July 23, 2010
Maryland Environmental Case at Heart of Clinical Funding Legislation Goes Forward
I wrote earlier this year about an attempt by members of the Maryland legislature to tie funding at the University of Maryland to disclosures about clients and expenditures of the Environmental Law Clinic at UM's law school. The bill that ultimately passed requires the school to list clinic cases with descriptions and a list of non-privileged expenditures for a two year period. No funding cuts were included in the final legislation.
Much of this legislative outrage over the clinic's activities was triggered by a lawsuit filed on March 2nd by the clinic on behalf of an environmental group against Purdue Farms and others for pollution discharge into Chesapeake Bay. According to news reports, the case survived a motion to dismiss. Take that, legislative branch. Would the Maryland legislature have reacted if the case were brought by private attorneys acting on a pro bono basis? Somehow, I can't imagine a tourism campaign based on something like "come to Maryland where we tolerate water pollution if it comes from a major business in the state." Even New Jersey knows better. The ultimate issues in the case have yet to be decided, so keep that tourism slogan on hold. [MG]