Wednesday, February 1, 2022
More details to come.
||Women in the Law Luncheon (on your own)
More details to come.
||Meetings of Specialized Litigation Groups (SLG) Session 1
For more details, click on the "SLG Session 1" tab.
||Product Liability Committee Meeting (open to all)
||Smaller Networking Events
More details to come.
||After Hours with DRI Product Liability
More details to come.
Thursday, February 2, 2022
||Registration and Coffee Service
||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!
||Welcome and Introduction
Roman Lifson, Christian and Barton, LLP, Richmond, VA
Chip Adams, Gordon Rees Scully Mansukhani, Houston, TX
||Fireside Chat with CPSC Commissioner Peter Feldman
Join a fireside chat with current CPSC Commissioner Peter Feldman while he talks about the past, present and future of the Commission, which is turning 50 this year, with former Commissioner Joe Mohorovic. Listen in as they discuss CPSC’s activities and what it may mean for consumer product manufacturers, distributors, and retailers.
Joseph P. Mohorovic, ESI, Chicago, IL
Commissioner Peter Feldman, CPSC, Washington, D.C.
||Creative Strategies when Presenting Corporate Witnesses
Join us for a panel discussion on strategies to take the offensive when offering corporate representatives for depositions. This program will focus on how attorneys can use corporate representative depositions as affirmative tools to push their cases forward.
Will Purnell, Bowman & Brooke, Phoenix, AZ
Peter Querubin, Tokio Marine, Plano, TX
Elizabeth Mykytiuk, Zoox, Washington D.C.
Brian Wolensky, Zoomo, Philadelphia, PA
||Corporate Counsel Breakout (for in-house counsel and claims professional only)
||The New Normal and How Supply Chains Can and Will Impact Product Liability
Fireside chat between Steven Georgevitch, Senior Director Boeing Global Services Supply Chain Strategy & Integration and Dean Martinez DRI CEO & former General Counsel of the Association for Supply Chain Management. Steve and Dean will discuss the potential risks and impact the “new normal” within supply chains will impact product liability and risk.
Steve Georgevitch, Boeing, Seattle, WA
Dean Martinez, DRI Chief Executive Officer, Chicago, IL
||Best Tips for Safety Recalls
This quick hit presentation will share in 15 minutes of best tips from 20 years of experience in deploying safety recalls all over the world. Hear how you can improve the deployment process for the regulators, the customers and the company.
Marie-Claude Simard, Bombardier Recreational Products, Valcourt, Canada
|| Networking Lunch (included in registration)
Join the Product Liability & Litigation Skills seminar attendees for lunch and networking opportunities that are second to none.
||Future is Now: Liability Exposure for Products that are Connected and Infused with Artificial Intelligence
This panel will cover traditional product liability claims for personal injury and property damage focus on theories that the physical product suffered from a defect or the incident was caused by a failure to warn. This panel will discuss how connected products utilizing artificial intelligence can be used to manage traditional product liability risk during the design, manufacture, sale, and use of the product. However, this new technology also creates new risks as products offer more and more post sale services, features, and enhanced functionality. Topics for discussion include the current state of the art and future capabilities, the regulatory environment, the emerging standard of care, insurability for these new types of claims, and strategies for defending claims that are based primarily on data and software, not the physical or mechanical features (or failings) of the product.
George Wray, Borden Ladner Gervais LLP, Toronto, Canada
Tina Georgieva, Waymo, New York, NY
Lisa McCraw, Deere & Company, Moline, IL
Merton Howard, Hanson Bridgett LLP, San Francisco, CA
||Quick Hit – Lessons Learned from Losing a Multi-Million Dollar Product Liability Case as Outside Counsel
Phillipa Ellis, Home Depot, Atlanta, GA
||Navigating the Pitfalls of Virtual Hearings and Court Appearances
The pandemic forced judges and lawyers across the country to incorporate technology into their daily lives. As the civil justice system continues to recover, questions have arisen about the role remote proceedings should play going forward. Should we expect to return to "normal," or will virtual hearings and trials continue in some form? Assuming they continue, how can lawyers best prepare for them and avoid any pitfalls? This panel will cover these topics and more, primarily from the judicial perspective.
Todd Smith, Butler Snow, Austin, TX
Justice Brett Busby, Texas Supreme Court, Austin, TX
Federal Magistrate Judge Dustin Howell, Western District of Texas, Austin, TX
Judge Roy Ferguson, 349th Texas Judicial District Court, Alpine, TX
||Post-Pandemic Juries – How Things Have Changed
As court systems have reopen across the country, and the backlog of jury trials loosens, under-standing how juror views have changed during the pandemic will be critically important to trial lawyers and clients. The disruption caused by the pandemic has dramatically altered how jurors think about issues like government oversight, personal and corporate responsibility, risk, fairness and other concepts central to juror deliberations and rendering a verdict. This presentation will cover new research data on changed juror attitudes across the country in the time of the pandemic. Our panelists will discuss the practical impact of this research on jury selection strategies, with a particular emphasis on cases involving financial services, technology and life sciences companies.
Dr. Rachel York Colangelo, Magna Legal Services, Alexandria, VA
Kristine Campbell, U-Haul, Phoenix, AZ
Imoh Akpan, Goldberg Segalla, Baltimore, MD
Premier Networking Reception | Bull & Bowl Austin
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Friday, February 3, 2022
||Registration and Coffee Service
||Meetings of Specialized Litigation Groups (SLG) Session 2
For more details, click on the "SLG Session 2" tab.
||Meetings of Specialized Litigation Groups (SLG) Session 3
For more details, click on the "SLG Session 3" tab.
SLG Session 1 (Wednesday 1:00–3:00 p.m.)
Food Law and Consumer Goods & Office Equipment (Joint Session)
Chair | Shannon Nessier, Hanson Bridgett, San Francisco, CA
Vice Chair | S. Michael Gentine, Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C.
Food Safety: It's Not Just a Gut Feeling
Join this session to gain a foundational understanding of disease-causing microorganisms and pathogens, including the top 5 pathogens that cause food illnesses. The speakers will discuss the main types of foodborne illnesses and the best methods of preventing them. In addition to the science behind these issues, the speakers will share the legal perspectives of food safety issues and risk transfer as they relate to food safety – a topic for every part of the food supply chain!
Dr. Allison Stock, J.S. Held, New Orleans, LA
Jonathan Toren, Cozen O'Connor, Seattle, WA
Consumer Goods & Office Equipment
Chair | Katie Fillmore, Duane Morris, Austin, TX
Vice Chair | Ike Messmore, Nelson Mullins, Minneapolis, MN
Crossing the Line: Managing Cross-Border Reporting and Product Recalls
With the global market reality, recalls aren’t just in your jurisdiction, or even your country! This panel will first speak to issues with reporting on product issues that cross borders, and how to factor that into how you advise your clients on reporting practices. Then, the speakers will focus on the approaches to, and logistics involved in, conducting a cross-border recall. Make sure you can advise your clients, from major retailers to mom-and-pop shops innocently shipping across the border, on how to best manage issues as they arise in real time.
Sarah-Jane Dobson, Kennedys Law, London, England
S. Michael Gentine, Arnold & Porter, Washington, D.C.
Scaffolds, Cranes & Aerial Devices and ACMIE (Joint Session)
Scaffolds, Cranes & Aerial Devices
Chair | Kathleen Ingram Carrington, Butler Snow, Nashville, TN
Vice Chair | Brandon Meyers, McCoy Leavitt Laskey LLC, Albuquerque, NM
Optional Safety Features and the Power of Comparative Fault
How do you defend a case alleging your product lacked an optional safety feature? This presentation will provide strategies on how to defend these cases. Hear from experts in the field on how to use scientific evaluation to determine whether the optional safety feature would have prevented the accident.
Tim Freeman, Tanenbaum Keale, Newark, NJ
Rachel Kelly, Exponent, Philadelphia, PA
Kirk Ney, Ney Forensic Science LLC, Waterloo, IA
Chair | Kristen E. Dennison, Littleton Park Joyce Ughetta & Park, Philadelphia, PA, ON
Vice Chair | Patrick Edwards, Stinson, Wichita, KS
MEWP Operator Training Certification Programs and Other Training Issues
What do you do when operators of aerial devices are “certified,” but the certification program did not meet the ANSI requirements? Learn which online programs meet ANSI requirements and which do not, and what to look for or ask when an operator claims to be certified. Hear from the Chairman of the A92.22 Safe Use of MEWPs Sub-committee regarding his thoughts and advice.
Paul Guthorn, Vollmer Gray, Signal Hill, CA
Tony Groat, Anthony W. Groat and International Powered Access Federation (IPAF), Schenectady, NY
Recreational Products and Power & Hand Tools (Joint Session)
Chair | Jared Hawk, Saul Ewing Arnstein & Lehr, Pittsburgh, PA
Vice Chair | Christopher Jackson, Dinsmore, Lexington, KY
What Experts Want Their Lawyers to Know
A discussion of issues such as ways lawyers can assist their experts better, dealing with experts in the new normal of COVID-19, remote inspections, drafting of reports, testimony preparation, and much more,
Matthew Kulik, Hino Motors, Novi, MI
Doulas Morr, S-E-A Limited, Columbus, OH
Steven Hall, Rimkus, Ann Arbor, MI
Farheen Khan, Rimkus, Dallas, TX
Power & Hand Tools
Chair | Suzanne Galvin, Thompson Coburn, St. Louis, MO
Vice Chair | Andrei Pascu, McMillan LLP, Montreal, Canada
Dealing with Foreign National Witnesses
A discussion of issues relevant when witnesses are foreign nationals, especially when serving as corporate representatives – preparing such witnesses to testify, explaining the U.S. legal system, and concerns about expert opinions vs. lay testimony.
Stefanie Holland, Cassels, Toronto, Canada
Young Lawyers Breakout
Chair | Pamela Kaplan, Tanenbaum Keale LLP, Newark, NJ
Vice Chair | Xan Ingram Flowers, Butler Snow, Birmingham, AL
Distinguishing Yourself as Junior Attorney: The In-House Counsel’s Perspective
Beyond Work-Product: Delivering quality work product and doing so on time are merely the table stakes to distinguishing yourself as a young attorney. What else can young attorneys do to set themselves apart? This discussion includes important “Dos and Don’ts” from an in-house perspective, and the right way to communicate with in-house counsel.
Matt Bown, Hermes, Netburn, O’Connor & Spearing, P.C., Boston, MA
Mariah Jacobsen, Northern Tool & Equipment Company, Northfield, MN
Treatment of Software as a Product
This presentation will discuss the evolution and split of authority in the treatment of software as a “product” for purposes of product liability litigation (discussion and interpretation of this has been taking place in the Courts for many years now with inconsistent results). It will also cover the implications of this in terms of liability (for example, if a product would be subject to strict liability and other traditional product claims/defenses). Additionally, it will discuss thoughts about where this space may go in the future (particularly as more and more products integrate software into the product itself, which blurs the traditional notions of “software”).
Hilary Johnson, Crowell & Moring, Washington D.C.
Trends in Voir Dire Post-COVID-19, and What Young Lawyers can do to Add Value During this Process
Panelists will discuss the post-COVID-19 juror, trends in jury verdicts, and what it means to try cases in the post-COVID-19 era. There will be a specific focus on the role of young lawyers in this process.
Alexandria Layton, Evans Fears & Schuttert, Las Vegas, NV
SLG Session 2 (Friday 8:00–10:00 a.m.)
Digital Evidence & Emerging Technologies and Trial Techniques (Joint Session)
Digital Evidence & Emerging Technologies
Chair | James M. Dedman, IV, Gallivan, White & Boyd, Charlotte, NC
Vice Chair | Matthew D. Gurbach, Bricker & Eckler, Cleveland, OH
Marketing Chair |R. Andrew Walden, Womble Bond Dickinson, LLP, Charleston, SC
Can We Trust What We See? - Deep Fakes and the Manipulation of Digital Evidence Using Crafty Edits, Artificial Intelligence, Selective Omission, and Good Ole’ Fashion Fabrication
A picture may not be worth a thousand words. Specifically, if the picture is altered, manipulated, or faked. During this session, we will explore the tactical and practical considerations for practitioners and companies relating to alteration of digital evidence such as photographs and videos.
Matthew Gurbach, Bricker & Eckler LLP, Cleveland, OH
Casey S. Erick, Cowles Thompson, Dallas, TX
Collin Warren, Fisher Phillips, Houston, TX
Don Vilfer, Digital Evidence Ventures, Roseville, CA
Chair | Jeffrey C. Warren, Bowman & Brooke, Phoenix, AZ
Vice Chair | Tom Bazemore, Huie, Birmingham, AL
Preserving Issues for Appeal: Common Trial Lawyer Errors and Strategies for Preventing Them
Michael Eady, Thompson, Coe, Cousins & Irons, LLP, Austin, TX
Raffi Melkonian, Wright Close & Barger, Houston, TX
Fire Science & Litigation and Building Products (Joint Session)
Fire Science & Litigation
Chair | Andrew E. Stead, McMillan, Calgary, Canada
Vice Chair | Allison Waase, Kaufman Borgeest & Ryan, LLP, Westchester, NY
How to Best Challenge Fire Cause-and-Origin Opinions Under NFPA 921
NFPA 921 is the preeminent guide for fire investigations and is referenced in a majority of court decisions involving Daubert challenges to fire cause-and-origin opinions. Despite its acceptance among fire investigators and courts across the country, courts refuse to elevate it to the standard for reliability under the Rules of Evidence. This creates a predicament for litigators who challenge fire investigators’ cause-and-origin opinions because the case law is unclear about how closely an expert needs to follow NFPA 921’s methodology to support reliable opinions. This presentation will provide an in-depth discussion of these and related issues.
Haley A. Johnston, Frost Brown Todd, Indianapolis, IN
Nora Bloom, Navistar, Lisle, IL
Amy E. Gray, ESI, Miami, FL
Chair | Rachel Cooper, McMillan, Toronto, Canada
Vice Chair | Lindsay Zanello, Dechert LLP, New York, New York
Exploring ventilation systems, airborne diseases, and associated liability/contracts/new building products, and reflecting on the pivots and forward-thinking changes that came from COVID-19-learned lessons.
Ian Botnick, Johnson Controls, Inc., Naperville, Illinois
Marty Upchurch, S-E-A, Fishers, Indiana
Children’s Products & Manufacturers’ Risk (Joint Session)
Chair | Rachel Remke, Arent Fox Schiff, Chicago, IL
Vice Chair | Mitchell W. Taraschi, Connell Foley, Roseland, NJ
California’s Gender-Neutral Toy Law
California passed a law that requires that large stores have a “gender-neutral” section to display a “reasonable selection” of gender-neutral. This presentation will provide an overview of the law and its requirements, a discussion of whether the law only applies to “childcare items,” and a conversation regarding whether this law suggests a larger trend toward these types of requirements on manufacturers of all products, not just childcare items.
Lauren Aguilar, Serlin Haley, Sacramento, CA
Andy Hackman, Serlin Haley, Washington, D.C.
Chair | Jason R. Gagnon, Carmody Law, Waterbury, CT
Vice Chair | Denis F. Alia, Cetrulo, LLP, Boston MA
Direct to Consumer Marketing and Counterfeit Products
The pandemic forced many manufacturers of products traditionally sold through authorized retailers to market directly to consumers … examples include higher-end bicycles, e-bikes, e-scooters etc. What are the pitfalls/benefits of this decision? Are there products that are too complicated/dangerous to fit this model? What are best practices for warnings/instructions for these types of products? This presentation will discuss these questions and include a discussion of the Discuss INFORM/Safe Shop, product liability risk related to counterfeit products, and the best ways to identify and combat counterfeit products.
Jeremy D. Richardson, Freeborn & Peters, LLP, New York, NY
CPSC Unilateral Releases
What are the trends in the industry with CPSC use of unilateral releases, best practices for dealing with a unilateral release and best practices for minimizing use as evidence in products liability cases? This presentation will explore these questions and more.
Hon. Ann Marie Buerkle, Williams and Jensen, PLLC, Washington, D.C.
SLG Session 3 (Friday 10:30 a.m.–12:30 p.m.)
Automotive and Biomechanics & Injury Causation (Joint Session)
Chair | Elizabeth L. Moyo, Porter Wright, Columbus, OH
Vice Chair | Natalie J. Eschbach, Litchfield Cavo, Chicago, IL
Don’t Forget your Biomechanics Expert can Help the Jury Understand the Medical Aspects of your Case
Understanding the extent of how a biomechanical engineer may help you with the medical aspects of your case during discovery and at trial. During discovery, a biomechanical engineer can help you know what to ask for and interpret the medical records that you receive. At trial, a biomechanical engineer may be able to offer medical opinions.
Lisa Gwin, Biodynamic Research Corporation, San Antonio, TX
Edward C. Stewart, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell, LLP, Denver, CO
Biomechanics & Injury Causation
Chair | John W. Halpin, Laffey, Leitner & Goode, LLC, Milwaukee, WI
Vice Chair | Megan E. Cook, Teague Campbell, Asheville, NC
In-House Experts: How to Identify and Use Them
In-house and outside counsel will speak to how they have identified, developed, and used in-house experts. The presentation will include a lively discussion on why use an in-house expert instead of a third-party expert, how to train an in-house expert, whether you should provide a report from the in-house expert and whether the in-house expert can also serve as your 30(b)(6) witness.
William E. McDonald, III, Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, Troy, MI
Konrad Pilatowicz, U-Haul International, Inc., Phoenix, AZ
Reed Cochran Darsey, Stellantis, Auburn Hills, MI
Matt King, IMMI, Westfield, IN
James R. Chinni, P.E., Engineering Answers, LLC, Noblesville, IN
Volker Hildebrand, Continental Tire the Americas, LLC, Fort Mill, SC
Aviation and Aerospace
Chair | Brad Brown, Jackson Walker, Dallas, TX
Vice Chair | Conor A. McLaughlin, Thompson Hines, Cleveland, OH
Overview of Product Liability Issues Relating to Current 3-D Printing Technologies
Hear an exciting panel discussion about emerging aviation issues involving 3-D printing technologies, artificial intelligence and autonomous vehicles. Learn about how these issues are developing in litigation matters and are affecting product liability risks, as well as the legal considerations for the use of the different technologies. The panel will discuss recent case law addressing these subjects and their potential impact on established product liability law.
Bridget McGraw, GE Aviation, Cincinnati, OH
Daniel Ridlon, Perkins Coie LLP, Seattle, WA
Mass Torts & Class Actions and Chemical & Toxic Tort (Joint Session)
Mass Torts & Class Actions
Chair | Mary Delli Quadri, Gascon, Montreal, Canada
Vice Chair | Maude Lafortune Belair, Lavery, Montreal, Canada
Opioid Litigation and Defenses – A Comparison
This presentation addresses the types of opioid actions proceeding in Canada including some of the tort claims that are being advanced, such as public nuisance claims, as well as lessons that can be learnt from the Tobacco litigation in Canada and lessons from the settlements arrived at to date. On each of these topics, this presentation will highlight differences or similarities with the opioid litigation in the US.
Myriam Brixi, Lavery, Montreal, Canada
Kelsey Sherriff, Miller Thomson, Vancouver, Canada
Chemical & Toxic Tort
Chair | Luis A. Leitzelar, Bienvenu, Bonnecaze, Foco & Viator, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA
Vice Chair | George R. Wray, BLG, Toronto, Canada
Comprehensive Practice Update
This dynamic panel will provide an informative look at the current state of e-discovery obligations and costs for litigants, as well as personal jurisdiction and its impact on chemical and toxic tort litigation. The panelists will also discuss their insights on issues surrounding equitable imposition of successor liability, and a review of developments in “popcorn” litigation.
April Byrd, Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellott, Philadelphia, PA
Luis A. Leitzelar, Bienvenu, Bonnecaze, Foco & Viator, LLC, Baton Rouge, LA