The Ohio State Bar Association (OSBA) has served as our Chapter administrator for the last several years. We are grateful for their support and recognize that with the OSBA’s administrative assistance, our Chapter was able to make tremendous strides in growing both our membership and the quality programming for which we have become known. In February of this year, we learned that the OSBA intended to discontinue bar management services effective June 1, 2012. As a result, a Search Committee was formed and tasked with the responsibility of recommending a new administrator to the FBA NDOC Board. In April, the Search Committee unanimously presented an extremely well qualified candidate for Board approval. On behalf of our Chapter, I wish to recognize and thank the Search Committee for their efforts. Committee members included Board members Annette Butler, Ed Icove, Ken Kowalski, Neil Schor, Dennis Terez and Tony Vegh.
I am delighted to introduce to you our new Administrator, Barbara Greenberg. Many of you may know Barbara, who, from 1994 through 2007, served the Cuyahoga County Bar Association as its Executive Director. We are so fortunate to have Barbara on our Chapter’s team. Please take a moment to congratulate Barbara and welcome her to her new role within our Chapter.
On March 28, 2012, our Chapter sponsored a Brown Bag Luncheon with Hon. Benita Y. Pearson, Judge, U.S. District Court, ND OH in her courtroom in the Thomas D. Lambros U.S. Courthouse in Youngstown, Ohio. Many thanks to Judge Pearson, Chapter Program Committee Chair Bruce Wilson and Board Member Neil Schor for organizing this informative and well attended event. Save the date for our next Brown Bag Luncheon scheduled to take place on August 6, 2012 with Magistrate Judge James R. Knepp, II in Cleveland, Ohio.
Chief Judge Solomon Oliver, Jr., U.S. District Court,
Northern District of Ohio, presides over the Memorial Program.
A big thank you to Jennifer Lesny Fleming, Chair of our Public Relations and Community Outreach Committee for her work on outreach programs designed to provide free legal assistance to local non-profit organizations. On March 29th the second of four events was held. In conjunction with each free clinic, a free CLE program is conducted to educate lawyers who will be assisting at the clinic. The CLE programs and free clinics are being co-sponsored by the FBA NDOC, Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and the Northeast Ohio Chapter of the Association of Corporate Counsel.
At the end of March, along with our Chapter’s delegate and immediate past president, Kip Bollin, I traveled to Arlington, Virginia to attend the FBA 2012 Mid Year Meeting. Other representatives in attendance from our Chapter included Aaron Buloff and James Satola. The meeting kicked off with the final round of the Moot Court Competition arguments held at the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Services in Washington, D.C. and concluded with the meeting of the National Council. For more detailed information concerning the 2012 Midyear Meeting see the full article in this newsletter.
On April 2, 2012, I had the distinct honor and privilege of representing the FBA NDOC during the Annual Greater Cleveland Bench-Bar Memorial Program held at the Howard M. Metzenbaum U.S. Courthouse. This special program provided a meaningful opportunity for the legal community to come together, remember, celebrate and pay tribute to our colleagues who passed away during 2011. These colleagues, both judges and lawyers, devoted much of their lives and careers to upholding the rule of law and the highest standards of our community The Honorable Solomon Oliver, Jr. , Chief Judge, U.S. District Court, ND OH presided over the program, which included remarks by Hon. Terrence O’Donnell, Justice, The Supreme Court of Ohio; Hon. Melody J. Stewart, Judge, Eighth District Court of Appeals; Hon. Nancy A. Fuerst, Administrative and Presiding Judge, Cuyahoga County Court of Common Pleas, Hon Joseph J. Zone, Judge, Cleveland Municipal Court and Barbara K. Roman, President of the Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association (CMBA). Joining me in the reading of the decedent names were Ronald V. Johnson, President of the Norman S. Minor Bar Association and other officers of the CMBA.
On April 20th, Major General William K. Suter, U.S. Army (ret.) and Clerk of the U.S. Supreme Court, traveled from Washington, D.C. to the Toledo Club for the purpose of administering the oath of admission to 35 Chapter members who are now able to practice before the U.S. Supreme Court. Following the luncheon and ceremony, the FBA NDOC and the Toledo Bar Association co-hosted a CLE Program entitled “The Good, The Bad, and the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court Term” featuring guest speakers including Professor William M. Richman of The University of Toledo College of Law, Ohio Solicitor General Alexandra Schimmer, and Steve Delchin and Saber VanDetta of Squire Sanders LLP. The afternoon concluded with a lovely reception in the Centennial Room of the Toledo Club. Special thanks to Program Chair Catherine Garcia-Feehan and her Committee, Jason Hill, Heather Karns, Anthony LaCerva, James Satola and Geri Smith for their outstanding efforts in organizing this special event.
It’s that time of year when our Nominating Committee is busy with the task of identifying future leaders for our Chapter. If you or anyone you know has any interest in assuming a greater role in FBA NDOC’s leadership, whether as a committee chair, vice-chair, board member, or officer, please feel free to contact the Nominating Committee Chair Steven Paffilas, or any of the Committee Members which include Kip Bollin, Aaron Buloff, Virginia Davidson, Ellen Toth and myself.
We have a couple of spectacular events planned for this summer. The Northern District of Ohio will host the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation on July 26, 2012. Our Chapter, together with the CMBA, will co-sponsor a CLE program to be held in conjunction with the MDL Panel’s visit. Watch for details as this is one program you will not want to miss! Click here to register:
Mark your calendar for July 19, 2012, when we host our annual Summer Associate and Law Clerk Reception. This event is free for all summer associates and law clerks and provided at a nominal cost for Chapter members. This year’s event will be held at the House of Blues and the Hon. Dan Aaron Polster, Judge, U.S. District Court, will address those in attendance. For more information and/or to register:
Check our web site and watch for details in the upcoming weeks on our Summer Social Event which will take place in early August. This special event is absolutely free for all members! In years past, the event has been held at the Cleveland Art Museum (Art and the Law), Severance Hall (Music and the Law), and most recently, the newly renovated Capitol Theatre (Film/Cinema and the Law). This year’s event promises to provide a different kind of fun. It will be held at the new Horseshoe Casino and will include an exclusive behind the scenes tour of the newly opened facility, refreshments and a light and informative presentation on Gambling and the Law. I hope to see you all there.
Finally, I encourage you to visit our new website at www.fba-ndohio.org. There you will find a list of our Committees and a calendar of upcoming events. We always have a full line up of top quality CLE programs, covering a wide array of topics.
Diana M. Thimmig is Of Counsel with Roetzel & Andress LPA in Cleveland, Ohio. She focuses her practice on complex business and commercial litigation, bankruptcy cases, and insolvency proceedings. Diana is President of the Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter.
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District Court Clerk's Corner
Invitation to Portrait Presentation
Portrait Unveiling Ceremony – Senior Judge James G. Carr
We hope that you will be available to attend the Unveiling Ceremony of Judge Carr’s portrait at 3:30 p.m., Friday, June 8, 2012 at The Grand Plaza Hotel at 444 North Summit Street in Toledo.
Pilot Project Regarding Initial Discovery Protocols for Employment Cases Alleging Adverse Action
Chief Judge Oliver, who now sits on the Civil Rules Committee of the Judicial Conference of the United States, recently advised the Court that this pilot project grew out of the 2010 Conference on Litigation sponsored by the Civil Rules Committee of the Judicial Conference. As Chief Judge Oliver explained, the project will test a new pretrial procedure for such cases by, “…encouraging parties and counsel to exchange the most relevant information and documents early in the case to assist in framing the issues to be resolved and to plan for more efficient and targeted discovery.” This matter has been referred by Chief Judge Oliver to the Court’s Committee on Rules for further discussion, but he noted that there is nothing to stop individual judicial officers from implementing this protocol immediately if they choose.
General Order No. 2012-7: Referral of Title 11 Matters in the U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio
The above-referenced General Order was adopted by the Court on April 2, 2012 at the request of the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Ohio to approve an amended standing order of reference to replace General Order 84, which refers all bankruptcy matters from the district court to the bankruptcy court under 28 USC Section 157. The amended standing order of reference was necessitated by the Supreme Court's decision last year in Stern v. Marshall, which held that certain matters which are statutorily core cannot be finally determined by bankruptcy judges. See http://www.ohnd.uscourts.gov/home/rules-and-orders/general-orders/
Notice of Amendments to the Sixth Circuit Rules and Internal Operating Procedures
The Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit is proposing comprehensive amendments to the Sixth Circuit Rules and Internal Operating Procedures. Pursuant to 6 Cir. R. 47(a) all interested parties have the opportunity to register comments to the proposed changes. See:
Comments should be addressed to Leonard Green, Clerk and sent not later than July 12, 2012 to:
The Northern District of Ohio is now 3/4 of the way through its statistical year, which ends June 30th.
Civil Docket. During the first nine months of SY 2012, civil filings are on pace to increase 61% from 4,258 in SY 2011 to 6,876. However, the projected increase is primarily due to the substantial number of new filings in Judge Katz' DePuy Orthopaedics Multidistrict Litigation (MDL) action. There have been 2,923 MDL filings thus far in SY 2011, which already doubles the 1,436 MDL filings for all of SY 2011. Traditional civil filings (i.e. non-MDL cases) are currently on pace to exceed last year's total by about 5.5%, with the filings expected to rise from 2,822 to 2,979. The largest increase is in Social Security review case filings which have recently been filed at nearly double the rate that they were a year ago. The Court currently has 2,246 pending traditional civil cases and 4,906 pending MDL cases.
Criminal Docket Criminal case filings are currently on pace to exceed SY 2011 totals by 5%, with a projected total for the full year of 553 compared to 526 a year ago. The number of criminal defendant filings, however, is on pace to decrease by nearly 20% from 960 to 771 as the number of parties in new cases has declined. Currently the district has 484 pending criminal cases with 844 pending defendants.
Cameras in the Courts Pilot
View videos here: http://www.uscourts.gov/multimedia/cameras/player.aspx
Multi District Litigation (MDL) Panel Hearing – Carl B. Stokes. U.S. Courthouse - Thursday, July 26, 2012
Court Closing Schedule:
Memorial Day – Monday, May 28, 2012
Independence Day – Wednesday, July 4, 2012
Labor Day – Monday, September 3, 2012
Columbus Day – Monday, October 8, 2012
Veterans Day – Monday, November 12, 2012
Geri M. Smith was appointed the Clerk of Court for the U.S. District Court Northern District of Ohio on July 1, 1991, having joined the court in 1982. She serves as the chief administrative officer of the court as well as the administrative assistant to the Chief Judge. Smith is a member of the FBA-NDOC Board of Directors.
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The Judge's Gavel: State of the Court
CRIMINAL CONVICTIONS AND THEIR COLLATERAL CONSEQUENCES
As most of you know, before a judge can take a plea from a defendant, the judge must determine whether the defendant understands the nature and consequences of his plea, and whether he is entering the plea voluntarily. At the hearing where the court makes this determination, the judge asks many questions of the defendant. One question that is routinely asked is whether he understands that, as a result of the conviction, he may be deprived of certain valuable civil rights, such as the right to vote, the right to hold public office, the right to serve on a jury, and the right to possess any kind of firearm. During the almost 18 years I have served on the bench, defendants have invariably indicated that they understood this. I do not recall any of them asking a follow-up question regarding the extent to which they lose their rights, including whether and/or when and/or how their rights might be restored.
Despite the fact that defendants do not tend to ask these questions, it seems imperative to me that, somewhere along the way they hear the answers, perhaps from judges somewhat, but especially from their lawyers, from pretrial and probation officers, and through prisoner reentry programs. They should understand that the loss of some of their rights is not permanent. While it is clear, under Ohio law, that a person convicted of a felony loses his right to vote, to serve on a jury, and to hold public office, the right to vote is restored when the person is released under a non-jail community control sanction or a post-release control sanction.1 Thus, in the federal system, the right to vote of defendants who are serving either probation, or are on supervised release, after having served a custodial sentence, is restored during such periods.2 Though defendants’ rights are restored, defendants who were previously allowed to vote must re-register. Obviously, a person who was not previously registered must register in the first instance.
Under Ohio law, the right of defendants to serve on a jury and the right to hold public office, are not restored until release from parole or a post-release control sanction.3 However, even where the right to serve on a jury is restored by state law, it may not be restored for purposes of serving on a federal jury.4 A convicted felon may not serve on a federal grand jury or petit jury unless that person’s civil rights have been restored.5 This is usually interpreted to mean that the rights have been restored by some affirmative act such as a pardon.6 The automatic restoration of rights that occurs in many states, such as Ohio, after completion of the imposed sentence, is not sufficient to qualify for jury service in the federal courts.7 However, a convicted felon may serve in the U.S. Congress, but the House and Senate can vote to remove any member that is deemed unfit or unqualified to serve.8 As you are aware, the qualifications for Congress are determined by the Constitution, which does not include any criteria regarding whether an individual has been convicted of a felony.9 Because the Constitution, and not the state, governs the qualifications for federal office, a state may not disqualify a convicted felon from holding or being a candidate for office.10 Further, prison is also not a bar to running for federal office.11
Under federal law, it is a crime for a felon to be in possession of a firearm. However, under Ohio law, only persons who have been convicted of felony offenses involving violence or drugs are subjected to a firearms disability.12 Ohio law further provides that one may seek relief from such a disability by filing a civil action.13 Federal law provides that, if the rights of a felon are restored through such a suit, then that conviction cannot serve as a predicate offense for the federal charge of felon in possession of a firearm.14
I point out the matters discussed above to illustrate that the nature and extent of the loss of rights by a person convicted of a felony are various, and that defendants are unlikely to fully understand or appreciate what they are giving up when they enter a plea. They are also unlikely to be cognizant of the fact that some of their rights may be restored. Beyond the rights mentioned, there are other rights that defendants forfeit when they commit a felony. For example, they cannot serve in the military, unless the Secretary of Defense authorizes an exception.15There is also a lifetime ban on receiving Temporary Assistance to Needy Families and Food Stamps by persons with felony drug convictions, though states may opt out or modify this ban.16 Felons who are convicted of drug offenses, while receiving federal financial aid, may not receive further assistance.17 Felons who are subject to a lifetime sex offender registration, or who have been convicted of manufacturing or producing methamphetamine on the premises of federally assisted housing, are permanently banned from public housing.18
There are many more disabilities that felons face as a result of being convicted. Some are mandatory, such as the prohibition in regard to hiring a felon in a federal law enforcement position. Others involve the exercise of discretion by an agency or office designated to determine, for example whether a convicted felon will be allowed to practice law. Indeed, there are hundreds of potential collateral consequences of being convicted of a felony.19 It cannot be expected that a judge would address most of them at a plea colloquy and many of them are unlikely to be pertinent in a given case.
However, we should endeavor to make defendants more aware of the restoration of their rights, such as the right to vote when they are on supervised release. As we work with ex-offenders in helping them to make the transition back into society, and in becoming responsible and productive citizens, surely this approach would be helpful. Further, our whole criminal justice system should be broadly cognizant of the collateral consequence of convictions, and be prepared to help ex-offenders navigate the difficult road to the restoration of such rights to the extent possible. That should start with defendant’s counsel being cognizant of these rights to the extent that they are lost and can be restored, and advising them accordingly. I know our pretrial and probation officers have been doing some of this work, but I think the future will require all of us to do much more as part of our efforts to rehabilitate those who have paid or are paying their debt to society for their misdeeds.
Judge Oliver received his B.A. degree from the College of Wooster and his J.D. from New York University. He was appointed to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio in May of 1994. Previously, he served as Associate Dean and Professor of Law at Cleveland-Marshall College of Law.
He also served as Chief of the Civil Division and Chief of Appellate Litigation in the U.S. Attorney’s Office in Cleveland. Judge Oliver clerked for the late William H. Hastie of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He served as Secretary to the Council of the American Bar Association’s Section of Legal Education and Admissions to the Bar, and Co-chair of the Litigation Section’s Minority Trial Lawyer Committee. He is a member of the American Law Institute, the Board of Trustees of the College of Wooster, and the Judicial Conference of the United States.
Judge Oliver received the Distinguished Alumni Award from the College of Wooster and from NYU’s Black, Latino, Asian Pacific American Law Alumni Association. His most recent publication is a chapter on summary judgment in a six-volume treatise entitled, Business and Commercial Litigation in Federal Courts.
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Law School Corner
Are You Interested in Becoming a Law Student Representative?
University of Akron Constitutional Law Award winners (left to right):
Eric Sarmiento, Susan Tussing, Ashton McEvoy and Ryan Doringo.
If you are currently a law student at one of the universities in the Northern District of Ohio and are interested in becoming a law student representative for the 2012 – 2013 academic year, please contact one of the following School of Law Board Representatives:
The University of Akron School of Law: Associate Dean William S. Jordan, III
Case Western Reserve University School of Law: Professor Jonathon Entin
Cleveland-Marshall College of Law: Professor Kenneth Kowalski
University of Toledo College of Law: Heather Karns
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Members in the News
FBA-NDOC member Michael Jordan of Jordan Resolutions, LLC addressed the Labor and Employment Practice Group of the American Health Lawyers Association in Orlando, Florida on February 8, 2012. His topic was “Alternative Dispute Resolution: Obtaining Maximum Benefit from the Process”. He was also a member of the panel for the “Making ADR Work for You: An Interactive Session” at the Annual Meeting of the American College of Legal Medicine in New Orleans, Louisiana on February 24, 2012.
Dustin Rawlin, FBA-NDOC member and an attorney with Tucker Ellis LLP, is one of only five attorneys nationwide to be named a 2012 Law360 Rising Star in the area of product liability litigation. The designation honors attorneys under the age of 40 whose accomplishments in major litigation or transactions belie their age. A team of eight Law360 editors reviewed over 1,000 submissions and based their selections on the strength of the attorney’s accomplishments thus far in their career. Mr. Rawlin’s practice at Tucker Ellis focuses on product liability, business tort, breach of warranty, consumer fraud and commercial litigation, with a focus on the defense of medical device litigation.
The FBA NDOC is always looking for announcements to include in its "Members In the News" section of our Newsletter. If you have news of a significant achievement, please forward that information to the Newsletter Chair, Catherine_Garcia-Feehan@ohnd.uscourts.gov.
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July 2012 Multi-District Litigation CLE Seminar
On Wednesday afternoon, July 25, 2012, at 1:00 pm, the FBA NDOC in conjunction with the CMBA is cosponsoring a 3-credit-hour CLE on Multi-District Litigation (MDL) cases for their members. This CLE is being presented in conjunction with the hearings the Judicial Conference Panel on Multidistrict Litigation is holding in Cleveland Thursday morning, July 26th.
Over the past several years, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio has become a center for MDL cases. The Court currently has 14 separate MDLs, the largest being Judge Katz’s DePuy artificial hip litigation, with over 4,000 separate cases. When there are multiple related cases filed in different districts, either the plaintiffs or the defendants can petition the MDL Panel to create an MDL docket. The Panel of seven judges, chaired by Judge John G. Heyburn II of the Western District of Kentucky, decides at its bi-monthly hearings whether or not to create an MDL docket, and if so, to which judge the case should be assigned. In conjunction with the attorneys, the MDL judge devises a plan for managing the docket for discovery and pretrial proceedings. Frequently, the MDL judge develops a plan for resolving all or most of the cases. The MDL judge sometimes conducts bellwether trials. Cases which are not resolved are ultimately transferred back to the court of origin.
Everything MDL: First-Hand Perspectives from MDL Panel Judges, MDL District Court Judges, and MDL Lawyers
Presented by: The Cleveland Metropolitan Bar Association and The Federal Bar Association, Northern District of Ohio Chapter
Date: Wednesday, July 25, 2012
12:30 p.m. Registration
12:55 p.m. Welcome and Introduction
1:00-4:15 p.m. Seminar
4:30 p.m. Reception sponsored by Harris Martin
CLE Hours: 3.00
Pricing: $195 CMBA or FBA-NDOC members
For detailed information on the seminar and to register: Click Here
MDL litigation has experienced an exponential growth over the past 20 years, and there are currently more than 200 cases nationwide. These cases arise in different contexts. Some arise out of natural disasters, such as airline crashes or the recent Gulf oil spill. Many large MDLs resulted from medical device or pharmaceutical failures or side effects, such as Vioxx. Others are based upon financial transactions or the issuance of securities. The creation of an MDL docket saves the parties and the judicial branch the cost, delay, and inefficiency of duplicative and overlapping discovery and case management, and avoids the problem of potentially contradictory Daubert and other rulings.
The CLE will be held at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Tower City, and will be followed by a reception. Attendees will have the opportunity to hear from three panels. The first panel, moderated by Andrew Pollis, will be comprised of federal judges from this district who have MDL cases. The middle panel will be composed of local attorneys who have played leadership roles in MDLs, and will be moderated by Daniel Karon. In the final panel, moderated by David Cohen, attendees will have the opportunity to hear from several of the judges on the MDL Panel.
The MDL Panel will hold hearings on Thursday morning, July 26, in Courtroom 19A of the Carl B. Stokes U.S. Courthouse. At the hearings, which are open to the public, the MDL Panel will hear petitions to create MDL dockets. Some of the petitions will be contested, and the Panel will need to determine whether or not to create a given MDL docket. In addition, the parties often disagree as to where an MDL should be centered.
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An Extern’s Perspective
Daniel L. Fellenbaum
Eager to learn more about the federal courts, I completed a judicial externship this year for Judge Donald C. Nugent in the United States District Court in Cleveland.
In this short piece my aim is to share two reasons why judicial externships are extremely beneficial to law students. First, judicial externships usually expose law students to various methods of oral and written advocacy. From a firsthand point of view, I have been privileged to observe and read submissions in both civil and criminal trials. Furthermore, I have sat in on various proceedings including case management conferences, hearings, sentencings and jury trials. This experience has allowed me to observe different tactics that lawyers use to persuade the judge and/or jury. One constant facet during the abovementioned proceedings is the collegiality that is shown to peers within the legal system. Overall, I absorbed countless anecdotes, many of which involve lawyering techniques that I will adopt to enhance my own advocacy skills.
Second, as a judicial extern, law students are likely to work through complex legal issues that they might not be exposed to in law school. Judicial externships present law students with the opportunity to interact closely with experienced law clerks and assist them in researching authorities for the many decisions made at each phase of a case. Over the course of my externship, I drafted memorandums on various issues including: constitutional claims, procedural issues, and other federal law claims. Working through complex legal issues alongside law clerks strengthened my analytical skill-set and writing style.
The most gratifying benefit of the judicial externship is the potential opportunity afforded to law students to discuss with the judge the various federal issues brought before the court. Access to a federal judge’s perspective and guidance is an enlightening and inspiring experience unavailable in the classroom.
The success of the externship program requires a significant amount of sacrifice and effort from the judge. I am grateful to Judge Nugent for investing his esteemed time and guidance during my externship experience. I wholeheartedly recommend anyone who is willing to learn about the justice system up close and personal and do a significant amount of research and writing to apply to be a judicial extern.
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The Federal Bar Association’s 2012 Midyear Meeting
The FBA 2012 Midyear Meeting was held in Arlington, Virginia from March 30-31, 2012. Our Chapter was well represented with FBA NDOC President Diana M. Thimmig, Immediate Past President and Chapter Delegate Kip Bollin, Past President James Satola and Past President Aaron Bulloff in attendance. The Midyear Meeting presents an opportunity to meet with FBA members from all over the country, obtain an update on activities at the national level and share ideas with other bar leaders about Chapter membership and effective programming.
This year’s Midyear Meeting kicked off as participants traveled to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces in Washington, D.C. to observe the final round of the 2012 FBA Thurgood A. Marshall Memorial Moot Court Competition. The court, housed in a beautiful and historic building, exercises worldwide appellate jurisdiction over members of the armed forced on activity duty and other persons subject to the Uniform Code of Military Justice. The court, which is composed of five civilian judges appointed for 15 years terms by the President with the advice and consent of the Senate, hears a broad range of legal issues, including constitutional law, criminal law, evidence, criminal procedure, ethics, administrative law and national security law. Decisions are subject to direct review by the U.S. Supreme Court.
2012 FBA Thurgood Marshall Memorial Moot Court
Competition at National’s Mid-Year Meeting.
Since 1997, the Moot Court Competition has been an annual event sponsored by the Younger Lawyers Division. It has been recognized as one of the premier moot court competitions in the country and is designed for two-person teams which focus on written briefs and oral arguments. This year featured competing teams from law schools throughout the country. The fact pattern used in the competition involved an employment termination, alleged violations of the anti retaliation provision set forth in section 510 of ERISA, 29 U.S.C. §1140 and a court’s authority to appoint substitute arbitrators under Section 5 of the Federal Arbitration Act. Judges for the competition included Hon. Andrew S. Effron, former chief judge of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Armed Forces, national president of the FBA Fern Bomchill, Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpi, U.S. District Judge, District of Puerto Rico, Alfredo Castellanos, Esq. and Daniel Strunk, Esq. Special recognition and congratulations are due to the teams from St. Mary’s School of Law (San Antonio, Texas). One team won the Moot Court Competition oral arguments and the other, placed among the top teams for their written brief. Immediately following the Competition was an awards reception enjoyed by all Moot Court Competition participants and delegates attending the FBA Midyear Meeting.
Left to right: Phillip Ripper, Rachel Felderhoff, Meagan Scott,
and Erin Oglesby, all students from St. Mary's (San Antonio)
from the final round of the Moot Court competition at the
Mid-Year Meeting. One team won the oral arguments and the
second team came in third on their brief.
Saturday morning’s events were dedicated to FBA leadership meetings, including the Vice Presidents of the Circuits Meeting and the Sections and Divisions Leadership Meeting, where attending participants first broke into smaller groups by Circuit to discuss programs and other ideas that have worked well for their respective Chapters. Afterwards, all joined in a plenary session to share the ideas discussed in the small group breakouts.
A Luncheon was followed by the National Council Meeting. FBA national President Fern C. Bomchill opened the meeting with a discussion concerning the establishment of a Banking Law Section; issues relating to national headquarters and staff, including the search for a new executive director (Jack Lockridge had previously announced his anticipated retirement this fall); approval of membership dues increases in certain categories; elections; meetings; standing committees; divisions; and public positions taken by the FBA. The Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpi, Jr., Treasurer, presented a financial update as of January 31, 2012 and reported that the FBA is in a solid financial position. Jonathan Hafen, Chair of the Membership Committee presented the January Membership Report which indicated that as of January 1, 2012, the FBA had 15,538 members. National has set a goal of 3% annual growth in membership. Mr. Hafen encouraged all Chapters to develop a written membership plan with specific and measurable goals and provided a sample plan that could be utilized by Chapter leadership.
It should be noted that our Chapter already has a written membership plan which incorporates many components contained in the sample plan. The national report reflected that the FBA NDOC is the fifth largest of all the chapters; that we’ve increased our membership by 12.92% during the last year; and, as of January 1, 2012 had 644 members.
Fern Bomchill presented a Report from the Nominations & Elections Committee. The nominated slate of officers and directors includes: Hon. Gustavo A. Gelpi, Jr., President-Elect; Matthew B. Moreland, Treasurer; Raymond J. Dowd, Patrick E. O’Keefe, Kip Bolin (FBA NDOC Immediate Past President) and Matthew C. Moschella as Directors and various Vice Presidents for the Circuits, including James Satola (FBA NDOC Past President) as Vice President for the Sixth Circuit. The names of these candidates, together with qualified write-in candidates, will be listed on the ballots that will be distributed to each member in good standing as of June 15, 2012.
Larry Westberg, Chair of the Government Relations Committee, presented his report including several highlighted items. An update was made on the current state of judicial vacancies, which remain at the forefront of the FBA’s attention. There are currently 85 vacancies in the federal court, including 16 at the Courts of Appeal, 67 in District Courts and 2 at the U.S. Court of International Trade. Of these vacancies, forty nominees have been named by the White House and approximately half of those await a Senate floor vote, most of which have been approved unanimously by the Judiciary Committee or with little opposition. Of the 85 vacancies, 33 represent “judicial emergencies” as defined by the federal courts.
Also mentioned was that the Senate Judiciary Committee on February 9, 2012 approved a bill to allow cameras in U.S. Supreme Court proceedings. At present, FBA remains neutral on the issue of cameras in the federal courts. Fourteen federal courts are participating in a three year digital video pilot project which started last summer.
Fern Bomchill (left), FBA President, and Chapter President
Diana Thimmig (right) at National's Mid-Year Meeting.
An update was also provided in the matter in which Federal Judges who challenged a Congressional denial of judicial cost of living pay increases in the 1990’s. A procedural hurdle was cleared on February 17, 2012. The FBA had filed an amicus brief at the U.S. Supreme Court in support of the judges’ cert petition. It is not yet clear whether the judges will seek rehearing en banc with the Federal Circuit Court, or will allow the case to return directly to the U.S. Supreme Court.
Following a brief report from Alan C. Harnisch, ABA Delegate, who reported on the ABA House of Delegates meeting in new Orleans on February 6, 2012, and a brief presentation by the San Diego Chapter, which will be hosting the 2012 Federal Bar Association Annual Meeting and Convention scheduled for September 20-22, 2012, the National Council meeting was adjourned.
A reception was held immediately afterward, followed with a Foundation Fellows Dinner held at The George Town Club.
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Justice Clarence Thomas Inducted as Honorary Life Fellow of the Foundation of the FBA
On March 29th, at a ceremony held in the East and West Conference Rooms of the Supreme Court, Associate Justice Clarence Thomas was inducted as an Honorary Life Fellow of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association. In becoming an Honorary Life Fellow, Justice Thomas joins six of his present and former colleagues at the Court, Associate Justices Antonin Scalia, Ruth Bader Ginsburg, Stephen Breyer, Sonia Sotomayor, Elena Kagan, and Retired Justice Sandra Day O’Connor. At his induction, following comments by Fellows Chair Carl Gilmore, FBA National President Fern Bomchill, and FBA Circuit Vice President for the Eleventh Circuit Richard Dellinger (Justice Thomas’ nomination and induction to the Foundation were sponsored by the FBA Chapters of the Eleventh Circuit, the circuit over which Justice Thomas is “Circuit Justice”), Justice Thomas gave a moving speech about the importance of public service and the importance of collegiality among members of the bar and within the Court. Approximately 100 persons attended the event, which was held in conjunction with the FBA Midyear Meeting in Arlington, Virginia, including Justice Thomas’ wife, Virginia, as well as two former FBA-NDOC Chapter Presidents, Aaron Bulloff (along with his wife, Fran) and Jim Satola, both of whom are also FBA Foundation Fellows.
Jim Satola and Justice Clarence Thomas at induction
ceremony on March 29, 2012.
The Fellows of the Foundation of the Federal Bar Association was chartered by Congress in 1954 to serve the charitable and educational initiatives of the FBA. The Foundation’s mission is to promote and support legal research and education, advance the science of jurisprudence, facilitate the administration of justice, and foster improvements in the practice of federal law. As part of its charitable mission, it also administrates the endowment funds for the FBA-NDOC’s Elaine R. “Boots” Fisher Award, given annually at the FBA national convention.
To find out more about the Foundation, click on the “Foundation of the FBA” tab found at the FBA website, www.fedbar.org.
Supreme Court Swearing-In Ceremony and Luncheon, CLE and Reception
The historic Toledo Club was the setting on April 20, 2012, as the FBA NDOC welcomed Major General William K Suter, Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States. This is the fourth time General Suter has visited the Northern District of Ohio to conduct a swearing-in ceremony and the first time Toledo has hosted this event.
Major General William K. Suter, Clerk of the Supreme
Court of the United States, addresses those gathered
at the Swearing-In Ceremony.
Admission to the U.S. Supreme Court entitles those lawyers to appear, file and argue cases before the Court. Supreme Court bar members may also use the Supreme Court’s library and, if space permits, they may observe oral arguments from a special vantage point reserved for members of the Supreme Court bar.
A luncheon for 66 guests was served in the Centennial Room which features an exquisitely painted ceiling, a delicate collection of literature in the library and dedicated stonework encasing the motto of the Toledo Club, “Servemus Fidem”meaning Let Us Keep Faith.
Clerk of Court for the Northern District of Ohio, Geri Smith welcomed all to the luncheon and to Toledo. University of Toledo College of Law Dean Daniel J. Steinbock offered greetings to the guests as well as an update on the latest happenings at the law school.
Magistrate Judge Vernelis K. Armstrong also welcomed General Suter to Toledo and thanked him for bringing the Supreme Court to Toledo for the day and taking time out of his hectic schedule to visit Toledo. In her introduction, Magistrate Armstrong noted that General Suter has been the Clerk of the Supreme Court since 1991. He received his B.A. from Trinity University and his J.D. from Tulane School of Law where he served on the Tulane Law Review. From 1962 to 1991, he practiced with the Judge Advocate Genera’s Corps of the U.S. Army where he rose to the rank of major general in the position of Assistant Judge Advocate General. He is a recipient of the Distinguished Service Medal, Bronze Star Medal and Parachutist Badge.
FBA NDOC Past President and Member of the Supreme Court Bar, Jim Satola, presented the motion for admission as well as each of the applicants.
Applicants to the U.S. Supreme Court Bar stand to
receive the administration of the oath.
General Suter then administered the oath to over 30 applicants and welcomed them as the newest members of the bar to our nation’s highest court. General Suter then discussed his role at the Supreme Court, the benefits of being a member of the bar to the highest court in the land and gave an update on the latest Supreme Court activities. He assured the new members that he would personally give them a tour, with enough advance notice, when they visited the Court.
FBA NDOC Chapter President, Diana Thimmig provided closing remarks and presented General Suter with a token of appreciation from our FBA chapter.
Left to Right: Jim Satola (Movant and Member of the Supreme
Court Bar), Daniel J. Steinbock (Dean at The Universityof
Toledo College of Law), Diana Thimmig (Chapter President),
and General Suter.
Following the luncheon, the FBA NDOC and TBA hosted a CLE entitled, The Good, The Bad, and the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court Term. University of Toledo College of Law Professor William M. Richman spoke on The New Certiorari and Illegal Jurisdiction. Lawyers Steve Delchin and Saber VanDetta of Squire Sanders LLP, discussed Ethics and Professionalism in the Circuit Courts of Appeal and the U.S. Supreme Court. The afternoon CLE was capped by Ohio Solicitor General Alexandra Schimmer who presented Highlights and Previews of the 2012 U.S. Supreme Court’s Docket.
Alexandra Schimmer, Ohio Solicitor General, addresses the CLE
participants on the highlights and previews of the 2012
Supreme Court Docket.
The afternoon concluded with a cocktail reception in the rich wood paneled Centennial Room for those newly admitted and current FBA NDOC members.
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Younger Lawyers Section
June Volunteer Event: Outdoor Cleaning at the Hitchcock Center for Women
Join other attorneys and law students for a volunteer opportunity at the Hitchcock Center for Women located in the University Circle area. On Saturday, June 16, 2012, we will gather at the Hitchcock Center to trim, plant, mulch and paint at this former seminary. Constructed in 1924 for the St. Mary seminary, the historic building is now a place where women can find assistance to overcome alcohol or drug addiction. In addition, the Hitchcock Center accommodates children who may be staying with their mothers while they seek treatment. It has two beautiful interior courtyards and one playground that need spring cleaning.
If you wish to dedicate a Saturday morning to being outdoors and helping those in need, then this is the volunteer opportunity for you. Your commitment of 2-4 hours will mean that women in need will have a beautiful place in the seminary’s courtyards to recover while their children can safely play at the playground. Click here for more information or to register.
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Happy Hours Organized by Younger Lawyers Section
All Are Invited!
Please mark your calendars for the following Happy Hours, planned for this summer.
- If you like good burgers and craft beers, then join us at the Buckeye Beer Engine’s patio on June 20, 2012 at 6 P.M. Address: 15315 Madison Avenue, Lakewood.
- If you would like something closer to downtown, meet us on August 23, 2012 at Bar Cento at 6 P.M. Address: 1948 West 25th Street, Cleveland.
Free appetizers will be provided, but the drinks are on you.
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Cleveland Foodbank Volunteer Night
March 26, 2012 – Cleveland Foodbank Volunteer Night sponsored by the Younger Lawyers Committee of the FBA-NDOC:
Member Amanda Knapp at the Foodbank.
Chapter member Virgil Morant at the volunteer event
Member volunteers (left to right): Božana Lazić
Lundberg, Kristin Morrison, Amanda Knapp, and
Chapter members at the Cleveland Foodbank's warehouse.
Mark your calendars now for the next volunteer night at the Cleveland Foodbank which is scheduled for Monday, August 27, 2012, from 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.!
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