Split Decision Determines Winner in Annual Advocacy Tournament

April 13, 2012

After the final round, l-r: Ty Wood (`14), Judge Linda Vanzi (`95), Judge Michael Bustamante (`74), Judge Jonathan Sutin (`74) and Michael Hendricks (`14).

In a split decision, Michael Hendricks (`14) edged out Ty Wood (`14) to take top honors in the 2012 New Mexico Court of Appeals Advocacy Tournament in April. The final decision was handed down by New Mexico Court of Appeals Judges Michael Bustamante (`74), Jonathan Sutin (`63) and Linda Vanzi (`95).

Hendricks prevailed on behalf of his client, Janet Werth, in a case of cybersquatting. The plaintiff, Worthy Bear Honey Company, claimed that Werth had registered a domain name that was confusingly similar to its own domain name, with the bad faith intent to profit from the similarities. At the trial court, summary judgment was granted in favor of Werth, who was the defendant. The students were presenting appellate arguments.

“I was impressed throughout the arguments with the students' poise, professionalism and command of a complicated area of law,” said Professor Barbara Blumenfeld, who conceived the tournament and organizes it every year. “The students' ability to craft persuasive arguments for both sides in this case was stellar.”

For the past 17 years, the tournament has been a year-end tradition for first-year law students. They all completed mandatory arguments in this case and 40 students participated in the tournament.