Mooting News

The Proceedings of the NYU Moot Court Board, or just “Proceedings,” is the online journal of the NYU Moot Court Board, documenting new approaches to unsettled legal questions proceeding from moot court activities, particularly law student competitions.

Proceedings aims to realize for the wider legal community a benefit of mooting that has hitherto accrued only to participants. As most appellate lawyers know, one of the best ways to refine a theory of a case or an area of law is to argue about it, either with colleagues or before law school professors. But student Moot Court competitions, which consider some of the most interesting and intractable problems in law, generate hundreds of hours of formal, inquisitorial analysis of those problems by professors, practitioners, and judges (not to mention reams of legal writing)–and then, too often, the results are thrown away when the competition is over.

No longer. Proceedings is the journal where lawyers and law students can publish their “test results” from the legal laboratory of mooting that tests both old and new approaches to unsettled areas of law. It aims to realize mooting’s potential not only as a valuable educational exercise, but as a productive forum for legal research.

Contributions

When conducting a warrantless search or seizure, must a police officer have probable cause for all elements of the crime, including mens rea? In this Contribution, Kimberly La Fronz (’18) discusses what the circuits include in their totality of the circumstances analysis to determine probable cause. This Contribution argues that in order to effect a warrantless arrest a police officer must have probable cause with respect to every element of the crime in order to effect a warrantless arrest and must not ignore exonerating evidence in their totality of the circumstances analysis.

Contributions

Is discharging the liability of a third-party non-debtor within the authority of the bankruptcy courts? In this Contribution, Chelsea Ireland (’18) addresses the circuit split as to whether bankruptcy courts can confirm reorganization plans that discharge the acquiring company’s liability to a class of creditors. This Contribution will argue that the discretion to discharge the liability of a third-party non-debtor is within the authority bankruptcy courts.

Contributions

How long may Immigration and Customs Enforcement detain a noncitizen before he or she must go before a judge? In this Contribution, Sharon Turret (’18) analyzes the Due Process Clause issues with a “reasonableness” test for length of detention and the need for a bright-line rule. This Contribution argues that the Due Process Clause requires a bright-line rule that the length of detention be presumed unreasonable after six months. That very bright-line rule is now before the Supreme Court in Jennings v. Rodriguez.

Contributions

Does a bundled discount offered by a dominant firm in the market violate Section 2 of the Sherman Antitrust Act? Megan Hare (’18) addresses this question based on her experience at the 2017 Global Antitrust Institute Moot Court Competition. Antitrust doctrine strongly favors aggressive pricing and other discount schemes that encourage competition within a given market. Bundled discounts fall squarely within the procompetitive pricing schemes praised by the Supreme Court’s antitrust doctrine. These rebates compel firms to compete for consumers, thereby allowing consumers to pay lower prices for products than they otherwise would pay without such market competition. This Contribution argues, however, that bundled discounts may be anticompetitive and unlawful under the Sherman Act when unjustifiably used by a dominant firm to gain additional market share or to maintain the firm’s existing market power.

Contributions

How should the law determine whether a true threat was made with intent sufficient to not merit First Amendment protection? In this Contribution, Ben Lazarus (’18) analyzes the different approaches circuit courts have taken to answer this question. This Contribution argues that an objective test for what constitutes a threat is most in line with the Supreme Court’s precedents and reasoning when confronting threatening speech.

Contributions

Does the Fourth Amendment protect a tenant’s privacy in a shared storage unit? Can law enforcement search the whole space if her cotenant consents? In this Contribution, Rachel Lerner (’18) analyzes whether a tenant has a reasonable expectation of privacy in the space and whether it is reasonable for police to search the space upon a third-party’s consent. The Contribution argues that the Fourth Amendment protects a shared storage unit either as curitlage under Dunn or under the Katz test, and law enforcement cannot reasonably search a well-demarcated section of the unit if another cotenant consents.

Contributions

Does a board of directors’ power to direct a corporation allow it to tie its own hands in the course of negotiating debt agreements? In this Contribution, Caitlin Millat (’18) analyzes the problem of dead-hand proxy puts under Delaware law, considering whether these provisions are ever allowed, and if they are, under what standard of scrutiny they should be reviewed. This contribution argues that dead-hand proxy put provisions should be evaluated under the business judgment rule, not the Unocal enhanced scrutiny standard.

Contributions

Should a board of directors of a parent company owe fiduciary duties not just to its shareholders, but also to the shareholders of companies involved in limited partnerships with one of its subsidiaries? In this Contribution, Natalie Noble (’18) discusses the implications of In re USACafes, L.P. Litigation, in which the Delaware Chancery Court held that the board of directors of a corporation engaged in a limited partnership owe fiduciary duties to the limited partnership and the limited partners. This Contribution argues that the USACafes doctrine should be abandoned because it discourages freedom of contract, dissuades investors from financing new enterprises, and contravenes bedrock doctrines of corporate law.

Contributions

Should musicians be free to use samples from the work of others in there songs without having to pay for them, or should sampled artists have a right to get paid for their work? In this Contribution, Lee Nisson (’18) unpacks the copyright issues around digital sampling of music, exploring the doctrine of de minimis use. Despite the artistic merits of sampling in music, the Contribution argues that all sampling constitutes copyright infringement.

Contributions

In the digital age, how should privacy concerns constrain police investigations? In this Contribution, Christopher J. Rydberg considers this problem with respect to forcing suspects to unlock smartphones and specificity requirements with respect to smartphone search warrants. Ultimately, the Contribution argues that smartphones are different in kind because of the massive scope of data they contain, and thus historical doctrines of police process will have to change to accommodate the smartphone era.