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Mercer Law Review

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Full-Text Articles in Law

Purpose, Practical Wisdom, And The Formation Of Trustworthy Lawyers, Kenneth Townsend Jun 2024

Purpose, Practical Wisdom, And The Formation Of Trustworthy Lawyers, Kenneth Townsend

Mercer Law Review

Lawyers have a “special responsibility for the quality of justice” in our nation and are expected to “further the public’s understanding of and confidence in the rule of law and the justice system” since “legal institutions in a constitutional democracy depend on popular participation and support to maintain their authority.” Upholding these and other commitments enables the profession to promote the “public interest,” according to the Preamble to the Model Rules of Professional Conduct.


The Rule Of Law, The Lawyer’S Role As A Public Citizen, And Professional Identity: How Fostering The Development Of Professional Identity Can Help Law Schools Address The Crisis Facing American Democracy, Kendall Kerew Jun 2024

The Rule Of Law, The Lawyer’S Role As A Public Citizen, And Professional Identity: How Fostering The Development Of Professional Identity Can Help Law Schools Address The Crisis Facing American Democracy, Kendall Kerew

Mercer Law Review

American democracy is in crisis. The January 6, 2021, attack on the U.S. Capitol must serve as a renewed wake-up call for the legal profession. We can no longer keep our heads down, focused solely or even primarily on serving our clients, without being mindful that what we do every day as lawyers starts and ends with our duty to uphold the rule of law and our system of justice. We must acknowledge that lawyers are the ones who have put democracy at risk. Lawyers are the ones who, in their role as zealous advocates, attempted to overturn the 2020 …


Just Me, Myself, And I: Georgia Trial Courts May Consider Pro Se Motions Filed By Represented Criminal Defendants, Mckayla A. Doss Jun 2024

Just Me, Myself, And I: Georgia Trial Courts May Consider Pro Se Motions Filed By Represented Criminal Defendants, Mckayla A. Doss

Mercer Law Review

For decades, Georgia’s trial courts have applied the absolute rule that pro se motions filed by represented (or presumably represented) criminal defendants were a legal nullity. In essence, hybrid representation was not permitted—legal representation precluded criminal defendants from acting as “co-counsel” or filing their own pro se motions.The application of this absolute rule substantially affected the time-sensitive period that follows a criminal conviction, as defendants in Georgia have a limited period of time to file a notice of appeal or a motion for new trial before the window of direct appeal closes. Failure to file these motions results in the …


Foreword: Symposium On Current Issues In Professional Identity Formation, Patrick Longan Jun 2024

Foreword: Symposium On Current Issues In Professional Identity Formation, Patrick Longan

Mercer Law Review

On March 8, 2024, the Mercer Center for Legal Ethics and Professionalism, in partnership with the Mercer Law Review, held the 24th Annual Georgia Symposium on Ethics and Professionalism. These symposia rotate among Mercer University School of Law, Georgia State University College of Law, Emory University School of Law, and the University of Georgia School of Law. Funding for the symposia comes from endowments created by the settlement of claims of litigation misconduct against the DuPont Corporation and its counsel in litigation in the 1990s. The initiative for the structure of the settlement came from the late Judge Hugh Lawson …


Reflections On Purpose And Professional Identity Formation, Harmony Decosimo Jun 2024

Reflections On Purpose And Professional Identity Formation, Harmony Decosimo

Mercer Law Review

I am very grateful to Professor Daisy Floyd for starting this important conversation about the role of purpose in professional identity formation, and for inviting me to participate in it. As I know my co-panelists agree, this is an important conversation not simply to us as lawyers, but as humans, trying to help each other figure out how to live good, meaningful lives.

I think what might be most useful in my response to Professor Floyd is to turn at least initially from the theoretical to the personal and practical by offering some insight into my own experience with purpose …


Putting The Lawyer First: Framing Well-Being In Law As An Ethical Dilemma, Aric Short Jun 2024

Putting The Lawyer First: Framing Well-Being In Law As An Ethical Dilemma, Aric Short

Mercer Law Review

A disturbingly high percentage of our students continue to be unwell. In the most recent and comprehensive survey of law student well-being in 2021, almost 70% of law students responded that, in the past twelve months, they believed they needed to seek help for emotional or mental health problems. Embedded screening tools in the survey suggested that 34% of respondents were clinically depressed and 54% suffered from clinical anxiety. 44% of respondents reported being drunk in the past thirty days, 33% had engaged in binge drinking in the preceding two weeks, and 38% had smoked marijuana in the past twelve …


Ai And The Legal Puzzle: Filling Gaps, But Missing Pieces, Joseph Anderson Jun 2024

Ai And The Legal Puzzle: Filling Gaps, But Missing Pieces, Joseph Anderson

Mercer Law Review

One of the foremost concerns arising from artificial intelligence’s penetration into the legal realm revolves around accountability and transparency. Traditional legal processes entail a human-driven decision-making paradigm, with judges, lawyers, and legal professionals accountable for their judgments and actions. However, as artificial intelligence systems grow more complex, they often operate as ‘black boxes,’ making it challenging to decipher the rationale behind their decisions. This opacity raises questions about how to attribute legal liability when AI-powered systems make errors or biased judgments. Striking a balance between the efficiency of artificial intelligence and the transparency required in legal proceedings is a pressing …


What About Us? How Law Schools Can Help Historically Underrepresented Law Students Develop Their Professional Identities, David A. Grenardo Jun 2024

What About Us? How Law Schools Can Help Historically Underrepresented Law Students Develop Their Professional Identities, David A. Grenardo

Mercer Law Review

Talking about race, gender, and sexual orientation can be painful, messy, and difficult. This country’s history of discrimination and violence against historically underrepresented, marginalized, excluded individuals—racial and ethnic minorities, women, LGBTQIA+, those living with disabilities, the socioeconomically disadvantaged/lower class—makes these topics fraught with controversy and risk. We can easily offend someone accidentally when we try to address these topics even with the best of intentions. For example, some people may get nervous trying to figure out whether to use the words African-American, Black, BIPOC, person of color, or all of the above when discussing these topics and referring to someone …


Proprietors Beware: Recent Changes In Negligent Security Cases Involving Third-Party Criminal Acts And The State Of The Law Moving Forward After The Supreme Court Of Georgia’S Most Recent Decision In Georgia Cvs V. Carmichael, Blake Williamson Jun 2024

Proprietors Beware: Recent Changes In Negligent Security Cases Involving Third-Party Criminal Acts And The State Of The Law Moving Forward After The Supreme Court Of Georgia’S Most Recent Decision In Georgia Cvs V. Carmichael, Blake Williamson

Mercer Law Review

The burgeoning surge in criminal activity within the United States has precipitated a corresponding increase in legal actions aimed at ascertaining the liability of business proprietors for crimes that transpire on their premises. Although the legal and factual questions surrounding the attribution of liability for the criminal acts of third parties often prove intricate, the crux of the matter remains consistent with that encountered in other premises liability actions—namely, did the proprietor possess superior knowledge of the danger that injured the plaintiff?


A (Not-So) “Minor” Application Of The “Spousal Standing” Exception To Georgia’S Wrongful Death Act, Kelly N. Lafleur Jun 2024

A (Not-So) “Minor” Application Of The “Spousal Standing” Exception To Georgia’S Wrongful Death Act, Kelly N. Lafleur

Mercer Law Review

The death of a loved one is a tragedy, especially when allegations of wrongdoing exist surrounding the death, and the decision to bring a lawsuit is a deeply personal matter. But who bears the burden of making that decision—the deceased’s spouse, their child, or another loved one? The answer may depend on the court’s application of equitable principles to preserve the claim.

Georgia’s Wrongful Death Act grants a decedent’s surviving spouse the right to pursue a wrongful death claim. In the event there is no surviving spouse, that right is granted to the decedent’s “child or children, either minor or …


Can Too Much Clarity Cause Confusion? A Case Study Of Mccalop V. State, Sutton M. Eggena Jun 2024

Can Too Much Clarity Cause Confusion? A Case Study Of Mccalop V. State, Sutton M. Eggena

Mercer Law Review

In criminal trials, few elements wield as much influence over the outcome as expert testimony. Expert testimony serves as the bridge between complex subject matter and the understanding of lay jurors, often occupying a pivotal position in the pursuit of justice. Indeed, expert testimony can be the lynchpin on which a jury’s verdict turns. Picture a courtroom filled with jurors, each presumed to lack a deep understanding of the intricate dynamics of domestic abuse and the profound effects of battered person syndrome on individuals trapped in violent relationships. In pursuit of justice, these jurors lean on a singular source—an expert …


Actions Speak Louder Than Words: The Supreme Court Of Georgia Textualizes “Action” In The Georgia Constitution, Abigail C. Letts Jun 2024

Actions Speak Louder Than Words: The Supreme Court Of Georgia Textualizes “Action” In The Georgia Constitution, Abigail C. Letts

Mercer Law Review

It comes as no surprise to those tuned into Georgia jurisprudence—textualism has taken root in the Supreme Court of Georgia. Since a series of holdings in the late twenty-tens including Olevik v. State, Georgia courts have produced a steady stream of decisions committed to pointing legal interpretation back to the intent of the framers. At first glance, the court’s proclamation in State v. SASS Group, LLC that “action” as it is used in Article I, Section II, Paragraph V(b) of the Georgia Constitution refers to an entire lawsuit appears simply to be another instance of the court’s staunch commitment …


Bankruptcy Law, John T. Laney Iii, Siena Berrios Gaddy, Victoria Barbino Grantham May 2024

Bankruptcy Law, John T. Laney Iii, Siena Berrios Gaddy, Victoria Barbino Grantham

Mercer Law Review

This Article focuses on bankruptcy opinions issued by the Supreme Court of the United States and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit. Topics addressed include 11 U.S.C. § 523(a)(2)(A)’s preclusion of discharge of debts obtained by fraud of a partner or agent; the Supreme Court’s effort to “bring some discipline” to 11 U.S.C. § 363(m) and the use of the term “jurisdictional;” abrogation of tribal sovereign immunity in 11 U.S.C. § 106(a); Chapter 11 plan modification under 11 U.S.C. § 1126 and Bankruptcy Rule 3019(a); the anti‑modification provision of 11 U.S.C. § 1322(b)(2) and its connection …


Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr May 2024

Class Actions, Thomas M. Byrne, Stacey Mcgavin Mohr

Mercer Law Review

The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s 2023 class-action decisions continued to grapple with Article III standing requirements while also demonstrating, in two decisions, the court’s longstanding generally permissive posture toward approval of class-action settlements. A significant deviation from the latter tendency is the court’s increasingly isolated position on payment of incentive awards to class representatives. Alone among the circuits, the court prohibits such payments, creating an inter-circuit conflict that seems inevitably headed to the Supreme Court. In the meantime, within the circuit, class counsel face a unique hurdle in crafting settlements and dealing with class representatives.


Criminal Law, Thomas D. Church, Whitney Baker May 2024

Criminal Law, Thomas D. Church, Whitney Baker

Mercer Law Review

This Article provides a comprehensive review of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit’s most noteworthy criminal law opinions from 2023, with a focus on the key holdings from each decision. Section II of this Article addresses substantive criminal offenses, such as drug offenses, economic crimes, and firearm offenses, while Section III covers criminal procedure, the rules of evidence, and constitutional issues arising in criminal prosecutions. Section IV deals with the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other sentencing issues and provides a limited review of the Eleventh Circuit’s decisions in post-conviction proceedings, including those involving the First Step …


Admiralty Law, John P. Kavanagh Jr. May 2024

Admiralty Law, John P. Kavanagh Jr.

Mercer Law Review

The cases discussed herein represent decisions from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, as well as District Courts within the Circuit, issued in 2023. While not an all-inclusive list of maritime decisions during that timeframe, the Author identified and provided summaries of key rulings of interest to the maritime practitioner,


Immigration Law, Bianca N. Dibella, Hannah L. Baskind May 2024

Immigration Law, Bianca N. Dibella, Hannah L. Baskind

Mercer Law Review

This Article surveys cases from the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit from January 1, 2023, through December 31, 2023, in which immigration law was a central focus of the case. During this time, the Eleventh Circuit decided several of these cases. As such, the cases discussed herein are those that explore jurisdictional boundaries of the Eleventh Circuit’s appellate review of immigration cases, and those that interpret standards that impact an immigrant’s ability to obtain relief. This Article discusses (1) removal cancellation, including the court’s jurisdiction to review such decisions, the standard for removal cancellation, and the …


Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta May 2024

Trial Practice And Procedure, John O'Shea Sullivan, Leesa M. Guarnotta

Mercer Law Review

The 2023 Survey period yielded important trial practice decisions in the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit ranging from overruling long‑standing precedent relating to arbitration and issuing opinions of first impression relating to attempts to limit arbitration, attempts to limit copyright infringement remedies, what makes a statutory provision “jurisdictional,” and contracting around statutory interest rates. This Article analyzes some of this Survey period’s notable and first impression opinions in the Eleventh Circuit but is not intended to be an exhaustive discussion of the Eleventh Circuit’s important decisions during the Survey period.


Federal Income Tax, Andrew Todd May 2024

Federal Income Tax, Andrew Todd

Mercer Law Review

In 2023, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued several published opinions involving U.S. federal income tax issues. In two opinions authored by Judge Brasher, the court addressed issues of first impression. The court’s opinion in Gregory v. Commissioner addressed whether hobby expense deductions are miscellaneous itemized deductions. The court’s opinion in Lee v. United States addressed an issue of first impression for any circuit: whether a taxpayer’s reliance on an agent to electronically file a federal income tax return constitutes reasonable cause for failing to file a return and pay the associated taxes. This Article …


I’Ll Huff, And I’Ll Puff, And I’Ll Blow Your Parol Evidence Down: The Eleventh Circuit Explains Why The Plain Text Of An Insurance Policy Wins In The Face Of Contractual Ambiguity, Chloe E. Bonds May 2024

I’Ll Huff, And I’Ll Puff, And I’Ll Blow Your Parol Evidence Down: The Eleventh Circuit Explains Why The Plain Text Of An Insurance Policy Wins In The Face Of Contractual Ambiguity, Chloe E. Bonds

Mercer Law Review

Imagine that a small business in sunny, central Florida is evaluating its insurance policy. The business notices that the policy includes seemingly unnecessary coverage for losses caused by landslides. Before the end of the current year, the business contacts its insurance agency and successfully negotiates to remove the existing landslide coverage from next year’s policy. Following the negotiations, the agent issues an updated insurance binder reflecting the change. Although the insurance agency is aware that the business no longer wants landslide coverage, the principal policy issued after negotiations conspicuously does not include any language regarding the coverage or exclusion of …


Brave New Agency: The Ftc’S Expanded Powers In The Eleventh Circuit, Griffin D. Green May 2024

Brave New Agency: The Ftc’S Expanded Powers In The Eleventh Circuit, Griffin D. Green

Mercer Law Review

In Aldous Huxley’s seminal novel “Brave New World,” a futuristic society grapples with the consequences of technological advancements and the ethical dilemmas they pose. The Federal Trade Commission (FTC) finds itself in a “Brave New World” of its own, particularly in the Eleventh Circuit. The case FTC v. Simple Health Plans, LLC is a potential watershed moment, redefining the scope and authority of the FTC to impose equitable damages. It serves as a pivotal juncture, not just for the agency, but also for consumer protection laws, monopolistic businesses, and what remedies courts may provide. The decision potentially leads to harsher …


I Hope This Email Finds You Well: The Eleventh Circuit Addresses The Standard Of Review For Incarcerated Persons’ Outgoing Emails, Olivia Greenblatt May 2024

I Hope This Email Finds You Well: The Eleventh Circuit Addresses The Standard Of Review For Incarcerated Persons’ Outgoing Emails, Olivia Greenblatt

Mercer Law Review

An unfortunate and inevitable aspect of incarceration is separation from the outside world. The various constraints on communication exemplify one of the many ways through which incarceration creates this divide. Maintaining the connections that incarcerated people have with their loved ones and communities is essential for fostering a vital support system, facilitating the exchange of information, aiding in successful reintegration, and reducing recidivism upon release. Unfortunately, instead of encouraging and safeguarding this communication, prisons often curtail it through restrictive methods: visitation is limited, phone calls are costly, physical mail involves a time-consuming and intrusive process, and now, email is being …


Evidence, W. Randall Bassett May 2024

Evidence, W. Randall Bassett

Mercer Law Review

In its 2023 term, the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit focused heavily on the role and admissibility of expert testimony under Rules 702–704 of the Federal Rules of Evidence. For example, in two opinions, the court considered the role of an expert’s qualifications and experience in supporting the admissibility of the expert’s opinions. In another case, they analyzed the scope of an expert’s ability to opine on an ultimate issue in a criminal case. The court also considered the role of lay witness opinion testimony compared to that of a retained expert and the admissibility of …


Labor And Employment, W. Jonathan Martin Ii, Patricia-Anne Brownback May 2024

Labor And Employment, W. Jonathan Martin Ii, Patricia-Anne Brownback

Mercer Law Review

This Article focuses on recent cases concerning federal labor and employment laws. The following is a discussion of those opinions.


Going Beyond Fear In Addressing Attorney Mental Health, Eric C. Lang Apr 2024

Going Beyond Fear In Addressing Attorney Mental Health, Eric C. Lang

Mercer Law Review

We know that a career in law is challenging, but our profession has only recently focused on the mental health consequences of those challenges. We first started analyzing mental health issues after a number of attorney suicides caught the public eye. Realizing the problem was much broader than the tragic outcome of suicide, we have spent the last several years focused on the use of statistics to convince the profession of its own dangers. The solution, to date, has been an emphasis on Lawyer Assistance Programs and “wellness” initiatives accompanied by what could be described as scare tactics designed to …


Victor Hugo Was Right All Along: Les Misérables, The Tragedy Of A Punitive Parole System, And A Modern Path Forward, Sarah Gerwig Apr 2024

Victor Hugo Was Right All Along: Les Misérables, The Tragedy Of A Punitive Parole System, And A Modern Path Forward, Sarah Gerwig

Mercer Law Review

Les Misérables, Victor Hugo’s tragic novel, was published over 160 years ago and yet it continues to capture imaginations and sympathies worldwide. It was made into an award-winning film over a decade ago. But before that, Les Misérables was one of the most popular Broadway musicals ever produced, having been viewed by over sixty million people, even beyond the viewership of other popular renditions in film and television. Despite (or perhaps because of) its heartbreaking themes, audiences sympathize with the main characters’ quest for redemption. How easy, in the story, to see the struggles and barriers Jean Valjean encounters—and …


The Real World: Iqbal/Twombly The Plausibility Pleading Standard’S Effect On Federal Court Civil Practice, Matthew Cook, Kate Cook, Nathan Nicholson, Joshua Bearden Apr 2024

The Real World: Iqbal/Twombly The Plausibility Pleading Standard’S Effect On Federal Court Civil Practice, Matthew Cook, Kate Cook, Nathan Nicholson, Joshua Bearden

Mercer Law Review

Several publications already exist detailing the evolution of American civil pleading standards, the personalities involved throughout, as well as the differing iterations’ theoretical and philosophical underpinnings. This Article is written not from the viewpoint of a scholar, but a practitioner. It is the practitioner who drafts, files, and defends against these pleadings. It is the practitioner who provides the “boots on the ground” execution of legislative and judicial directives. It is the practitioner who experiences the aspects of litigation that are not ultimately published in a reporter. And it is the practitioner who must explain to his or her clients …


Should Georgia Bet On Sports?, H. Madison Short Apr 2024

Should Georgia Bet On Sports?, H. Madison Short

Mercer Law Review

Following the Court’s decision in Murphy, Georgia legislators have repeatedly introduced bills to legalize sports betting. However, despite these efforts, the 2023 legislative sessions concluded without the passage of multiple bills aimed at achieving this goal. Nonetheless, with mounting pressure and support, it seems increasingly likely that Georgia voters will soon have the opportunity to amend the state’s constitution to legalize it. This Comment analyzes whether legalizing sports betting would be in Georgia’s best interest. Part II will provide a brief overview of PASPA, followed by an examination of why the Supreme Court of the United States held it to …


Identity Crisis: The Supreme Court Of Georgia’S New Framework May Have Widespread Impact On Extended-Stay Motels And Their Occupants, Dawson B. Welsh Apr 2024

Identity Crisis: The Supreme Court Of Georgia’S New Framework May Have Widespread Impact On Extended-Stay Motels And Their Occupants, Dawson B. Welsh

Mercer Law Review

Certainty is a trait valued highly by many, and it is perhaps most valued in the world of business where minimizing risk and maximizing profit is the name of the game. Efficiency Lodge, Inc. v. Neason developed what appeared to be a routine fight over occupancy into one of the most important redefinitions of a legal framework in the field of real estate. The Supreme Court of Georgia’s analysis of the relationships provides a legal framework for Georgia courts to apply when attempting to parse out the rights of the parties by specifically providing a new way for courts to …


Don’T Lose The Remote: An Employer’S Guide To Remote Employee And Trade Secret Retention Without Non-Competes, Kayla Lya Pfeifer Apr 2024

Don’T Lose The Remote: An Employer’S Guide To Remote Employee And Trade Secret Retention Without Non-Competes, Kayla Lya Pfeifer

Mercer Law Review

This Comment discusses potential employer solutions to the intersectional challenges of balancing trade secret protection and employee retention in a post-COVID-19 remote employment market. First, this Comment provides an overview of the FTC’s proposed rule to ban non-competes, as well as the political context and history behind the FTC’s enhanced focus on policing anti-competitive business behaviors. Additionally, this Comment explains the utility behind non-competes and contextualizes the ban’s potential effects through a legal survey of non-compete enforceability in the U.S. To illustrate the steep challenge of trade secret protection in the modern employment market, this Comment separately analyzes the rise …