Law College Receives Academic Excellence Fund Allocations

Article excerpt

The University of Oklahoma Board of Regents at its April meeting approved an allocation from Academic Excellence Funds of $100,000 each for the College of Law.

Academic Excellence Funds, formerly called President's Partners Funds, are the result of contributions of $100 or more from OU alumni and friends to the OU Foundation. The funds are intended for the OU president's unrestricted use for projects that enhance academic programs.

The College of Law will use the funds to establish a program of Empirical Studies in Law, encompassing the diverse areas of commercial law, criminal law, evidence and environmental law.

Specifically, the projects will investigate the necessity of repealing the code regulating bulk property transfers; the relationship of age and substance abuse to juvenile crime in Oklahoma; whether the exclusion of evidence of subsequent remedial measures in negligence and liability cases promotes safety in the workplace; and whether support exists for the belief that neighborhoods often are selected as locations for undesirable land uses _ such as toxic landfills _ based upon improper factors, such as minority factors, rather than on economically neutral factors.

The program presents an opportunity to extend research into areas of the law that previously had not been studied empirically, to test whether empirical research can be generalized in diverse areas of law, and to assess the value of a support structure of empirical studies in law. . . Kansas City Life Insurance Co. plans to appeal a $10.6 million award a jury made to an Oklahoma City woman's estate in a fraud case.

A jury in Alva earlier this month found for the relatives of the late Leora Pelter of Alva. The relatives claimed that an insurance agent defrauded Pelter of a $25,000 payment and that the company accused Pelter of participating in a conspiracy.

The jury awarded the estate $550,000 in compensatory damages and $10 million in punitive damages.

"The verdict is unwarranted, and the size of the award is totally unrelated to the alleged damage," Kansas City Life vice president C. John Malacarne said. "We will vigorously seek a reversal."

Kansas City Life denies any wrongdoing and tried to repay the $25,000, with interest, when the fraud was discovered, Malacarne said. . . Gary B. Homsey of Gary B. Homsey and Associates addressed a program on "Medical Device Pharmaceutical Litigation" for the University of Houston Law Foundation in Houston. …