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Professors McDonald, Cupp, and McNeal Share Expertise with National Media

Three Pepperdine Law professors recently shared expertise with NPR, The Daily Journal, and Fox News during the month of June.

BarryBarry P. McDonald, professor of law, gave commentary on NPR’s KPCC Air Talk with Larry Mantle radio program. The segment topic concerned free speech rights pertaining to an anti-abortion billboard in New Mexico. McDonald talked about how the Supreme Court has balanced the right to free speech and the right to privacy. "These matters are fact-intensive," said McDonald. "The Supreme Court has come up with a broad, nebulous test for determining whether a statement is of public or private concern. They ask about the content, form, and context in which the speech occurred." Listen to the segment.

McDonald teaches courses in constitutional law, First Amendment law, and intellectual property law. He has published several articles and essays on the law governing freedom of expression and religion in journals such as the Emory Law JournalNorthwestern University Law ReviewNotre Dame Law ReviewOhio State Law Journal and Washington & Lee Law Review.

RichRichard L. Cupp, John W. Wade Professor of Law, shared expertise with The Daily Journal in an article regarding AT&T. AT&T has asked a state court judge to block wiretapping victims of ex-private investigator Anthony Pellicano from reaping damages that could reach into the billions of dollars. The question of damages under California’s Privacy Act is “unclear,” said Cupp because wiretapping victims may not necessarily suffer financial harm or emotional distress, but “there’s an affront to your dignity that should be compensated,” he said.

While Cupp said it seemed “extreme” to fine Pacific Bell $5,000 per call, he also said a key issue was whether the rogue Pacific Bell employees were acting in furtherance of their company’s objective. That issue is critical to determine whether the doctrine of “respondeat superior” - where employers can be held responsible for the actions of employees performed within the course of their employment - should be applied. “Here, there’s no AT&T or Pac Bell business advantage or purpose in wiretapping people," Cupp said, but “respondeat superior is difficult to apply in a logically consistent manner.”

Cupp is widely recognized as a leading scholar and commentator in the fields of torts and products liability law. He has authored more than 20 significant scholarly articles and numerous shorter articles. 

GregGregory S. McNeal, associate professor of law, was a guest on Fox News, where he discussed the recent report released by the Global Commission on Drug Policy. McNeal is a national security specialist focusing on the institutions and challenges associated with global security, with substantive expertise in national security law and policy, criminal law, and international law. His legal scholarship has been published by the Northwestern University Law Review ColloquyThe Richmond Law Review, and The DePaul Law Review.

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