2023 DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Seminar

April 26–28, 2023 | New Orleans, Louisiana

Barrels of Toxic Waste

Join Us in New Orleans for Three Days of Education, Business Development Opportunities, and More!

The nation’s best conference for toxic tort and environmental practitioners is making its long-awaited appearance in the Big Easy, with best-in-class CLE, enhanced networking opportunities, and new ways to connect with your colleagues in a setting unlike anywhere else. Explore New Orleans with networking events that offer something for everyone and earn CLE from top industry leaders and practitioners. Plus, the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival kicks off on April 28 – come for the seminar and stay for a weekend of world class music and celebration.  This is the seminar you will not want to miss!

View registration information here.

What You Will Learn:

  • Judicial perspectives on managing mass tort and MDL settlements.
  • Cutting-edge toxic tort issues including major developments in talc and ethylene oxide litigation.
  • The impact of the major Supreme Court decision in West Va. v. EPA on environmental and administrative law.
  • The latest developments in ongoing asbestos, silica, and benzene litigations.
  • Valuable guidance from in-house counsel on effective early case assessment.

Expand Your Network By:

  • Participating in a  variety of small group networking events, such as walking tours, a hands-on service project, and morning strolls. Your options for making lasting connections with your colleagues have never been better!
  • Attending a  Diversity and Inclusion Luncheon that includes a dynamic speaker and is open to all attendees.
  • Taking part in our inaugural Thursday Night networking event on the Creole Queen Paddlewheeler.

Panel Counsel Meetings with Major Companies
Take advantage of the opportunity to engage with key industry companies* including:

  • BASF Corporation
  • Sherwin-Williams

*Subject to change

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

Roy Prather
Roy D. Prather III
Program Chair,
Committee Vice Chair
Elizabeth M. Sorenson Brotten
Elizabeth M. Sorenson Brotten
Program Vice Chair
Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Jennifer L. Dlugosz
Committee Chair
Jaime W. Luse
Jaime Walker Luse
Law Institute

Join the Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee

Registration Information

Register Now

  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).

Networking Events

Premier Networking Reception | Creole Queen
Sponsored by: Beveridge & Diamond PC, Carlton Fields, Husch Blackwell LLP, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC, King & Spalding, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Robinson + Cole LLP

Date: Thursday, April 27 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: Creole Queen, 1 Poydras St., New Orleans, LA

Join the Intellectual Property; Commercial Litigation; Life, Health, and Disability; Toxic Torts and Environmental Law committees for a networking event as we savor a taste of New Orleans aboard the Paddlewheeler Creole Queen! Even though the Creole Queen would have been right at home among the steamboats of 1850's New Orleans, passengers of that era could never have conceived of a paddlewheeler with her luxury, comfort, and safety.

Please note the boat will stay dockside for continuous boarding and will offer light appetizers and beverages. The entrance to the Creole Queen is at the Poydras Street dock at Spanish Plaza, located behind the Hilton New Orleans Riverside Hotel.

Agenda with Speakers

*Schedule and Speakers subject to change

Wednesday, April 26, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
2:00 p.m. Registration
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.

6:00 p.m. Networking/Cocktail Hour

7:30 p.m. Dine-Arounds

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

Thursday, April 27, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
8:00 a.m. Registration
8:30 a.m. Coffee & Conversations

The early bird gets the most out of this networking session. Get to know the early risers in our group over a cup of coffee. Rise, shine, caffeinate and connect!
9:00 a.m. Welcome and Introductions

Jaime W. Luse, Tydings & Rosenberg LLP, Baltimore, MD
Roy D. Prather III, Beveridge & Diamond, P.C. Baltimore, MD

9:15 a.m. Mass Tort Litigation and MDL Settlements: A Judicial Perspective

Join a discussion with two esteemed judges in the federal court for the Eastern District of Louisiana to learn their views on effective management of settlements in mass tort and MDL cases.

Hon. Carl J. Barbier, U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Hon. Eldon E. Fallon, U.S. District Judge, U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana, New Orleans, LA
Edward Trapolin, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC, New Orleans, LA
10:15 a.m. Coffee Break

10:30 a.m. West Virginia v. EPA: A Constitutional Sea Change in Agency Regulation?

U.S. Supreme Court consideration of what we now call “the administrative state” essentially began in the 1920s – nearly 100 years ago. This panel will explore the separation of powers questions underlying the legitimacy of the administrative state. The panel will also discuss whether West Virginia v. EPA and other opinions of the last couple of decades may have swung the tide in the direction of diminished authority of federal agencies to engage in legislative rule making.

James K. Vines (ret.), King & Spalding LLP, Atlanta, GA
Suzanne Wilson, H-E-B, San Antonio, TX

11:30 a.m. The Evolution and Expansion of Talc Litigation

With the bankruptcy filings by Johnson & Johnson, Imerys, Cyprus Mines, and Revlon, what will the impact be on suppliers, retailers, and manufacturers of talc containing products? Our panel of experienced lawyers and experts in talc litigation explore the theories and future of this litigation.

Rick Norris, Husch Blackwell LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Jennifer Pierce, MS, PhD, Benchmark Risk Group, Chicago, IL
Manuel F. Cachan, Proskauer Rose LLP, Los Angeles, CA
Erika Muse, London Fischer, New York, NY

12:30 p.m. DRI Networking Lunch

This is a can’t miss event! Join us as we welcome the Honorable Nannette Jolivette Brown, Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Louisiana. Judge Brown will discuss changes made at all levels of the courthouse to ensure that the public enters the doors to a welcoming and inclusive environment. All are welcome! So, grab a colleague (or two) and walk on over for the on-site lunch, networking opportunity and keynote presentation. We look forward to seeing you there!

1:30 p.m. Mass Tort Litigation Quick Hits

Experienced practitioners with many years of toxic tort experience will provide 30-minute to learn the latest updates regarding the decades-long litigations involving asbestos, benzene, and the East Palestine train derailment.

Shelley Napolitano, Foley & Mansfield, New Orleans, LA

Larry J. Chilton, Chilton Yambert Porter LLP, Chicago, IL

The East Palestine Derailment as it Unfolds
William J. Hubbard, Thompson Hine LLP, Cleveland, OH

3:00 p.m. Ethylene Oxide: A New Toxic Tort Battleground?

EPA has forged ahead with an aggressive agenda to further regulate ethylene oxide using a controversial risk value that remains in dispute. Meanwhile, a growing list of over 700 ethylene oxide personal injury and medical monitoring suits are pending in courts across the US, including Illinois, Georgia, Louisiana, Pennsylvania, and New Mexico. Hear from scientific, regulatory, and litigation experts on how we’ve reached this point and the implications in significant toxic tort litigations.

Madeleine Boyer, Beveridge & Diamond P.C., Austin, TX
Kara L. McCall, Sidley Austin LLP, Chicago, IL
Robyn Prueitt, PhD, Principal Scientist, Gradient, Seattle, WA

3:30 p.m. Small Group Networking Opportunities

Sign up for various options and start building your connections and developing relationships! Details to come, but sure to include some of the following:
 1. DRI Cares (Click here for more details)

DRI Cares (Part of Small Networking Events)

Network for a great cause – join your colleagues in an engaging and interactive service project to aid Hands-On New Orleans, preparing kits for needy individuals in New Orleans. The event will be held on-site.
Click here for more details
6:00 p.m. Premier Networking Reception | Creole Queen
Sponsored by: Beveridge & Diamond PC, Carlton Fields, Husch Blackwell LLP, Irwin Fritchie Urquhart Moore & Daniels LLC, King & Spalding, Ogletree Deakins Nash Smoak & Stewart PC, Robinson + Cole LLP

Click here for details.

Friday, April 28, 2023

Time (Central) Program Location
8:00 a.m. Registration and Coffee Service
8:00 a.m. DRI for Life Event

More details to come.

9:00 a.m. Welcome and Announcements

Elizabeth M. Sorenson Brotten, Foley & Mansfield, Minneapolis, MN
9:10 a.m. PFAScination Continues…

Technical and legal experts share the recent updates regarding the latest science on PFAS and the current regulatory landscape, as well as key cases and the best their crystal ball has to offer on what’s next.

Adam Baas, DLA Piper, San Francisco, CA
Rula Deeb, PhD, Geosyntec, Pasadena, CA
10:10 a.m. Coffee Break
10:25 a.m. An In-House Perspective: How Outside Counsel can Add Value

In-house counsel rely on the litigation and regulatory expertise of their outside counsel. This panel of in-house lawyers will discuss the habits and practices of outside counsel that convert outside counsel from not only subject matter experts but to invaluable trusted advisors.

Spencer A. Hill, Jr., Offit Kurman, Philadelphia, PA

Gregory V. Jolivette, Jr., The Sherwin-Williams Company, Cleveland, OH
Jonathan Harper, BASF Corporation, Florham Park, NJ
Charlie Price, Eaton Corporation, Cleveland, OH
11:25 a.m. The Value of Diversity Taking the Lead (Diversity and Ethics)

Diandra Debrosse recently became the first black woman appointed as plaintiffs’ co-lead counsel in a multi-district litigation. She will share her experience navigating that process and the important value added when diversity informs the leadership for counsel on either side of the v.

Diandra Debrosse, Dicello Levitt, Birmingham, AL

12:25 p.m. Adjourn
1:00 p.m. Luncheon for Young Lawyers Attending the Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Seminar

Young lawyers attending the Toxic Torts & Environmental Law Seminar are invited to attend the Young Lawyers Luncheon. This event provides young lawyers with the opportunity to dine with pioneers of the field and network with other young lawyers.

The luncheon will take place at Antoine’s on April 28th at 1:00 p.m. Attendance is limited to the first 20 attendees. Pre-registration is encouraged. Please email Kelly Calder Mowen (kelly.mowen@om-pllc.com) and Brianna Bailey (brianna.bailey@cs-law.com) with your RSVP.

Headquarters Hotel Information

The DRI room block at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside is now sold out on select dates. Please use the link below to reserve a room outside of the DRI block at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside or an available nearby hotel.

Find a Nearby Hotel and Reserve Your Room

CLE Information

Earn up to 8.00 hours of continuing legal education hours (CLE), including one (1) hour of Ethics from this seminar.

Toxic Torts CLE by State


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

Barnes & Thornburg LLP Beveridge & Diamond
Burr Forman LLP Results Matter
Campbell Trial Lawyers Exponent logo FM Foley & Mansfield Geosyntec Consultants Husch Blackwell Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC Counselors at Law
Jenner & Block logo
King & Spalding Lightfoot LMI Litigation Management Inc
OM Orndorff Mowen
Phelps logo
The Experts Robson Forensic Roux

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

HandsOn New Orleans

HandsOn New Orleans logo

Stop by and help do some good in New Orleans!  We are teaming up with HandsOn New Orleans on Thursday, April 27th to put together hygiene kits to benefit New Orleans’ homeless population. Volunteers are needed—so please join us in helping the community while visiting with friends and colleagues. If you would like to support this great cause, please donate to the DRI Foundation using the link or QR code below. The DRI Foundation will donate the funds to HandsOn New Orleans. We appreciate your support!

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 your DRI Committee 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 – 4 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.

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.