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Featured Posts

Is Affirmative Action on the Way Out?

The latest Supreme Court decision in Fisher v. The University of Texas at Austin tightens the reins even further on race-based undergraduate admissions.

New Bill Increases Penalty for Child Trafficking in Connecticut

More than 130 children have been forced into sexual slavery in Connecticut in the last five years and the Connecticut legislator is doing something about it.

UConn Law Professor Speaks to Congress on Cybersecurity

While many lobby to limit the duty to disclose consumer data breaches, Dr. David Thaw warns against rewarding companies for bad investigations and eroding consumer protection.

Appeal from Second Circuit Striking Down Town Prayer

Congress has been opening with prayer since before the revolution, but in Town of Greece v. Galloway, the practice began in 1999 and may have been intended to favor one religion.

The Law Student's Guide to Creating a Strong Legal Resume

A legal resume has two parts: Education and Experience. Both can be added to and tweaked, without lying or exaggerating, and make you really stand out.

New Connecticut Law Limits Immigrants Turned over to ICE

This controversial new policy means that Connecticut authorities will only honor ICE detention requests for immigrants on terrorist watch lists, felons or those who meet other safety risks.

Law is a Personal Profession

Life has become less personal, but Law remains a personal profession and anyone can put themselves on the short list for a job by skipping email and applying in person.

How to Study in Your Car - Redeeming the Time

Whether you're driving or folding laundry, you can get ahead by listening to the right audiobooks and lectures. This article reviews of the best audio resources and explains how to get them.

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Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Is John Oliver Anti-Indemnity?


Guest Post from Michael V. Pepe at SDVlaw.com:

I love John Oliver. He’s smart, funny, and has an uncanny way of breaking down complicated issues into hilarious bite-sized jokes. But on Sunday night, while tackling North Dakota’s relationship with oil companies, Mr. Oliver included a bit about North Dakota’s lack of an anti-indemnity statute that was slightly off the mark. Mr. Oliver argued that the ability to contract for full indemnity, including indemnity for one’s own negligence, allows oil companies to avoid responsibility for unsafe conditions. He says about indemnity agreements:

Theoretically, even if [the oil company] were negligent and found completely at fault, [the contractor]’s insurance company would find itself paying a chunk of [the oil company]’s settlement, which in this case, it did.

Monday, November 23, 2015

Proposed New Jersey Law to Allow Cell Phone Searches after Auto Accidents


Photo Credit: Maria Sachs
A new law, proposed by New Jersey State Senator James Holzapfel, seeks to allow police officers to seize and search drivers’ cellular phones after an accident provided that there are "reasonable grounds" to suspect that a driver may have been distracted.  This would allow the officer to determine whether or not the driver was using his or her phone at the time of the crash and use that information to assign liability and citations.

Texting while driving was linked to 1.3 million crashes in 2011.  The reason is simple. The minimum amount of time required to send a text is about five seconds.  Therefore, a car traveling at 55 miles per hour, with a distracted driver, will travel a distance the length of a football field without ever looking at the road.  As of this date, all but three states have laws in place that ban or limit texting while driving.

Insurance Institute for Highway Safety: 2013 Map of Texting Bans


Use of phone records to determine accident liability is nothing new.  According to Damien A. Orato of Rumberger, Kirk and Caldwell, "It is now standard procedure to obtain the cell phone records of the opposing party in cases involving motor vehicle accidents."  Without phone records, it is almost impossible to prove that the other driver was texting.  Even with the records, the offending messages are often unfinished and never sent.  The New law would allow an officer to see unfinished "draft" text messages as well as those successfully sent.

Friday, November 20, 2015

UConn Law Professor Testifies Before Congress on Cybersecurity

By Geoffrey J. Miller
Published in The Hartford Courant, Aug. 12, 2013.


Photo Credit: Dallas Business Journal
The U.S. House of Representatives recently invited six distinguished experts, including Professor David Thaw of the University of Connecticut School of Law, to give their opinions on a possible federal law that would govern when companies are required to notify consumers of data breaches. This is the fourth time in less than decade that such a law has been discussed.

When technology expands, the law slowly grows up around it. Often this results in what subcommittee chair Lee Terry (R-Nebraska) referred to as "a patchwork of state and territory-specific statutes...[that] tend to differ from each other in many ways."  This is the case for many laws governing the internet, including those that govern data breach notification requirements.

According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, there are currently forty-six state and four territorial breach notification laws; plus the Federal Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA), which applies only to medical information. Because a single online breach may affect consumers from all fifty states, it is easy to see how these different and sometimes contradicting laws can be a nightmare for companies who are faced with a security breach.