Philip A. Pucillo

Philip A. Pucillo
[Hi-Res Photo]
Professor in Residence
Law College Building
648 N. Shaw Lane Rm 330
East Lansing, MI 48824-1300

  • Biography

    Since coming to Michigan State in 2010, Professor Pucillo has been recognized by the Student Bar Association on four occasions for his teaching. He was also selected by the Classes of 2014 and 2016 to serve as faculty commencement speaker.

    Professor Pucillo began his legal career by completing judicial clerkships at both the trial and appellate level, most recently with Judge William B. Traxler, Jr. of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.  He then practiced as a litigation associate with Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom in Washington, DC.  Immediately before arriving at Michigan State, he held visiting teaching appointments at the University of North Carolina School of Law and Tulane University Law School.

    Professor Pucillo’s primary area of scholarly interest is civil litigation in the federal courts. His most recent article (co-authored with Professor Scott Dodson), which concerns federal diversity jurisdiction, was published in the Duke Law Journal. He has also published articles in the Tulane Law Review, the Rutgers Law Review, and the Oklahoma Law Review.  His scholarship has been favorably cited in the Wright & Miller treatise on federal practice and procedure, and in several merits briefs filed by parties to cases pending before the U.S. Supreme Court.

  • Degrees

    J.D. 1996, Order of the Coif, Tulane University Law School; B.A. 1992, cum laude, Lafayette College

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Courses

    Administrative Law
    Formerly DCL 300) This course examines the place of administrative agencies in American government, and surveys the legal rules and principles governing agency regulation, adjudication, investigation, and enforcement; agency structure; and judicial review of agency action. Students who have taken Administrative Law: Food Safety and Labeling (810K) may not take this course

    Constitutional Litigation
    This course provides a rigorous examination of the intricacies initiated by individuals seeking to vindicate federal constitutional rights. Primary emphasis will be placed on suits under 42 U.S.C §1983 against state and local governmental entities and their officials. Through a careful study of the many doctrines that the U.S. Supreme Court has pronounced and developed in connection with litigation under 42 U.S.C. § 1983 and Bivens, students will gain a significant understanding of and appreciation for the challenges that confront a constitutional claimant both in establishing liability and in obtaining a remedy. In particular, the course will focus on the essential elements of a § 1983 action, such as the requirement that the defendant have acted “under color of” state or local law, as well as the need to demonstrate that the constitutional violation at issue flowed from an official policy or custom in cases where the defendant is a municipality. There will also be substantial treatment of the various defenses that officials sued in their individual capacity may assert, including absolute immunity (available to those who perform legislative, judicial, and prosecutorial functions), qualified immunity, and res judicata. In addition, the availability of remedies such as damages, injunctive relief, and attorney fees will be explored.

    (Formerly DCL 220) A study of the means and methods of proof or disproof of a proposition as either permitted, required or prohibited under the Anglo-American system of jurisprudence. The rules respecting problems of remoteness and prejudice of evidence, circumstantial proof, the employment of writings, their authentication and proof of their contents. A study in depth of hearsay evidence and its status in the evidence. A thorough inquiry into the so-called "evidential preferences" of our legal system and the deficiencies of hearsay evidence as related to these preferences.

    Federal Jurisdiction
    (Formerly DCL 349) The focus of this course is the operation of the federal court system. It will cover not only the usual bases of federal court jurisdiction, such as diversity, federal questions and removal, but also other doctrines that impact federal courts, including standing, ripeness, mootness, abstention and state sovereign immunity. Significant attention will be focused on federal litigation under the Civil Rights Acts. This course will be of benefit to those intending to practice in federal courts and to those seeking a federal court clerkship.

    (Formerly DCL 113) This is a survey course of the fundamentals of property law. Possessory interests of real and personal property including findings, bailments and adverse possession are discussed and analyzed. Topics also include future interests, concurrent ownership, lease holds, transfers of land and land use controls.

  • Bar Admission(s)

    U.S. District Court for the District of New Jersey; U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit, Sixth Circuit, and Eighth Circuit; Supreme Court of the United States