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Fornoff Competition Finalists Address Issues of Due Process and Free Speech

November 14, 2018

Joshua Arter
Joshua Arter

Blake Weiman
Blake Weiman

Eli Boldt
Eli Boldt

Rena Laws
Rena Laws

The College of Law congratulates finalists who competed in the 47th Annual Charles W. Fornoff Appellate Advocacy Competition on October 25, 2018, in the McQuade Law Auditorium. 

Students demonstrated their oral advocacy skills with the competition case of Dragontown University v. Foster. In the hypothetical case, Dr. Peter Foster, a former tenured professor at a public university, claims he was fired in retaliation for a blog entry he posted on his non-university-hosted website. At the time, Dragontown University issued a press release that Foster claims damaged his reputation and employment prospects. Foster asserted that he was terminated without due process and that the blog entry was protected under his right to freedom of speech.

Joshua Arter and Blake Weiman represented Dragontown University (Petitioner). Eli Boldt and Rena Laws represented Dr. Foster (Respondent). In the previous stage of the competition, Rena Laws won and was named the Barrister. Eli Boldt came in second place and was named the Solicitor.

The distinguished, presiding judges' panel included Judge Martha Craig Daughtrey from the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, Judge Walter Rice from the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Ohio, and Magistrate Judge Jonathan Greenberg from the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Ohio. At the final, the panel selected award winners in the following categories:

Best Team: Eli Boldt and Rena Laws
Best Oralist: Blake Weiman

The Charles W. Fornoff Appellate Advocacy Competition is named for former Dean Charles W. Fornoff and honors his tenure as a Toledo Law professor and administrator between 1939 and 1970. Fornoff actively sought to safeguard educational opportunities for all aspiring lawyers. The competition helps second- and third-year students gain real-world experience in oral advocacy. Teams litigate in front of a panel of judges as either plaintiff or defense counsel. The competition begins with dozens of participants each spring and continues into the following fall semester. 

The competition is organized by the Moot Court Board: Jenna Anthrop (chair), Brandy Brown and Joe Loftus (Fornoff coordinators). Judge James G. Carr, a professor of law emeritus at Toledo Law, coordinates the judges' panel each year. Professors Eric Chaffee and Bryan Lammon serve as the Fornoff faculty advisors. Professors Barrett, Gilchrist, Knouse, Porter, Slater, and Zietlow helped students prepare for the final round. Additional Toledo Law faculty members judged rounds earlier in the competition.

"The Fornoff Competition is an excellent opportunity for students to develop their advocacy skills," said Professor Lammon. "I enjoy working with our finalists as they prepare for the final round, and I’m always impressed with how much they improve across only a few weeks of practice."

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Last Updated: 11/14/18