In October, Andy Grewal was featured in Iowa Now‘s Friends of the Court post. The post discussed Grewal’s work drafting an amicus curiae with the United States Supreme Court in a case that would rule on how the IRS imposes penalties on tax shelters.
The Court handed down a unanimous decision Tuesday, December 3—unusual for a Court that reaches unanimous decisions less than half the time—and Grewal’s amicus clearly had an impact on the justices’ thinking. His brief was cited specifically in one footnote, and he says another of the justice’s arguments strongly reflected his argument.
The case—United States v. Woods—is about how the IRS penalizes tax shelters and involved complicated technical details that only tax accountants and attorneys would grasp, but Grewal’s brief did not take a position on the merits of either party’s position. Instead, his argument was focused on how the Court reached its decision. He worried that if the decision cut too broadly, it could create significant and unintended changes to the entire body of tax law, and he hoped his argument persuaded the justices to keep the decision narrow.
“That was reflected in the first part of the opinion, where the Court expressly said that it was reserving judgment on whether the district courts handled an issue correctly,” says Grewal, a tax law specialist.
His brief also raised an argument that neither party involved in the case took up, an argument that was specifically acknowledged in a citation.
“The Court acknowledged my argument and said it was not expressing a view on it since Woods’ attorneys didn’t raise it,” he says. “This may mean that in future litigation, other litigants can use the argument I raised.”
Although the Court is inundated with amicus briefs during the course of a term, few of them have their arguments so directly reflected in an opinion, and even fewer are specifically cited. Grewal says he’s pleased that his amicus made an impact.
“I believe the Court handled the narrow arguments in front of it in the right way, but this case raises broader issues and the parties overlooked some key arguments,” he says. “I’m glad that the Court held off on addressing the broader issues, as I recommended, meaning that they may be fleshed out in the future.”
The full decision is online at http://www.supremecourt.gov/opinions/13pdf/12-562_k5fl.pdf.
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Collins Byrd, Assistant Dean of Admissions, was one of this year’s recipients of the Distinguished Educator Awards. He received the award at the third annual UI Center for Diversity and Enrichment and Office of Graduate Inclusion Graduation and Recognition Reception on May 16.
This award, established in 1995-96, is designed to recognize a faculty or staff member who has exemplified achievement in cultural diversity.The award is in honor of Nancy “Rusty” Barceló, former assistant provost and interim director of Opportunity at Iowa.
Byrd received the award along with Kelly Collins who is the Tutor Coordinator for TRiO Student Support Services in the Center for Diversity and Enrichment in the UI Chief Diversity Office.
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Professor Christina Bohannan has been named the recipient of the 2013 Mark T. Banner Award for distinction in intellectual property law by the American Bar Association. Bohannan is the youngest person to receive the award, and the first academic.
Angela Fontana, ’89, co-head of U.S. Banking & Finance and a partner resident in the Dallas office of Weil, Gotshal & Manges LLP, was named a 2013 Most Powerful & Influential Woman by the Texas Diversity Council. The award was presented to Fontana and other statewide honorees at the 9th Annual Texas Diversity and Leadership Conference in Dallas.
The award recognizes Texas women who provide leadership excellence in the public and/or private sectors; demonstrate a commitment to community well-being and the highest ethical standards and professional excellence; sustain a record of accomplishments and/or contributions to their field of work; and hold positions in their organizations that have an impact on revenues, profitability, and/or the direction of the organization.
Fontana is one of the pre-eminent attorneys nationally in her practice, which consists primarily of transactions and debt restructurings of private equity finance and restructurings in financing leveraged buyouts. She represents both borrowers and financial institutions, and has been involved in a wide variety of financing transactions both domestically and abroad. Fontana is consistently recognized by prominent publications including Chambers Global, Chambers USA, The International Who’s Who of Business Lawyers, The Legal 500 USA, US IFLR 1000, The Best Lawyers in America and the Guide to the World’s Leading Women in Business Law. She has also been named a Texas Super Lawyer since 2003, and has been honored in D Magazine’s Best Lawyers in Dallas.
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View a video of the Waterman family by clicking on the link below.
UI President Sally Mason commends Michael Appel, ’13, President of the Executive Council of Graduate and Professional Students. Also, check out the YouTube video about Iowa Law within the story.