Faculty in the News

Ohio State law professors are sought out for their expertise by a number of news media outlets and blogs with large audiences. Topics range from the death penalty to voter ID laws to artificial insemination – and our faculty members’ quotes and analysis can be found everywhere from small-town and national newspapers to radio broadcasts to cable news programs. The following is a selection of media coverage for Moritz College of Law faculty.

To request an interview, media should click here for more information.

2014 Media Hits

A Buyout Offer That Raises Questions of Board Fairness and Duty

February 25, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about the American Financial Group trying to buy out minority shareholder National Interstate Corporation. Davidoff writes that the American Financial Group is making a myriad of mistakes in their attempt.

"If you happen to control a public company and want to buy out the remaining shareholders, avoid the mistakes made by the American Financial Group in its attempt to squeeze out the minority at the National Interstate Corporation," he writes.


Let Ukrainians Determine Their Own Fate

February 21, 2014

Featured Expert: John B. Quigley

Professor John Quigley wrote an op-ed for the Moscow Times about Ukraine's role in its future. International powers haven't hesitated to get involved, but Quigley writes that the decision should be made by the people of Ukraine.

"The ultimate choice must not be taken out of the hands of the population," he said. "Outside involvement should be directed at facilitating an outcome that is acceptable to the domestic parties."


The Final Battle for a REIT May Be Drawing Near

February 21, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Corvex Management and Related Fund Management's battle to control Commonwealth REIT. Barry M. Portnoy and his son, Adam D. Portnoy, who currently manage the company, have employed a variety of tactics to prevent this from happening, An upcoming vote will have large ramifications, Davidoff writes.

"The vote on March 20 is a milestone, but if the Portnoys lose and CommonWealth’s directors are unseated, it is at best only the beginning of the end for CommonWealth shareholders as they continue to wait for the Portnoys to decide the shareholders’ fate," he said.


Ohio treasurer receives OK to host town halls

February 20, 2014

Featured Expert: Daniel P. Tokaji

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about an attorney general opinion that allows the Ohio treasurer to conduct telephone town halls using public money. The opinion will likely have broad ramifications for the upcoming elections, Tokaji said.

“As a practical matter, while that legal advice is certainly right, very serious concerns can arise about whether these are really intended to inform Ohio constituents about the operations of his office or if they’re campaign events,” he said.


Shame Is a Powerful Deterrent

February 19, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman participated in a debate for the opinion pages of the New York Times about ways to potentially lower the number of accidents. Berman pointed out that increasing the severity of punishment does not always lead to deterrence. Instead, he suggested shaming as a possible alternative method. 

"Shaming has an established pedigree; it was widely used in colonial America," he said. "More recently, academics have debated the potential virtues and vices of modern shaming — often after a judge has ordered a shoplifter to wear a sign saying “I am a thief.” Because we have rarely tried to make traffic offenders “pay” for their crimes through prominent use of shaming, I cannot confidently predict it would be more effective. But given the challenges in trying to capture the attention and obedience of busy New York City drivers, it is worthwhile to consider creative alternative punishment schemes."


Voters’ Bill of Rights blocked in Ohio

February 19, 2014

Featured Expert: Daniel P. Tokaji

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from MSNBC about the battle in Ohio to create a "Voter's Bill of Rights." Ohio Attorney General Mike DeWine, along with other Republicans, opposes the movement, but Tokaji believes the objections are largely unfounded.

“The cited portions of the petition accurately state current Ohio law.,” said Tokaji via email. “In my view, the AG’s letter is really a reach.”


Gay-rights suit may alter parents on birth records

February 18, 2014

Featured Expert: Marc Spindelman

Professor Marc Spindelman was interviewed for an article in the Columbus Dispatch regarding a lawsuit filed in federal court in Cincinnati seeking to challenge the state's decision to prohibit listing both members of same-sex couples on birth certificates.

Spindelman said the lawsuit is probably designed to “chip away at the prohibitions on same-sex marriage in an incremental way.”

He added: “Can you treat same-sex couples lawfully married in another jurisdiction differently than a cross-sex couple for the same purposes? It seems to puts a leaden thumb on the scales in the favor of cross-sex couples.”


Gay-rights suit may alter parents on birth records

February 18, 2014

Featured Expert: Marc Spindelman

Professor Marc Spindelman was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch article about a gay-rights law suit that seeks to give same-sex couples the right to put both names on their child's birth certificate.

“Can you treat same-sex couples lawfully married in another jurisdiction differently than a cross-sex couple for the same purposes?" Spindelman asks. "It seems to puts a leaden thumb on the scales in the favor of cross-sex couples.”


Outrage Over Wall St. Pay, but Shrugs for Silicon Valley?

February 18, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about a perceived double-standard in public outcry between compensation on Wall Street and compensation on Silicon Valley. Davidoff argues that excess is scoffed at on Wall Street, but celebrated in Silicon Valley with no real rationale.

"Wall Street bashing ignores the fact that it is finance that produces the money for tech start-ups," he writes. "Finance may not be the sexy part of life, but it is integral to success, as much as good roads or telecommunications. And yes, finance has had its problems — but so does Silicon Valley."


Judge cited Ohio obscenity law in approving prosecutor's request to destroy rape case evidence

February 9, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about the destruction of evidence in an Ohio rape and murder case. The destruction could be justified, Berman said, because harm that could occur if the material became public.

"You preserve any of this stuff, who knows not only who get their hands on it, but who knows who is eager to misuse this material for whatever potential criminal purpose," he said.


Ohio parents fight law over girl's forced chemo

February 8, 2014

Featured Expert: Marc Spindelman

Professor Marc Spindelman was quoted in an article from the Associated Press about a court case involving the health care of an 11-year-old girl with cancer. Believing the chemotherapy treatment was killing their daughter, the parents tried to withdraw her from the treatment, but the court appointed a guardian to have her continue the treatment. The family is appealing under the Ohio Health Care Freedom Amendment, which prohibits any law from forcing Ohioans to participate in "a health care system." Spindelman said the case is not so clear, however.

"It's not clear the health care amendment helps clarify the issue," he said. "It's not a slam dunk."


Cleveland's victory in Supreme Court reinforces home rule, but it's not a breakthrough for cities, expert says

February 4, 2014

Featured Expert: Christopher J. Walker

Professor Chistopher Walker was quoted in an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about a recent ruling in the Ohio Supreme Court. Some believe the ruling is a breakthrough for home rule powers, but legal experts, including Walker, do not think the ruling will have much of an effect.

”Is it a win for the city?” he asked. ”You could imagine a different world where the court just said ‘Hey, once the state announces a law in any general area, the cities cannot have any role,’ “


Plaintiff? Is That Really Necessary In A Class Action?

February 4, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

A study conducted by Steven Davidoff, along with Notre Dame's Matthew D. Cain, was referenced in an article from Forbes about the myriad of lawsuits involved in business deals.

"This study of M&A litigation by Steven M. Davidoff of Ohio State University and Notre Dame’s Matthew D. Cain found that public-company mergers over $100 million last year drew an average of 6.9 lawsuits each," the article said. "The median fee in those cases was $845,000."


In Yearlong Clash Over Herbalife, Innuendo Trumps Clarity

February 4, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Herbalife and the $1 billion short William A. Ackman put on the company after calling it a pyramid scheme. Whether that is true or not, Davidoff says, unfortunately is not what's important.

"The huge swings in Herbalife’s stock price over such news expose a sad truth about Wall Street. Truth doesn’t sometimes matter very much. Instead, as Herb Greenberg at TheStreet.com has written, where the trade will go in the short term is more important," writes Davidoff


Suarez Corp. leader vows to remain fighter against all legal challenges

February 2, 2014

Featured Expert: Daniel P. Tokaji

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Akron Beacon-Journal about the multi-million dollar lawsuit against Benjamin Suarez, who is accused of making illegal campaign contributions. Tokaji said it's tough to know exactly what the government's case consists of.

“It’s hard to say. If they’ve got witnesses, especially those in the company who will testify to what the government claims was going on, and there isn’t any evidence to contradict that testimony, then the government would seem to have a strong case,” Tokaji said.


Ohio State’s new president called a strong choice

January 31, 2014

Featured Expert: Deborah Jones Merritt

Professor Deborah Jones Merritt was quoted in an article from the Columbus Dispatch about Ohio State's selection of Michael Drake to be its next president. Merritt led the 13-member advisory panel of the search committee and said she and the committee are thrilled with the results.

“Dr. Drake is an inclusive leader,” she said. “He is an acclaimed scholar. Perhaps most of all, he cares deeply about faculty, staff and students and the whole community.”


Examining the Timing of J.C. Penney’s Poison Pill Change

January 28, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about JC Penny changing its poison pill to 4.9 percent from 10 percent. The reason for the change, Davidoff says, is tax rules.

"J.C. Penney can justify the low trigger because of tax rules that are even more complex than normal," he writes. "When a company accumulates losses, called net operating losses or NOLs, these have value. If the company returns to profitability, it can use them for up to 20 years to offset future gains and avoid paying tax. In some cases, the NOLs can actually be transferred to other parties."


Answers to a Puzzling Deal at Alibaba Remain in the Shadows

January 28, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Chinese Internet giant Alibaba's recent purchase of Hong Kong-listed company Citic 21CN. The reasons behind the purchase are not clear and Alibaba does not appear in a hurry to let people know. But as the company moves toward a public listing, Davidoff writes that the company will probably have to be more forthcoming in the future. 

"Once Alibaba does go public, it no longer has the luxury of being coy about its actions, no matter how small," he said. "That’s the price you pay for being in the limelight, up among the technology giants of the world."


New legal help for juvenile sex and labor trafficking victims

January 23, 2014

Featured Expert: Kimberly Jordan

Kimberly Jordan was interviewed for an article for the Youngstown Daily regarding the Moritz College of Law's Justice for Children Clinic, as well as legal fellowship that provides the opportunity to help juveniles who are survivors of sex or labor trafficking.

Jordan, who is director of the Justice for Children Project, explains the overall goal of the program.

 “These survivors can be difficult to find and our hope is to provide legal assistance to help free them permanently from their abusers,” said Jordan.


How Colleges Are Preparing Students for a Country Where Pot Is Legal

January 23, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from The Atlantic about how colleges are preparing their students for a future where marijuana might be legal. Berman designed a seminar class about the law surrounding marijuana because of the salience the issue has gained in this country. He especially saw the significance in California's attempt to legalize marijuana.

“I came to the conclusion, whether accurately or not, when California had its legalization initiative in 2010, that if that were to be passed it would be something of landmark significance. And it was something that struck me that wasn’t getting the attention it deserved,” Berman said.


What’s Behind Time Warner Cable’s Response to Charter’s Offer

January 23, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Charter Communications’ $37.8 billion offer to buy Time Warner Cable. Time Warner's response said that it would be receptive to an offer that valued its company for about $10 billion more. The response was all about subtlety, Davidoff writes.

"Time Warner Cable is posturing, both to set up a defense and to nudge Charter away from making a full-on hostile bid," he writes.

 


Should politicians have the right to lie? U.S. Supreme Court could decide in Ohio case

January 22, 2014

Featured Expert: Daniel P. Tokaji

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in an article from the Cleveland Plain Dealer about an upcoming Supreme Court Case that could decided the legality of lying about a political opponent. The case, which stems from an Ohio election dispute, could have large ramifications, Tokaji said.

"The litigation “could ultimately become a really important case on false campaign speech and whether it can be regulated,” he said.


Search for the ‘Next Big Thing’ Yields Soaring Valuations

January 21, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Google's $3.2 billion deal for Nest Labs, which makes smart thermostats. Davidoff explores valuations in the tech industry, saying sometimes it's mutually beneficial for tech giants like Google, Microsoft, and Facebook to pay more for a company than its worth. The worry is that similar buying practices were seen during the internet bubble more than a decade ago.

"Everyone wins, at least until these great concepts don’t pan out and the bubble pumped up by these prices bursts," Davidoff writes. "Let’s hope this is not what we are seeing again, but it’s hard not to be worried. Silicon Valley has no incentive to stop the valuation madness."


Judge Who Retired After Racist Email Sent Hundreds Of Others, Investigation Finds

January 21, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman's sentencing blog was quoted in a ThinkProgress.org article about a former Montana judge, Richard Cebull, who was discovered to have sent racist and sexist emails from his work email. After a group of judges reviewed his cases, no signs of bias in his rulings were uncovered. However, Berman said defendants Judge Cebull sentenced should look into it further.

“In my view,” he said, “any defendant (especially any female or minority defendant) still sitting in federal prison unhappy with a past sentencing decision made by Judge Cebull could and should use this new report to at least request a focused review of any of his specific sentencing outcomes.”


Supreme Court takes up limits of child porn victim restitution in case involving East Texan

January 20, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Dallas Morning News about a child pornography case involving a man in Texas. The Supreme Court will rule on whether the man, Doyle Paroline, will have to pay the victims for pain and suffering.

“There are so many fulcrums on which this case could tip, and which of those will be the focal point of arguments and ultimately the court’s decision is very hard to predict,” said Berman.


OSU Law School Fights To Raise Awareness On Human Trafficking

January 19, 2014

Featured Expert: Kimberly Jordan

Professor Kimberly Jordan was interviewed for a story by NBC4 about human trafficking in Ohio and a series of events The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law is putting on starting the week of Jan. 20 to raise awareness for human trafficking. Jordan, the director of Justice for Children, is taking a leading role in the events at Moritz.

"Juveniles often feel that their voice is not being heard in the legal system," she said. "And so we really want to seek to build that relationship with them and see they can get the assistance and help that they need."


Unclear Future for Executions After Ohio's Longest

January 19, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in a story from the Associated Press about new legal questions arising after an Ohio inmate was executed using a new method, but took 26 minutes to die. It is unclear if the man, Dennis McGuire, went through any pain, but McGuire's children are calling it torture. Berman said it remains to be seen how the courts will view the situation.

"How much will Ohio care, how much will the rest of the country care, that it seems that what we now have discovered is Ohio is using a method that gets the job done, but looks ugly," Berman said. "We don't know if it actually was ugly. We just know that it looked ugly."


Family, experts: Ohio execution snafu points to flaws in lethal injection

January 19, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article by CNN about an Ohio inmate's execution, in which the man appeared to struggle and be in pain. Whether he was actually in pain is unclear, but the family plans to file a lawsuit against the state. Berman said the suit would be "groundbreaking," and "a nice political statement," but Berman did not believe the family had the legal standing needed to file it.


In Ohio, all sides join to fight trafficking

January 18, 2014

Featured Expert: Kimberly Jordan

Professor Kimberly Jordan wrote a letter to the editor for the Columbus Dispatch about the gathering at the Ohio Statehouse for Ohio’s fifth annual Human Trafficking Awareness Day. Jordan, who is the director of the Justice for Children Project, said she was proud to see the bipartisan support for the event.

"Someone forced into a life of prostitution and assault demands our support and collaboration," she writes. "Congratulations to Ohio, for showing these women that we hear their voices and will continue the fight for victims everywhere. I am proud to stand with them."


After a Prolonged Execution in Ohio, Questions Over ‘Cruel and Unusual’

January 17, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was interviewed for a New York Times story regarding the prolonged execution of Dennis B. McGuire in Ohio. McGuire experienced a 25 minute execution with a new and untested combination of drugs.

Now his family is looking to bring the case to court to prevent others from having to go through the same thing.

In response to their decision to file suit, Berman said they would have to prove “by a preponderance of the evidence that he suffered unnecessary pain.”

“By my lights, this is a very hard lawsuit to prevail,” he added. “But who knows?”


Apollo’s Rush to Get the Chuck E. Cheese Deal Done

January 17, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Apollo's attempt to acquire CEC Entertainment, the parent company of Chuck E. Cheese. Apollo appears to be in a rush to complete the deal because of a number of provisions in the contract limiting CEC Entertainment's options to sell and clauses that would speed up the process. Davidoff said the market is not yet sure how to react.

"Will this all work? Chuck E. Cheese’s shares closed on Thursday at $54.75 a share, higher than the offer price of $54 a share, so the market is not sure who will capture the chain and its mouse-like mascot," he writes.


Overhaul of Israel’s Economy Offers Lessons for United States

January 17, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York times about the overhaul in Israel's economy and whether the United States can learn anything from it. Both countries have large income disparity between the rich and poor, but Davidoff says it remains to be seen whether the two economies and political systems are similar enough to draw any real conclusions.

"Still, while we await the outcome of Israel’s great experiment, it is clear that where there is the perception that harm is being done and where there is the will to change, a democracy can overcome even the most powerful corporate lobbyists. In Israel, at least," he writes.


Prolonged execution renews debate over death by lethal injection

January 17, 2014

Featured Expert: Douglas A. Berman

Professor Douglas Berman was quoted in an article from the Los Angeles Times about an Ohio inmate's prolonged execution, in which he appeared to struggle and be in pain before dying. Whether the inmate was actually in pain is unclear, but his family is filing a lawsuit against the state. Now, states like Ohio are looking for alternative options.

"We have seen fewer and fewer executions every year, in large part because of these problems," said Berman. "Maybe states will give up and say we'll try firing squads and hanging again. But then there's a question about whether courts will allow that."

 


Nader, an Adversary of Capitalism, Now Fights as an Investor

January 14, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about a conversation he had with Ralph Nader, who told Davidoff that he fights for shareholder writes and is an “adversary of corporate capitalism." Nader believes the key is getting shareholders organized and to speak as one. Davidoff isn't sure he agrees.

"I’m skeptical, because I think that bringing together the mutual funds and the pension and hedge funds will result in too many different agendas, let alone agreement on Mr. Nader’s goals," he writes. "But it is intriguing that Mr. Nader, the man who at one point was General Motors’ greatest foe, is now so aligned with many of the forces of Wall Street who are pushing for more shareholder control."


When Ignorance Is an Excellent Excuse

January 13, 2014

Featured Expert: Joshua Dressler

Professor Joshua Dressler was interviewed for a story in the National Review regarding the 40,000 new laws (state, federal, and local) that will go into effect this year, according to media reports. With this increase, overcriminalization has become an issue and laws that carry criminal penalties have rapidly increased.

Another issue Dressler said, is that “many modern statutes are exceedingly intricate” and “even a person with a clear moral compass is frequently unable to determine accurately whether conduct is prohibited.”


Trials a rarity in Ohio, U.S.

January 13, 2014

Featured Expert: Joshua Dressler

Professor Joshua Dressler was quoted in a Columbus Dispatch article regarding the fact that the number  of trials by juries or judges is dropping. Statistics show that only 2.5 percent of criminal cases in Ohio and 2.1 percent in Franklin County were resolved by going to trial in 2012.

Dressler said he believes that average citizens are misinformed by television shows and the media about the reality of the numbers.

“What the general public knows is Law and Order, where everything seems to go to trial,” he said. “It’s just not so.”


The Myth of the Anti-Government Constitution

January 11, 2014

Featured Expert: Peter M. Shane

Professor Peter Shane wrote an op-ed for The Atlantic about the Supreme Court Case National Labor Relations Board v. Noel Canning, a case about recess appointments. Shane argues the Constitution was intended to emphasize the president's role to make appointments over the Senate's role to confirm them. Confirmation, he said, was intended to prevent corruption.

"Protecting the Senate’s confirmation role at the expense of the president’s appointments responsibility turns the constitutional design on its head," Shane writes.


Corporate Takeover? In 2013, a Lawsuit Almost Always Followed

January 10, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed in the New York Times about the growing amount of litigation in corporate takeovers. In 2013, more than 97 percent of takeovers involved litigation with the average price costing around $500,000. Sometimes, Davidoff said, the litigation is baseless.

"Many of these lawsuits have no merit, but there are a number of suits that do address real wrongdoing and should be encouraged," he writes. "But any change may be a long way off. The current system benefits plaintiffs’ lawyers but also defense lawyers who earn quite a bit defending these cases. It is also a boon to buyers, who are no longer liable for future claims from shareholders. This is not a bad insurance policy for $500,000 or so."


The Meaning for Businesses in Delaware’s Judicial Nomination

January 8, 2014

Featured Expert: Steven M. Davidoff

Professor Steven Davidoff wrote an op-ed for the New York Times about Judge Leo E. Strine Jr.'s nomination to be Delaware's next chief judge. Judge Strine was the head of the Chancery Court in Delaware,  the nation’s leading court for litigation of business disputes. Though Judge Strine has generally leaned pro-business, Davidoff does not think much will change in the Chancery Court in his absence.

"Don’t expect huge changes," he writes. "In short, the business of Delaware will continue to be doing what it does best, business."


5 most vital foreign policy moves for the US in 2014

January 5, 2014

Featured Expert: John B. Quigley

Professor John B. Quigley wrote an op-ed for the Courier Journal about foreign policy moves he believes the United States needs to make in 2014. Among the moves is to declare victory in the “war on terror," and bring home the 60,000 troops in Europe.


Keep GAB strong and independent

January 5, 2014

Featured Expert: Daniel P. Tokaji

Professor Daniel Tokaji was quoted in a staff editorial in the Wisconsin State Journal about the Government Accountability Board. The board, which is made up of former judges and is nonpartisan, is being audited and the editorial staff believes some politicians are looking for a reason to "undermine" it. Tokaji believes this would be a bad idea.

“The GAB is a national model,” he said, “and it would be a tragedy and a travesty if it were eliminated.”

 


Dr. Micah Berman, Ohio State University – Social Butterfly

January 3, 2014

Featured Expert: Micah Berman

Professor Micah Berman spoke to WAMC Northeast Public radio about the extra money smokers cost their employers. Berman conducted a study analyzing five factors:  absenteeism, presenteeism, lost productivity due to smoking breaks, healthcare costs, and pension benefits.

“Overall, we estimated that each year, an employee who smokes costs an employer an average of $5,816 more than an employee who has never smoked.  We caution that this is a rough indicator of excess costs and that costs may vary significantly depending upon the industry, the specific employees, and numerous other factors.”