Pet Law And Student Pet Pictures

We all love our pets.  For many, dogs and cats are not just animals, they are members of the family.  But, what happens to your pets if something happens to you?  You provide for your human family members through your will, but what about your furry family?

Surprising enough, you can plan your estate to provide for your pets.  Pet trusts are actually recognized in the South Carolina Code at S.C. Code Ann. § 62-7-408 (1986).  Other resources suggest procedures providing for your pet including naming a guardian, naming an alternate guardian, setting aside money, and making sure the executor of your estate knows they will be executing the pet portion as well.  If you’re interested in learning more about pet trusts and pet estate planning, check out some of the links below.

South Carolina Trust Care for Animal Statute

Pet Trusts – Caring for Your Pet After Your Death

ASPCA – Planned Giving

Since we’re talking about pets, here are some pet pictures from the students and professors of groups 7 & 8 Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing here at the University of South Carolina School of Law.

Charlotte the Cat

Charlotte Hollingsworth


Riley Lusk


Nameless Animal Groves (Someone forgot to attach a pet name)




Cpt. Rocky Linowski


Cecil Milligan



Lola Beagle

Big Lola Parsons


This Week In Legal News

On Tuesday, the Supreme Court of Alabama issued an order halting same-sex marriages, in spite of Federal court direction to issue licenses.

Also on Tuesday, Slovenia became the eleventh nation in the European Union to recognize same-sex marriage.

On Wednesday, the U.S. Department of Justice released a report indicating that it will not prosecute the former Ferguson, MO, police officer who shot and killed unarmed African-American teenager, Michael Brown, in August of 2014.  Read the full report here.  Another DOJ report investigating the Ferguson police department, also released Wednesday, found that African Americans were frequently victims of discriminatory and illegal conduct by the law enforcement system in Ferguson.

Also on Wednesday, the U.S. Supreme Court heard oral arguments in King v. Burwell, which challenges the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act.

A Massachusetts teen has been charged with involuntary manslaughter after allegedly using text messages to encourage a friend’s suicide.




Celebrating Women’s History Month: Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act

In March, we celebrate Women’s History Month.  In recognition of this, we are taking a look back at the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.  The Act arose out of a Supreme Court case.

Lilly Ledbetter was an employee at the Goodyear Plant in Gadsden, Alabama.  Upon receiving an anonymous note revealing the salaries of her three male co-managers, she filed a complaint with the EEOC.  She had previously been the victim of sexual harassment at her workplace and had been told by her boss that he didn’t think a woman should be working at the plant.  Her case went to trial and the jury awarded her back-pay, as well as millions in compensatory and punitive damages for the discrimination she had faced.

The Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit reversed the jury’s verdict, arguing that the case was filed too late–despite the fact that she continued to receive discriminatory pay.  They reasoned that the company’s decision to pay her less than her male counterparts had been made years earlier.  The Supreme Court upheld the Eleventh Circuit’s decision in a 5-4 opinion, stating that employees can’t challenge ongoing pay discrimination if the original decision to pay the employee in a discriminatory fashion occurred more than 180 days earlier–even if that employee was continuing to be paid less.

The decision upset longstanding precedent under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 and undermined Congress’s objectives to eliminate workplace discrimination.  In her dissenting opinion, Justice Ginsberg said pointed out that someone could still take action to fix this discriminatory treatment– “[o]nce again, the ball is in Congress’ court.”

In less than two years, Congress did just that, passing the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act of 2009.  Under the act, each discriminatory paycheck resets the 180-day limit to file a claim, rather than the original decision to discriminate.  This allows employees who are unaware of discrimination initially to challenge pay discrimination when they find out about it.

To listen to the Supreme Court oral arguments or read the opinion, visit Oyez.

Getting to Know Your Law Library: Rebekah Maxwell

spellslinger-1In addition to teaching in the first-year Legal Research, Analysis, and Writing program, Rebekah Maxwell is the Associate Director for Library Operations.  We asked her a few questions to get to know her a little better.

1.  We’re librarians, so the obvious first question: What’s your favorite book?  The Dark Tower series by Stephen Kingdark-tower-covers1

2.  What profession other than your own would you like to attempt?  Mortuary Science

3.  What profession would you not like to do?  Euthanasia tech at animal shelter

4.  What’s your favorite form of exercise/outdoor activity?  Walking

5.  If you could go on a road trip with any person (living or dead), whom would you choose?  Freddie Mercury

6.  If you could visit any place in the world for a two-week vacation for free, where would you go?  Cumberland Island, GAcumberland

7.  When you have 30 minutes of free time, how do you pass the time?  Walking to my car…

sherlock-holmes-147255_6408.  When was the last time you had an amazing meal and where did you have it?  Last week at Taco Time on Garner’s Ferry

9.  If you could be any fictional character, who would you be?  Sherlock Holmes

10.  What’s your best (legal) research tip?  Follow instructions

ABA’s Little Book of ______ Law Series

Have you ever wondered about the legal ramifications of what happens when a restaurant receives a bad review by a food critic?  What about the coffee house craze; when–according to the law–is there too much of a good thing?  Have you ever thought about fashion as expression under the first amendment?  What about Elvis impersonators, how are the boundaries of their impersonations defined legally?  Who is responsible for a treacherous treadmill, the owner or the seller?  Can one engage in running sans clothing to get fit?  What are the statutory interpretations of cowboy boots?  Can the boots be defined as weapons?

These and so many other questions are answered by the books in the American Bar Association’s Little Book of _______ Law series. A quick read, each title in the series is filled with quirky and fun anecdotes of litigation and other aspects of the law. If you have a particular interest outside of the law, check out the following titles owned by the law library to see if a title exists that addresses the legal issues of your particular passion:

Little Book of BBQ Law
Little Book of Basketball Law
Little Book of Boating Law
Little Book of Coffee Law
Little Book of College Football Law
Little Book of Cowboy Law
Little Book of Elvis Law
Little Book of Fashion Law
Little Book of Fitness Law
Little Book of Foodie Law
Little Book of Golf Law
Little Book of Horse Racing Law
Little Book of Hunting and Fishing Law
Little Book of Music Law
Little Book of Movie Law
Little Book of Skiing Law
Little Book of Space Law

Any of these books would be a great gift for the lawyer on your list!

Legal Twitter

Everyone knows the old adage “you can talk the talk, but can you walk the walk?”  Interestingly enough, the phrase is often flipped for lawyers.  Anyone with $200 and a good tailor can look, or “walk” like a lawyer.  “Talking” or being familiar with the important issues of the legal profession is a what can be a real challenge.  With the current glut of legal publications, it is nearly impossible for practicing attorneys and law students to keep up with professional news. However, a little know how and a little social media can go a long way in keeping you up to date.

Enter Twitter.  Twitter is often unfairly stigmatized by its association with pop musicians, entitled athletes, and 14 year old girls.  What many outside the current generation don’t realize is that it is also an excellent way to keep up with professional news.  Many legal information outlets tweet important breaking legal news.  Magazines and newspapers use twitter to promote their longer articles, making twitter an effective way to quickly see what kinds of legal news is being discussed.  Even the Supreme Court has a twitter account that tweets out links to recently decided cases ( @USSupremeCourt ).

Want to learn more?  Check out the link below for suggestions on good accounts to follow.


This Week in Legal News

On Tuesday, President Obama vetoed legislation authorizing the Keystone LX pipeline.

On Tuesday night, a Texas jury convicted Eddie Ray Routh of murder and sentenced him to life in prison for the fatal shootings of “American Sniper” Chris Kyle and his friend Chad Littlefield.

Also on Tuesday, Alaska became the third state in the nation to legalize recreational marijuana use, although the sale of marijuana remains illegal.

On Thursday, the Senate Judiciary Committee confirmed the nomination of Loretta Lynch for the position of U.S. Attorney General.  The nomination now moves on for consideration by the full Senate.

Also on Thursday, the FCC approved net neutrality, and will now regard Internet providers as public utilities, subject to regulation.

An appeals court in Utah has granted a widow the right to sue herself for causing an auto accident that resulted in the death of her husband.  Read the full opinion here.

The operator of a defunct revenge-porn website has filed a takedown request with Google, stating that his own photograph and personal information are being used without his permission.



10 Things to do in Columbia in March

We know that law students often live in a bubble, but it’s important to get outside, clear your head, and think about things besides the rule of perpetuity and the commerce clause!  Whether you like art, music, or sports, there’s always plenty happening in Columbia.

Here are 10 awesome things happening right here in Columbia this month:

1)  Check out the Columbia Now: Four Photographers Show Us Our City exhibit at the Columbia Museum of Art, an photography exhibit highlighting the city we live in (All month long).

2)  Experience Columbia’s foodie scene and learn a little about Columbia’s history by booking a tour with Two Gals and a Fork.  (March’s tour is on March 7th, so book now!)

3)  Love Broadway?  Go out to see Seven Brides for Seven Brothers at Harbison Theater (March 8th).

4)  Run 10k, 5k, or 1-mile Family Fun Run as part of St. Pat’s Get to the Green event (March 14th).

5)  Then, enjoy being Irish for the day and attend St. Patty’s Day Festivities in Five Points on March 14th.

6)  Journey to Africa at the “From Here to  Timbuktu” exhibit at Edventure (Opening March 14).

7)   Enjoy a fairytale by getting tickets for the Columbia City Ballet’s production of Cinderella (March 20-21).

8)  Celebrate Columbia’s craft beer scene with any of the many events during Soda City Suds Week (March 21-28).

9)  Feel like a fancy night out?  Buy tickets for the Columbia Museum’s annual gala, A Fair to Remember (the theme is the 1893 Chicago World’s Fair) (March 27).

10)  Get colorful while getting some exercise by signing up for the 2015 Columbia Color Run 5k (March 28).


Need something free to do?  Here are some FREE things you can do.

1)  Get some fresh air hiking at Harbison State Forest!

2)  Go to Spring Trombone Night at the School of Music to listen to USC’s elite trombone ensemble perform.

3)  Hit up First Thursdays on Main on March 5, or the first Thursday of any month!

4)  See the United States Navy Band perform at the Koger Center on March 10th.  (Get your free tickets at the Koger Box Office.)

5)  Hear the Jazz Faculty perform at their recital at Johnson Performance Hall on March 26th.

6)  Take a walk at Riverfront Park.

Resources You’ll Want to Know: Jurisprudence

jurisprudenceOHCHR Jurisprudence is a new database from the UN Human Rights Office providing access to jurisprudence coming from the United Nations Treaty Bodies that receive and consider complaints from individuals:

  • the Human Rights Committee
  • the Committee Against Torture
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination Against Women
  • the Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination
  • the Committee on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities
  • the Committee on Enforced Disappearances
  • the Committee on Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights, and
  • the Committee on the Rights of the Child

The database is “intended to be a single source of the human rights recommendations and findings issued by” the above committee, allowing researchers to search “the vast body of legal interpretation of international human rights law as it has evolved over the past years.”  It could also be a helpful tool for those trying to prepare complaints to be submitted to one of the committees.

Researchers can do a basic keyword search, or can use the advanced search functionality, which provides a series of filters that researchers can use to narrow their results.

jurisprudencekeywordsearch AM