A photo of a gavel.


Daniel Moss*

Photo Credits: http://www.libertylawsite.org/2016/12/15/the-judicial-supremacy-of-dead-justices/#comment-1506547

On August 28, 2018, the Cumberland School of Law chapter of the Federalist Society hosted a panel discussion entitled “State Judges, Federal Courts, and Judicial Supremacy: Constitutionality of Roy Moore’s Removals.”  The Federalist Society held the discussion in the John L. Carroll Moot Courtroom at Cumberland School of Law.  Both law students and faculty attended the discussion and had the opportunity to ask questions of the panelists.


Insurance policy.

Oral Argument Preview: Ghee v. USAble Mutual Insurance Co.

Alex Sidwell

Photo Credit: http://www.proudpak.pk/insurance-in-pakistan/

Billy Fleming went to the emergency room on June 11, 2013, complaining of severe abdominal pain.  Following nonsurgical treatment, his physicians scheduled a colectomy, the removal of all or part of the colon.  Blue Advantage, the company in charge of Fleming’s employee health-insurance coverage, determined that nonsurgical treatment was appropriate, denied coverage of the surgery, and told Fleming to go to the emergency room if his pain worsened.  Fleming returned to the emergency room on July 15, 2013, where he appeared in distress.  Fleming died on July 16, 2013, and an autopsy showed his cause of death was “septic shock” resulting from a ruptured intestine.

Douglas Ghee, on behalf of Fleming’s estate, sued Blue Advantage for the wrongful death of Fleming caused by medical malpractice. Blue Advantage moved to dismiss the claim on the ground that the Employee Retirement Income Security Act (“ERISA”) preempted the wrongful death claim. ERISA is a federal law that regulates the operation of a health insurance benefit plan if an employer provides one for its employees. The trial court agreed with Blue Advantage and dismissed the wrongful death claim, ruling that the claim was preempted by ERISA. Ghee appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court on October 26, 2016.


Clipboard and gavel.

Oral Argument Preview: Shadrick v. Grana

Brenton Thompson

Photo Credit: https://www.mdlinx.com/internal-medicine/article/3029

The Alabama Medical Liability Act controls medical malpractice actions brought against “health care providers” for medical injuries. Under the AMLA, a medical-malpractice plaintiff must prove “by substantial evidence” (1) the appropriate standard of care, (2) a breach of that standard by the health-care provider, and (3) a proximate causal connection between the health-care provider’s breach and the plaintiff’s injuries.


Justice Gorsuch Breaks Supreme Court Tie in Favor of Immigrants: A Brief Overview of Sessions v. Dimaya


Xan Ingram

On Tuesday, April 17, 2018, the Supreme Court ruled in Sessions v. Dimaya that a portion of the Immigration and Nationality Act (“INA”) was unconstitutional.  Delivering the opinion of the Court, Justice Kagan explained that the result was dictated by Johnson v. United States.  The Court, in both cases, held that residual clauses defining criminal conduct were void for vagueness.


Secession Reversed: Eleventh Circuit Strikes Down Sua Sponte Court Order for the Gardendale School Board’s Secession

Alex Sidwell*

            An Eleventh Circuit reversal in a decades old school desegregation case has resulted in the city of Gardendale, Alabama being prevented from forming its own school system due to a finding that racial motives were involved in an attempt to separate from the Jefferson County school system. . . .


*Alex received his Bachelors Degree in Music Performance from Auburn University in 2013. Before attending Cumberland School of Law, Alex received his Masters Degree in Music Performance from Appalachian State University in 2015. In addition to being a member of Cumberland Law Review, Alex has had the honor of interning with the Honorable Madeline H. Haikala, the Honorable John E. Ott, and the Honorable John H. England III, and is also a Judge Abraham Caruthers Fellow.

Supreme Court’s Limited Protection for Whistleblowers Under Dodd-Frank

Lindsey Catlett*

The Dodd-Frank Act (the “Act”), passed in the wake of the 2008 financial crisis, was intended to deter “abusive practices in the mortgage industry” and demand “accountability and responsibility from everyone.”  In furtherance of these objectives, the Act includes significant incentives to encourage whistleblowing and protections for those who engage in whistleblowing.


Determining exactly who qualifies for the Dodd-Frank whistleblower protections was the question at issue in the recent United States Supreme Court decision in Digital Realty Trust, Inc. v. Somers.  Paul Somers, former Vice President of Digital Realty Trust, Inc., reported concerns of potential securities law violations committed by Digital Realty exclusively to his superiors . . . .


*  Candidate for Juris Doctor, May 2018, Cumberland School of Law, Samford University; Candidate for Master of Business Administration, Brock School of Business, Samford University; B.A. Finance, Political Science, and History, Ouachita Baptist University; Editor-in-Chief, Cumberland Law Review Volume 48.

Hand v. Scott: Florida’s Method of Restoring Felon Voting Rights Declared Unconstitutional

Kate Henderson*

In February, a federal court considered the method used by Florida executive officials to reinstate voting rights for convicted felons in Hand v. Scott. First Amendment protections in the context of felony voting restoration was a matter of first impression for the court.  The court held the “unfettered discretion” the Clemency Board possessed over a felon’s voting right restoration and the lack of clear time limits in deciding clemency applications violated the First Amendment to the U.S. Constitution. . . .

Click here to view full article. 

* Candidate for Juris Doctor, Cumberland School of Law, Class of 2019.  Junior Editor, Cumberland Law Review.  Bachelor of Science, Florida State University, Class of 2013.

Safe Injection Sites and Potential Federal Response

Kate Henderson*

 The misuse and overuse of opioids have created a crisis in the United States.  Drugs involved in this crisis include prescription pain relievers, heroin, and synthetic opioids.  It is estimated that over 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose.  In 2016 alone, approximately 42,000 people died from overdosing on opioids.  In an effort to decrease the death toll due to the opioid crisis, some U.S. cities are planning on creating safe spaces for drug users . . . . Read the full article here.

*  Candidate for Juris Doctor, Cumberland School of Law, Class of 2019. Junior Editor, Cumberland Law Review. Bachelor of Science, Florida State University, Class of 2013.

Supreme Court Denies Trump Administration’s “Cert before Judgment” DACA Appeal

Anna Saunders*

The Supreme Court declined to hear the Trump Administration’s appeal of the nation-wide injunction that prohibited the termination of the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (“DACA”) immigration policy.  The Court noted, however, that “[i]t is assumed that the Court of Appeals will proceed expeditiously to decide this case.”  The order indicates that the denial of the petition can be attributed to . . . .

Read the full article here. 

*  Candidate for Juris Doctor, Cumberland School of Law, Class of 2019. Junior Editor, Cumberland Law Review. Bachelor of Science in Accounting and Finance, University of Alabama, Class of 2016.

Fourth Circuit Judge Assumes Senior Status

By: Emma Cummings*

On January 30, 2018 Judge Dennis W. Shedd stepped down from his 15 years of service as an active judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit and assumed senior status.  Judge Shedd, along with Judge Paul V. Niemeyer and Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the Fourth Circuit, heard oral arguments on January 30 at the University of South Carolina School of Law.  After oral arguments, Judge Shedd was presented with the Order of the Palmetto Award by South Carolina Governor Henry McMaster. . . .

Read the full article here.

* Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Candidate for Juris Doctor, May 2019; Wofford College, Bachelor of Arts, May 2016.