2021 Defense Lawyers Asbestos Symposium Agenda

DRI Defense Lawyers Asbestos Symposium November 3, 2021

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

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Wednesday, November 3, 2021

Time (Central) Program
12:00 p.m. Registration
12:30 p.m. Welcome and Introduction

Albert H. Parnell, Albert H. Parnell PC, Brookhaven, GA
12:35 p.m. Current and Future Trends in Mesothelioma and Lung Cancer Cases

This short presentation will cover the current significant trends in mesothelioma and lung cancer cases by jurisdiction, plaintiff firm, and other attributes. We will examine these short-term trends in the context of long-term predictions of cases based on epidemiology and future claim forecasting. Special attention will be paid to high-volume and high-risk jurisdictions and plaintiff firms.

Christopher (Kip) Makuc, PACE Claims Services LLC, Hamilton, NJ
12:55 p.m. New Developments in the Cosmetic Talc and Asbestos Litigation

This segment will provide new developments in the similarities and the distinctions between allegations made against traditional asbestos claims versus personal care product manufacturers and suppliers, as well as an overview of the evolving methodologies and definitions of “asbestos” utilized by the plaintiffs’ bar to build their claims.

Edward P. (Ed) Abbot, Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, New York, NY
Elizabeth (Betsy) Kelly, Hawkins Parnell & Young LLP, New York, NY
1:15 p.m. Should “Asbestos” and “Talc” Defendants Just Get Along?

With the routine inclusion of cosmetic talc defendants in cases across the country in recent years, it raises a new version of the old question: should “traditional asbestos defendants” and “cosmetic talc defendants” play nice in the sandbox? We have had decades to develop strategies for our clients in cases that involve both amphibole and chrysotile-only defendants. This section will examine strategies for “traditional asbestos defendants” and “cosmetic talc defendants” to defend their respective cases in discovery and trial and explore whether defendants can and should be aligned, or not.

Whitney K. Barrows, Melick & Porter, Boston, MA
Jennifer Filippazzo, McDermott Will & Emery, New York, NY
1:35 p.m. An Analysis of Whether it is Valuable to Incorporate Juror Views on COVID-19 into Trial Themes

This presentation will address how Covid-19 has impacted juror views on topics such as risk tolerance, safe/unsafe levels of exposure, and attitudes toward corporations. The presentation will then discuss themes common to asbestos exposure and Covid-19 and suggest ways to incorporate them into jury selection, cross-examination of experts, and closing arguments.

Todd Suddleson, DeHay & Elliston, Dallas, TX
1:55 p.m. Strategies for Combating Discovery Harassment and Motions to Consolidate Cases in a Post COVID-19 Litigation Environment

This presentation will focus on anticipating, avoiding, and addressing discovery harassment and motions to consolidate.

Kyle E. Bjornlund, Cetrulo LLP, Boston, MA
2:15 p.m. Exploring the Impact of Plaintiff’s Bar Advertising and the Effects of COVID-19 on Jurors, Jury Selection, and Verdict Outcome

The advertising of the plaintiff over the past ten years has produced a lasting effect on potential jurors. This session will discuss of the effects of the advertising and potential defense actions to minimize the effect.

Mary McKelvey, Principal, Polisnelli, Los Angeles, CA
2:35 p.m. Asbestos Textile Disease: What is Happening in China?

Marco Polo visited a Chinese asbestos mine in the 1200s, and widespread use of asbestos in Chinese textiles continues today. We examine the historical background of Chinese asbestos use and ongoing medical research into related health effects.

Dyanna Ballou, RDM, LLC, Kansas City, MO
Kevin Deenihan, RDM, LLC, Los Angeles, CA
2:55 p.m. Lessons Learned from Post-Verdict Juror Interviews for Picking Your Next Jury and Most Effectively Trying an Asbestos Malignancy Case

Jurors are a captive audience at trial and a font of information about what was and was not effective in presenting a case. This presentation will focus on various do’s and don’ts for the trial lawyer as identified by jurors in post – verdict interviews in multiple mesothelioma and lung cancer cases. It will also address some keys for identifying desirable jurors and those who could be problematic.

John Katerndahl, Selman Law Firm, Los Angeles, CA
3:15 p.m. Break
3:25 p.m. Power at the Table; Space for the Rest of Us

This segment will explore how to expand the opportunities for women and minorities in the age of COVID-19 and the advent of the Zoom trial.

Sharla Frost, Houston, TX
3:45 p.m. Why Dr. Arthur Frank’s Causation Opinion is Junk Science

Dr. Art Frank proclaims that he follows science – yet he never met a fiber from any defendant that wasn’t a substantial contributing cause. Facts mean nothing, case evaluation means nothing. Everything contributes to the risk and thus the disease.

John Fitzpatrick, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, Denver, CO
4:05 p.m. Applying the Law: Successful Dismissals on Motion Practice

This session will examine the successful use of Rule 12 dispositive motions, Rule 56 summary judgment motions, as well as other bases for dismissal or leveraging settlement dollars.

Laura Kingsley Hong, Tucker Ellis, Cleveland, OH
4:25 p.m. Thinking Like a Plaintiff: Proving Up Alternative Defenses and Shares at Trial

Affirmative defenses and allocation of responsibility do not present themselves. This session will explore ideas for preserving and presenting affirmative defenses as well as share issues in new way.

Malika Johnson, Tanenbaum Keale LLP, Seattle, WA
4:45 p.m. Verdict and Bankruptcy Trusts Update

This segment will provide a look into pre- and post-COVID-19 jury verdict trends in asbestos litigation as well as provide updates on the status of the newest generation of bankruptcy filings.

Jack McCants, Maron Marvel Bradley Anderson & Tardy LLC, Ridgeland, MS
5:05 p.m. Technology Priorities for a Post-COVID Profession

The COVID pandemic has driven innovation & adoption of technology in the legal profession at an unprecedented pace. This session will connect risk factors, risk analysis, benefits and practical tips with new technologies available.

Blane Erwin, President, Q Risk Analytics, Houston, TX
5:25 p.m. The Trial Lawyers Trial Symposium and Final Thoughts

This segment will present personal defense lawyer insights to important things or lessons learned in the past year.
5:45 p.m. Adjourn