Sunday, May 22, 2016

Fee Fi Fo Feoffmentes

I wanted to understand a recent U.S. Supreme Court decision pertaining to bankruptcy law, an area I'm unfamiliar with, so I attempted to do some research:

On Monday, the U.S. Supreme Court decided Husky International Electronics, Inc. v. Ritz. Justice Sotomayor wrote the decision, which reversed the lower court's narrow reading of "Actual Fraud." To support this decision the Court set out to revive the common law definition of "Actual Fraud."

This case involved 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A)
§ 523. Exceptions to discharge
(a) A discharge under section 727, 1141, 1228(a), 1228(b), or 1328(b) of this title does not discharge an individual debtor from any debt-
(2) for money, property, services, or an extension, renewal, or refinancing of credit, to the extent obtained by--
(A) false pretenses, a false representation, or actual fraud, other than a statement respecting the debtor's or an insider's financial condition;
I noticed no dictionary definitions of "Actual Fraud" were cited in the Court's opinion, so I pulled up Spinelli's Law Library Reference Shelf, a database on HeinOnline, to take a closer look.

Here is the earliest definition in Bouvier's famous dictionary:

"Frauds may be also divided into actual or positive and constructive frauds. An actual or positive fraud is the intentional and successful employment of any cunning, deception or artifice, used to circumvent, cheat or deceive another. 1 Story, Eq. Jur. § 186; Dig. 4,3,1,2; Id. 2,14,7,9."
Bouvier's Law Dictionary, Adapted To The Constitution And Laws Of The United States Of America, And Of The Several States Of The American Union 590 (2d ed. 1843).

Friday, May 20, 2016

Five Funky Washington Laws

Image credit: Emily, Law Library Intern

I love finding obscure facts online. This week I stumbled across an interesting law and wondered what other weird laws Washington has. I hope you enjoy these five funky Washington laws!

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1. It is illegal to kill, or harm, a Bigfoot in Skamania County, Washington. To do so is punishable by a substantial fine or imprisonment. 

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2. Destroying a beer cask, or bottle, of another is illegal under the RCW.

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3. Thanks to RCW 70.98.170 it is illegal to use X-rays to fit shoes. Looks like you're going to have to settle for trying the shoes on now. 

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4. Seattle Municipal Code 9.20.010 says that is is a unlawful to color, dye, stain, or in any way change the natural color of any fowl or rabbit. So, no pink rabbits here!

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5. In Everett it is unlawful for a any hypnotist to display in any window or public place any person while under the influence of hypnotism. It is a violation of Everett Municipal Code 09.24.010 and can be punished by a $500 fine or imprisonment of up to six months!

If you want to find other funky Washington laws check out this website.

Thursday, May 12, 2016

Ten Tips for Law Students to Get the Most Out of Their Summer Legal Jobs

That is the title of a post on Justia's Verdict site.

Written by Vikram David Amar and Greg Miarecki (University of Illinois College of Law), these tips are specific and practical.

If you don't have time to read the post, browse this short version of their ten tips:

  1. Exhibit a positive, enthusiastic attitude.
  2. Don't be afraid to come in early and stay late.
  3. Focus on the larger unit or organization.
  4. Do and show your best work.
  5. Communicate and interact in a manner appropriate for your audience.
  6. Seek out new work assignments and new work experiences.
  7. Request feedback, actively but tactfully.
  8. Show respect for everyone, including the clerical staff. [and the librarians!]
  9. Get to know people in the office.
  10. Always maintain a customer-service mindset.
Although these tips repeat what you might have already heard, they are handy reminders. And may you shine as brightly as the summer sun!
Image source: tiny buddha

New Feature for Searching News Articles on Westlaw

Searching for news articles on Westlaw usually yields thousands of hits. It can be a real slog to browse the list of hits looking for longer, more substantive articles.

Now, Westlaw offers an option to limit results from a news search by the length of the article.

The Advanced Search includes a "Document Length" field that lets you select from the following:

  • short articles and abstracts (less than 200 words)
  • no short articles or abstracts (greater than 200 words)
  • medium length articles (greater than 200 words and fewer than 1,000 words)
  • long articles only (greater than 1,000 words)

With this new option, you can quickly retrieve in-depth, fact-filled articles on your subject of interest.

Wednesday, May 11, 2016

Forced Migration Review

You catch headlines about refugees all the time, but maybe you'd like a little more depth and analysis. Check out Forced Migration Review, published by Oxford University's Refugee Studies CentreForced Migration Review "presents concise, accessible articles in a magazine format. Each issue has a feature theme and, usually, a range of general articles on forced migration. FMR is published in English, French, Spanish and Arabic (and occasionally in additional languages), and is available free of charge in print and online."

The latest issue has articles discussing displaced people from Syria, Libya, Nigeria, and Colombia, among other countries.

Monday, May 9, 2016

HLS Online Exhibit--What (Not) To Wear: Fashion and the Law

The U.S. Supreme Court recently granted certiorari in a major fashion law case, Star Athletica, LLC v. Varsity Brands, Inc., so it seems like a good time to promote the Harvard Law School library's online exhibit on Fashion and the Law. "What (Not) To Wear" does not signify fashion faux pas so much as it concerns the historical regulation of wearable things.

Image for "What (Not) to Wear: Fashion and the Law"

The exhibit is divided into three sections: 1. Sumptuous Origins, 2. Ceremony and Significance, and 3. Rules and Regulations, and it delves heavily into legal history. It's unlikely the Court will travel as far back into fashion law history as this exhibit goes; Star Athletica, a copyright case, is not a good vehicle to discuss sumptuary laws. What are sumptuary laws? Go to the exhibit and find out!

Friday, May 6, 2016

Japanese Law A-Z

Japanese Law A-Z
The Gallagher Law Library Japanese legal research guide is completely revised, with a new look, a new link (, and a new name: Japanese Law A-Z.

East Asian Law Quick Reference
For quick access to the most-used East Asian law resources, check out "East Asian Law Quick Reference," another new guide from Gallagher (

Detailed questions about East Asian legal research? Contact Rob Britt, Coordinator of East Asian Library Services in the Library's East Asian Law Department.

Thursday, May 5, 2016

Soda Pop and Global Health

Carbonating the World coverFor you, a cold soda might be a refreshing drink or a mild vice (or a little of both). But there's a much bigger picture. Sugar-sweetened beverages are a huge global industry with equally large impacts on global health, as explored in a new study from coauthored by affiliate professor Allyn TaylorCarbonating the World: The Marketing and Health Impact of Sugar Drinks in Low- and Middle-Income Countries (Center for Science in the Public Interest, 2016). Summaries (in English, Spanish, and Portuguese) are here.

For more about global health at UW Law, see the webpage for the Center for Law, Science and Global Health.

Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Library Closing Early on Friday-- Library Website Also Down

This Friday, May 6th, Gallagher Law Library is closing 1/2 hour early at 5:30 p.m. The Circulation Desk will close at 5:15.

All visitors, students, faculty, and staff, must leave the library and Gates Hall at 5:30 p.m. UW Law faculty, staff, and students, please see your email for more details.

The reason for the closure is a planned power outage to the entire building. This outage will affect the library's website (including legal research guides), the library catalog, and a few other resources. Most electronic databases will not be affected. The School of Law website will be similarly affected. Both sites should be back online on the morning of May 7th.

Sunday, May 1, 2016

You Have the Right to Remain Silent

13 U.S.C. § 113 established May 1 as Law Day, U.S.A., which "is a special day of celebration by the people of the United States--in appreciation of their liberties and the reaffirmation of their loyalty to the United States and of their rededication to the ideals of equality and justice under law in their relations with each other and with other countries; and for the cultivation of the respect for law that is so vital to the democratic way of life."

Every year, the American Bar Association assigns a theme for Law Day. Since 2016 marks the 50th anniversary of the landmark decision Miranda v. Arizona, 384 U.S. 436 (1966), the theme of Law Day 2016 is Miranda: More than Words. The day will celebrate not only the protections afforded by Miranda, but also all of the procedural protections guaranteed under the U.S. Constitution. It will also include a discussion of how the courts safeguard those rights and why those rights are essential to our liberty. The ABA provides lesson plan materials for elementary, middle, and high school classes. It also gives out awards to the best program promoting Law Day. The Award Categories include best student/classroom program, best public/community program, most innovative program, and best interpretation of the 2016 theme. The ABA also provides a Dialogue program which "provides lawyers, judges and teachers with the resources they need to engage students and community members in discussion of fundamental American legal principles and civic traditions.