DRI Faculty List

2021 Strictly Automotive Seminar

Grand Hyatt Washington DC | September 9 - 11, 2021

Dr. Cindy Andrews
President and Trial Consultant
Firehorse Trial Consulting LLC

Dr. Cindy Andrews is the Founder and Chief Trial Consultant at Firehorse Trial Consulting, LLC. Dr. Andrews has been designing and conducting small-group research for almost 30 years, and has consulted on more than 1250 cases. Dr. Andrews provides the full range of mock jury research and trial consulting services to assist with mediation and trial strategy. Her published chapters and articles cover a wide range of jury psychology topics. Dr. Andrews has two masters' degrees, plus a Ph.D. in clinical psychology. In addition to frequently speaking at national conferences, corporate counsel meetings, and state bar events, she has appeared on CNN, Fox News Chicago, and WGN.

Ashish Arora

Ashish Arora is an engineer with a Masters in Electrical and Computer Engineering as well as an MBA. Ashish is an expert in Li-ion batteries and electrical failures having published many books and articles on both topics. His professional activities focus on solving complex technical problems involving electronics and software controls in the consumer products, automotive, aviation, and medical device industries. As a member of Exponent's Phoenix office, Ashish works regularly with attorneys on product liability matters and has testified as an expert in electrical vehicle fire cases.

Dr. Garry Brock
CED Technologies Inc

Dr. Garry Brock earned a Masters and Ph.D. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Cornell University, where he performed research in the Cornell Biomechanics Laboratory in conjunction with the Hospital for Special Surgery and specialized in biomechanics, solid mechanics, and minored in materials science. Prior to attending Cornell, he earned a Master's degree in Mechanical Engineering at the University of Maryland in the Center for Advanced Life Cycle Engineering studying electronic product reliability as well as a bachelor's degree in Engineering Physics from Elizabethtown college where he studied human reaction times and gait analysis biomechanics. Dr. Brock's work includes injury causation and analysis of human environmental interactions.

Nicole M. Brunson
Head of Litigation & Disputes

Nicole M. Brunson is Head of Litigation & Disputes at Arrival. Nicole practices general litigation, product liability, corporate matters and commercial disputes. She focuses on global cost avoidance and risk mitigation through business engagement. Nicole is a 2006 graduate of Indiana University School of Law- Bloomington (n/k/a/ Maurer School of Law) and a 1998 graduate of Xavier University of Louisiana, where she received a bachelor's degree in Biochemistry. Nicole also obtained an MBA in Marketing and Management from Christian Brothers University in 2002. Before joining Arrival in 2021, Nicole served as Associate General Counsel, Commercial Litigation Americas for Trane Technologies and worked as an associate with Swanson Martin & Bell, LLP, a boutique litigation firm in Chicago, Illinois.

Jeff Cox
Dykema Gossett PLLC

Jeff Cox is a partner at Dykema Gossett PLLC in the firm's Dallas office. Over the last 30 years, Jeff has served as lead counsel in cases from Montana to Florida. He has spent most of his career defending domestic and international manufacturers in product liability, class action, and patent litigation. Jeff has investigated and defended hundreds of fire cases. He works hand-in-hand with engineering experts and fire experts on an almost daily basis.

Alan Degraw
Senior Counsel

Alan Degraw is a skilled attorney with over 25 years of in house legal experience with 3 Fortune 500 companies. He has proven success in vehicle safety and regulatory affairs, product liability, labor, employment, and commercial contracts. Alan received his J.D. from DePaul University College of Law.

Thomas H. (Tom) Dupree, Jr.
Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP

Thomas H. (Tom) Dupree, Jr. is Co-Partner-in-Charge of the Washington DC office of Gibson Dunn. He has argued more than 80 appeals in the federal courts, including in all thirteen circuits as well as the United States Supreme Court. Mr. Dupree previously served as the Principal Deputy Assistant Attorney General at the U.S. Department of Justice. While in private practice, Mr. Dupree has represented President George W. Bush in Bush v. Gore, and New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady in challenging his Deflategate suspension. Mr. Dupree is nationally ranked by Chambers and regularly appears as a legal analyst on Fox News and MSNBC.

Heather Russell Fine
Tanenbaum Keale LLP

Heather Russell Fine is an experienced trial attorney, adept at managing all aspects of complex product liability cases from inception through to verdict and appeal. She has successfully defended clients across the country from Maine to Alaska for cases ranging from arbitration-level breach of warranty issues to significant trial matters involving claims of catastrophic personal injury based on allegations of product defect. More specifically, Heather regularly handles a wide variety of automotive and heavy construction equipment product liability matters as well as general product cases, as well as complex insurance litigation matters on a nationwide basis. Heather also uses her 20+ years of litigation skills to work with clients in the evaluation and resolution of their workplace and employment disputes, in particular with independent and efficient Title IX investigations for colleges and universities.

Amy Bice Larson
Bush Seyferth PLLC

Amy Bice Larson, licensed and active in both Michigan and Texas, has extensive experience in product liability cases. Her practice focuses on handling catastrophic cases involving product liability. She represents clients at all stages of litigation, from coordinating complex discovery as national discovery counsel for a major automotive manufacturer through representation at trial. Additionally, she has counseled clients in matters involving federal agencies, including the Federal Trade Commission and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Amy serves on the firm's DE&I committee. She is passionate about the firm's measurable commitment to diversity, equity and inclusion. Amy received her J.D., magna cum laude, from J. Reuben Law School, Brigham Young University.

Roman Lifson
Christian & Barton LLP

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.

Derek J. Linkous
Bush Seyferth PLLC

Derek J. Linkous is a partner at Bush Seyferth PLLC in Troy, Michigan, where he focuses his practice on product-liability and complex commercial litigation in both trial and appellate courts. He frequently represents original equipment manufacturers in state and federal courts throughout the country, with a particular emphasis on litigation dealing with advanced driver-assistance system technologies. Derek received his J.D. from Northwestern School of Law, magna cum laude.

Dommond Lonnie
Dykema Gossett PLLC

Dommond Lonnie is a seasoned trial attorney who provides aggressive and innovative legal representation and advice in product liability, class action, commercial and toxic tort litigation. He represents numerous domestic and foreign businesses and has substantial experience in crashworthiness, airbags/restraints, fires and suspensions/tires/rollovers, airbags/restraints, fires, brakes, and fuel systems cases. He has earned recognition in providing high-level client service through timely and effective communication. Recognized as one of the top six automotive litigators nationally by Legal 500 US 2021, he also serves as a member of Dykema's Executive Board.

Eric Mahler
Assistant General Counsel
Meritor Inc

Eric Mahler as Assistant General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Director of Legal Operations for Meritor, Inc., Eric oversees corporate compliance, trade compliance, external regulatory affairs, and several global legal areas including, data privacy and cybersecurity issues, labor and employment, immigration, employee benefits, workplace safety and environmental litigation. His operations role includes oversight of budget planning and monitoring, invoicing and financial tracking data as well as legal technology and efficiencies. Prior to joining Meritor, Eric practiced labor and employment law for the law firms of Dykema Gossett and Ogletree Deakins in the metropolitan Detroit area. A graduate of the University of Notre Dame Law School, he was twice designated a "Rising Star" by Super Lawyers magazine and "AV" rated by Martindale-Hubbell Peer Review.

Sean Marotta
Hogan Lovells US LLP

Sean Marotta is a partner in the Supreme Court and Appellate Practice group at Hogan Lovells US LLP in Washington, D.C. He has argued at the Supreme Court and in state and federal courts across the country, and focuses his practice on in civil-procedure, automotive, energy, and administrative appeals. Sean previously clerked for the Honorable Jane Grall of the New Jersey Superior Court, Appellate Division and is a graduate of the William & Mary School of Law.

Hernan Mercado-Corujo
Senior Managing Consultant

Hernan Mercado-Corujo is a professional mechanical engineer specializing in the engineering analysis of vehicle Product Liability issues and thermal events, specifically, the origin, cause, and spread of fires and explosions. He provides consulting and expert witness testimony for clients nationally. Hernán has investigated fires and explosions in a wide variety of applications, including motor vehicles, recreational products, agricultural / farming / construction equipment, and property, including fires aboard a cargo ship. He has experience with fuel system components, fuel-fed vehicle fires, and alternative fuel systems (LPG, CNG, hybrid, etc.).

Elizabeth "Liz" Moyo
Porter Wright Morris & Arthur LLP

Elizabeth "Liz" Moyo is a partner and chair of Porter Wright's Product Liability Practice Group. Liz has significant experience defending a wide variety of industrial, automotive, and consumer products. She has represented manufacturers and suppliers of heavy-lifting equipment, motorcycles, off-road vehicles, personal watercraft, component parts, health and beauty products, beverages, drugs, medical devices and pet products. She has represented manufacturers subject to individual product liability actions, class actions and multi-district litigation. In state and federal court, she has experience in all aspects of litigation from early evaluation of potential claims to appeals.

Elizabeth Mykytiuk

Elizabeth Mykytiuk worked as a litigator for two prestigious firms in Washington D.C. before entering public service as an attorney for the National Highway Transportation Administration (NHTSA). While at NHTSA, Beth managed the division responsible for automotive recalls and later served as lead attorney on high profile defect investigations. Beth went in-house with Volkswagen in 2018 counseling the company on vehicle safety and product compliance issues In 2020, Beth joined Tesla where she currently serves as Managing Counsel, Regulatory.

Jodi Oley
State Farm

Jodi Oley in her position as Complex Litigation Counsel, works with outside counsel in formulating litigation strategies in bad faith, class action and various other types of litigation. She assists in trial preparation and preparing company witnesses for depositions and other testimony. Jodi attends trials and provides trial reports to relevant business units and Law Department colleagues. She also develops budgets for litigation matters and related projects and provides legal advice to appropriate representatives of the State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company and its affiliates. Jodi analyzes legal problems and interprets laws and regulations, while serving as a resource for the organization on complex issues.

April Ross
Crowell & Moring LLP

April Ross is vice-chair of Crowell & Moring's Mass Tort, Product, and Consumer Litigation Group and a partner in the Washington, D.C. office. April focuses her practice on defending companies against consumer class actions, product liability actions, and mass tort actions, and litigating on behalf of health care companies, with particular experience in class actions and multidistrict litigation proceedings. She represents clients in a range of industries including health care, consumer products, and transportation. In addition to trial-level work in state and federal courts across the country, April has substantial experience handling cases on appeal, including in the U.S. Supreme Court. In 2014, 2015, and 2016, April was selected by her peers as a "Washington, D.C. Super Lawyers Rising Star" for class actions/mass torts and health care.

Kevin Schiferl
Frost Brown Todd LLC

Kevin Schiferl is a defense trial lawyer who has tried cases to verdict, mostly successfully, in over a dozen states in addition to his Hoosier home state. In addition to his trial practice he has been involved in over 50 appellate decisions. He is active in the defense and trial bar, having served as President of Defense Trial counsel of Indiana and having held several positions in DRI committees, including service as chair of the Trial Tactics committee. He is also a member of IADC (service as Trial Academy faculty) and ABOTA (serving both the Indiana chapter as President and National as board member).

Pamela Tonglao
Assistant General Counsel
Paccar Inc

Pamela Tonglao is Assistant General Counsel for Litigation at PACCAR, a manufacturer of heavy trucks under the Kenworth, Peterbilt and DAF brands. She manages litigation and regulatory affairs relating to vehicle safety and diesel engine emissions. She also counsels the company on legal issues associated with new technologies such as advanced driver assistance systems and battery electric vehicles. She has a B.S. in Engineering and Public Policy from Washington University and a J.D. from the University of Washington.

Jen White
Corporate Counsel
Volkswagen of America Inc

Jen White currently serves as Corporate Counsel—Automotive Products Liability and Litigation for Volkswagen Group of America. In this role, Jen manages product liability cases and coordinates claim investigations with engineers and her colleagues in Germany. Prior to joining Volkswagen Jen was Assistant General Counsel—Products Liability for U-Haul. Before going in-house, Jen had an 11+ year career as a trial lawyer handling an array of litigation matters at the well-known international firm of Holland and Knight.

Jim Yukevich
Yukevich Cavanaugh

Jim Yukevich has tried over 100 jury trials across the United States, and has earned a reputation as a tenacious trial lawyer with the ability to win difficult, high exposure cases for his clients. In contested liability cases, Mr. Yukevich has achieved a win rate exceeding 90%, and his courtroom successes have been recognized among the Top Defense Verdicts in California from 2009-2020 by the California Daily Journal. He is an ABOTA member, frequent lecturer, and lives in Los Angeles, California. The law firm he founded celebrated its 26th anniversary in 2021.