2023 DRI Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar

January 23–25, 2023 | Las Vegas, Nevada

Civil Rights, Governmental Liability, presenting

Join us in Las Vegas for Insights from Jury Experts!

DRI is proud to announce the 36th annual Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar at Caesars Palace Las Vegas! This seminar will provide you with invaluable information and tools to represent your governmental clients. This year’s faculty includes preeminent insurance professionals, a renowned Supreme Court advocate and an expert public opinion jury analyst. Attendees will have the opportunity to engage in an interactive presentation with a jury expert to learn how they can mold their trial theme to result in winning verdicts in connection with a police liability case before stepping into the courtroom. As always, in addition to the outstanding programing, attendees will have opportunities to network and exchange ideas, techniques, and winning strategies with experienced litigators and insurance professionals. See you in Las Vegas!

View registration information here.

What You Will Learn:

  • Billboards are morphing into giant Jumbotrons - what can and can’t be done when a Jumbotron billboard comes to a corner near you.
  • Get an insider’s view of the prosecution of the three men that murdered Ahmaud Arbery from Senior Assistant District Attorney Linda Dunikoski.
  • How demographics impact juror decision making, and strategies to successfully communicate and present themes that win cases.
  • Winning techniques from a K-9 expert and leading civil rights attorney to take the bite out of K-9 lawsuits.
  • Practical qualified immunity – tips, strategies and winning your 12(b)(6) Motion to Dismiss or your next steps strategy if you don’t.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Meeting lawyers from across the United States that defend governmental entities resulting in expansion of your lawyer-to-lawyer referral network.
  • Re-connecting with clients and colleagues while enjoying a cocktail during our networking cocktail hours and Premier Networking Reception.
  • Experiencing the unique Las Vegas dining scene at dine arounds while also catching up with old friends and meeting new ones.

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Thank You to DRI's Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Committee Leadership

Mary Erlingson
Mary G. Erlingson
Program Chair
Kevin P. Allen
Kevin P. Allen
Program Vice Chair
Ryan Kunhart
Ryan M. Kunhart
Committee Chair
Monté L. Williams
Monté L. Williams
Committee Vice Chair
Ford Stephens
Ford Stephens
Law Institute

Join the Governmental Liability Committee

Registration Information

  Member Pricing Non-Member Pricing
Regular Registration* $1,395 $1,695
Group Registration (Non-Sponsored)** $995/person $995/person
Government Government members will receive the applicable government rate for the seminar upon login. If the government rate does not appear after logging in, please call DRI directly at (312) 795-1101 to receive the discounted rate. Invoices can be sent after purchase upon request.

*If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate. If you would like to join DRI to receive the member pricing and see the benefits of becoming a member, click here to go to the Application page.

**Group registration is for registering 4 or more attendees, members and non-members. There is one free registration with every 10 registrations. You must lock in the rate three weeks prior to the seminar. If you want to register for the group pricing, please send an email to rstiner@dri.org (online registration is not available for this offering).

Premier Networking Reception | Paris Hotel Rooftop
Sponsored by: Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

Date: Tuesday, January 24 from 6:00–8:00 p.m.
Pricing: Free when you register for the seminar (guest tickets are $100 each, available at checkout. A limited number of guest tickets may be available on site for $125 each)
Location: Paris Hotel, 3655 S. Las Vegas Blvd, Las Vegas, NV 89109

Join Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability, Construction Law, and the Women in the Law Seminars for a networking event at what has been named one of the Las Vegas Strip’s best rooftops. Socialize, play games like giant Jenga, pool, darts, karaoke, Skee-Ball, Pop-A-Shot and retro arcade games! Light appetizers and beverages will be served. The Paris Hotel is only a short walk from the Caesars Palace, so be sure to stop by.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Printing is supported on Windows, iOS and macOS. To save this page as a PDF, click on the "Print Agenda" button and under printer destination select "Save as PDF" or "Print to PDF". For Android devices, some browsers do not support printing.

Monday, January 23, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
1:00 p.m. Registration Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
5:30 p.m. Jump Start Your Seminar Networking Experience

Whether you’re a new member, non-member, seasoned attendee, or in-house counsel, join committee leaders and your fellow attendees to learn how to make the most of your networking opportunities this week.
Palace I (Emperors Level)
6:00 p.m. Networking/Cocktail Hour
Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
7:00 p.m. Dine-Arounds
Join colleagues and friends at selected restaurants for dinner (on your own).

Tuesday, January 24, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
8:00 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

The early bird gets the most out of this networking session. Get to know the early risers in the group over a cup of coffee. Rise, shine, caffeinate and connect!
Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
8:30 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Ford Stephens, Christian & Barton, Richmond, VA
Mary G. Erlingson, Erlingson Banks, PLLC, Baton Rouge, LA
Palace I (Emperors Level)
8:45 a.m. Crowd Sourcing Surrogate Jurors Provides Power, Precision and Predictability - "Some Research, Observations and Real-Life Experiences from the Field"

Online survey research has powered up the decision making of insurance companies, their attorneys and the consultants who advise them in a way that we have not seen before. We are excited to share with the audience from our own experiences, research and observations what we are learning from the largest sample sizes we've ever connected with, the largest data sets we've ever collected, and all in real time. We are learning, crafting, and implementing strategies derived from these studies and witnessing how profoundly we can alter outcomes with the confidence that statistically relevant sample sizes offer. We will share with you we have seen and implemented in the areas of social science research, witness preparation, utilizing and attempting to master technology, interacting with the courts, with jurors in preparing and trying some cases to verdict. Tune In.

Stuart A. Simon, American Jury Centers, Hailey, ID
James G. Bynoe, Intact Insurance, Plymouth, MN
Palace I (Emperors Level)
10:00 a.m. DRI Cares | SafeNest
Palace I (Emperors Level)
10:15 a.m. Coffee Break Pompeian Foyer (Promenade Level)
10:30 a.m. Cell Phone Forensics for Legal Professionals

With billions of cell phones in the world and millions of phone applications, the amount of evidence created by cell phones can be daunting. This program will explain the common types of evidence that can be recovered from cell phones, including deleted data. Some evidence types that will be discussed include location information, text messages, multimedia, voice mails, cloud backups, and more. Real-life case examples will be used to illustrate how evidence recovered from cell phones can be used in cases and investigations. The proper methods to forensically acquire cell phone evidence will be covered, and how evidence can be challenged in court.

Lars Daniel, Envista Forensics, Morrisville, NC
Palace I (Emperors Level)
11:30 a.m. “Practical” Qualified Immunity

To paraphrase a famous quote from Mark Twain - “the reports of qualified immunity’s death are greatly exaggerated.” While under attack, qualified immunity remains an important and necessary defense to law enforcement officers who are often asked to make decisions in a split second and/or about legal issues that are unsettled that can be second-guessed and picked apart by lawyers and courts over the ensuing years. This session will be very practically based and focused on how and when to raise the defense of qualified immunity in the most effective, persuasive, and creative ways, both at the trial level and on appeal.

Chalankis R. Brown, Ball, Ball, Matthews & Novak, Montgomery, AL
David J. MacMain, MacMain Leinhauser, PC, West Chester, PA
Palace I (Emperors Level)
12:30 p.m. Networking Lunch (included in registration)

Join the Construction Law Seminar & Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.
Palace II (Emperors Level)
1:30 p.m. False Confessions: An Interrogator’s Perspective

Exoneration data shows that approximately 30 percent of wrongful convictions contain false confessions. In this session, hear from a law enforcement trainer and confession expert on the common contributors to false confessions and how to identify these red flags when reviewing interrogations. Attendees will learn how misclassification, including behavioral analysis and eyewitness ID’s may initiate confirmation bias that translates into coercive interrogation techniques. Even a detailed confession that appears reliable on its surface may have a shaky foundation built with coercive measures and contaminated details.

David Thompson, CFI, Wicklander-Zulawski & Associates, Inc., Aurora, IL
Anthony L. Schumann, Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A., Chicago, IL
Palace I (Emperors Level)
2:30 p.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.
Palace I (Emperors Level)
3:30 p.m. Governmental Liability Committee Meeting (open to all)
Palace I (Emperors Level)
4:00 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

Sign up for one of these options and start building your connections and developing relationships! More information is forthcoming.
Palace I (Emperors Level)
6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception | Paris Hotel Rooftop
Sponsored by: Hartline Barger LLP, Shook Hardy & Bacon LLP

Click here for details.

Wednesday, January 25, 2023

Time (Pacific) Program Room
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Kevin P. Allen, Allen, Glaessner, Hazelwood and Werth, LLP, San Francisco, CA
Palace I (Emperors Level)
9:10 a.m. Breakouts (choose one)

Lessons Learned: Defending Title IX Sexual Misconduct Claims

Sexual misconduct, harassment, abuse and molestation, hazing and bullying claims involve some of the highest exposure claims for K-12 schools, colleges, and universities today. This session offers the combined perspective of experienced claims handlers and defense counsel who will address how to properly evaluate the exposure these kinds of claims present to educational institutions and the key factors to consider in determining which cases should be settled, litigated toward a summary judgment win, or taken to verdict.

Paul F. Gordon, Baty Otto Coronado Scheer PC, Kansas City, MO
Darcy L. Proctor, Tressler, LLP, Bolingbrook, IL
Doug Onley, United Educators, Arlington, VA
Capri (Promenade Level)

Why Can’t I Have a Billboard on My Own Property?

This topic will explore the conflicts inherent in regulating signs consistent with First Amendment rights and the varying levels of scrutiny imposed by the Supreme Court cases.

Phillip W. Savrin, Freeman Mathis & Gary LLP, Atlanta, GA
Allison Chandler, Lanier Ford Shaver & Payne, P.C., Huntsville, AL
Palace I (Emperors Level)
10:10 a.m. Coffee Break Palace Pre-Funct I (Emperors Level)
10:30 a.m. Breakouts (choose one)  
Keeping your Police Clients Out of the Doghouse After a K-9 Apprehension

Police dog K-9 units are invaluable tools for law enforcement, but how do officers and departments defend against dog bite lawsuits? This session will help you gain insight for defending a police K-9 bite lawsuit. Learn about use of force claims following a K-9 deployment from a preeminent lawyer who has handled multiple K-9 dog bite cases and from an experienced K-9 training expert. You will watch actual footage of K-9 apprehensions from body-worn cameras and hear the training expert’s opinions of what went right and what went wrong.

Caren L. Pollack, Pollack Law Firm, PC, Carmel IN
Sergeant Paul Bryant, Chester County Sheriff’s Office, Philadelphia Police Department Canine Unit - Retired, Philadelphia, PA
Capri (Promenade Level)
Joint Session with Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability & Women in the Law

Winning the Game with Closing Arguments: Spotlight on the Ahmaud Arbery Trial
In November 2021, a Glynn County jury found the three men who shot Ahmaud Arbery while he was out for a jog guilty of murder. Our speaker developed the powerful trial theme of “driveway decisions” to prosecute these men who took the law into their own hands. Hear from one of the lead District Attorneys from the State of Georgia about what played, and what did not play, at the trial that captured the nation’s attention.

Linda Dunikoski, Senior Assistant District Attorney, Cobb County District Attorney’s Office, Atlanta, GA
Palace I (Emperors Level)
11:30 a.m. Joint Session with Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar, Construction Law Seminar, and Women in the Law Seminar

When the Client Relationship Goes Too Far (Ethics)
Hear from Chief Counsel from the City of Phoenix, Managing Counsel for Transunion, and General Counsel for West Virginia University about when socializing with clients, defense counsel, and insurance professionals, gift-giving and campaign contributions (giving and receiving) go too far and become an ethical issue. The panel will be a roundtable discussion of various situations and the ethical impacts of same.

Danielle Waltz, Jackson Kelly PLLC, Charleston, WV

David H. Benton, Esq., City of Phoenix, Phoenix, AZ
Sylvia Winston, TransUnion, Carbondale, IL
Stephanie Taylor, West Virginia University, Morgantown, WV
Palace I (Emperors Level)
12:30 p.m. Adjourn

Hotel Information

The DRI room block at Caesars Palace has now sold out. Please feel free to use the link below to reserve a room outside of the DRI block at Caesars Palace or at an available nearby hotel.

Find a Nearby Hotel and Reserve your Room

CLE and CE Information

Earn up to 8.25 hours of continuing legal education hours (CLE), including one (1) hour of ethics credit from this seminar.

Civil Rights CLE by State

Insurance professionals may earn up to 2.00 hours of continuing education credits (CE) from this seminar.

Civil Rights CE Details


DRI's Civil Rights and Governmental Tort Liability Seminar is proudly sponsored by:

AGHW Allen Glaessner Hazelwood Werth Erlingson Banks Attorneys at Law JS | Held
Kightlinger Gray MCL MacMain Connell & Leinhauser MCC&M McCabe & Mack LLP Attorneys at Law Pointed Discovery Jail & Prison Call Review Specialists

Thank you to our Official Supporter: TBD

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



SafeNest is a local support and advocacy center and domestic violence shelter for victims of domestic violence and human trafficking. As January is National Human Trafficking Prevention month, our committee thought it would be a suitable charity for the time and location of our event. The committee would like to encourage attendees to donate a dollar amount equivalent to their billable hourly rate (the “donate a billable hour” campaign). Donations will be collected through the DRI Foundation, and a donation will be made to SafeNest on behalf of the DRI Foundation.

To donate online:

  1. Click the "Donate" button or scan the QR code below.
  2. If you have an account with DRI, log in. Use the same login that you registered for this seminar.
  3. If you do not have an account with DRI, create a guest account.
  4. Select from one of the gift amounts or set your own amount. The default value is $100.
  5. Select "Governmental Liability" from "My SLC/Region" dropdown box.
  6. Click “Submit Donation.”
  7. The page will refresh. Click “View Cart” to checkout.
  8. Enter your credit card information and click “Submit Order” once all required information is entered.


Substantive Law Committee QR Code Foundation Contributions


NEW in 2023 – Four Additional On-Demand Programs Included With Every Seminar!

CLE Credit will be sought from every state requiring CLE hours in elimination of bias/diversity and inclusion, ethics, substance abuse/mental health, and law practice management. The CLE grid will provide updated information concerning hours that have been approved by each jurisdiction and for which credits. For states not requiring these special credits, general education credits will be sought. Access to these on-demand programs will expire 30 days after the seminar ends.

View On-Demand Library

Diversity/Elimination of Bias in the Profession

Invisible or Mixed-Visible Diversity – Combatting Bias

Often diversity programs and initiatives are focused on visible traits such as gender or race, but bias exists related to sexual orientation, gender identity, and some disabilities that are not readily visible to the eye. This panel will discuss how to address these biases and to create an environment where those with invisible or mixed-visible diversity can operate at the highest level.

Stacy Douglas, Everett Dorey LLP, Irvine, CA
Gary Howard, Bradley, Birmingham, AL
Ronna Kinsella, Glassman Wyatt Tuttle & Cox PC, Memphis, TN

Law Practice Management Credit

Succession Planning: Failing to Plan Is a Plan to Fail

Succession planning is considered one of the most pressing issues facing not only law firms but also clients. Senior partners are working into their golden years and can sometimes be reluctant to engage in a succession plan, but clients want to know that there is a plan for the transition of their work without interruption. Join us to learn:

  1. the importance of succession planning for the benefit both the law firm and its clients;
  2. how succession planning impacts retention and continuity of the firm and client relationships;
  3. how to approach the subject with senior attorneys; and
  4. strategies for implementing a successful succession plan.

Marie E. Chafe, Conn Kavanaugh, Boston, MA
Matthew Cairns, Textron Inc., Providence, RI
Elizabeth M. Brotten, Foley & Mansfield PLLP, Minneapolis, MN
Meade Hartfield, Bradley Arant, Birmingham, AL


Technology, Ethics & Remote Work: What You Need to Know Now

The Rules of Professional Conduct regarding competence and diligence require all lawyers to keep abreast of changes in technology. This webinar will provide you with tips and information on new issues related to technology and the practice of law, including the challenges of the remote work environment. You will learn the ethics and professionalism considerations when using technology in your practice and your ethical duties when it comes to “keeping abreast of changes” in technology.

Amber Garcia, Deutsch Kerrigan LLP, New Orleans, LA
Alyssa Johnson, Barron & Newberger PC, Milwaukee, WI
Clare Roubion, Louisiana Legal Ethics, LLC, Lafayette, LA

Mental Health & Attorney Wellness

Lessons for Lawyers from the Science of Well-Being

This presentation will focus on the practical steps that we can take as individuals to improve well-being, drawing on recent research from cognitive science and beginning with the preface that happiness can be learned and applied. Specifically, we will provide an evidence-based arsenal of practical tools that lawyers can apply in their own lives to improve their well-being.

Emma Ross, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL
Shayna Cook, Goldman Ismail Tomaselli Brennan & Baum, Chicago, IL

Other Information

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