2021 Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar Agenda

Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Thursday, August 19, 2021

Time (Central) Program
11:00 a.m. Registration
11:30 a.m. Women in the Law Luncheon

Tricia M. Ambrose, Esq., MacMain Connell & Leinhauser, West Chester, PA
3:00 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

Join your DRI friends and colleagues for small group networking opportunities on Thursday. For more information, please contact Jason Wasserman with any questions about the event.
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own). Click here to sign up.

Friday, August 20, 2021

Time (Central) Program
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Monté L. Williams, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Morgantown, WV
8:15 a.m. Supreme Court Review and Analysis

Supreme Court advocate Tom Dupree will once again provide us with an update on the relevant and important United States Supreme Court cases since the last seminar and provide useful insight on what the opinions might mean for the state of the law moving forward.

Thomas H. Dupree, Jr., Gibson Dunn & Crutcher LLP, Washington, D.C.
9:15 a.m. Session One - A Look Back to The Future – Managing Crisis and Other Emergencies

Listen and learn from the stories of those responsible for handling the day-to-day logistical considerations related to the pandemic and other newsworthy emergency matters that garnered national attention due not only to the impact the incidents had on lives, but also due to the uniqueness of the circumstances.

David MacMain, Esq., MacMain Connell & Leinhauser LLC, West Chester, PA

Fredda Maddox, Esq., Sheriff, Chester County, PA
Jay Dardenne, Esq., Baton Rouge, LA
Chris Dobbins, Gaston County, NC
Edward Yarbrough, Nashville, TN
10:05 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:30 a.m. Session Two - A Look Back to The Future – Managing Crisis and Other Emergencies

In the second half of the session, not only will you hear additional firsthand accounts of unique circumstances, but you will learn about how the pandemic and other emergencies discussed changed the legal landscape. Are there similar defense strategies used in the past that can also be used to address emergency circumstances of today? This discussion will focus on what the legal landscape is and where it may be going.

David MacMain, Esq., MacMain Connell & Leinhauser LLC, West Chester, PA

Fredda Maddox, Esq., Sheriff, Chester County, PA
Jay Dardenne, Esq., Baton Rouge, LA
Chris Dobbins, Gaston County, NC
Edward Yarbrough, Nashville, TN
11:20 a.m. Defending Officers of Color – Are We Missing Something?

Being responsible for the defense of law enforcement officers is a significant responsibility. We all aspire to do it to the best of our ability. Part of providing an effective defense is appreciating your client’s perspective. Not only on the legal issues and facts of a case, but also cultural perspectives that can impact the defense strategy and how your client views the quality of the defense you are providing. This panel of experts will discuss some of the issues we should consider when defending officers of color and why it is important for a successful defense.

Ricardo A. Woods, Esq., Burr & Forman LLP, Mobile, AL

Anthony Chapa, Hispanic American Police Command Officers Association, Washington, D.C.
Fredda Maddox, Esq., Sheriff, Chester County, PA
Kevin Dykes, Chief Deputy, Chester County, PA
Carlos Lara, Commander and Diversity Chief MNPD, Nashville, TN
12:20 p.m. Lunch (On your own)
12:20 p.m. Government Lawyers Luncheon

Join us for the Government Lawyer's Lunch at the DRI Civil Rights and Governmental Liability Seminar. Please RSVP by Tuesday, August 17. Sign up for the luncheon.

Martha Thompson, Deputy County Attorney, Cleveland County, NC
1:40 p.m. The Insurance and Legal Challenges Presented by Innocence Project Lawsuits and Exonerations

With the rise of progressive district attorneys, and an emphasis on criminal justice reform and exonerations, municipalities are seeing an increase in malicious prosecution claims brought by Plaintiffs who have served significant time in prison. These lawsuits present unique challenges to insurance companies and defense counsel. During this session you will hear from attorneys who’ve defended the claims, and from a high-ranking insurance executive who will address challenges for underwriting for future claims, identifying issues that may arise related to policies, e.g., defense and indemnification issues.

John Gonzales, Esq., Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin, P.C., Philadelphia, PA
Craig Straw, First Deputy City Solicitor, Philadelphia, PA
2:40 p.m. Prosecuting a Civil Rights Case - "Rebuffing the adage that Defense Wins Championships"

Jon Loevy is one of the most successful plaintiff’s civil rights lawyers in the country. He’s agreed to have an honest discussion with us about the secrets to his success, including trial strategies. During this session we have another unique opportunity to hear from an attorney who has seen a great deal of success prosecuting the client we defend. Let’s take Mr. Loevy up on his willingness to share and see how what we learn can help in the defense of our clients.

Paul Mullin, Esq., Sugarman Law Firm, Syracuse, NY

Jon Loevy, Loevy & Loevy, Chicago, IL
3:40 p.m. Refreshment Break
4:05 p.m. Qualified Immunity

Professor Blum will take us through the relevant developments related to Qualified Immunity and evaluate whether its usefulness as a defense is eroding.

Professor Karen Blum, Suffolk University School of Law, Boston, MA
5:15 p.m. Governmental Liability Committee Meeting (Open to all)
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own). Click here to sign up.
8:30 p.m. Networking Reception at Ole Smokey

Join all your DRI friends and colleagues Friday evening for a networking reception that will be held at Ole Smokey. Together we will reconnect, share some late-night bites, and enjoy adult beverages along the way. It will be an evening not to be missed!!*
Registration for this event will be on the DRI seminar registration page. You will need to scroll down after the First Timers Questions to purchase tickets. You must register by August 12, 2021.

*The cost is $95 per ticket and tickets are nonrefundable.

Saturday, August 21, 2021

Time (Central) Program
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Opening Remarks and Introductions

Monté L. Williams, Steptoe & Johnson PLLC, Morgantown, WV
8:05 a.m. Witness Preparation – It May be the Difference Between Winning and Losing

Mr. Boesen will discuss why witness preparation is vital to a case and how it can literally turn a losing case into a winning one. He will also use practical, real world, examples to illustrate the message being delivered, showing us how he turns a troubling witness into a star.

Adam Boesen, Boesen Litigation Consulting, Dallas, TX
9:05 a.m. Student Suicide and Bullying – Who is on The Hook?

Learn about this real issue that is impacting not only the quality of the education schools are providing, but the lives of those they are trying to teach. Hear how these issues are playing out in courts and what schools, parents, and those defending the claims need to know.

Melanie Slaton, Esq., Hall Booth Smith PC, Columbus, GA
Matthew Toth, STOPit Solutions, Holmdel, NJ
10:05 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:35 a.m. SLG Breakout Sessions
Breakout Session 1 – Land Use
Takings – Power vs. Immunity – How Powerful is The Police Power of a Governmental Agency?

When it comes to the taking of property, how far can the government legally go during an emergency?  This session will explore this very issue.  Learn about the issues and defense strategies associated with governmental takings during times of emergency.

John Hightower, Esq., Olson & Olson LLP, Houston, TX
Allison Killian, Esq., Olson & Olson LLP, Houston, TX
Breakout Session 2 – Law Enforcement
Transgender Inmates – Legal Implications Associated with Failing to Protect Them

The United States incarcerates approximately 2.3 million people across 3,134 local jails, 1,833 state prisons, 110 federal prisons, and other facilities. Those facilities increasingly pre-sent a system and infrastructure literally built on a binary understanding of sexuality con-fronting a population that is anything but binary. Transgender incarcerees are more likely to be assaulted, both by staff and other inmates, as well as to suffer other humiliating acts. The challenges and issues facing state and local governments as they seek to accommodate the changing population dynamic in their jails and prisons are social, medical, legal, and political. This presentation will address those questions and more as we work to prepare you to handle the claims and arguments made by transgender incarcees.
Dr. Melissa Caldwell, Freedom Behavioral Health, Inc., Franklin, TN
Jessica Young, Esq., Advanced Correctional Healthcare, Franklin, TN
Chris Balch, Esq., Balch Law Group, Atlanta, GA
11:35 a.m. De-Escalation - We got Your De-Escalation and the Consent Decree it Rode in On

Learn about this not so new technique that may be more relevant now than ever. Is De-Escalation real, just fad, or a compromise that ultimately jeopardizes the safety of law enforcement officers? Do Consent Decrees have a meaningful impact on reducing claims, complaints, or how the community perceives law enforcement? Listen to an expert address all of these issues and more.

Ken Wallentine, Esq., Chief of Police, West Jordan, UT
12:35 p.m. Everyday Bias and Its Impact on Client Representation

The potential influence of bias within the legal profession and access to and delivery of justice is both wide-ranging and complex. Biases, regardless of one's identity and experiences, are a function and characteristic of human behavior that often calls into question one's integrity, ethics, and character. The ability to identify bias behavior and counteract its impact is critical in being able to represent clients within the legal profession in a way that is both moral and responsible. Through the use of storytelling, this presentation will provide an in-depth and experiential understanding of unconscious bias and its impact within the legal profession. Attendees will examine resources on how to identify self biases, raise awareness of how unconscious biases work, and gain strategies to recognize and address bias at the personal, institutional, and systemic levels.

Ashley Hardesty Odell, Esq., Bowles Rice LLP, Morgantown, WV
1:35 p.m. Adjourn
2:00 p.m. Networking Roundtables

Take some time after the seminar to connect with fellow attendees. We invite you to grab lunch from the hotel or offsite and join us in informal discussions dissecting what we learned over the past three days.
Participation is free but we encourage sign-ups if you plan on attending the networking roundtables.

DRI Cares


Our selected beneficiary of this year’s fundraiser is the 100 Club of Nashville. 100 Club of Nashville was founded in 1979 and exists to provide for the dependents of police officers and firefighters who lose their lives or who are injured in the line of duty. We will be collecting funds to benefit this worthy charity and are seeking 100% participation.

THERE’S A PRIZE! The Product Liability and Governmental Liability Committees are in a friendly competition to see who’s the biggest giver. The committee with the higher percentage of participation among its members wins a prize and bragging rights for a year. Let the giving begin! Stay tuned for a special QR Code to make your donation. There will also be a raffle giveaway with local items for participants.