Joshua H. Abramson is counsel with Porzio, Bromberg & Newman P.C. in New York, New York, and is a member of the firm's Litigation Practice Group. He concentrates his practice in complex commercial litigation, products liability defense, and mass torts, and regularly counsels clients on business related matters. He is a member of DRI and serves on the Steering Committee of DRI's Product Liability Committee. He currently serves as the Chair of the Manufacturers' Risk Prevention SLG.
Denis Frank Aliafocuses his practice primarily in the area of civil litigation and insurance defense, with a concentration on toxic tort products liability. Denis is also a member of the national coordinating counsel team that manages multi-jurisdictional toxic tort litigation for a Fortune 500 company. In that capacity, Denis has become an instrumental part in the defense of hundreds of toxic tort product liability cases nationwide while implementing innovative legal strategies aimed at achieving quick, cost-conscious and result-oriented outcomes. In addition, Denis assists clients on a pro-bono basis in areas such as personal injury, unemployment benefits hearings, and collection proceedings. Denis also periodically publishes articles with the Defense Research Institute and the American Bar Association focusing on different areas of practice, including Real Estate and Trust litigation. While in law school, Denis interned at the Queens, New York Supreme Court for Justice Darrell L. Gavrin, and at the Suffolk County Superior Courthouse in Boston for Justice Bonnie H. MacLeod. Denis was also involved with the New York City Unemployment Action Center, where he represented clients in front of administrative law judges during employment termination hearings.
Celeste Patton Armstrongserves as Nationwide Ins. Co.'s Managing Trial Attorney for the State of Alabama. Her office handles litigation for Nationwide representing the company and its insureds in cases involving personal injury and property damage, premises and products liability, trucking law, foodborne illnesses, professional liability and other commercial and complex litigation cases. Prior to joining Nationwide, Celeste served as Administrative Lead Counsel at Allstate Insurance Company for the entire Southern Region including-Georgia, Alabama and Tennessee. In addition to handling personal injury and property damage cases representing the company and its insureds, Celeste had primary responsibility for compliance, quality assurance, and training of attorneys and paralegals. Celeste has practiced in insurance defense for over 23 years, litigating for most of those years in the areas of personal injury, complex and commercial litigation as well as extra-contractual liability and special investigative matters. She has taken over 90 cases to jury verdict and over 120 to bench verdict.
Daniel J. Arnett is the founder and partner of Chicago based Arnett Law Group, LLC, where he focuses his practice on product liability, insurance defense and commercial litigation. I addition to his legal practice, Mr. Arnett serves as a counselor, providing guidance to corporate executives, entrepreneurs, families and friends in personal and commercial matters. He has been a member of DRI and the Trial Tactics Committee for 17 of his 23 years as a practicing attorney and the Program Chair of the 2014 Trial Tactics Seminar.
Brannon J. Arnold is an Atlanta-based partner with Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial, LLC. Brannon's practice focuses on civil litigation with an emphasis on product liability, catastrophic injury and professional liability. Admitted to practice in Georgia, Florida, and South Carolina, she has represented a broad range of clients in cases involving serious injury and wrongful death across the country. Brannon's clients include manufacturers of agricultural and construction equipment and transportation related equipment, trucking companies, skilled nursing and assisted living facilities and professionals in the construction industry.
Simon Turner Bailey has represented clients in a variety of matters, including consumer protection cases, product liability cases, commercial cases involving insurers, lenders, and accountants, and asbestos and silica mass-tort cases. He has participated in litigation across the country at the trial and appellate stages. Simon also has an active pro bono practice, and is a past recipient of the Jackson Young Lawyers Association's Pro Bono Award. In addition to his law practice, Simon is involved in community and local bar organizations. Among these activities, he is a member of the 32nd class of Leadership Greater Jackson and serves as Special Counsel to the Character and Fitness Committee of the Mississippi Bar. Prior to joining Bradley, Simon clerked on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit for the Honorable Judge E. Grady Jolly.
Suren Bandara, PhD, is a Health Scientist II with Cardno ChemRisk. His principal areas of training and expertise are Neurotoxicology and modeling human exposure to xenobiotics such as pesticides, PCBs, BPA, and plant derived estrogens. Dr. Bandara completed his PhD in Neuroscience with a focus on Neurotoxicology at the University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign, where he managed a research project focused on identifying the impacts of developmental exposure to PCBs on hearing loss. Following his PhD, Dr. Bandara continued to perform Neurotoxicology research as a postdoctoral fellow at the University of California-Davis. During his postdoctoral training, Dr. Bandara developed novel mechanistically targeted anticonvulsants against chemical induced seizures in Zebrafish. Through this work, he designed and performed experiments to screen for novel anticonvulsants against the now banned pesticide Tetramethylenedisulfotetramine (TETS). He also designed high throughput assays to identify potential anticonvulsants that could be translated for human use in case of an accidental or intentional TETS poisoning. Dr. Bandara has received a number of research awards through his work presented at the UC David Postdoctoral research symposium, the International Society of Toxicology and the Midwest chapter of the Society of Toxicology.
Olivia Barney serves as an animator in the Imaging Sciences and Animation group of S-E-A Limited. She earned her Bachelor of Fine Arts degree in Animation with a minor in Character Technical Direction from the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). Barney has an array of skills including animation, rigging, 3-D modeling, lighting, rendering, video editing, and processing 3-D laser scan data.
Rosangela Delgado Barreto with Veirano Advogados firm and focuses her practice in the area of complex litigation that includes product liability, commercial, contractual, general civil and regulatory litigation. She has significant expertise in the consumer products, automotive, transportation, publishing, marine, and hotel industries, counseling several top tier Brazilian and international corporations. Working daily with leading United States-based law firms as local counsel for these firms in Brazil, Ms. Delgado Barreto is adept at anticipating and managing in-house counsel and consulting attorneys' needs and expectations. Her early professional experience includes working as an international visiting attorney in the banking practice at a top United States-based law firm.
Adam Bautista is an experienced litigator, both in private practice and in-house work. He currently manages commercial litigation for CNH Industrial America. Prior to this role, he managed mass torts and product litigation for a global heavy equipment manufacturer.
James M. Beck joined Reed Smith's Life Sciences Health Industry, Product Liability, and Appellate Groups in the spring of 2012. Jim handles complex personal injury and product liability litigation. He has overseen the development of legal defenses, master briefs, and dispositive motions in numerous multidistrict litigation matters and other mass torts. On the appellate side, he has drafted major appellate briefs in significant product liability and related matters, including numerous amicus curiae briefs. In addition to being a longtime DRI member, Jim is a member of the Product Liability Advisory Committee (PLAC) and has sat on PLAC's case selection committee since 1997. He has written over 70 amicus curiae briefs on product liability issues for PLAC. In 2011, Jim was awarded the PLAC's John P. Raleigh Award, the eighth time the group's highest honor has been bestowed since PLAC's founding in 1982. James wrote PLAC's brief in the Air & Liquid Systems v DeVries, Supreme Court case concerning the "bare metal" defense in asbestos litigation. Jim has edited the newsletter of the ABA's Mass Torts Litigation Committee for almost two decades, winning several ABA awards. He is also the founder and co-host of the influential Drug & Device Law blog.
Lynne Jones Blain Lynne began her career with Browder, Russell, Morris and Butcher and was a partner at Morris and Morris before joining Harman Claytor in February of 1999. She concentrates her practice on the defense of complex medical cases, including claims of traumatic brain injury, nursing home/long term care and products liability. Lynne has lectured on a number of occasions on the defense of the mild TBI case, analysis of life care plans, documentation in a nursing home setting, and the ethics of the relationship between the defense counsel, insured and insurer. Lynn is the Program Chair for the DRI 2020 Product Liability Conference.
Amy E. Blankenship is General Counsel for Goodbaby International, a global juvenile products manufacturer with brands such as Evenflo, Urbini, Cybex and Rollplay. Amy provides litigation and regulatory counsel for these brands throughout North America. Before joining Goodbaby, Amy worked as a commercial litigator in Nashville, Tennessee. She graduated from the University of Tennessee College of Law and completed her undergraduate degree at The Ohio State University.
Bennett B. Borden is a partner and Drinker Biddle's chief data scientist, responsible for the firm's data analytics strategy and one of the world's first lawyer/data scientists. He serves on the National Conference of Lawyers and Scientists (NCLS) of the American Academy for the Advancement of Science. Bennett has extensive experience conducting offensive and defensive electronic discovery in complex litigation, counseling clients on the establishment of information governance and records management policies. He advises multinational clients regarding data privacy, security and regulatory compliance.
L. Robert Bourgeois is a shareholder with the Tampa, Florida, firm of Banker Lopez Gassler, practices in the areas of personal injury and property damage defense with emphasis on vehicular torts, aviation torts, products liability, toxic torts and construction litigation. His clients range from individuals and small manufacturers to Fortune 500 companies.
Dennis B. Brickman is a Principal at ESi, a proven leader with a relentless, client-focused approach and a commitment to quality that have made him a trusted advisor to individuals, businesses, manufacturers, government agencies, and law firms. An industry veteran with over 30 years of mechanical engineering and materials science experience, Mr. Brickman is a staunch safety advocate with a passion for cutting through complexity and deploying technical expertise, tools and industry best practices in service to his clients. He has developed and delivered recommendations that range from the practical to the groundbreaking, and has helped clients successfully navigate a wide range of complex safety issues.
David L. Campbell is with Bowman and Brooke's Bloomfield Hills office, and is licensed in both Michigan and Ontario, Canada. David's cross-border practice includes the defense of corporate clients in product liability and commercial litigation across North America. Outside the courtroom, David serves as an adjunct torts professor and is a prolific grant writer who has helped raise more than $100,000 for community based non-profit organizations. David is married, to his college sweetheart, with three young children.
Kathleen Ingram (Kat) Carrington is an attorney in Butler Snow's Ridgeland, Mississippi office, and focuses her practice on product liability litigation and appellate and written advocacy matters. She represents clients in a variety of matters across the southeastern United States, and has successfully tried several state and federal court cases to verdict. Kat received her J.D. from the University of Mississippi and B.A. from Louisiana State University. Before joining Butler Snow, Kat served as a Law Clerk to the Honorable Rhesa H. Barksdale for the U.S. Court of Appeals Fifth Circuit.
Eric Dawson Carter serves as Senior Corporate Counsel for Techtronic Industries (TTI) Power Equipment and its North American subsidiaries. TTI Power Equipment is a subsidiary of Hong Kong-based Techtronic Industries Co., Ltd. and is a leader in the design, manufacture and marketing of power tools, outdoor power equipment and related accessories under a variety of brands including Ryobi®, Homelite®, Ridgid®, Stok® and Hart®, and more Eric is responsible for advising the business on a wide range of matters including product liability, commercial contracts, labor and employment, regulatory affairs, mergers and acquisitions, technology law, and others. Prior to joining TTI, Eric served as Corporate Counsel for ScanSource, Inc. Before starting a legal career, Eric held various business roles in sales, business development, and product management.
Christoher R. Cashen, Co-Chair of Dinsmore's Product Liability Practice Group, serves as national product liability counsel to several international medical device manufacturers and regional counsel for an international industrial equipment manufacturer. Chris has handled a variety of automotive, aviation, industrial equipment, medical equipment, pharmaceutical, and recreational product matters in more than 30 states. He has tried more than 2 dozen cases to verdict. In his spare time, Chris is an automobile enthusiast who serves on the Board of Directors for the Keeneland Concours d'Elegance and tracks sports cars.
James M. Celentanoserves as Vice President / Deputy General Counsel for Terex Corporation with oversight of product liability litigation. Terex is a global manufacturer of lifting and material processing products and services delivering lifecycle solutions that maximize customer return on investment. Major Terex brands include Terex, Genie, and Powerscreen. Terex solutions serve broad range of industries, including construction, infrastructure, manufacturing, shipping, transportation, refining, energy, utilities, quarrying and mining. Jim has been with Terex for eleven plus years during which he has managed litigation both domestically and internationally across five different product line segments including, in part, aerial devices, cranes, construction, material processing and mining. Prior to joining Terex, Jim spent 12 years in private practice with a firm in Hartford, CT where his practice focused on civil defense work including product liability matters. Having received both his undergraduate and law degree from the University of Connecticut, Jim is an avid UConn basketball fan.
David W. (Dave) Chantis a native of Toronto, Ontario and obtained his bachelor's degree in political science and criminology at York University. He came to the United States in 1996 and obtained his Juris Doctor degree at South Texas College of Law Houston, graduating in 1998. Dave started his practice in the Dallas/Fort Worth area that year with Maloney, Bean & Horn, a boutique aviation litigation firm in Los Colinas, Texas. In 2002, he was hired as an Associate by Howell, Dorman & Sams, a boutique aviation litigation firm in Fort Worth, Texas. Dave stayed with Howell, Dorman & Sams through its merger with Brown Dean in 2006, becoming an equity partner at Brown Dean in 2009. Dave assumed management of the aviation litigation practice group at Brown Dean in 2011. Dave's private practice focused on the defense of manufacturers in aviation products liability litigation. Apart from his representation of Textron companies (Bell Helicopter, Lycoming & HR Textron), Dave has represented several aviation manufacturers, including Superior Air Parts, Goodrich, Pratt & Whitney Canada, Diamond Aircraft, and Woodward Governor. Since joining Textron Aviation in July of 2016, Dave is an Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary responsible for a wide variety of legal matters including litigation/claims and advisory roles. This includes management of world-wide claims and litigation involving Cessna jet aircraft, Cessna 208 Caravans and Beechcraft/Hawker jet aircraft as well as claims and litigation brought against Textron Aviation service centers both domestic and abroad.
Patrick P. Clyder is a partner in the Chicago office of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP, a nationally recognized litigation firm whose hallmark is jury trial experience. Patrick's practice focusses on representing product manufacturers. He has represented clients in cases involving a variety of products including table saws, construction equipment, fire sprinkler systems, ladders, transformers, and wind turbines. While based in Chicago, he has actively defended product liability matters in multiple state and federal courts under pro hac vice admission.
Amy Courtney provides technical expertise in the area of injury biomechanics, including musculoskeletal injury and traumatic brain injury (TBI), blast injury, and ballistics. She addresses issues related to traumatic events, motor vehicle safety, and product safety. She has been active in research related to the response of the human body to physical loading in normal, aging, and disease conditions for 30 years. In addition to engineering training and expertise, her doctoral studies in the Harvard/MIT Division of Health Sciences and Technology included medical coursework and clinical training at Harvard Medical School Dr. Courtney's experience prior to joining Exponent includes research at the Beth Israel Hospital in Boston and at The Cleveland Clinic Foundation. She also served as a physics professor at the United States Military Academy at West Point. Her research is documented in more than 70 publications in the medical and scientific literature.
Quincy T. Crochet joined McCranie Sistrunk Anzelmo Hardy McDaniel & Welch in 2006. His areas of practice include products liability, toxic tort, medical malpractice, premises liability, and general insurance litigation. He has also represented clients in a variety of matters in other areas of law including construction, medical malpractice, copyright infringement, workers' compensation, and family law. A significant portion of his practice involves products liability litigation, and in this arena he has represented manufacturers of a broad array of products, including automobiles, recreational vehicles, off-road vehicles, heavy equipment, robotics, small engine machinery, industrial products, and consumer goods. Mr. Crochet routinely handles personal injury and warranty litigation against manufacturers in state and federal courts throughout Louisiana. Mr. Crochet is a recipient of Martindale Hubbell's "AV Preeminent" rating. He also currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel.
John W. Danenberger is Auto Claim Counsel in the State Farm Corporate Law Department, where he focuses on policy work, transportation network companies (TNCs), autonomous vehicle technology (AVT), and fractional ownership. He helps analyze and review the company's automobile policy and related documents to ensure coverage language accurately reflects the State Farm position and follows statutory and regulatory guidance. John currently serves as Chair of DRI's SLC Liaison Committee and Vice Chair of DRI's C3 Publication Committee.
Angel A. Darmer, a partner at Carr Allison, is based in the firm's Birmingham, Alabama office. Her practice is primarily focused on the defense of local, regional and national manufacturers, distributors, retailers and restaurants in class action, products liability, and premises liability cases. Angel has successfully defended her clients by obtaining summary judgments and other pre-trial dismissals, as well as defense verdicts resulting from bench and jury trials. Angel is a member of DRI's Products Liability and Retail and Hospitality Committees. Outside of the courtroom, Angel is a distance runner and health enthusiast, and enjoys spending time with her husband and two miniature schnauzers.
Reed Cochran Darsey is Senior Staff Counsel at FCA US, LLC, in Auburn Hills, Michigan. He graduated from Southern Methodist University and Mississippi College School of Law. Before joining FCA, he practiced at Glover, Young, Hammack, Walton and Simmons, PLLC in Meridian, Mississippi, for ten years and handled a variety of matters including product liability litigation for FCA. Reed is married to his wife, Rhae, who also is a practicing attorney. They have two children, Edward and Finn.
Cynthia M. Day, MD, has a degree in Medicine, is Board Certified in Diagnostic Radiology and is Fellowship trained in Emergency Radiology. Following her fellowship, Dr. Day spent several years as faculty at Harvard Medical School while working clinically as an emergency radiologist at Brigham and Women's Hospital in Boston. For the past six years, Dr. Day has worked as a consultant evaluating and interpreting radiologic imaging studies as they relate to injury causation and biomechanical analysis, as well as producing 3D images and 3D models that aid in the visualization and understanding of complex injuries by non-medically trained personnel. She also currently holds a faculty position at The University of Texas Health Science Center at San Antonio, and continues to practice clinically at University Hospital, the Level-One trauma center for south Texas, and at the Audie Murphy Memorial VA hospital in San Antonio.
Dannel C. Duddy is a partner with Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman, P.C., in Richmond, Virginia. He focuses his practice on the defense of product manufacturers and distributors, commercial litigation, and construction litigation in federal and state courts in Virginia and North Carolina. He received his B.A. from North Carolina State University and his J.D. from Washington and Lee University.Dannel is the Vice Chair of the DRI's Children's Products Specialized Litigation Group.
Christopher A. Dugganwith Smith Duggan Buell & Rufo LLP is one of the most accomplished trial and appellate lawyers in the United States. He has tried more than 75 cases to jury verdict in federal and state courts across Massachusetts and in several other New England states. Chris regularly appears for consumer product manufacturers and large retailers in matters across New England. He has won verdicts for clients in several states in cases involving the design and manufacture of power tools, industrial products, hand tools, electronic sensors and consumer appliances. In these cases, a thorough knowledge of science, design principles and industry standards is critical, and the ability to translate those concepts to a jury is central to achieving favorable outcomes.
Thomas H. (Tom) Dupree, Jr. is a partner in the Washington, DC office of Gibson, Dunn & Crutcher. He is a member of the firm's litigation department and its Appellate and Constitutional Law practice group, and serves as the hiring partner for the DC office. Mr. Dupree is an experienced trial and appellate advocate. He has argued more than 80 appeals in the federal courts, including in all thirteen circuits as well as the United States Supreme Court. He has represented clients throughout the country in a wide variety of trial and appellate matters, including cases involving punitive damages, class actions, product liability, arbitration, intellectual property, employment, and constitutional challenges to federal and state statutes.
Anna M. Early is the Head of Legal for North America at Britax Child Safety Inc., a manufacturer of juvenile products, with its headquarters in Fort Mill, South Carolina. She is a true generalist in her current role with responsibility for all areas of legal and compliance. Prior to serving as counsel at Britax, she was in-house at Duke Energy Corporation and worked at a boutique employment law firm.
Christopher E. Espinosa is responsible for Exponent's graphics, video, animation, and multimedia efforts. In addition, he supports the scientific, engineering, and marketing staff in the production and presentation of technical information and demonstrative evidence. He leads a team of highly talented animators, multimedia artists, and graphics designers into new technological realms of visual communication with options such as 3D printing, 3D scanning interactive designs, and virtual reality initiatives.
Harris Neal Feldman is Chairman of the Commercial Litigation Department at Parker McCay, P.A. in New Jersey. His practice focuses on the management of all phases of civil litigation in New Jersey and Pennsylvania, with an emphasis on commercial/business litigation and defense of product liability and employment matters. He regularly counsels businesses on pre-litigation issues geared toward cost-effective resolution and litigation avoidance. He has authored numerous articles on litigation topics and is a frequent presenter at regional and national legal conferences. Harris currently serves as the Chair of the Building Products SLG of the Product Liability Committee.
Katherine Ann (Katie) Fillmore is a member of Butler Snow's Austin office who focuses her practice on product liability and commercial litigation. She also has extensive experience with e-discovery and data. Katie currently is President of the Austin Young Lawyers Association, and serves on the steering committees for DRI Young Lawyers, Trial Tactics and Drug and Medical Device.
Matthew D. (Matt) Flesher is Senior Associate General Counsel and Assistant Secretary of Textron Aviation Inc., home of the Beechcraft, Cessna and Hawker aircraft brands. Matt is responsible for a wide variety of legal matters, including management of world-wide claims and litigation involving Textron Aviation's piston and turboprop engine aircraft, by far the largest fleet in the aviation industry. He also is responsible for management and protection of Textron Aviation's Intellectual Property portfolio. Prior to joining Textron Aviation in 2001, Matt was a litigation partner with Morrison & Hecker LLP (now Stinson LLP). He holds a bachelor's degree in Administration of Justice from Wichita State University and a Juris Doctor degree from Washburn University School of Law.
Charles A. Fox, PhD, believes that technology has the power to reshape how we experience and connect with the world. Under his leadership, the ESi visualization team produces groundbreaking visualizations and animations that can be used to demonstrate highly technical and difficult-to-understand concepts. During his 20 years in the litigation graphics industry, Dr. Fox has established a reputation for being a "go-to" for demonstrative aids and exhibits used in high-stakes litigation, where scientific accuracy is paramount, and the ability to help jurors clearly understand what happened—and why it happened—can make or break a case.
Timothy R. Freeman is an Associate at Tanenbaum Keale LLP, a boutique law firm that specializes in products liability and mass tort defense. Tim focuses his practice on the defense of product liability matters for clients including manufacturers of heavy equipment, appliances, and consumer products. He regularly provides counsel to clients in high exposure, complex litigation from the moment a complaint is filed until the final appeal is resolved. Tim has been an integral member of several trial teams that have achieved defense verdicts and favorable settlements in matters where the potential exposure has ranged from $5 million to over $100 million. He has argued and won numerous motions for summary judgment and has successfully defended multiple appeals on behalf of his clients.
Suzanne P. Galvin with Fox Galvin LLC has over 25 years experience handling product liability, medical malpractice, class action, and commercial litigation. She has defended a variety of clients, including securities firms,Hospitals/Doctors, Nursing homes, Automobile manufacturers, Pharmaceutical Companies, Environmental/Mining, Mortgage Brokers. Suzanne has handled various types of litigation: Malpractice, Product Liability, Covenant Not to Compete and Commercial Litigation.
Mitchell A. Garber, MD, MPH, MSME is a Senior Managing Consultant at Engineering Systems Inc. (ESI). Dr.Garber is a physician and engineer with over 25 years of military and civilian experience in transportation accident investigation. He was the first and only full-time Medical Officer at the U.S. National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), participated in well over 1000 investigations in all transportation modes, and has presented testimony to Congress regarding medical issues in transportation accidents. He specializes in the investigation of medical issues in transportation and other accidents, including the evaluation of pathology, toxicology, human performance, and biomechanics in accident investigation. Dr. Garber has addressed a wide range of medical and human factors issues in all transportation modes, including physical standards, fatigue, perception, medication use, visual impairment, obstructive sleep apnea, substance dependence, injury analysis, egress and evacuation concerns, ergonomics, and the effects of pre-existing disease on transportation operator performance, among others. Additional work specific to aviation has included investigations of hypoxia, spatial disorientation, and visual and vestibular illusions. He has often been called upon to evaluate the potential role of subtle cognitive impairment from a variety of causes in complex transportation accidents. Dr. Garber also has expertise in the optimization of ergonomics for customized office and industrial workstations. He has held a private pilot certification since 1996.
Valerie A. Garcia is an experienced trial attorney with a proven track record for success. Starting her legal career in the courtroom as an Assistant Deputy Public Defender, Valerie is well prepared to represent her clients through all phases of litigation, including deposition, mediation, arbitration, and trial. Early case analysis helps Valerie chart the appropriate strategy for a winning outcome, be it settlement, mediation, or litigation. With a focus on resolution, Valerie helps her clients preserve valuable relationships and see their way to optimal resolution based on cost-containment, damage control, and legal strategies. When an aggressive defense at trial is the best course, Valerie is a vigorous advocate in any litigation setting. Valerie was voted one of the Top 100 Lawyers (2017-2019) and Top 50 Women (2015, 2017-2019) in Colorado by Colorado Super Lawyers®.
John Paul (JP) Gatto with the HKM firm in St. Paul, MN, focuses his complex trial practice in the areas of product liability aviation litigation, construction litigation, environmental litigation, transportation litigation, insurance law and appeals. JP has represented a wide variety of clients in alleged large loss cases, including agricultural, commercial, aviation, home appliance and pharmaceutical manufacturers, to small businesses and individuals. He has handled a wide variety of claims including wrongful death, catastrophic personal injury claims, warranty disputes, contract claims, claims for lost profit or business income, claims for violations of trade secrets, issues of insurance coverage, and other general litigation matters up to and through trial and any subsequent appeals. JP has also represented accident victims and their families. He is licensed to practice in the state courts of Minnesota and Wisconsin, as well as Minnesota Federal courts and the Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals and has practiced in a number of other courts and jurisdictions throughout the country.
Shawn J. Gebhardt is an experienced business litigator who works primarily with sophisticated clients in the Consumer Packaged Goods (CPG) manufacturing sector, particularly in the food, beverage, supplement, and pharmaceuticals industries. He has developed winning legal strategies in numerous false advertising and consumer protection matters for clients across the country, including matters involving the Organic Foods Production Act, the Infant Formula Act, and the Lanham Act, as well as federal and state consumer protection laws. Shawn has represented clients in state and federal courts across the country, as well as in federal multidistrict litigation, class action matters, and private arbitrations. He has managed complex litigation involving both domestic and foreign entities, conducted effective internal investigations, and strongly advocated for his clients' interests in negotiations with regulators and business competitors.
Michael (Mike) GentineWith experience spanning federal government, private practice, and in-house roles, Mike advises clients on legal and regulatory matters particularly in the areas of consumer goods, product safety, and motor vehicle regulation. Mike has held multiple positions at the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) where he led several efforts to reform rules and regulations, including an initiative to reduce the paperwork burden on CPSC-regulated companies. Mike was also in-house at a major recreational product and motor vehicle manufacturer, advising on product safety and compliance strategies and government affairs. Aided by a prior career in broadcast journalism, Mike is a frequent speaker at industry and other conferences on product safety, regulatory, compliance, and government affairs topics.
Sandra A. Gogal is a partner of Miller Thomson in Toronto. In 2014, Sandra became the Lead of Miller Thomson's Cannabis Industry Group acting for licensed producers or other entrepreneurs wishing to enter the cannabis industry in Canada. She advises clients and prospective businesses with respect to regulatory and licensing requirements for the cultivation, sale and distribution of medical and recreational cannabis, with a view to emerging markets in product development and retail in Canada and abroad.
Riley Phillips Griffin practices with Bradley Arant Boult Cummings and is a litigator with a diverse general litigation practice. Riley has represented healthcare industry clients in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, as well as businesses in matters concerning contract disputes. She has been a team member in multi-district litigation defending a pharmaceutical company throughout the United States. Riley practices in state and federal courts across the country.
Matthew D. Gurbach experience spans federal and state courts around the country; various arbitral fora – including AAA JAMS, and ad hoc arbitrations; and acting as coordinating counsel in multiple jurisdictions. Matthew has been first-chair counsel in more than 20 jury trials, served as lead counsel in more than 100 mediations, regularly briefed and argued in various courts of appeals, and directly supervised the successful litigation and resolution of scores of other disputes.
Patrick F. (Pat) Haggerty is Chair of the Frantz Ward LLP Litigation Practice Group. He represents clients in a wide range of litigation related issues and serves as national coordinating and national trial counsel for companies facing significant exposures. He has extensive experience in designing and coordinating defense strategies and investigation efforts for clients ranging from closely held corporations to Fortune 100 companies. Pat created the firm's Cannabis Law and Policy Group in response to the increasingly complex issues surrounding the legalization of medical marijuana and hemp. Pat is regularly named to The Best Lawyers in America and Ohio Super Lawyers lists, and is consistently rated AV Preeminent, the highest ranking by Martindale-Hubbell, for attorney professional and ethical excellence.
Jonathan E. Hall is a partner in Parker Poe Adams & Bernstein's Professional Negligence & Product Liability Defense group, where he brings extensive trial experience representing clients in far ranging areas of litigation. He concentrates his practice, however, on defending clients against claims of catastrophic injury and death due to allegedly defective or unreasonably dangerous products, due to alleged medical negligence, nursing home liability, trucking accidents, and mass torts. He has tried lawsuits in state and federal courts across North Carolina, having taken close to 75 cases to jury verdict over the course of his career, all in civil courts.
Steven M.(Steve) Hall, MSE, CPSM, For more than 20 years, Mr. Hall has been an advisor on warnings, human factors, and product safety to a wide variety of companies and organizations. In addition to his work developing warnings for countless products in a wide range of industries, Mr. Hall provides expert testimony, typically related to failure to warn issues. He is the chair of the ANSI Z535.4 subcommittee on Product Safety Signs and Labels. Previously, as Vice-Chair of the ANSI Z535.6 subcommittee he was one of the primary drafters of the standard for safety information in manuals and instructions. He has led working groups for ANSI committee (e.g., on signal word definitions, on electronic media), and he serves on the ISO TC 145 U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG), which develops international standards for safety signs and symbols. Mr. Hall regularly instructs students and professionals on product safety and human factors at venues such as the University of Wisconsin, St. Louis University, University of Michigan and San Jose State University.
Jennifer Snyder Heis is a partner in the Cincinnati office of Ulmer & Berne, where she represents product manufacturers and sellers, including drug and medical device companies and dietary supplement manufacturers. She defends clients both locally and nationally, in multidistrict litigation and coordinated state proceedings. Ms. Heis is actively involved with DRI's Drug and Medical Device and Product liability Committees, and serves on the Law Institute.
Peter J. Henein is a partner in the Advocacy Department in the Toronto office of Cassels Brock who specializes in the areas of product liability, class actions and intellectual propert. He works with a wide variety of clients, including franchisors, certification bodies, international auto manufacturers and numerous other manufacturers and distributors around the world. Peter is the Chair of the Recreational Products Specialized Litigation Group.
Jonathan L.S. Hodes is a partner in the Vancouver, BC office of Miller Thomson LLP. His practice includes a wide variety of product liability claims arising out of such diverse products as gasoline, automatic doors, food products, sporting goods, electronics, furniture and construction materials. His practice also includes general liability and environmental litigation. He has appeared in the courts of several Canadian jurisdictions, including the Supreme Court of Canada, and has provided opinion evidence of Canadian product liability law in the Superior Court of Washington. Mr. Hodes is an SLDO Past President, a member of DRI International and currently the International Legal Issues SLG Vice Chair for DRI's Product Liability Committee.
Christopher Horkins is an associate in the Advocacy Group in the Toronto office of Cassels Brock and Blackwell LLP. Chris has a broad litigation practice including product liability and class actions defense. Chris' product liability practice involves defending manufacturers of automobile, aircraft and watercraft original equipment and components as well as medical devices and construction products. Chris regularly appears before the Ontario courts and has involvement in product liability matters in provinces across Canada. Chris also writes for and has acted as editor of Cassels Brock's Product Liability Newsletter.
Merton A. (Mert) Howard leads the Product Liability and Tort practice at Hanson Bridgett, a San Francisco based firm with 160 lawyers. He handles product liability cases, class actions, and commercial disputes. He also represents clients in matters concerning product recalls and safety, California's Proposition 65, unfair competition, warranty, and indemnity. Additionally, Mert assists with regulatory compliance, product labeling, and crisis management He utilizes legal project management techniques to find opportunities for creative and cost effective conflict resolution. Mert is a frequent author and speaker regarding litigation and legal practice. Mert is he Chair of the DRI Children's Products Specialized Liltigation Group.
Jack E. Hyde, PE, is a licensed professional engineer. Since 1976, he has been employed as a Fire and Safety Inspector, a Product Safety Engineer and a Safety and Fire Consultant. His professional responsibilities have included safety analysis for the prevention of accidents in workplace and education institutions properties and processes, the analysis and development of safe design, guarding, instructions and warnings for numerous consumer and commercial use products, development of safety standards, application and interpretation of safety standards, codes and regulations, and the investigation of accidents. He is the chairman of the ANSI O1 accredited standards committee for woodworking machinery safety.
Jason J. Irvinwith Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani in Dallas, TX is a first chair trial attorney, having tried high risk cases in eight states. Mr. Irvin has won defense verdicts in product liability, premises liability, and commercial cases. He advises Fortune 500 companies as well as small businesses in risk management and develops aggressive litigation strategies designed to protect their commercial interests and prevent lawsuit abuse. His clients have entrusted him with a variety of issues ranging from product liability, breach of contract, and allegations of fraud to environmental liabilities, real estate, and property damage. As national strategic counsel to several corporations, Mr. Irvin focuses on litigation strategy, expert development, and trial work.
Mark W. Johnson is Chief Segment & International Counsel for Newell Brands Inc. Mark is the primary operations counsel for Newell's business segments, and directs the legal services provided to the company's international regions. Mark also manages the company's government affairs work. Prior to joining Newell, Mark was a commercial litigator at McGuire Woods in Charlotte, North Carolina. Mark earned his law degree from the University of Michigan Law School and his undergraduate degree from Hampton University.
Robert P. Juergens PE, CFI, CFEI is a Certified Fire Investigator through the International Association of Arson Investigators and a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator through the National Association of Fire Investigators. Since joining S-E-A, Robert has conducted investigations and analysis in areas including: electrical fires, product/failure analysis, shock and electrocution, lighting, electrical code compliance, lightning damage evaluation, electrical construction issues and costs, and scope and cost of repair reviews.
Pamela R. Kaplan is an associate with Tanenbaum Keale LLP in Newark, New Jersey. Ms. Kaplan focuses her practice on the areas of asbestos, environmental, and toxic tort litigation, and has experience litigating a range of product liability, motor vehicle, and insurance defense matters. She is a current member of the DRI Young Lawyers Steering Committee and serves as co-vice chair of the Publications Subcommittee.
Callum G. (Cal) Kelly After more than a decade of practicing in the Vancouver office of a national law firm, Cal joined Stevens Virgin as Associate Counsel in October of 2013. Cal practices primarily in the area of insurance defence and is known for his attentive customer service and respectful but firm dealings with the other side. Cal represents product manufacturers faced with product liability and recall issues. He acts regularly for a prominent international elevator and escalator company, as well as a number of sporting goods and retail manufacturers. He defends both personal injury and property damage claims, while also helping with advice on product recalls as necessary. He has experience in trials involving defamation, ownership of joint bank accounts, and all manners of personal injury. Cal has been involved in most aspects of litigation involving long-term disability insurers in the past 15 years, with extensive experience in the Federal Court of Canada and the British Columbia Court of Appeal. Cal also defends catastrophic personal injury claims, regularly handling claims that could warrant an award in excess of $1 million. His extensive experience in a number of other commercial litigation areas, including most forms of insurance litigation (with significant experience in defending life and disability claims). Cal enjoys the back and forth inherent in all litigated claims and takes pride in doing whatever is necessary to get the job done.
Ryan F. Kenny is a partner with Cetrulo LLP in Boston, MA. Ryan concentrates his practice in products liability and toxic torts with a focus on asbestos litigation. Ryan has extensive motion practice experience in complex litigation matters and has successfully argued numerous summary judgment motions, discovery related motions, and motions to dismiss. Ryan has pre-trial and trial experience before the Massachusetts Superior Courts, Connecticut Superior Courts, and the United States District Courts for the Districts of Massachusetts and Connecticut. Further, Ryan acts as coordinating counsel for several of Cetrulo LLP's toxic tort clients. Ryan has been named to the "Rising Stars" list in New England Super Lawyers from 2012-2018.
C. Todd Koebelehas nearly 30 years experience in a broad range of product liability, mass tort, class actionnn, costruction, insurance and commercial litigationn. Since his admission to the Minnesota Bar in 1986, Todd has tried numerous lawsuits involving claims of wrongful death, mass torts, complex insurance matters and agent liability. He has acted as national trial counsel and national coordinating counsel for several multi-nationall corporations.
John F. Kuppens is a litigation partner in Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP's Columbia, South Carolina office. He has experience in consumer product risk prevention and regulatory counseling, product liability litigation, commercial litigation, and state procurement matters.. Mr. Kuppens is the DRI Immediate Past President. He is a past Chair of DRI's Product Liability Committee. He is also a former chair of the DRI Young Lawyers Committee. Mr. Kuppens is a member of the IADC (Trial Academy faculty, 2007), the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys Association (past Executive Committee Member), and the ABA.
Sophia L. Lauricella is in-house counsel at Sompo International. Based in Los Angeles, CA, Ms. Lauricella coordinates product liability litigation throughout North America for Sompo's insureds in the automotive, drug and medical device industries. Ms. Lauricella is also occasionally called upon to assist Sompo insureds throughout Europe in complex, high exposure disputes. As a member of DRI, Sophia has spoken on a number of topics and served as publications chair and Young Lawyer Liaison to the Commercial Litigation committee. Outside the office, Sophia is a world traveler who enjoys spending time with her husband and their Labrador, the Princess Poppy Sunshine.
Charles R. Ledbetter is currently a Senior Supervisory/Advisory Staff Attorney with American Family Insurance Company S.I. (American Family) in Phoenix, Arizona in the company's Litigation Division. He supervises outside counsel in seven western states who handle litigation matters for American Family insureds and the company. Chuck also provides legal advice to the claims and other departments of American Family. Before moving to Arizona and joining American Family, Chuck was in private practice with a large defense firm in Denver, Colorado for 30 years. He has practiced in the areas of products liability, construction, and many other areas of defense work. He is licensed in Colorado and Arizona.
Benjamin Lester, PhD is a cognitive psychologist with expertise in memory, perception, visibility, attention, and information processing. Dr. Lester has expertise in the domain of how aging influences information processing and behavior, including the impact of aging on sensation and perception, attention, memory, and decision-making. Dr. Lester has expertise in human perception and performance and applies this knowledge to analyses of accidents, injuries, and safety. His knowledge and experience have been applied to investigations of human performance issues with respect to transportation, vehicle technology, slip/trip-and-fall incidents, and warnings compliance. His research and expertise have also been applied to investigate questions related to driver behavior and performance, inattention and distraction, eye movements, human interaction with in-vehicle technologies, and aging.
Tori Smith Levine received her education from the University of Oklahoma (B.B.A., 1985) and Baylor University (J.D., cum laude, 1988). She a member of the bar in Texas, Oklahoma Arkansas and California as well as admitted in various Federal District and Appellate Courts. During the last several years, Tori has actively represented a variety of clients in the vaping industry on business and regulatory issues as well as in litigation. These vaping clients include manufacturers, distributors and retailers of a variety of products including e-cigarette devices, batteries and e-liquid that are faced with a rapidly changing legal environment.
Michael G. (Mike) Liffrig is an attorney, mediator, and expert jury consultant. Mike graduated from the University of Michigan Law School in 1985. He started his career at a prominent North Dakota insurance defense firm, and eventually went on to start his own law firm specializing in plaintiff's personal injury work. As a mediator, Mike has settled over 1,200 cases. Mike founded First Court in 1989. Over the years, First Court has produced hundreds of mock trials in over 40 states. Mike excels at crafting jury research projects to provide realistic, high-quality feedback on the most important issues in a case.
Roman Lifson is a partner with Christian & Barton LLP in Richmond, Virginia. He has tried cases in federal and state courts across the country and focuses his practice on motorsports law, product liability and catastrophic injury litigation. Mr. Lifson is the past chair of DRI's Automotive Specialized Litigation Group and past chair of the Virginia Bar Association's Civil Litigation Section. Mr. Lifson has served as Chair of DRI's Product Liability Conference and DRI's Strictly Automotive seminar. Mr. Lifson devotes time to car racing at race tracks across the country. He is the Law Institute liaison of this conference.
Daniel M.(Dan) Long is one of the founding partners of Quarles & Brady's Indianapolis office and currently serves as the office's summer program chair, law school recruiting chair, and, in an unofficial capacity, as the office social chair. After two years clerking on the Indiana Court of Appeals, Dan has spent the last 21 years representing a wide variety of clients primarily in multi-party toxic tort product liability and premises litigation. Through that work, Dan has served as local and national coordinating counsel often at the same time. Dan has been actively involved in the DRI Product Liability section serving as Chair of the Chemical & Toxic Tort SLG, Chair of the Ambassador program, and currently as an at large member of the Product Liability Steering Committee. In his free time, Dan has a habit of agreeing to serve on volunteer groups' committees and tries to spend time with his family even though his 20 and 17 year old daughters are not always that excited about that.
Lindsay Lorimer is a partner in the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at McMillan LL in Toronto. Her practice in-volves counseling clients on risk assessment and management. Prior to joining the Firm, Lindsay practiced with a prominent class action boutique and served as in-house counsel with a large insurance company, during which time she developed extensive knowledge of insurance laws. Lindsay regularly undertakes policy reviews and provides coverage opinions on all types of insurance, including but not limited to directors and officers policy coverage. Lindsay also has expertise in complex insurance disputes, insurance coverage issues and reinsurance. Lindsay enjoys a Distinguished rating from Martindale-Hubbell, is recognized in the international Who's Who Legal for Product Liability Defence and is described as a "top tier advocate who is known to be a very effective either at mediation or in the courtroom." Lindsay is the seminar vice program chair for the 2020 DRI Product Liability Conference
Janusz F. Luterekholds degrees in both Chemical Engineering from the University of Pretoria and Law from UNISA and is a registered Attorney, Patent Attorney, and a Professional Engineer. In 1997 Janusz became a partner of Hahn & Hahn attorneys, a boutique law firm founded in 1951 and specializing in technology law and intellectual property law. Janusz is a Custodian Member of the South African Association for Food Science and Technology (SAAFoST) and sits on the Council of FSI of the Consumer Goods Council of South Africa as well as sitting on the Food Law Advisory Group of the Department of Health. Prior to qualifying as an attorney, Janusz worked at the CSIR in its Division of Food Science and Technology where he was specifically involved as a Food Engineer in brewing and fruit processing. Later, Janusz worked as a Senior Process Engineer at APV International where he was responsible for the design and commissioning of brewing equipment, fruit juice processing equipment, fruit juice evaporators, milk pasteurization, and cheese and yoghurt production.Janusz has been extensively involved in the GMO debate and the issue of advertising to children under R429. This in depth and on-going involvement in the process has given Janusz special insight into Food Law and the Consumer Protection Act.
Emily M. Maki-Ruskis Senior Counsel, Dispute Resolution for Whirlpool Corporation. Ms. Maki-Rusk is responsible for product liability litigation, class action litigation, and other disputes. Emily works on voluntary recalls and other safety initiatives with CPSC, Health Canada, AHAM, and other stakeholders. She also provides legal support and supervision to the North American in-house claims department.
Kathryn S. Mansfield practices in the Charleston office of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. She focuses her practice on business litigation, specifically advising businesses at all phases of litigation in matters relating to construction defects and environmental and toxic tort litigation She also has experience advising municipalities and utility providers in both litigation and regulatory proceedings. She practices before South Carolina state and federal courts and the South Carolina Public Service Commission. Before attending law school, Kathryn worked as an associate engineer for the Nuclear & Criticality Safety Engineering group at Savannah River Nuclear Solutions, LLC on the Department of Energy's Savannah River Site.
Kelly Mariotti, JD, CPA, CAEis the Vice President of Client Services at Association Headquarters and Executive Director of the Juvenile Products Manufacturers Association (JPMA). Kelly received her JD from Georgetown University in 1994 and practiced Mergers & Acquisitions and Securities Law at Dewey Ballantine in New York after graduating. In addition to bar memberships in both New York and Massachusetts, she is a certified public accountant, certified association executive and has graduate certificates in nonprofit management and advanced product safety management. Kelly is an entrepreneur who founded and operated a successful baby and children's products manufacturing company for 17 years. During that time she was an active member of JPMA and served as board chair. After selling the business, she made a deliberate move to the nonprofit sector as a strategic consultant and ultimately joined JPMA's staff in 2013. Kelly draws on her experience to speak on topics related to the juvenile products industry and baby safety, nonprofit strategy and growth, leadership, and team-building for private businesses, nonprofits, industry associations and womens' groups.
Laura Marquez-Garretthas extensive experience representing clients in all manners of litigation and business disputes, including bet-the-company and similar, high-stake matters. She is highly responsive to her clients' business and litigation needs, and excels at creative problem solving Laura is Co-Chair of the Electronic Discovery team, and regularly consults and serves as discovery counsel on matters of critical proof, as well as discovery policies, protocols, and litigation practice. She has extensive experience resolving disputes through early case assessment and alternative dispute resolution (ADR), but is equally adept in state and federal court proceedings. Laura's diverse practice includes a wide range of disputes.
Anne C. Mathias, PE, is a biomedical and mechanical engineer and the Director of Safety and Risk Assessment at Engineering Systems, Inc (ESi). She is the vice-chair of the ANSI B11.0 Safety of Machinery; General Requirements and Risk Assessment writing subcommittee and the vice-chair of the ANSI B11 Standards Development Committee. She conducts safety analyses and formal risk assessments of consumer products as well as industrial machines and equipment, including children's products, sports and recreation equipment, fall protection equipment, and indoor and outdoor power equipment. Ms. Mathias regularly works with manufacturers, guiding them through the risk assessment and documentation process and developing new product safety labeling, warnings, and instructions.
Melissa L. McAlpine is Counsel – Product Safety for Polaris Industries Inc. Polaris is the global leader in the powersports industry and is headquartered in Medina, Minnesota. Their products include side-by-side and all-terrain off-road vehicles, motorcycles, snowmobiles, boats and electric vehicles. Melissa assists with managing and provides legal advice to Polaris on all aspects of product safety and regulatory affairs. Prior to joining Polaris, Melissa was a litigator for 15 years and concentrated her practice in the areas of product liability/mass tort and retail liability.
Michael A. McCaskey is a partner with Swanson Martin Bell and is an accomplished litigator practicing in federal and state courts throughout the country. He has extensive experience in all phases of litigation and, over the course of his career, has successfully represented a diverse clientele in a broad range of complex commercial and catastrophic liability litigation. Mike's national practice includes advising clients in product liability, construction, insurance, banking and commercial disputes, and class actions. He has tried cases to verdict in some of the most challenging jurisdictions in the country.
Laura McGinn has experience in defense of aviation product liability and general aviation insured matters. Laura's responsibilities at Global Aerospace include overseeing and coordinating litigation in state, federal and foreign jurisdictions, developing litigation strategy, analyzing coverage, determining exposure and minimizing risk, instructing and managing defense counsel.
Suzanne G. Meredith serves as Senior Counsel at Toyota Material Handling, the No. 1 selling forklift brand in North America. Suzanne manages Toyota's litigation program, including all product liability and asbestos litigation. Suzanne also advises the product team on various matters, including new product development, IP issues, and regulatory compliance. Suzanne has extensive product liability experience, and has managed and handled cases across numerous U.S. jurisdictions and territories, Canada, and Latin America. Suzanne, a native Kentuckian, obtained her undergraduate degree from Mississippi College, and her law degree from Texas Tech University.
Issac W. (Ike) Messmorewith Bowman and Brooke in Mineapolis, MN, focuses his practice on complex litigation matters, including class action defense, appeals and advanced motions, and commercial and product liability defense. He defends manufacturers of products from many industries, including motor vehicles, chemical products, and industrial power-generation equipment.
Gretchen N. Miller is a Shareholder in the Litigation Practice of Greenberg Traurig's Chicago office. She concentrates her practice in product liability and toxic tort litigation in state and federal courts. As trial counsel, Gretchen has tried cases on behalf of manufacturers of consumer, industrial and automotive products. As national counsel, Gretchen oversees litigation nationwide and counsels clients on risk management strategies and compliance with regulatory authorities, including the CPSC, NHTSA and EPA. Gretchen is the Product Liability Committee Vice Chair, is a member of IADC and is recognized as an Illinois Super Lawyer.
H. Lockwood (Chip) Miller III is a partner with Goldberg Segalla in Princeton, NJ. Chip has broad litigation experience across a number of substantive areas, with a deep focus on the defense of product liability and toxic tort claims. He has litigated multiple matters involving a host of different prescription and over-the-counter medications, vaccines, and surgical devices, as well as a wide array of other product liability and toxic tort claims, including those involving asbestos, benzene, lead paint, cosmetics, and consumer goods, and industrial machinery. Chip is the Vice Chair of the Toxic Tort Specialized Litigation Group.
Chimba Mkandawire, PhD, PE, CAISS addresses issues involving the biomechanics of human injury, with expertise in the areas of human tolerance and occupant kinematics. His work includes accident reconstruction, analysis of traumatic injuries associated with transportation, sport and racing activities, heavy equipment, falls, consumer products, and the workplace. His experience includes intellectual property claims regarding footwear; choking hazard evaluation; pedestrian/cyclist accident reconstruction; evaluation of racing and sports equipment; electric shock/burn accident reconstruction; injuries involving recreational, industrial, construction or agricultural equipment; and biomechanical reconstruction of automotive accidents.
Michael A. Montgomeryis a Partner with the firm's Mobile, Alabama, office. He practices in the areas of General Liability Defense, Subrogation, and Property/Casualty Coverage with an emphasis on firstparty claims. He has litigated several matters throughout his career, serving as both lead and co-counsel in trials taking place in both Alabama and Florida. Michael graduated from Auburn University, magna cum laude, with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism and received his Law Degree from the Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
Karen A. Morao is a Consumer Ligation attorney at Hyundai Motor America in Fountain Valley, California. She is a graduate of Georgetown University School of Foreign Service and Georgetown University Law Center.
Shannon M. Nessier is an experienced litigator at Hanson Bridgett LLP in San Francisco, who focuses on the defense of product manufacturers, suppliers, and retailers as well as premises owners in personal injury and defective product/premises litigation. In addition, she provides advice and litigation defense on product and food labeling claims, Organic labeling issues under COPA, and Proposition 65 claims. She is an active member of DRI and the Young Lawyers Committee, chairing the YL substantive liaison and annual meeting committees before becoming Vice-Chair of the committee.
Scott A. Nesvold, MS, MEng, PE with ESi, provides expert consultation in the fields of Structural Engineering and Fire Protection Engineering regarding building design, structural analysis and failure analysis for all building types. In addition, his background in Fire Protection Engineering offers the expertise to evaluate fire protection systems and to analyze the effects of fire and explosions and its impact on structural integrity and life safety. Mr. Nesvold specializes in the assessment of damage to structures and their components following catastrophic events, such as explosions and fire. Rope Access allows him to investigate areas that are difficult to access or heavily damaged. Mr. Nesvold has an extensive background in rehabilitating historic buildings and bridges. He has applied his experience to the design and retrofit of these culturally significant buildings and worked with fire and life safety codes to design and implement unique solutions to improve life safety and to preserve the historic integrity of the buildings. Mr. Nesvold has investigated damage to structural components related to conditions ranging from serviceability issues to complete collapse. Conditions have included fire and thermal issues, corrosion and material decay, settlement and earth movement, deflections and creep of materials, as well as cracking and overstress. He has been involved in investigating construction accidents and damage resulting from construction operations.
Jodi Dyan Oley with Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott LLC has a diverse practice in civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on product liability litigation. Jodi's practice includes representation of national automobile, motorcycle and medium/heavy duty truck and tractor manufacturers. She is also experienced in litigation of toxic tort, mass tort, construction and personal injury matters. Jodi is skilled in Federal Employers' Liability Act litigation, as well as other railroad and transportation actions. Jodi has been appointed as national discovery counsel for an international automotive manufacturer and acts as regional trial counsel for a national motorcycle manufacturer
Juan C. Ortega is a shareholder with the law firm of Sirote & Permutt, PC, where he represents individuals and businesses in both civil and criminal matters. Mr. Ortega's civil trial practice includes commercial litigation, mortgage banking litigation, labor and employment law, and products liability law. He earned his B.A. degree from Auburn University and his J.D. degree from the Cumberland School of Law. Mr. Ortega is a member of the Alabama State Bar, the Mississippi Bar, the Mobile Bar Association, and DRI Voice of the Defense Bar.
Richard T. (Rich) Orton is a trial attorney, representing clients in a wide variety of complex claims in forums throughout Wisconsin and the United States. Rich's practice focuses on products liability, general liability, professional liability, and commercial, construction and insurance litigation and appeals. These claims typically involve a myriad of damages related to personal injuries, property damages, and other commercial or business losses. Rich has represented a variety of commercial and manufacturing clients in products liability litigation, from local retailers to large multinational OEMs. He has significant experience as a member of the national trial counsel team for one of the world's leading manufacturers of compact farming and construction equipment. Rich's products liability experience has included defending consumer, commercial and industrial products in a variety of industries, such as construction, agribusiness, heavy equipment, trucking and transportation. In addition to this litigation work, Rich also has experience counseling companies on product liability, product safety, risk assessment, and claims management issues.
David Osterman, is the Chair of Goldberg Segalla's Product Liability Practice Group, a firmwide team of more than 70 lawyers that defends product liability cases on behalf of Fortune 500 companies throughout the United States. Dave has tried more than 50 cases to verdict in five states and the District of Columbia, and he has been lead counsel in the successful defense of several state and national class actions involving claims of consumer fraud, breach of warranty, medical monitoring, and product liability. Dave is a Fellow in the American College of Trial Lawyers and is the Vice Chair of the organization's New Jersey State Committee. He is a member of DRI's Products Liability and Trial Practice Subcommittees, and is also a member of the Product Liability Advisory Council.
Kevin G. Owens is a senior shareholder and co-chair of the Product Liability Practice Group in the Chicago law firm of Johnson & Bell, Ltd., where his trial practice includes the defense of product liability, construction, and negligence actions and the litigation of commercial disputes in state and federal courts. His product liability defense practice has included representation of manufacturers of all manner of heavy industrial, construction and manufacturing equipment and machines, as well as consumer products.
Charles S. (Charlie) Painter is a partner with ERICKSEN ARBUTHNOT. He Chair's the firm's Products Liability Practice Group and is AV® rated by Martindale-Hubbell. He has tried numerous civil jury trials to verdict in courts of unlimited jurisdiction. He successfully defended the first "failure to warn" pharmaceutical products liability case to be tried to verdict in the United States on the issue of whether aspirin causes Reye's syndrome. He lectures on Digital Evidence and is the Chair of the Digital Evidence and Emerging Technologies Specialized Litigation Group of the DRI Products Committee. He and Marcia have been married for 45 years and love to backpack. They live in Fair Oaks California with their two soft coated Wheaten Terriers, Hobbes and Pippin.
Nicholas C. (Nick) Pappas is a trial lawyer who concentrates his practice in product liability and commercial litigation. Nick serves as national lead trial counsel for a major construction and agricultural equipment manufacturer. He represents clients in lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the United States and has tried cases to successful defense verdicts in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota and Wisconsin. Nick also advises clients regarding Medicare reporting issues. Nick is the past Chair of the DRI Product Liability Committee, which is DRI's largest substantive law committee and has over 3,300 members.
Michael Parrish is a partner at Fasken's Vancouver office. His practice focuses on product liability, insurance, construction, transportation and complex tort claims. Michael has significant experience acting for manufacturers and their insurers in a wide variety of litigation, including fires, construction defects, catastrophic injuries and auto, rail, marine and aviation accidents. Michael also regularly advises manufacturers on matters relating to enterprise risk, regulatory compliance, contract, warranty, indemnity and insurance. He frequently writes and speaks on topics relating to product liability enterprise risk management, insurance and civil litigation.
Jennifer L. Peterson is the Associate General Counsel – Litigation and Product Safety for The Manitowoc Company, Inc., a global crane manufacturer. Based in Milwaukee, Wisconsin Jennifer oversees the company's litigation docket, the global risk program and the product safety team, including product improvement programs. Jennifer has almost 20 years of experience, starting as a litigator at a Midwest firm and spending the last ten years advising global business teams as in-house counsel.
Cheryl A. Possenti is a founding partner of the firm and has more than 35 years' experience in the defense of complex personal-injury actions. A respected counselor to the makers of toys and other children's products, small-appliance manufacturers, and many others, Cheryl focuses on product-liability matters and related litigation and has extensive experience defending high-profile, high-exposure class actions and professional and medical malpractice claims. She helps clients navigate the regulatory terrain set forth by the Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC), the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and other agencies. Cheryl assists clients in maintaining CPSC compliance, manages product safety litigation, helps coordinate effective product recalls — both limited and widespread — and advises on mandatory government reporting and the assessment of civil penalties. Over the course of the past 20 years, she has handled more than 150 issues involving the CPSC and serves as counsel to two of the world's foremost toy and children's products manufacturers.
Burnele V. Powell, is Miles and Ann Loadholt Chair of Law Emeritus, and Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Legal Studies of the University of South Carolina School of Law. He previously served as Dean of the University of South Carolina School of Law and as Dean of the University of Missouri–Kansas City School of Law. Prior to university administration, he was a member of the faculty of the University of North Carolina—Chapel Hill School of Law, at successive ranks; Graduate Law Teaching Fellow of Harvard Law School; and Associate Regional Counsel of the Department of Housing and Urban Development Boston. Powell's teaching and research focused on legal ethics, government regulation, and constitutional law. He is coauthor with Roy D. Simon and Carol A. Needham of LAWYERS AND THE LEGAL PROFESSION: CASES AND MATERIALS (4TH EDITION 2009). He has lectured nationally and advised various state supreme courts, the Multistate Professional Responsibility Exam Drafting Committee, and the ABA Journal of the Professional Lawyer.
Holiday D. Powell with Donahue Fitzgerald LLP, focuses her practice on commercial, real estate, product liability, and other civil litigation. She represents Fortune 500 companies, privately held companies and individual clients from a variety of sectors, such as technology, life sciences, and insurance, in class actions, MDLs, and individual cases across the country in state and federal courts. She manages all aspects of state and federal court litigation, including pre-litigation claim investigations and resolutions, discovery and motion practice, mediations, trials and appeals. Holiday is the Vice-Chair of the Class Action and Mass Tort Special Litigation Group of the Defense Research Institute's (DRI's) Product Liability Committee. She is also a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel, the Association of Defense Counsel of Northern California & Nevada, and the Bar Association of San Francisco.
Mary Delli Quadri is a partner in Miller Thomson's litigation group. Her practice primarily consists of commercial and insurance litigation, as well as class action defence work. Mary represents manufacturers and financial institutions in various product liability class actions. In addition, she is involved in D&O litigation and shareholder disputes. Mary has amassed considerable experience in commercial litigation and international arbitration. She has also successfully defended players in the aerospace industry in high stakes litigation. Mary is also regularly retained to defend insurance brokers, financial advisors and planners and other professionals before both Ontario and Quebec courts. She has also been retained as coverage and defence counsel by both domestic and foreign insurance carriers in large scale construction matters involving professionals such as architects and engineers. Mary is the current marketing liaison officer for the Mass Torts Specialty Litigation Group of the Defence Research Institute (DRI). She is also currently a course lecturer at the Faculties of Law of McGill University and the Université de Montréal. Mary is fluently bilingual in French and English, and also speaks Italian.
Scott Raszejawith AEi Corporation, is a forensic engineer focused on electrical, electronic, and product failures. Prior to his forensic practice, Mr. Raszeja specialized in product design and development serving in positions such as Director of Research & Development, Director of Manufacturing, and Director of Engineering. Mr. Raszeja is a licensed professional engineer in thirteen states, a model law engineer, a CFEI, and a CID certified by IPC in Printed Circuit Board design. A graduate of Milwaukee School of Engineering with a degree in electrical engineering, Mr. Raszeja also holds a master's degree in electrical engineering from the University of Alabama at Birmingham.
Kathryn A. (Katy) Regier is an attorney with Sandberg Phoenix & von Gontard P.C. in its Kansas City, Missouri office. Ms. Regier is admitted to practice law in Missouri, Kansas and California. She has a wide range of civil litigation experience including product liability matters involving fires, explosions and carbon monoxide exposure in fatality, serious injury and high-dollar property damages cases across the country. Ms. Regier is a DRI member. She currently serves as Vice Chair of the DRI Fire Science & Litigation Group and is also Chair of the DRI Women in the Law Publications Committee. Ms. Regier authors legal issues articles for the propane industry; provides risk management presentations and consults with companies on warning, training and safety measures. She received a Kansas City Business Journal Best of the Bar award in 2012 and was recognized by DRI in 2014 as an Outstanding Committee Leader for her work as co-editor of the Women in the Law publication: Women Rainmakers: Roadmap to Success. Ms. Regier is a graduate of the University of Kansas School of Law. While in law school, she was Articles Editor for the Kansas Law Review and participated in the Judicial Clerkship Clinic at the Kansas Court of Appeals.
John R. (Jay) Reid, Jr.is a partner at McDonald Toole Wiggins in Orlando, FL defends U.S. and foreign based companies in complex business, catastrophic personal injury, and product liability cases in courts throughout Florida and the Southeastern United States. In addition to his trial work, a significant portion of Mr. Reid's practice involves serving as national discovery counsel for an automotive manufacturer. He writes and speaks frequently on a variety of legal issues, including product liability law, discovery, and trial tactics.
D. Christopher (Chris) Robinson is a trial lawyer in Frost Brown Todd LLC's litigation department. Chris focuses his practice in mass torts, products liability, and general tort defense, but he also represents clients in a variety of commercial disputes involving contract interpretation and enforcement. In particular, Chris represents major agricultural equipment manufacturers on a national basis, providing legal advice and guidance in over thirty jurisdictions. He has a wide range of experience at both the trial and appellate levels and has numerous reported opinions.
Emmanuelle Rolland represents clients in the telecommunications, retail, banking, and insurance industries. She is a seasoned litigator, having handled all phases of class actions, through trial and appeal. Every year since 2015, Emmanuelle has been listed in the Class Action Litigation Section of the Best Lawyers in Canada®. Since 2016, she is recommended for her work in class actions in the Canadian Legal Lexpert® Directory. Emmanuelle is the Vice-President of the Class Actions Section of the Canadian Bar Association (Québec Division).
Joseph B. Sala, PhD work focuses on the cognitive, perceptual, physical, and developmental human factors issues relating to accidents and injuries. Dr. Sala applies this expertise to the analysis of visibility, the effect of attention on human performance, lifespan and age differences in behavior, human information processing and decision-making, and the development and evaluation of warning and safety information. He has analyzed human factors issues in accidents associated with a number of scenarios (e.g., motor vehicles, consumer products usage, slips/trips and falls, recreational activities) resulting in a variety of injuries (e.g., burns and scalds, submersions, mechanical suffocation, electrocutions, poisonings).
Kevin C. Schiferl of Frost Brown Todd, LLC's Indianapolis office. If it steers, turns, shifts, accelerates, brakes or manuevers, Kevin advocates for the people that design, manufacture and distribute it. He is driven to trial work, and as such, he has handled dozens of cases for automotive manufacturers successfully in courtrooms throughout the United States. He is an active leader in defense bar activities and specifically those focused on trial work and the automotive industry. His wealth of trial experience has been utilized by OEMs and component part suppliers alike.
Richard A. Schuster is a product liability defense attorney with 12 years of experience representing foreign manufacturers and insurance companies on matters ranging from pre-suit claim investigation and resolution to "bet the company" federal court trial. His ability to communicate in Mandarin, depth of knowledge on product liability law in nearly all states, understanding of the legal issues specific to Asian companies, and – most of all &ndash the results he achieves, make Attorney Schuster the "go to" attorney for many manufacturers and insurance companies in need of superior representation. From 2008-2012, Richard lived in Taiwan, helping some of the world's most successful manufacturers defend their products and reputations. He has deep product liability legal knowledge gained participating in the defense of bicycle, power tool, tire, ATV, plumbing parts, component parts, and other products in cases throughout the U.S. His client involvement is responsible for his focus on product defenses that provide a voice and an identity to foreign product manufacturers too often portrayed unfairly in U.S. courts. In the past five years alone, Richard has defended and/or managed the defense of more than 50 catastrophic exposure product liability cases throughout the U.S., often involving life-changing injuries and demands reaching as high as $20,000,000. Attorney Schuster's expertise in procedural and other technical legal issues involving foreign corporate defendants is a demonstrable advantage for clients.
Nicholas L. Secord serves as Litigation Counsel at Kia Motors America in Irvine, California. In this role, he manages class action, product liability, and consumer warranty litigation across the United States. He also provides legal advice for regulatory matters and various commercial issues. Prior to joining Kia, Nick worked for several years as a litigator in Los Angeles. He received his undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and his law degree from the University of Illinois.
Carol Ann M. Seita is a senior associate in Ericksen Arbuthnot's Fresno/Central Valley office. Her prior experience includes working for the U.S. Attorney's office in Fresno in various capacities, including in the Administrative Division, the Victim Witness Unit and the Criminal Unit. Carol Ann's current case load includes matters involving personal injury, premises liability, employment law, products liability, property damage, and construction defect. She is a member of the Firm's Construction, Products Liability, Trucking Liability and Employment Practice Groups.
Marie-Claude Simard, LLB, MBA is Manager, Product Safety for BRP. She advises on international product safety issues, safety recall management and regulatory compliance for the last 15 years for 8 brands on 5 continents. She also decided to transform legal topics into engaging presentations for her colleagues with various backgrounds and experiences.
Catherine B. Slavin is a partner in the Philadelphia office of Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani LLP and a member of the Insurance and Commercial Litigation groups. Ms. Slavin focuses her practice on aviation litigation defense, representing aircraft and aircraft component manufacturers, aircraft operators, maintenance facilities, and aviation insurers in product liability, commercial litigation, and coverage matters. Ms. Slavin has handled a wide variety of general aviation and airline cases in state and federal courts nationwide, at both the trial court and appellate levels. She has argued appeals in aviation cases before the Second, Third, Fifth, and Tenth Circuits, the Delaware Supreme Court, and the Superior Court of Pennsylvania.
Leroy Penn Spell Vice President and General Counsel, Alimak Group USA Inc., 2014 - present. Attended Davidson College, A.B. 1967; University of Georgia Law School, J.D. 1970. Law Clerk, Honorable Charles A. Moye, Jr. , U.S. District Court following law school, Private practice, Atlanta, Georgia 1974 - 2014: Business Litigation, including Products Liability; Founder and Managing Partner, Spell, Pless & Sauro (f/k/a Welch Spell. Arbitrator, American Arbitration Association , 1995 – present; member Large Complex Case Panel; Over 50 arbitrations as Panel Member.
Elissa E. Spencer handles a wide variety of disputes for Whirlpool Corporation, the world's largest home appliances company, including product liability, class action, and business litigation. She also advises the business on growing areas of litigation risk and manages the company's internal discovery team. Prior to joining Whirlpool, Elissa was an associate with Arnold & Porter LLP in Washington, D.C. and an attorney in the Office of the General Counsel at the United States Securities and Exchange Commission. In her spare time, Elissa enjoys spending time with her family cooking, traveling, and exploring the outdoors in her home state of Michigan.
Andrew E. Stead is a litigation partner in McMillan's Calgary office. Andrew has extensive experience in both litigation and arbitrations, including defending product liability claims, energy (oil and gas), class actions and construction disputes. Andrew has successfully acted for numerous automobile, recreational vehicle, snowmobile and all-terrain vehicle manufacturers. Andrew has often spoken and published on issues relating to these disputes. Andrew also has broad experience defending all manner of product liability claims, including those arising from alarm system manufacturing and installation, fire suppression, plumbing products and pharmaceuticals.He has appeared before all levels of court in Alberta as well as administrative and regulatory tribunals. He also represents clients before all levels of court in Ontario as well as the Saskatchewan Court of Queens's Bench.
Whitt Steineker, of Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP's Birmingham, Alabama office, has litigated cases involving products – from pharmaceutical medications to medical devices to tires and air conditioners – in dozens of jurisdictions over the course of his career. His experience ranges from one-off personal injury matters to large multidistrict litigations. At the same time, Whitt counsels clients regarding the ever-evolving legal status of cannabis in the United States and Canada. In this role, he has advised clients on how to effectively and efficiently comply with various regulatory obligations He also counsel clients and makes presentations on the interplay between the Controlled Substances Act and the provision of services to cannabis companies that operate in states that have legalized cannabis under state law.
Gregory D. Stephens is a research and consulting engineer that obtained his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering from Boston University in 1989. Since then he has been employed with Collision Research and Analysis, Inc. for over 30 years and has become a principal of the organization. He is currently the president and CEO of the company. He is a member of the Society of Automotive Engineers (SAE), the American Society of Mechanical Engineers (ASME), and the Association for the Advancement of Automotive Medicine (AAAM), and has served on various board positions for AAAM, as well as various scientific committees and has presented his research findings for SAE. During his 30 years of tenure with Collision Research, he has published and presented on various aspects of accident reconstruction and automotive safety, including crash performance of automotive seat and door systems. He has organized and been on the faculty for various classes and seminars related to accident reconstruction and automotive safety. His organization and the founders have been at the forefront of automotive seat system performance for the last five to six decades. The group has tested or been involved in the testing of hundreds of different seat system designs. He has testified numerous times in state and federal courts throughout the country, in different subjects related to accident reconstruction, as well as analysis and crash performance of automotive seats and door systems.
Richard L. Stern is currently the Global Product Safety Director with Techtronic Industries. TTI designs, manufactures, sources, and distributes power tools, hand tools, and floor care products for global markets. Richard started his professional career as a federal government employee as a general engineer Program Manager with the Department of Energy. Then with the Consumer Product Safety Commission as a Senior Compliance Officer and ultimately as an Associate Director in the Office of Compliance. Richard then went to Whirlpool Corporation in its Corporate Product Safety Department and then for Exponent doing product safety consulting before taking his current position with TTI.
John E. Swanson has a B.S. in Visual Communication Design from Stevenson University, and has been working at S-E-A Ltd. in the field of Forensic Analysis since 2009. As Director of Imaging Sciences for S-E-A's Baltimore office, he creates visuals needed to support expert testimony using a variety of 3D, 2D, and video techniques; creates 3D models and animations for use as analysis tools in the development of opinions; performs 3D laser scanning of scenes, vehicles, and evidence for purposes such as digital preservation and 3D analysis; processes 3D laser scan data as it relates to data analysis, 3D modeling, and animation and performs video and image editing and analysis.
Mitchell W. Taraschi is chair of Connell Foley's Product Liability and Tort Law Practice Group, Mitchell Taraschi delivers successful outcomes related to product liability litigation across a diverse array of industries. He serves as a zealous advocate in matters before state and federal courts. Mitchell's clients range from small businesses to global and Fortune 500 firms, including consumer product companies, manufacturing companies, retailers, cosmetics companies and pharmaceutical corporations. Mitchell brings business acumen and creative solutions to bear for clients facing complex disputes. His substantial product liability experience encompasses mass tort and consumer products litigation, including defending claims involving children's products.
John L. Tate is a senior member in the litigation practice of Stites & Harbison, PLLC, a regional law firm with offices in five states. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and has tried nearly 100 cases to jury verdicts in eight states. John's special focus is complex product liability cases involving industrial and consumer products, medical devices, and pharmaceuticals. His speaking and writing on product safety and litigation prevention includes After the Smoke Clears: Helping Your Client Prevent the Next Case (DRI Drug & Medical Device Conference), A Post-Litigation Checklist for Reducing Product Liability Problems, (Product Liability Law and Strategy, v. XVI, no. 5), and Managing Product Liability Risk and Avoiding Litigation (Kentucky Chamber of Commerce Seminar).
D. Alan Thomas with Huie Fernambucq & Stewart LLP, has more than three decades of trial experience on behalf of large automobile manufacturers, successfully defending them in cases involving every form of product liability in State and Federal courts. His personal interest in building and restoring cars provides him with a unique prospective and understanding of his specialized practice area of automotive product liability. Mr. Thomas regularly serves as lead trial counsel and coordinating counsel throughout the Southeast and across the country.
Thomas W. Tobin with Wilson Elser Moskowitz Edelman & Dicker is a seasoned trial lawyer focusing on complex commercial transportation and product liability matters, and is one of the country's most experienced attorneys assisting companies and public authorities with National Transportation Safety Board investigations of transportation calamities. During his more than 30-year career at the firm, Tom has defended transportation providers and manufacturers, as well as pipeline operators, in the aviation, rail, marine, and on-road and off-road motorized vehicle industries. Tom has tried or been involved in lawsuits filed in more than a dozen states and has defended clients in nearly every state. He coordinates clients' defenses of generic claims and "pattern litigation" around the country. He also consults with international manufacturers and distributors on product safety and containment of product liability exposure. It was Tom's work for transportation industry clients that led to his involvement more than a dozen years ago in NTSB investigations of train, plane, boat, truck and bus accidents, in addition to pipeline explosions. Since then, Tom has represented clients in more than 30 major NTSB investigations involving more than 100 fatalities and literally thousands of serious injuries. He is widely published and a frequent lecturer on NTSB issues and has participated as an instructor in the NTSB's "GC 101" course.
Andrew M. (Drew) Unthank represents leading companies in consumer class action, complex commercial, and product liability litigation across the United States. He is a go-to attorney for companies facing claims under state and federal consumer protection statutes. Drew is Martindale Hubbell AV peer-review rated, and Colorado Super Lawyers has named him a Rising Star for Class Actions/Mass Torts.
Michael P. Van Bree is Director of Product Safety & Engineering at Louisville Ladder Inc. He was previously a Senior Consultant at Engineering Systems Inc. (ESi), an engineering and scientific investigation and analysis firm and has years of mechanical engineering experience in a variety of industries and with a broad scope of products. Mr. Van Bree is responsible for safety analysis, development of safety standards, product compliance with applicable ANSI/OSHA safety standards, end user safety training, development of warnings and instruction manuals, product testing/reliability, failure analysis, and incident investigations and reconstruction. He has published several peer-reviewed technical safety papers.
Kathryn K. (Kate) Van Namen is a member of the Butler Snow LLP Litigation Department and Commercial Litigation Practice Group. She is licensed to practice law in Tennessee and Mississippi, and concentrates her practice in the areas of general and commercial civil litigation. Ms. Van Namen has experience counseling and representing clients in pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, product liability cases, intellectual property matters, breach of contract suits, construction litigation, breach of fiduciary duty actions, business tort claims including lender liability, unfair competition, theft of trade secrets and fraud, and other complex litigation.
Allison A. Waase is an associate with Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan LLP in New York. Ms. Waase focuses within general liability on cases involving products liability, fires and explosion, premises liability, construction and labor law, and dram shop and hospitality. She represents clients, including building owners, management companies, contractors, hotels, business owners, security companies, and trucking companies in all aspects of civil defense. Ms. Waase serves on the steering committee for the DRI Young Lawyers Committee and she is a young lawyer liaison to the DRI Product Liability Committee and DRI Fire Science and Litigation Committee.
James E. Weatherholtz is a Partner in the Charleston, South Carolina office of Womble Bond Dickinson (US) LLP. He received his B.A., magna cum laude, from The Citadel in 1996, and his J.D. from the University of Virginia in 1999. His primary areas of practice are product liability - including building products and class actions - and construction law. Mr. Weatherholtz is a Past Chair of the South Carolina Bar Construction Law Section. He is also an active member of the DRI (The Voice of the Defense Bar) Product Liability Committee, having served as program chair, chair of the building products specialized litigation group, and currently as Vice Chair of the Committee. He is AV rated by Martindale Hubbell and listed in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Construction Law. He is the Chair of the Construction Practice Team at Womble and is a frequent lecturer on construction and product liability topics.
Boyd White, III is a member of Dykema's Products and Professional Liability Litigation Group in the Detroit office. Mr. White is experienced in all aspects of commercial litigation including discovery, trial pleadings, depositions, preparation of witnesses for trial and conducting trials. In the past year, Mr. White has tried multiple matters to verdict. Immediately prior to joining Dykema, Mr. White served as an Assistant Prosecuting Attorney in the Office of the Oakland County Prosecutor, where he tried 20 cases to verdict including both bench and jury trials.
Paige Hunt Wojcik brings 20 years of experience in the legal technology space to her role as Vice President of Global eDiscovery Services. She excels in developing holistic solutions for both corporations and law firms to mitigate their risks, elevate their experience and reduce discovery related costs. Paige is the former firm wide Director of eDiscovery and Document Review Services at Perkins Coie LLC, and former Assistant Director of Practice Support at Fulbright & Jaworski. Paige has also served as an adjunct professor for Bryan University's graduate certificate in ediscovery. In 2012, Paige was awarded International Legal Technology Association's Litigation and Practice Support Distinguished Peer Award.
George Wray has extensive experience defending public and private sector clients, both Canadian domiciled and multi-national entities, against all manner of claims. His practice includes a particular emphasis on product liability, including motor vehicles, construction equipment, recreational vehicles, electrical appliances, power and outdoor equipment and numerous other consumer products as well as emerging technologies and connected devices. While principally a litigator, George also acts as counsel to numerous Canadian and multinational corporations and insurers and provides strategic advice to designers, manufacturers, importers and distributors of products across various industry sectors regarding risk management issues of products, including product warnings and safety issues.
Sandra J. Wunderlich is a partner in the St. Louis office of Tucker Ellis LLP, combines her intellectual property expertise with her commercial litigation background to assist clients in a variety of ways from the threat of litigation through trial and appeals. An experienced trial lawyer, Sandy has been lead counsel in more than a dozen jury and bench trials. Over the past 25 years, she has represented large pharmaceutical manufacturers, agricultural and industrial manufacturers, a Fortune 50 company, and large national banks and credit arms of Fortune 100 companies in matters involving intellectual property, product liability, medical device and pharmaceutical liability, financial services litigation, and other complex litigation. Sandy is the DRI 2020 Women in the Law Program Chair/
D. Craig Yorkpractices with Dinsmore & Shohl, is a trial lawyer who practices in the areas of product liability and complex torts, including professional liability and transportation. He has defended businesses ranging in size from small, family-owned to Fortune 500 in personal injury claims ranging from minor to catastrophic. With more than 25 years of experience, Craig has defended many product manufacturers in claims involving design and manufacturing defects. He has represented manufacturers of a variety of products, including agricultural equipment, all-terrain vehicles, chamfering machines, chemicals, construction equipment, drugs, fitness equipment, heavy trucks, HVAC systems, motor vehicles, steering systems, swing sets, patient lifts, table saws, toasters, tire shredders, and wheelchairs. He is selected by Best Lawyers© for Product Liability Litigation- Defense. Craig has also defended a variety of medical entities in negligence claims, including an air medical transport company, pharmacies, and physician offices. In addition, he has defended transportation companies in accidents involving semi-tractor trailers and other trucks.He has tried cases in state and federal courts throughout Kentucky and handled appeals in Kentucky's court of appeals and supreme court, as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit.
Joan M. Young is a partner and senior litigator in the Advocacy and Litigation Group at McMillan LLP, one of Canada's largest law firms. She is the Co-Chair, Litigation as well as BC Co-Chair, Administrative & Public Law for McMillan. Known as a highly skilled advocate with over 25 years of trial and appeal experience, Joan's practice emphasizes complex civil and commercial litigation, class actions, product liability, and administrative/regulatory hearings representing a wide range of clients and industries. Joan is a former Legal Advisor to the Office of the Premier, and Special Assistant to the Attorney General. She has significant public-sector experience serving on both the policy and legal sides of the Ministry of Attorney General for eight years.
Nico ZimmermanAs General Counsel, Nico oversees the global legal team of Dorel Sports, a $1 billion consumer products (bicycle, toy, and sporting goods) business with manufacturing, wholesale and retail operations across 10 countries, sales in over 130 countries, and a product portfolio of 11 owned brands (e.g. Cannondale, Schwinn, GT, Mongoose and Caloi). Prior to joining Dorel Sports, Nico practiced corporate law in the U.S. and international offices of several leading global law firms. Nico graduated summa cum laude from the University of California, San Diego and received his law degree from the University of California, Los Angeles. He is admitted to the State Bars of California, New York and Connecticut. Nico currently lives in Connecticut with his family.