Posted by Mary Wimberley on 2007-04-04

The Alabama Supreme Court and the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals will hear oral arguments in two high profile cases in Samford University's Wright Center Thursday, April 12. Call to order will be at 9:10 a.m.

The public is invited to the event, which is hosted by Samford's Cumberland School of Law and the Birmingham Bar Foundation.

The nine-member Supreme Court will hear arguments in the Ex parte Novartis Pharmaceuticals case (re: State of Alabama v. Abbott Laboratories, et al.) beginning at 9:30 a.m. The civil case involves the State's suit of 73 pharmaceutical companies, alleging deceptive practices in the pricing and marketing of prescription drug products, and that the Alabama Medicaid Agency relied on that pricing in reimbursing physicians and pharmacies. Thursday's arguments related to the Medicaid case will be the first of many similar cases in the nation that will be heard by a state's highest court.

The five-member Court of Criminal Appeals will hear arguments in the capital murder case of Nathaniel Woods v. State of Alabama beginning at 10:50 a.m. The appellant, Woods, was convicted of capital murder for murdering Birmingham Police officers Carlos Owen, Harley Chisholm III and Charles Bennett, and of attempting to murder police officer Michael Collins, in June, 2004. The Jefferson County Circuit Court sentenced Woods to death.

The courts will adjourn at 11:50 a.m.

More than 600 students from 10 area high schools and colleges will attend the sessions. In the past few weeks, their teachers have attended workshops led by the Alabama Center for Law and Civic Education in order to prepare students to better understand the oral arguments. Also, volunteer attorneys representing the Birmingham Bar Foundation have visited schools to discuss the Alabama court process and the specific cases to be heard on Thursday.

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.