Competition Results

Blake Stafford (’17) Wins the 44th Annual Stanley Moot Court Competition

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The 44th Annual Stanley Moot Court Competition finalists, Blake Stafford (’17) and Emily Jeske (’17), after presenting their oral arguments.

Blake Stafford (’17) won the final round of the 44th annual Stanley Moot Court Competition held at Wake Forest School of Law on November 20, 2015.

Stafford represented the fictional plaintiff Sarah Donaldson, arguing that her unsolicited internal complaints about a potential ERISA violated constituted protected conduct under ERISA’s whistleblower” or “anti-retaliation” provision, which makes it unlawful to discharge an employee who “has given information or testified or prepared to testify in any inquiry or proceeding” related to ERISA. Emily Jeske (’17) represented the fictional defendant St. Pete Medical Supply who argued that Ms. Donaldson did not engaged in protected conduct under ERISA. See below for a full summary of the case.

The judges were Richard Dietz (’02), judge on the N.C. Court of Appeals; Rhoda Billings (’66), a retired Wake Forest Law professor who was the first female chief justice of the North Carolina Supreme Court; and Ken Carlson (’90), an attorney at Constancy, Brooks, & Smith and a Wake Forest Law professor of Advanced Trial Practice and Trade Secrets and Unfair Competition. Both competitors did extremely well responding to questions from a hot bench. All three judges spoke very highly of both finalists and praised their oral advocacy skills. The judges noted that the final scores were extremely close decision.

Stafford also earned the award for best brief.

Stafford was not the only student to take home an award. Mia Falzarano (’17) was named best oralist and the winner of the James C. Berkowitz Award, which was presented by the Berkowitz family. This year marks the 31th anniversary of the death of James, who was in a car accident while returning to the law school to argue in the quarterfinals of the 1984 Stanley Competition.

As a result of their performance in this competition, we welcome ten new members to the Moot Court Board: Ryan Bowersox, Maria Collins, Christopher Conley, Casey Fidler, Wes Harty, Alanna Jereb, James Lathrop, Amelia Lowe, Erica Oats, and Daniel Stratton.

A special thank you to Katie Law (’16) and Ben Leighton (’16) to the 2015 Stanley Competition Co-Chairs who did a great job running the competition. This competition would not have been a success without your hard work!

The intramural moot court competition is named in honor of the late Judge Edwin M. Stanley, a distinguished Wake Forest alumnus and supporter, who served as a U.S. District Court Judge for the Middle District of North Carolina from 1958-1968.

A summary of the case is set forth below:

This appeal involves the interpretation of a “whistleblower” or “anti-retaliation” statute, section 510 of the Employer Retirement Income Security Act of 1974 (ERISA), codified at 29 U.S.C. § 1140. The issue is whether Plaintiff Sarah Donaldson engaged in conduct protected by section 510, which makes it unlawful to discharge an employee who “has given information or testified or prepared to testify in any inquiry or proceeding” related to ERISA.

Donaldson was the Human Resources Director for Defendant St. Pete Medical Supply, Inc. She also served on St. Pete’s five-member pension committee, which met twice per year and decided where to invest employee pension contributions. At the committee’s September 2013 meeting, the committee voted 3-2 to invest in a relatively new company, Sunshine State Investment Professionals, which was owned by the brother of St. Pete’s Treasurer, Karl Wagner.

After the meeting, Donaldson met twice with Wagner to express concern that the investment with Sunshine State might violate ERISA. Wagner dismissed her concerns and said she could bring them up again at the next pension committee meeting, in late March 2014. In December 2013, Donaldson emailed St. Pete’s President Thomas Sinclair and left him a voicemail, noting her concerns and asking to meet with him. Sinclair never responded to Donaldson and told Wagner that he had heard from Donaldson but had complete confidence in Wagner.

Donaldson left Sinclair a similar voicemail in January 2014, again with no response.  On March 1, 2014, Sinclair told Donaldson she had been fired because the company wanted to “go in another direction.” St. Pete also gave three specific reasons for firing her, but they are disputed and not part of this appeal. The Middle District of Florida granted St. Pete’s motion for summary judgment, holding that the statute did not protect Donaldson’s conduct. She has appealed to the Eleventh Circuit. The parties disagree over whether section 510 protects an employee’s unsolicited internal complaint to management and base their arguments on the plain meaning of section 510, other circuit decisions on point, and interpretation of other whistleblower statutes.

Elvira Nunez (’17) Wins the 44th annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition

Interim Dean Suzanna Reynolds, Professor George Walker, Matt Cloutier ('17), the Honorable Richard Dietz (’02), Jill Wilson (’82), Dionne Jenkins (’06), and Elvira Nunez ('17) after the finals presented their oral arguments at Walker Moot Court Competition.

Interim Dean Suzanne Reynolds (’77), Professor George Walker , Matt Cloutier (’17), the Honorable Richard Dietz (’02), Jill Wilson (’82), Dionne Jenkins (’06), and Elvira Nunez (’17) after the finals presented their oral arguments at Walker Moot Court Competition.

Elvira Nunez (’17) won the final round of the 44th annual George K. Walker Moot Court Competition held at Wake Forest School of Law on Friday, April 17, 2015. Nunez represented the fictional defendant, Davie Country School District, arguing that an alleged student-on-student sexual harassment claim did not raise to an actionable level under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 (“Title IX”). Matt Cloutier (’17) represented Plaintiff Hope Padgett, as next friend of Piper Padgett, arguing that the student-on-student harassment was actionable under Title IX and that defendant Davie Country School District was in violation of Title IX. See below for a full summary of the case.

The judges were Judge Richard Dietz of the North Carolina Court of Appeals, Jill Wilson, education attorney at Brooks Pierce, and Dionne Jenkins, attorney for the Winston-Salem/Forsyth County School Board. The Moot Court Board would like to thank these distinguished judges for dedicating their time to support the Walker Moot Court Competition.

Both competitors did extremely well throughout the competition and during the final round. The judges were very impressed with both student’s oral advocacy skills. Judge Dietz said, “Overall, you were both absolutely outstanding, better than many lawyers that argue appeals.”

Nunez (’17) was not the only student to take home an award. Awards for Best Brief, Best Oralist, and the Debbie Parker Memorial Moot Court Service Award were also awarded.

Mark Clare (’17) won the Best Brief award and the Best Oralist award went to Nunez (’17).

The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award is an honor granted to either a member of the Moot Court Board or a participant in the Walker Moot Court Competition who exemplifies throughout the competition a spirit of dedication and service to Wake Forest University School of Law, as well as compassion and cooperation with his or her fellow students. The Debbie Parker Moot Court Service Award went to Karon Fowler (’15) and Kelly Russo (’15).

In addition to the finalists, Nunez and Cloutier, the Moot Court Board is honored to welcome seventeen first-year law students as new members: Eric Benedict, Kayleigh Butterfield, Charley Connor, Drew Culler, Mia Falzarano, Daniel Fowler, Katherine Haddock, Steven Hemric, Emily Jeske, Matthew Kerschner, Malorie Letcavage, Sarah Remes, Blake Stafford, Ethan White, Catherine Berenato, Kyleigh Feehs and Paige Topper. Congratulations to all the new members!

A special thank you to Katie Yale and Diana Castro for a job well done as the competition chairpersons. The Walker Moot Court Competition would not have been a success without your hard work and organization!

For forty-four years, the Wake Forest Moot Court Board has conducted a moot court competition for first-year law students. In 1998, the Moot Court Board named this competition the George K. Walker Moot Court Competition in honor of Professor George Walker’s long-standing support of the Wake Forest Moot Court program. Thank you, Professor Walker, for your continued and unwavering support of Moot Court!

The summary of the case at issue follows:

During the 2013-2014 school year, Piper Padgett and Liam Lanier were students at Kennedy High School, a school located in Davie County School District.  Padgett was selected for the lead role of “Millie” in the drama club’s winter production, “Eight Weeks,” which was a romantic comedy.  Lanier acted as the student director, and Ms. Adler served as the faculty director of the production.  Play rehearsals commenced in January 2014.  “Eight Weeks” was performed at Kennedy High School on April 2-4, 2014.

Between January 2014 and April 2014, Liam Lanier made several verbal comments to or about Piper Padgett during school hours and/or school-related activities.  In addition, during that same time period and while at school, Lanier touched Padgett on more than one occasion.  Padgett alleged that the verbal and physical conduct, which occurred in front of other students, constituted sexual harassment.  Lanier testified that his conduct was merely typical high school behavior and that much of the conduct was in the context of the play. Padgett claimed that as a result of the alleged harassment, she experienced a decline in school performance and participation in school activities.  In addition, Padgett testified to some psychological problems about which she consulted a doctor.

Plaintiff Hope Padgett, as next friend of Piper Padgett, filed an action against Defendant Davie County School District, alleging student-on-student sexual harassment in violation of Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972, as amended, 20 U.S.C. § 1681 (2012) (“Title IX”).  Defendant filed a Motion for Summary Judgment. In response, Plaintiff filed a Motion for Partial Summary Judgment on the issues of whether the alleged harassment was severe, pervasive, and objectively offensive and whether it deprived Piper Padgett of access to educational benefits and opportunities.

 

WFU’s Billings Exum Frye Moot Court Team Brings Home 2nd Place

Lauren Emery (2L), Joey Greener (2L), and Dan Menken (2L)

Lauren Emery (2L), Joey Greener (2L), and Dan Menken (2L)

The Wake Forest Moot Court Team of Lauren Emery (2L), Joey Greener (2L), and Dan Menken (2L) competed successfully at the fifth annual Billings Exum Frye Moot Court Competition held at Elon University this past weekend.

Wake Forest placed 2nd out of 28 schools that competed. On Friday, our WFU team beat UNC, George Mason and William & Mary. Competing in the sweet sixteen on Saturday, our team beat Michigan State to reach the elite eight, Barry University to reach the final four and then Southwestern to reach the finals. This was the first time a Wake Forest team had made the finals at this competition.

According to Professor Korzen, “This year’s problem involved physicians’ First Amendment and Due Process challenges to abortion regulations similar to those enacted recently in North Carolina.  A lower court upheld the challenges, and the United States Supreme Court granted the State’s petition for certiorari.  Greener argued the First Amendment issue for both sides, while Emery argued the Due Process issue for the Petitioner State and Menken argued the Due Process issue for the Respondent doctors.”

The team was advised by Professors Graham and Korzen, and practice round judges also included Professors Green, Bill Marsh, Niesel, and Walker.

Congratulations to the team of Lauren Emery, Joey Greener, and Dan Menken!

WFU Gabrielli Family Law Moot Court Team Earns Semi-Finalist Title

The WFU Gabrielli Family Law Moot Court Team of Caroline Daniel (’16), Julian Kisner (’15), and Robert “Woody” Angle (’16) earned the Semi-Finalist Title last week in Albany, NY. In addition to advancing to the semi-final round, the team won “Runner-Up Best Brief.” According to team faculty advisor, Professor Perdue, “The team exemplified the kind of competence, collegiality, passion, and professionalism for which Wake Forest is known.”

The team would like to thank Prof. George Walker, former Justice Rhoda Billings, Prof. Mike Green, Prof. Laura Graham, Prof. John Korzen, Prof. Steve Garland, Prof. Luellen Curry, Prof. Zoe Niesel, Prof. Rebecca Morrow, Prof. Gene Mazo, Prof. Jane Thompson, Evan Leadem, Alexis Iffert, Joseph Greener, Kaitlin Price, and most especially, Dean Reynolds for their help in preparing the team for the competition.

Wake Forest Moot Court Team Wins ABA Regional Tournament

The Moot Court Team of Elizabeth Ruocco (’16), Mackenzie Salenger (’16) and Kaitlin Price (’16) won first place at the ABA Regional Tournament this past weekend in Washington D.C.

The team won preliminary rounds against Pennsylvania State and Charleston. The team then advanced to the semi-finals, where they won the vote of every judge in a round against American University. The team then went on to win their final round against University of Alabama.

According to the team faculty advisor, Professor Zoe Niesel, “The judges noted the team’s impressive advocacy skills, polished style, and encyclopedic knowledge of the law and issues.”

The team will now advance to the national competition in Chicago in early April.

Congratulations to the team members and thank you to Steve Garland, Abby Perdue, Gwen Parker, Wendy Parker, Rebecca Morrow, Gene Mazo, and Gregory Parks for dedicating their time and providing feedback to the team.

WFU Jessup International Law Moot Court Team Earns Quarter-Finalist Title

Alicha Grubb ('16), Kelly Russo ('15), Alexis Iffert ('16) and Ryan McIntyre ('16)

Alicha Grubb (’16), Kelly Russo (’15), Alexis Iffert (’16) and Ryan McIntyre (’16)

The WFU Jessup International Law Moot Court Team of Alicha Grubb (’16), Kelly Russo (’15), Alexis Iffert (’16) and Ryan McIntyre (’16) competed in the Jessup International Law Regional Moot Court Competition at George Washington University in Washington D.C. this past weekend.

After winning 3 of the 4 preliminary rounds, beating Temple, Lewis & Clark and UNC Chapel Hill, the team advanced to the quarter-finals. The team lost in the quarter-finals to the number one seed team, University of Penn.

A special thanks goes out to student coach and of-counsel, Andrew Parrish and faculty coach, Professor George Walker.

Congratulations!

WFU Moot Court Team Excels at Tulane Sports Law Competition

Cheslie Kryst ('16), Tee Hassold ('15), and Rachel Shields ('16)

Cheslie Kryst (’16), Tee Hassold (’15), and Rachel Shields (’16)

The WFU Moot Court team of Tee Hassold (’15), Rachel Shields (’16), and Cheslie Kryst (’16) competed this past weekend along with 31 other teams at the US District Court in New Orleans, LA.

The team beat Washington & Lee and Pepperdine, and lost only one preliminary round to Villanova. Based on their success in the preliminary rounds, the team advanced to the knock-out rounds. Hassold and Kryst won the first knock-out round against Miami, but ended up losing in the Elite 8 against Pepperdine.

In the team’s first round, Tee and Rachel posted some of the highest argument scores of the competition. Cheslie posted highest scores in both knock-out rounds, including the quarterfinal where she was matched against and bested a competitor who had argued (and won) before the Ninth Circuit last fall. Tee, Rachel and Cheslie were tremendously supportive of each other and did Wake proud.

A special thanks goes out to the Team Coach, Professor Barbara Lentz. The team would also like to thank Professor Korzen, Dean Wright and our alums Nate Harrill (’14) and Thurston Webb (’09) for their help judging practice rounds.

Congratulations to Tee Hassold, Rachel Shields, and Cheslie Kryst for a job well done!

WFU National Moot Court Team Earns Semi-Finalist Title and Runner-Up Best Brief

Karon Fowler (’15), Caroline Massagee (’15) and Kelsey Meuret (’15)

Karon Fowler (’15), Caroline Massagee (’15) and Kelsey Meuret (’15)

Congratulations to the Wake Forest National Moot Court Team of Karon Fowler (’15), Caroline Massagee (’15), and Kelsey Meuret (’15), which competed in the 65th Annual National Moot Court Competition this past week in New York City after advancing from the Regional competition last fall. It was the third time in six years that a Wake Forest team advanced from Region IV to New York.

At the National Moot Court Competition, the team was a semi-finalist (Final Four) and won the Runner-Up Best Brief award, out of the best 30 teams in the country!

In New York this past week, the team went 2-0 in the preliminary rounds on Monday and Tuesday, defeating teams from Florida and Iowa. On Wednesday, the team defeated a team from Oklahoma in the Sweet Sixteen and a team from St. John’s in the Elite Eight. On Thursday, the team narrowly lost a semi-final round to a team from George Washington, which then defeated a team from Georgetown to win the national championship. Thus the Fowler-Massagee-Meuret team went 4-1 and lost only to the national champion.

By advancing to the Final Four out of 175 teams, the Fowler-Massagee-Meuret team went farther in the New York finals than a Wake Forest team has gone in many years. Professor John Korzen was the faculty coach for the team. The team had six formal practices leading up to the New York finals and wishes to thank the judges for those rounds:  Professor Walker, Dylan Greenwood (’13), and 3Ls Derek Bast, Kathleen Bradway, Mike Klotz, Andrew Parrish, Davis Phillips, Jasmine Pitt, Gustin Vandiford, Zach Walters, and Ashley Waring.

Congratulations again to Professor Korzen and the team of Karon Fowler, Caroline Massagee, and Kelsey Meuret.

Wake Forest Wins Stetson Regional International Environmental Moot Court Competition

Ashley Sims ('16), Elissa Hachmeister ('16), and Emily Singer ('16)

Ashley Sims (’16), Elissa Hachmeister (’16), and Emily Singer (’16)

 

Wake Forest Moot Court Team Emily Singer (’16), Elissa Hachmeister (’16), and Ashley Sims (’16) win the Regional International Environmental Moot Court Competition held at American University Washington College of Law this past weekend, February 6-8, 2015.

In addition to winning the overall competition, Wake Forest won “Best Brief.” Additionally, Ashley Sims won “Best Oralist” in the finals.

Wake Forest was undefeated, winning all 3 preliminary rounds against American University, University of Maryland, and against University of California- Hastings (last year’s overall champion). The semi-final round was argued by Hachmeister and Sims as Respondent against the University of Baltimore, and the final round was argued by Hachmeister and Sims as Respondent against the University of Hawaii.

The team will now advance to the International Finals at Stetson School of Law on April 16-18, where they will compete against teams from countries around the world.

Thank you to Emily Singer, Elissa Hachmeister and Ashley Sims, as well as the team coach, Professor John Knox, for all of your hard work and dedication to this team. Congratulations on this success, you represented Wake Forest well!

 

National Moot Court Teams Successful at Regionals

Karon Fowler (’15), Kelsey Meuret (’15), and Caroline Massagee (’15) with Professor John Korzen

The team of Karon Fowler (’15), Caroline Massagee (’15), and Kelsey Meuret (’15) won the regional championship, after an exciting weekend of competition in Richmond, VA. Fowler also earned the Best Oral Argument award. By winning the region, the Fowler-Massagee-Meuret team advances to the national finals, in which thirty finalist teams from around the country will compete in New York City the week of February 8th.

The team of Zachary Dunn (’15), Jasmine Pitt (’15), and Douglas Walters (’15) won the award for the Best Brief, with a score of 92.5, becoming the first Wake Forest team to win the Best Brief award at this competition in several years.

The faculty advisors for the teams were Professor John Korzen and Professor Charles Rose. After completing their briefs in mid-October, the teams had numerous practices before judges composed of faculty members, alumni attorneys, and non-alumni attorneys.

The problem for this year’s National Moot Court Competition involves two questions:  under the Equal Protection Clause, whether sexual orientation is entitled to heightened scrutiny in the context of a peremptory strike of a juror; and the proper interpretation of the term “direct” in the Foreign Trade Antitrust Improvements Act.

The National Moot Court Competition, now in its 65th year, is sponsored by the Young Lawyers Committee of the Association of the Bar of the City of New York and the American College of Trial Lawyers. Region IV encompasses the law schools within Kentucky, North Carolina, Virginia, and West Virginia, and is sponsored by the Virginia Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. This year 19 teams entered the regional competition, with one or two teams each from Campbell, Duke, Elon, George Mason, Regent, Kentucky, Louisville, North Carolina, Richmond, Washington and Lee, West Virginia, and William and Mary.