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KNOXVILLE — A University of Tennessee law professor was appointed Monday by President George Bush to assess the impact of the labor dispute that has closed West Coast ports.

Patrick Hardin, one-time National Labor Relations Board official who now holds UT’s W. Allen

UT Law Professor Patrick Hardin

Separk Distinguished Professorship in law, is one of three members appointed to a board of inquiry that will evaluate the status of negotiations between longshoremen and shipping lines.

Other members are former Sen. Bill Brock, R-Tenn., a former U.S. trade representative and labor secretary, and University of South Carolina law professor Dennis Nolan, vice president of the National Academy of Arbitrators.

The board must report back to President Bush on Tuesday. Bush could then ask for a federal court ruling to end the lockout for 80 days.

Hardin is a nationally recognized expert in labor law. Prior to joining the UT law faculty, he served as an associate general counsel on the National Labor Relations Board and as a trial attorney with the Civil Rights Division of the U.S. Department of Justice. He is the editor in chief of The Developing Labor Law and has been published in Proceedings of Annual Institutes on Labor Law, The Labor Lawyer, and The Tennessee Law Review.

“It is a great honor for the UT College of Law and for our colleague Pat Hardin to have been appointed by the president in this matter of critical national importance,” Thomas Galligan, law school dean, said. “Pat is a renowned expert in the field of labor law and brings years of experience to these important negotiations.”