Akron Law Current News http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/rss.dot Akron Law Current News Professor Van Tassel highlights constitutional concerns with Ohio’s Public Health Laws and Ebola in Crain’s Cleveland Business article http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=c49227ae-e2b0-473e-b344-9187020d9908 <p>Ebola concerns are causing companies to seek legal advice</p> <p>By JEREMY NOBILE</p> <p>October 26, 2014 4:30 AM</p> <p>Americans are terrified of the Ebola virus.</p> <p>And while the country has yet to see any true outbreak, fear of the disease has skyrocketed since the first confirmed reports of the virus in North America. Citizens now rank Ebola among the biggest problems facing the United States, ahead of poverty and terrorism, according to a recent Gallup poll. In Ohio, there have been no confirmed Ebola cases, a couple quarantines, and about 160 reports of an individual coming in contact with an infected person, according to data from the Ohio Emergency Management Agency.</p> <p>But Ebola concerns are raising a litany of legal questions as well, from how companies should treat employees possibly exposed to the virus or an infected person to whether quarantines infringe on an individual's own civil liberties.</p> <p>Victor Geraci, a labor and employment attorney at Fisher &amp; Phillips, said many employers are looking for help &ldquo;digesting&rdquo; laws and information already out there to evaluate their liability, particularly those in health care fields or where international travel is a part of the job.</p> <p>&ldquo;There is confusion, and because there is a group of people who would normally look to law firms on workplace safety issues or protection of employee safety, they're doing so now,&rdquo; Geraci said, adding that he's quick to remind clients &ldquo;this is not a crisis at the moment.&rdquo;</p> <p>&ldquo;It's not an outbreak, it's a scare,&rdquo; said Joe Gross, a partner at Benesch specializing in labor and employment law. &ldquo;And because it's a scare, people are reacting.&rdquo;</p> <p>Gross said he's fielding questions from supervisors and employers across numerous fields who are seeking similar counsel. Many worries center on labor laws, he said, as employers aim to protect their own companies from the potentially infected by encouraging people to stay home, even if they were just briefly in the same room as an infected person.</p> <p>But a thin line separates proper procedure and potential workplace discrimination.</p> <p>Out of date</p> <p>Katharine Van Tassel, director of the Public Health Law and Science Center and Health Law Program at the University of Akron, says part of the issue stems from America's antiquated health laws, written in 1953, that don't outline protocols for dealing with a potential pandemic like Ebola. Those laws create the power to impose quarantines.</p> <p>The lack of clarity creates unknowns, which begets fear. Van Tassel calls it &ldquo;emotional epidemiology.&rdquo;</p> <p>How to treat an employee who may have only been near an infected person is a significant gray area, Van Tassel said. If an employee with no diagnosis of Ebola and questionable symptoms was forced to stay home by the government or their boss, have they been unfairly labeled as disabled? Would such actions hold up if challenged in court?</p> <p>If that employee is not being paid, Van Tassel thinks not.</p> <p>In contrast, the law provides for other similar situations where a person could miss work, like if someone were called upon for jury duty, or even to serve in the National Guard. In both cases, the government is asking a person to miss work to benefit the greater good, Van Tassel said, but the individual is protected in those cases from losing pay or otherwise being retaliated against. She argues the same protections need to be created in public health law not only for potentially ill Ebola victims, but to address future issues that could stem from the appearance of an infectious disease on American soil.</p> <p>Similar fears have arisen before with the threats of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS), Avian influenza (bird flu), even decades ago with the spread of AIDS in the 1980s. All are diseases that once belonged solely to animals and found their way to humans, Van Tassel notes. And similar issues are bound to happen again.</p> <p>&ldquo;We need a process in place that says you don't lose your personal rights because you're in quarantine,&rdquo; Van Tassel said. &ldquo;It just boggles my mind that if we ask these people to sacrifice for the community ... that we're not handing them a brochure saying, "These are your rights.''</p> <p>Balancing act</p> <p>Gross said one employer was asking how to treat an employee who lived with someone who had contact with a person who &ldquo;may&rdquo; have had Ebola-related symptoms. The person was seeking advice on how to be fair not only to the individual, but to other employees possibly fearing exposure, regardless of the likelihood.</p> <p>Gross said he encourages employers to consider drafting their own policies for dealing with the potential effects of Ebola and the complications arising from it to establish protocols that can be applied equally. If a person is being asked to stay home for any reason against their will, Gross suggests drafting an agreement allowing the person to continue earning pay to avoid any possible legal ramifications.</p> <p>&ldquo;Some employers may want to be in front of the issue, many others would not,&rdquo; Gross said.</p> <p>&ldquo;But if they deal with it once, they should deal with it in a policy sense so they treat everyone the same.&rdquo;</p> <p>Meanwhile, Van Tassel said the federal government could take some similar advice.</p> <p>&ldquo;We want to have a plan in place so that people trust the government and choose to cooperate,&rdquo; Van Tassel said.</p> <p>&ldquo;If people do not trust the government, they may not come forward and report that they have been exposed to an infected person, and then they could spread the virus further,&rdquo; she added.&nbsp;</p> <p>&ldquo;It is imperative that lawyers, healthcare providers and public health officials come together to update Ohio law to properly balance the protection of public health with the constitutional rights of its citizens. &rdquo;</p> Wed, 29 Oct 2014 09:45:00 EDT c49227ae-e2b0-473e-b344-9187020d9908 Sports law expert, Law Professor Jack Sahl, weighs in on Ray Rice NFL drama. http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=067e82d1-ac4b-4b49-89b1-951cbd23bd20 <p><span>Law professor&nbsp;</span><b>Jack Sahl</b><span>&nbsp;appeared on &ldquo;The Average Joe Sports Show&rdquo; on&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.akronnewsnow.com/personalities/brad-russell">WAKR-AM</a><span>&nbsp;to discuss former Baltimore Ravens player Ray Rice&rsquo;s case against the NFL and his former team. For complete audio, click here:&nbsp;&nbsp;</span><a href="http://www.akronnewsnow.com/personalities/brad-russell">http://www.akronnewsnow.com/personalities/brad-russell</a></p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 14:00:00 EDT 067e82d1-ac4b-4b49-89b1-951cbd23bd20 Associate Dean William Jordan named Fellow of the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=3ce7a5bc-93f5-4046-b9ed-5e54925cc5d6 <p>William S. Jordan III, Associate Dean of Academic Affairs at The University of Akron School of Law, was named a Fellow of the Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice of the American Bar Association. With this honor, Dean Jordan joins a list of esteemed fellows, including present and former United States Supreme Court Justices Scalia, Breyer, and Rehnquist; Director of the Office of Information and Regulatory Affairs for the Obama Administration Cass Sunstein; C. Boyden Gray, White House Counsel to President George H. W. Bush and former United States Ambassador to the European Union; Ted Olson, former United States Solicitor General; and many other esteemed lawyers, judges and law professors.</p> <p>Bill Jordan has been involved with the ABA Section of Administrative Law and Regulatory Practice for over 15 years. For the last 12 years, he has written the &ldquo;News from the Circuits&rdquo; column reporting on Administrative Law decisions in the U.S. Courts of Appeals in the Section&rsquo;s quarterly magazine. In addition, he has chaired the Judicial Review Committee. Further, he was elected to a 3-year term on the Council of the Section several years ago and has chaired the Publications Committee for several years, presiding over the publications of several books on administrative law each year. He has also organized or served on several panels at the Section&rsquo;s annual Fall Conference in Washington, D.C.. and, for the past several years, Bill has reported on recent developments in Rulemaking at the annual conference.</p> <p>Congratulations, Dean Jordan! Akron Law is so proud of you! For more information about Bill Jordan, please see his complete bio&nbsp;<a href="http://www.uakron.edu/law/faculty/profile.dot?identity=692044">here</a>.</p> Fri, 24 Oct 2014 09:15:00 EDT 3ce7a5bc-93f5-4046-b9ed-5e54925cc5d6 Professor Katharine Van Tassel discusses the Ebola crisis and Ohio’s quarantine laws on The Jasen Sokol Show on 1590 WAKR (Akron) on Thursday, October 9th http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=cb0c8242-3359-4274-abd6-1bbbd6789970 <p>Professor Katharine Van Tassel discusses the Ebola crisis and Ohio&rsquo;s quarantine laws on The Jasen Sokol Show on 1590 WAKR (Akron) on Thursday, October 9th&nbsp;</p> Tue, 14 Oct 2014 10:00:00 EDT cb0c8242-3359-4274-abd6-1bbbd6789970 U.S. Commission on Civil Rights Adopts Recommendations Made by Akron’s Public Health Law & Science Center http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=6fc7be49-a80f-4024-896c-e20dcd523f23 <p>The eagerly anticipated Statutory Enforcement Report,&nbsp;<i>Patient Dumping</i>, issued by the U.S. Commission on Civil Rights was released in the last week of September 2014. The Report adopts several recommendations made by Professor Katharine Van Tassel in her testimony before the Commission in Washington D.C. last April, 2014 and in her Written Statement submitted to the Commission.&nbsp; The Report was sent directly from the Commissioners to President Barack Obama, Vice President Joe Biden and Speaker of the House, John Boehner.&nbsp;</p> <p>The research that formed the background for the Written Statement was performed by the Student Research Team for the Public Health &amp; Law Center at Akron Law (pictured), along with the expert support of the Akron staff members of the PHLSC team, Anthony Colucci and Amy McCoy. This Written Statement was cited multiple times in the report.</p> <p>"This was definitely a team effort," states Professor Van Tassel. "It is amazing how our team pulled together to help with my testimony and with the research for the Written Statement. It shows what we can do together here at Akron Law to improve the human condition."</p> <p>"Patient dumping" is the practice of hospitals' denying individuals emergency medical screening and stabilization services, or transferring them to other hospitals, once a hospital discovers that the patients are uninsured or have no means to pay for treatment.</p> <p>The Report examines the effectiveness of the federal law that Congress passed to address such practices:&nbsp; the Emergency Medical Treatment and Labor Act (EMTALA).&nbsp; The Report discusses what policies may be adopted to better protect the rights of the mentally ill, and makes detailed findings and recommendations for improvements.&nbsp; The recommendations include:</p> <ul> <li>Better data collection</li> <li>Increased regulatory oversight</li> <li>Non-punitive methods for hospital reporting</li> <li>Electronic filtering of data that automatically flags inadequate reporting data</li> <li>Linking budgets of community-based mental health programs with local hospitals to recover costs from patients treated in centers rather than hospitals</li> <li>Making it mandatory for the Centers for Medicare &amp; Medicaid Services to forward all EMTALA cases to the Office for Civil Rights in the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services</li> <li>Increased training and education</li> <li>Conforming EMTALA's definition of stabilization so that it is consistent with the medical definition</li> <li>Fostering learning from best practices</li> <li>Implementing consistent protocols and discharge planning</li> </ul> <p>Martin R. Castro, Chairman of the Commission, stated, "We are pleased to share this important Report with the President, Congress and the American people and hope that our findings and recommendations serve to improve the conditions that were presented to the Commission during the briefing."</p> <p>The U.S. Commission on Civil Rights is an independent, bipartisan agency charged with advising the President and Congress on civil rights matters and issuing an annual federal civil rights enforcement report. For information about Commission's reports and meetings, visit http://www.usccr.gov.</p> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 11:00:00 EDT 6fc7be49-a80f-4024-896c-e20dcd523f23 Over Seventy Law, Public Health and Medical Students Come Together from Several Universities to Create Interdisciplinary Teams to Discuss Ebola Crisis http://www.uakron.edu/law/news/news-details.dot?newsId=0457ba05-63ed-4ce8-8701-62ec4389e0c1 <p>Over 70 law, public health and medical students joined together to discuss the Ebola crisis in the first inter-professional class held between Akron Law, NEOMED and CEOMPH held this past Saturday, October 4.&nbsp;</p> <p>The students attended via web video conferencing classrooms located at University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Ohio University, and Youngstown State.</p> <p>The afternoon-long session explored the legal, ethical and medical issues arising out of a hypothetical outbreak of Ebola involving 200 individuals in Northern Ohio. There were short presentations and a panel discussion by faculty to introduce the problem. Then, the students held lively discussions in break-out sessions involving inter-professional teams of medical students, physicians, public health professional students and the law students who are part of the Health Law Certificate Program at Akron Law. &nbsp;</p> <p>Faculty presenters and panelists included the following:</p> <ul> <li><span>Dr. Julie Aultman, who is an Adjunct Professor in Akron Law's Health Law Certificate Program and who is also an Associate Professor of Family and Community Medicine and Director for the Bioethics Certificate Program at the Northeast Ohio Medical University</span></li> <li><span data-mce-mark="1">Professor Katharine Van Tassel, who is a Professor of Law and is the Director of the Public Health Law &amp; Science Center and Health law Programs at the University of Akron School of Law</span></li> <li><span data-mce-mark="1">Dr. Amy Lee, who is the Program Director for the Consortium of Eastern Ohio Master of Public Health Program (a partnership of The University of Akron, Cleveland State University, Northeast Ohio Medical University, Ohio University, and Youngstown State University) and who is also a Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University</span></li> <li><span data-mce-mark="1">Dr. Michelle Chyatte, who is an Assistant Professor of Family and Community Medicine at the Northeast Ohio Medical University</span></li> </ul> Mon, 06 Oct 2014 10:00:00 EDT 0457ba05-63ed-4ce8-8701-62ec4389e0c1