 U.S.C. § 608e-1(a) provides that when a marketing order regulates the “grade, size, quality, or maturity” of mangoes grown in the U.S., then imported mangoes must also meet the standards set out in the marketing order.

Mango Secondary Sources

According to the National Agricultural Law Center’s overview, a marketing order is a legal instrument issued by the Secretary of Agriculture to regulate the commercial handling of an agricultural commodity, with the purpose of stabilizing market conditions. The USDA’s website provides a list of commodities currently subject to marketing orders, and as of this writing, mangoes are not on the list.

Mango Regulations

Although there is currently no marketing order relating to mangoes, there is a Mango Promotion, Research and Information Order codified at 7 C.F.R. pt. 1206.

recently proposed regulation about importing mangoes from Vietnam received 21 public comments on regulations.gov.

Mango Case

In Krome v. Commissioner, 9 T.C.M. (CCH) 178 (1950), the U.S. Tax Court held that Florida taxpayers whose fruit trees were damaged—but not destroyed—by a hurricane, used reasonable methods to calculate the deductible losses to their avocado, citrus, and mango trees.

Down the Rabbit-Hole of Copyright Law

Origins of U.S. Copyright Law

The U.S. Supreme Court first made a ruling on the issue of copyright on this date 183 years ago: March 19, 1834. In Wheaton v. Peters, 33 U.S. 591 (1834), the Court ruled that an author’s rights in published works are limited by laws Congress has passed. Copyright.gov’s interactive timeline lets viewers explore this and other important dates in the history of U.S. copyright law.

Alice’s Adventures in Copyright Wonderland

Alice rabbit

As an example of how copyright laws affected one published work, Charles Dodgson pseudonymously published Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland in 1865. The applicable law was Britain’s Copyright Act of 1842, which provided that copyright would last either 7 years after the author’s death, or 42 years after the date of first publication, whichever was longer.

excerpt from Copyright Act of 1842

Charles Dodgson died in 1898. Seven years after his death was 1905. The longer time period in this case was 42 years after 1865 (the date of first publication), meaning that the copyright lasted until 1907.

Since the time Alice entered the public domain in 1907, the story has been reprinted, retold, reillustrated, and remixed in many ways, including:

Library Resources on Copyright Law

Below are a sampling of the 900+ resources on copyright law held at Coleman Karesh Law Library.

covers of books on copyright

The Case of the Missing Comma

In O’Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, No. 16-1901 (1st Cir. Mar. 13, 2017),  the First Circuit Court of Appeals delves deep into the rules about commas in order to interpret a Maine statute.

What would you think? If drivers only distribute perishable food, but do not pack the perishable food for distribution, would the overtime provision of the statute apply to those drivers?

First Excerpt from Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, Chapter 7, Subchapter 3

Second Excerpt from Maine Revised Statutes, Title 26, Chapter 7, Subchapter 3

Is the last item in paragraph F “packing for shipment or distribution?” This interpretation would allow the drivers to get overtime pay, since they do not participate in “packing for shipment or distribution.”

Or is the last item in paragraph F “distribution?” This interpretation would allow the dairy not to pay the drivers overtime, since the drivers participate in “distribution.”

Both parties in this case turn to the Maine Legislative Drafting Manual to support their interpretations of the statute. In a footnote, the court provides string citations to other legislative drafting manuals, and even to an electronic journal on teaching legal research and writing in the law school classroom.

O'Connor v. Oakhurst Dairy, n. 5

Ultimately, the text of the statute was ambiguous, because there was no comma before the words “or distribution.” Because of the ambiguity, the First Circuit had to look outside of the language of the statute in order to interpret it. This is a remedial statute that the legislature intended for the benefit of workers, so the court gave the drivers the benefit of the doubt on how to interpret it.

What if a case like this arose in South Carolina?

Or what if it’s your job to draft a clearly worded S.C. statute?

Medical-Legal Partnerships

UofSC Schools of Medicine and Law
white coats of UofSC School of Medicine and hooding ceremony of UofSC School of Law
What is a Medical-Legal Partnership?

A medical-legal partnership exists when people’s needs blur the line between medicine and law, and professionals work together to address the whole problem.

For example, a doctor can treat asthma symptoms. But if the asthma is being triggered by mold or pests in rental housing, addressing the underlying issue may require a lawyer. A medical-legal partnership at Cincinnati Children’s Hospital allows families to speak to legal aid lawyers on-site at the hospital whenever it appears there may be a legal component to a patient’s health problems.

Veterans’ Medical-Legal Partnerships

In December, University of South Carolina School of Law hosted a symposium on access to justice for veterans. One panel at the symposium discussed various forms of medical-legal partnerships that benefit veterans. For example, veterans receiving treatment at a VA hospital in San Francisco can also get a “legal check-up” to address needs such as simple wills and health care powers of attorney before there is an emergency.

As another example, law students at Stetson University College of Law do supervised legal work in a Veterans Advocacy Clinic, where they help veterans get the benefits they deserve. This requires working closely with a medical team that makes the relevant medical determinations.

More Information

book covers related to medical-legal partnerships

The ABA’s “Top 100 Blawgs”

The American Bar Association has posted its “Top 100 Blawgs” list for 2016.

Law students with a little more free time than usual over winter break may want to check out the following law-related blogs in particular, since the topics relate to law students, early-career lawyers, or legal career advice. Links to blog home pages and sample blog posts are below.

Associate’s Mind

Birmingham lawyer/blogger Keith Lee who has been in practice for roughly six years, writes about the transition from law school to lawyer, getting that first job, and improving from there.

Before the Bar

This is the official blog of the ABA’s Law Student Division.

Brian Leiter’s Law School Reports

A law professor at the University of Chicago blogs about law schools nationwide. Some posts are deep dives into the inner workings of legal academia, while some are directly of interest to current law students.

The Gen Why Lawyer

Nicole Abboud passed the bar five years ago. She practiced family law, then fashion law, then founded the Gen Why Lawyer podcast.

Law School Café

One law professor with multiple teaching awards (Deborah J. Merritt) and one 27-year-old law graduate who has been named by National Law Journal as one of the 100 most influential lawyers (Kyle McEntee) moderate a discussion about how law school and the legal profession need to change.

The Lawyer Whisperer

A former lawyer who now works as both a consultant to law firms and a career strategist for lawyers, writes an advice column for lawyers.

Thanks to the ABA for highlighting so many interesting blogs. See all Top 100 Blawgs.