Sunday, August 29, 2010

2010 Fall Semester Courses

Last week, the LL.M. candidates completed their condensed course with Professor Hamilton, the Introduction to the Law of Food & Agriculture. This week, the regularly scheduled fall semester classes begin. These classes are described as follows:

Agriculture & the Environment
This course has always been one of our core courses in the curriculum. It examines the tensions between the desire to produce food and fiber efficiently and the concern for the protection of natural resources. Agriculture is increasingly criticized for its impact on the environment. This impact and its regulation will be discussed and debated. The application of the major federal environmental statutes to agricultural operations will be presented, with discussion of the exemptions for agriculture and the impact of industrialized agricultural production on environmental regulation. Professor Christopher Kelley, a tenured professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law has taught this course and related environmental courses since joining the faculty. Professor Kelley has taught agricultural law, natural resources law, forestry law and related subjects in a number of settings including the University of North Dakota School of Law, the University of South Dakota School of Law, the William Mitchell College of Law, and at the Drake University School of Law Summer Agricultural Law Institute. He has practiced agricultural law at large law firms in Washington, D.C., and Minneapolis, Minnesota, and with small firms in Fargo, North Dakota and Camilla, Georgia.

Food Law & Policy
This course examines the network of laws that govern food safety and food labeling and considers how well this network works to protect and advise American consumers. It considers the regulation of food by the Food & Drug Administration and by the US Department of Agriculture, weaving policy issues into the discussion of the U.S. food system. Professor Schneider is a tenured professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and has served as Director of the LL.M. Program since 2000. She began teaching this course in 2007, shifting her research focus and her presentations to the area of food law and policy. She has practiced and taught agricultural and food law for all of her legal career, teaching at William Mitchell College of Law and at the Drake University Summer Agricultural Law Institute and practicing with firms in Minnesota, North Dakota and Washington, D.C.

Regulation of Livestock Sales
This course examines the Packers & Stockyards Act, with a focus on the prohibition of unfair practices, industry consolidation and antitrust concerns, mandatory price reporting, and the protections provided for livestock marketing. Professor Vince Chadick has taught this course for several years , successfully weaving his practice experience into the classroom. He is a very popular adjunct professor at the University of Arkansas School of Law and a shareholder in the Bassett Law Firm in Fayetteville, Arkansas. He holds his LL.M. in Agricultural Law and practices in the areas of agricultural, environmental, business, and commercial law. He was one of the attorneys involved in the landmark case brought by the state of Oklahoma against Arkansas poultry processors for the contamination of waters flowing into Oklahoma from Northwest Arkansas, spending much of last fall and early winter in trial. The parties are still awaiting a decision.

Food, Farming & Sustainability
This new 3 credit course will be adapted from the casebook by the same name, in publication with Carolina Press and authored by the instructor, Professor Schneider. It will consist of one hour of traditional lecture/discussion and two hours of special presentations each week. The course is designed to provide an issues-based study of some of the complex topics that make up the body of agricultural law. It will be divided into discreet units designed to introduce some of the critical legal issues facing the industry and consumers today. Agricultural commercial law, environmental law, federal farm policy, labor law, food labeling, farm animal welfare, the global food system and other topics will be included, each presented in the context of a current issue. The course will provide a mix of law and policy, and it is designed to spark thoughtful dialogue.

Independent Research/Readings in Agricultural & Food Law
This independent study course offers LL.M. candidates an opportunity to explore an area of interest or a particular reading that is not addressed elsewhere in the curriculum. One popular approach is to select one or more books on a food or agricultural law topic for study, with an oral and written book review required. Professor Schneider approves all plans of study and provides guidance throughout the semester.

In addition to our regularly scheduled semester courses, we are delighted to add a new condensed course to our Fall line up. The week of November 2, we will offer Unsafe Food & Product Liability. This new condensed course will be structured on a recent publication, Contaminated Fresh Produce and Product Liability. It will begin with an historical overview to show how product liability law (especially strict liability) developed, highlighting early cases involving defective food. It will pivot into political, economic, and regulatory issues, using a case-study approach derived from real cases and clients. The course will be team-taught by nationally recognized trial lawyers, Bill Marler and Denis Stearns with the firm of Marler Clark in Seattle, Washington. Bill Marler visited the LL.M. Program last fall, speaking to a packed audience regarding his experiences representing the victims of food borne illness. We are delighted to welcome him back with his partner, Denis Stearns who has published extensively on food safety issues and teaches and lectures at several other schools including UCS and Michigan State.

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