2022 DRI Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Seminar

March 14–16, 2022 | Atlanta, Georgia

DRI Toxic Torts & Environmental Law

Learn All About the Opportunities & Challenges in Defending Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Cases!

DRI's Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee heads to Atlanta, March 14-16, 2022. Join us to obtain the latest information in toxic tort and environmental law to keep your practice on the cutting edge. This premier gathering for the defense bar brings you the latest litigation, science, and regulatory developments.

View registration information here, and make sure to register by January 28 for the best pricing!

What You Will Learn:

  • Hear from trial attorneys who navigated virtual trials and how to communicate with juries post-COVID
  • Listen to in-house counsel discuss the future of toxic tort and environmental litigation
  • Learn about important trends in environmental and toxic tort cases, climate change, PFAS, and multi-district litigation
  • Earn Ethics credit and hear from leading professionals on the trials and tribulations of the practice of law during a pandemic
  • Network with top toxic tort and environmental lawyers from across the U.S.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Connecting with attendees and sponsors at our premier networking event
  • Attending dine-arounds to see old friends and meet new people

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Thank You to DRI's Toxic Tort & Environmental Law Committee Leadership

Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Program Chair
Roy Prather
Roy Prather
Program Vice Chair
William J. Hubbard
William J. Hubbard
Committee Chair
Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Committee Vice Chair

Join the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee

Registration Information

DRI Member Pricing: $995
Non-Member Pricing: $1,295

DRI Member Pricing: $1,295
Non-Member Pricing: $1,595

Early Bird Pricing: $695
Regular Pricing: $995

Register by January 28, 2022 to receive the early registration rate.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

Register Now

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Monday, March 14, 2022

Time (Eastern) Session Description
2:00 p.m. DRI Cares Community Service Event
5:00 p.m. Registration
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Tuesday, March 15, 2022

Time (Eastern) Session Description
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Introduction

Jennifer L. Dlugosz, Husch Blackwell LLP, Chicago, IL
8:15 a.m. Communicating to Juries After 2020 – Lessons Learned from the Pandemic, BLM, and Virtual Trials

The pandemic upended jury trials as we have known them. Not only did potential jurors became more aware of scientific concepts such as dose, exposure, and epidemiology, they also became more aware of the continued unequal treatment of racial minorities in our country. Plus they had to serve on juries remotely while sitting in their living rooms. This panel will evaluate changes in jury perceptions as a result of COVID-19 and the Black Lives Matter movement, discuss lessons learned from virtual trials, and recommend strategies to communicate effectively to juries in the new normal.

Kyle Bjornlund, Cetrulo LLP, Boston, MA

Suntrease Williams-Maynard, Adams & Reese, LLP, Mobile, AL
Jill M. Leibold, Ph.D., IMS/Litigation Insights, Los Angeles, CA
Lisa Oberg, Husch Blackwell LLP, Oakland, CA
9:15 a.m. When Smart Lawyers do Stupid Things – Pandemic Edition (Ethics)

Many ethics presentations focus on the language of the Rules of Professional Conduct. Rules are important, but not the whole story. In particular, they don’t help us explain why lawyers often break rules they presumably understand perfectly well. This presentation suggests that the field of ‘behavioral legal ethics’ may help answer that often puzzling question.

Paula Frederick, State Bar of Georgia, Atlanta, GA
Kevin Underhill, Shook, Hardy & Bacon, San Francisco, CA
10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m. To MDL or Not to MDL? – The Proliferation of Multi-District Litigation

Litigation in both State and Federal Multi-districts continues to increase. When should defendants request MDL status? What are the advantage and disadvantages? Can MDLs be utilized to weed out meritless cases? What happens once status is requested? Are MDL process changes in the horizon?

The Honorable Shira Scheindlin, U.S. Dist. Judge (Ret.), FedArb, New York, NY
Barbara J. Barron, MehaffyWeber, Houston, TX
Jamie L. Dodge, Emory’s Institute for Complex Litigation and Mass Claims, Atlanta, GA
11:45 a.m. Lunch (on your own)
1:30 p.m. COVID-19 Focused 30-Minute "Tech Talks"

COVID-19: Lessons Learned

How the Specialty and Contract Chemical Industry continues to adapt to a pandemic and how we can be better prepared next time.

Jennifer Abril, SOCMA, Arlington, VA
2:00 p.m. COVID-19: Chemicals Are Our Friends

Bleach, hand sanitizer, single use plastic bags all were necessary to human health and safety during the pandemic. Will they be blackballed again once there is a cure, or will we stick by our old tried and true friends?

Colleen O’Brien, Scali Rasmussen OC, Los Angeles, CA
2:30 p.m. COVID-19: What You Can’t See Can Hurt You

Be prepared for virus-related damage claims under different types of policies. The panelists will discuss who is making what types of claims and the status of current cases and known claims.

Tom Alleman, Dykema, Dallas, TX
Mary Gerding, Hylant, Independence, OH
3:00 p.m. COVID-19: How Strategic Technologies Minimize Liabilities and Save Lives

The pandemic highlighted the power of molecular monitoring methods to detect the SARS-CoV-2 virus in the human ecosystem. However, these detection methods were erratically applied even though they provided important data to inform protective actions. The lessons learned here are directly applicable to variants and to the next serious pathogen that infects the human population. This presentation describes the efficient application of virus detection methods, how results were used to limit infections, and the viewpoints of those who adopted detection technologies for informing their pandemic response and those who did not.

Duane Graves, Ph.D., BCES, Geosyntec, Knoxville, TN
3:30 p.m. Refreshment Break
3:45 p.m. Good Corporate Citizenship and Liability in an Era of Climate Change and Environmental Justice

The Biden administration brought a much sharper focus and prioritization to issues of climate change and environmental justice, which presents significant implications for environmental permitting, civil and criminal enforcement, agency rule-making and legislative action, and beyond. Corporations are constantly adapting and must remain light on their feet, particularly in these changing times. This panel will take a closer look at how those initiatives are taking shape in practice and what to anticipate going forward. This includes increased consideration of climate change and environmental justice impacts in decision-making and liability as it relates to existing and closed CERCLA sites. This panel will further address company response to these issues and proactive approaches to community outreach. The panel will also examine environmental justice screening tools and the underlying databases to better understand how they work, how regulators and litigants are using them, and what limitations and concerns they present.

Roy Prather, Beveridge & Diamond, Baltimore, MD

Alana Fortna, Babst Calland, Pittsburgh, PA
Shahrokh Rouhani, Newfields, Atlanta, GA
Peter Hsiao, King & Spaulding, Los Angeles, CA
4:45 p.m. Committee Business Meeting (open to all)
6:00 p.m. Networking Reception
8:00 p.m. Premier Networking Event: Painted Pin

Join friends and colleagues for networking at The Painted Pin, an upscale entertainment venue in an industrial warehouse space in the heart of Buckhead’s Miami Circle. The Painted Pin takes a twist on traditional nightlife by offering vintage bowling lanes, alongside complementary interactive games like bocce ball, shuffleboard, ping pong, and darts. The sophisticated atmosphere is the perfect place to gather with friends. There is a maximum of 2 tickets per person.

Registration for this event will be on the DRI seminar registration page. You will need to scroll down after the Questions to purchase a ticket. You must purchase your ticket by March 9, 2022.

*The cost is $100 per ticket and ticket is non-refundable.

Wednesday, March 16, 2022

Time (Eastern) Session Description
6:00 a.m. DRI For Life Event - Yoga with Laura Krugler
7:00 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Roy Prather, Beveridge & Diamond, Baltimore, MD
8:15 a.m. What’s Next For Groundwater Claims: Emerging Contaminants and Related Litigation

Companies continue to face claims of groundwater contamination from current and past operations of their facilities. This panel of experts and in house counsel will address why and how certain contaminants become identified as emerging contaminants and how current and anticipated litigation plays a role in that process. They will also discuss potential health and environmental impacts of emerging contaminants and existing federal and state guidelines.

Nicole Sullivan, BASF, Florham Park, NJ
Robyn Prueitt, Ph.D., DABT, Gradient, Seattle, WA
Caroline Tuit, Ph.D., Gradient, Boston, MA
9:15 a.m. PFAS: It’s Not Going Away

This panel will discuss the latest technology and challenges in source identification for PFAS to use in the defense of regulatory enforcement and toxic tort lawsuits.

Tiffany Thomas, Ph.D., Haley Aldrich, San Jose,CA
Daniella Landers, Reed Smith, Houston, TX
Monty Cooper, Crowell & Moring, Washington, D.C.
10:15 a.m. Refreshment Break
10:45 a.m. Supreme Court Update

Join our esteemed panelists for a review of developments in toxic tort and environmental cases decided by, or headed for, the Supreme Court and expected trends for the 2020s.

Elbert Lin, Hunton Andrews Kurth, Richmond, VA
Mindy Goldstein, Emory University School of Law, Atlanta, GA
Shoshana (Suzanne Ilene) Schiller, Manko, Gold, Katcher & Fox LLP, Bala Cynwyd, PA
11:45 a.m. A Look Ahead From In-House

A panel of distinguished in-house counsel from different industries will consider how their roles have been evolving and what they expect for tomorrow.

Irving W. Jones, Jr., Balch & Bingham, Birmingham, AL

Kacy Goebel, Home Depot, Atlanta, GA
Antonio Lewis, Honeywell, Charlotte, NC
12:45 p.m. Adjourn

Hotel and Travel Information

A limited number of discounted hotel rooms have been made available at the InterContinental Buckhead Atlanta, 3315 Peachtree Road NE, Atlanta, GA 30326. Take advantage of the group rate of $229.00 Single/Double in one of two ways:

The hotel block is limited and rooms and rates are available on a first-come, first-served basis. You must make reservations by February 14, 2022 to be eligible for the hotel’s group rate. Requests for reservations made after that date are subject to room and rate availability. A small portion of your room rate offsets the costs of the seminar.

Travel Discounts: DRI is pleased to announce that discounted air fares are available on various major air carriers for DRI seminar attendees. To receive these discounts, please contact Direct Travel Ltd., DRI’s official travel provider, at 800.840.0908. If you would like to have access to the DRI online travel booking tool, you must complete a Business Travel Profile form at www.dt.com. Within 24 business hours, you will receive information on accessing the system.

CLE Information

Earn up to 9.75 hours of continuing legal education hours, including 1 hour of ethics credit from this seminar.

Toxic Torts CLE Grid (PDF)


DRI's Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

Husch Blackwell Thompson Hine

If you would like to contact DRI about seminar sponsorship opportunities, including pricing, or to reserve a spot, please go to Advertising and Sponsorship.

DRI Cares

Boys & Girls Club

DRI Cares content here.


Event Terms

Read the Event Terms, including DRI’s risk-free registration policy

In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives

Read the In-House Counsel and Claims Executives Initiatives for DRI Seminars

Contact Us

If you have any questions or concerns regarding DRI programs, please contact DRI Customer Service at 312.795.1101 or custservice@dri.org.