DRI Class Action Seminar Continues

A highlight of the afternoon session was the panel involving "A Wide-Ranging Discussion of Class Actions from the Client’s Perspective."  Hosted by my partner Tim Congrove, doing his best Phil Donahue impersonation, the panel included experienced, articulate in-house counsel. Specifically, the panel brought to the stage Michael G. McQueeney , The Coca-Cola Company, Malini Moorthy , Pfizer Inc., and Laura E. Proctor , LP Building Products.  Each of these highly accomplished in house counsel manages a complex civil litigation docket that includes active proposed class actions, certified classes, settled classes, and/or other aggregate litigation.

The panelists shared class-related issues of importance to them and their companies, including tactics for defending multiple class actions across jurisdictions, addressing no-injury classes, and resolution strategies.  They talked a bit about what they expect from their outside counsel (thank goodness your humble blogger qualified on all accounts), and the important factors they consider in deciding to try a case where a class has been certified.

A particularly interesting part of the discussion was the panel's thoughts on tort reform, civil justice reform, and what to do about the many vacancies currently on the federal courts.

On the last point, Congress passed legislation authorizing additional judgeships in 1990. Since that time the district courts have experienced a 38 percent growth in caseload, but only a 4 percent growth in judgeships. In five especially busy federal districts, the Eastern District of California, the Eastern District of Texas, the Western District of Texas, the District of Arizona, and the District of Delaware, the judges face weighted caseloads that exceed 700 cases per judge. The Judicial Conference recommends a weighted caseload of 430 per judgeship. 

In August the ABA House of Delegates will vote on a proposed resolution supporting enactment of comprehensive legislation to authorize needed permanent and temporary federal judgeships, and urging the President to advance nominees for current vacancies for federal judicial positions promptly and the United States Senate to hear and vote on those nominations expeditiously.


Drug and Device Seminar Approaches

It is spring time -- although you might not know it from the weather -- and it is time for one of the premier educational and networking conferences for the pharmaceutical and medical device defense bar – the DRI Drug and Medical Device Seminar.  Your hosts this year include my partner and Drug and Medical Device Committee Chair Scott Sayler, and my old pal Jeffrey A. Holmstrand, Flaherty Sensabaugh Bonasso PLLC, Wheeling, West Virginia.

The 2013 DRI Drug and Medical Device Seminar  will be held May 16-17 in New York City at the Sheraton Hotel in Midtown. Most of my readers are familiar with the Seminar and many routinely attend. Here are just a few highlights of the program this year.

• Judge Arnold New of the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas will present on recent changes in that busy Court.
•  Judge Raymond Lohier of the Second Circuit will speak at the Diversity Luncheon.
• A presentation on how to get the most from Comment K in a medical device case.
• A discussion of  the conflict between free speech and off-label promotion.

  • Observations from the American Tort Reform Association on tough venues.

Other benefits-  I am told in-house counsel can attend for FREE, either as a member of DRI or via sponsorship by an outside counsel. FREE wi-fi in the conference room (so, yes, you can multi-task and read this blog.)  All of the usual networking events will be in full swing. 

For more information or to register, go to http://www.dri.org/Event/20130070.

DRI Product Liability Seminar

Your humble blogger will be attending the annual DRI Products Liability seminar early next month in Maryland.

DRI is one of the leading organizations of defense attorneys and in-house counsel. Membership in DRI provides access to resources and tools for attorneys who strive to provide high-quality, balanced and excellent service to their clients and corporations. DRI is host to more than 25 substantive committees whose focus is to develop ongoing and critical dialogue about areas of practice.


This seminar from 4/3-5, will include a variety of panels on all things products, including: Using Technology to Pick the Right Jurors featuring fellow Philadelphia-based lawyer Pat Sweeney;  Navigating the CPSC: Advice from the Trenches on databases, investigations, reporting, and recalls, led my old pal John F. Kuppens; and Crisis Management and Recall Planning:
Complying with Governmental Oversight; and an interesting talk on Ethical Lessons from Lincoln, how the life and writings of “Honest Abe” provide meaningful lessons on professionalism
and ethics for lawyers today.


DRI Product Liability Conference Wraps Up Today

The DRI Product Liability Seminar winds up today, with scheduled highlights including a presentation on the implications of Nicastro and Goodyear on future product liability litigation.  Readers know this is a topic of great interest at MassTortDefense, which we have posted on before a couple times.

Yesterday's highlights included discussions of the Third Restatement, and in-house counsel had a separate session on blogging.  Not the kind we do here, but the issues relating to corporate employees or the marketing department getting engaged in blogging relating to product promotion, building brand goodwill, and responding to customer questions or issues raised in the blogosphere.

Your humble author attended the session focused on Chemical and Toxic Torts, which featured an interesting presentation from Scott Scarpelli, Esq., of The Dow Chemical Company.  This veteran in-house litigator shared his perspective on the most vexing causation questions that arise in chemical-based litigation.


DRI Product Liability Conference Underway

This week I am attending the DRI Product Liability seminar.  Yesterday's highlights included a keynote address by Hon. Anne Northup, Commissioner of the Consumer Product Safety Commission.  Her remarks covered "The Past, Present, and Future of the CPSC."  She brings an interesting perspective, having formerly been a member of Congress.  As a mother of 6 kids and grandmother of 8, she feels well qualified to understand the use and abuse of children's products in particular. She emphasized that consumers value choice, a vibrant market, innovation and competition-- things that over-regulation can suppress.  She pointed to the onerous third-party testing requirements and record-keeping burdens in many of the recent CPSC rules.  She was cautiously optimistic that the continuing tough economy has given the majority Democrats on the CPSC some pause, as well as pointing to H.R. 2715 in which Congress told the Commission to simplify the burden of certification regulations.

I spoke at the session of the Mass Torts & Class Actions subcommittee, chaired by Glenn Kerner, on the topic of Medical Monitoring.  I tried to give the group some strategies to think about; e.g., recent federal cases have confirmed that the clarified pleading requirements of Twombly/Iqbal do apply to medical monitoring claims. E.g., Hagy v. Equitable Production Co., 2011 WL 1627920 (S.D. W.Va. April 28, 2011). That court dismissed the medical monitoring claim because plaintiff failed to allege sufficient specific facts showing the substance was hazardous, plaintiffs’ risk of future injury was a proximate result of the exposure, monitoring was reasonably necessary due to the increased risk, or that effective monitoring procedures exist. See also Bourgeois v. Exxon Mobil Corp., 2011 WL 6130767 (E.D.La. Dec.8, 2011).  I also touched on Jonathan Hirsch, et al. v. CSX Transportation Inc., 656 F.3d 359 (6th Cir. 2011), and its treatment of the exposure and risk elements of a medical monitoring theory.

Courts typically require that the prescribed monitoring regime is different from that normally recommended in the absence of exposure. One recent case exploring this notion which I pointed out  is In re Avandia Marketing, 2011 WL 4006639 (E.D.Pa. Sept. 7, 2011). In this class action involving the diabetes drug, the medical monitoring claim was denied because plaintiff failed to allege specific facts showing what medical monitoring would actually be needed because of exposure to the drug that would not already be recommended for some plaintiffs living with Type 2 Diabetes who did not take the drug.

Finally, I focused on Gates v. Rohm & Haas Co., 655 F.3d 255 (3d Cir. 2011), in which Third Circuit said it would "question whether the kind of medical monitoring sought here can be certified under Rule 23(b)(2)." If the plaintiffs prevailed, class members' regimes of medical screenings and the corresponding cost would vary individual by individual. A single injunction or declaratory judgment would seem to not be able to provide relief to each member of the class proposed in this case. Rule 23(b)(2) “does not authorize class certification when each class member would be entitled to an individualized award of monetary damages.” Wal-Mart, 131 S. Ct. at 2557.

Products Liability Seminar Worth a Look

I am pleased to announce that I will be speaking at the upcoming DRI Product Liability Conference taking place April 11-13, 2012 in Las Vegas, Nevada.

I’ll be speaking on Wednesday afternoon, April 11th, as part of the session of the Mass Torts & Class Actions subcommittee.  The topic is Medical Monitoring. 

The conference will include many distinguished speakers, preeminent attorneys, and in-house counsel, discussing the current state of products liability law.  As if the excellent educational programs weren’t enough, this Products Liability conference provides a fantastic opportunity to network with hundreds of colleagues from across the country, both during the scheduled receptions and at informal evening social venues.

Brochure attached here. Registration here.

I look forward to seeing many of my faithful readers in Las Vegas.

Amicus Urges Supreme Court to Reverse Causation Junk Science Decision

DRI (the Defense Research Institute) last week submitted an amicus brief urging the Supreme Court to review a federal appeals court decision that threatens to undermine the gatekeeper role of the trial courts on expert testimony. United States Steel Corp. v. Milward v. Acuity Specialty Products Group Inc., No. 11-316 ( U.S., amicus petition filed 10/12/2011).

Most of our readers know that DRI is an international organization that includes more than 23,000 attorneys involved in the defense of civil litigation.  DRI has long been a voice in the ongoing effort to make the civil justice system more fair, efficient, and—where national issues are involved—consistent. (Your humble blogger is a member.)

In this case, the plaintiff alleged that he contracted a rare form of cancer, acute promyelocytic leukemia (APL), through exposure to benzene or benzene contaminants. The plaintiff’s expert acknowledged that science has not determined what causes or can cause APL, but opined that, based on his own "judgment," the "weight of evidence" supported a conclusion that APL could be caused by benzene exposure. After a four-day hearing, the district court excluded the expert testimony as unreliable under Daubert, and Gen. Elec. Co. v. Joiner, 522 U.S. 136 (1997)(district courts need to exclude proof that is connected to the data only by the ipse dixit of an expert), finding that it amounted to no more than a plausible hypothesis. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the First Circuit reversed and reinstated the case, holding that it was an abuse discretion to exclude this evidence as to possible causation.

The First Circuit in this case appeared to think that district courts not only may but must admit speculative expert testimony that rests on nothing more than the expert’s subjective judgment that an untested hypothesis is supported by the “weight of the evidence.”  That decision conflicts with Supreme Court guidance and with the decisions of other circuits holding that expert testimony is admissible only when it rests on a reliable scientific foundation, and that a district court is not required to accept an expert’s ipse dixit but must instead carefully examine the methods and data underlying the expert’s opinion to ensure that the expert has reliably applied valid scientific principles. Without such an inquiry, the “gatekeeper” function the Federal Rules of Evidence envision for the district court judge becomes meaningless.

DRI correctly points out that the weight-of-the-evidence methodology the court of appeals endorsed does not satisfy the criteria Daubert adopted for assessing the reliability of expert testimony. It is neither testable nor falsifiable; it is not governed by any objective standards; and it has not been generally accepted by the scientific community as a means to assess medical causation absent an observed association between the substance and disease at issue. The fact that some regulatory agencies use an arguably similar, lower bar, methodology to assess risks to public health based on the available data does not mean that it yields “scientific knowledge” admissible under the very different standards governing a court proceeding.

Moreover, the district court’s essential gate-keeping role is particularly important on the issue of medical causation. That issue is often dispositive in toxic tort and product liability cases, which can involve enormous stakes not only for the parties, but also for the national economy. The lay jurors who decide these complicated issues are likely to be greatly influenced by testimony that appears to be scientific in nature coming from a witness whom the court has admitted as an "expert." The decision by the First Circuit undermines the critical screening function district courts perform to prevent juries from being misled by speculation masquerading as scientific knowledge.


DRI Class Action Seminar Worth A Look

This year's United States Supreme Court term promises to be a blockbuster for class action law. By the end of June, the Court will have released three important opinions in the class action arena, including Wal-Mart v. Dukes, Smith v. Bayer Corporation, and AT&T Mobility v. Concepcion -- just out in a 5-4 decision that holds that the FAA preempts state-law rules that stand as an obstacle to the accomplishment of the FAA's objectives, requiring the individual cases involved to be arbitrated as opposed to a class-wide arbitration.

DRI has put together a timely class action seminar for July 21-22 in Washington, D.C.

The seminar will bring together counsel of record from these Supreme Court cases, along with federal appellate judges and renowned class action specialists to address these and other cutting-edge issues of class action law. If you practice in the fields of complex litigation, mass torts or class actions, you will want to check out this outstanding seminar.

More info here.


Seminar Worth Checking Out

A head's up for our readers about an upcoming seminar worth checking out. DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Committee will hold its 27th annual Seminar on May 5-6, 2011 at the Sheraton Hotel and Towers in Chicago, Illinois. 


The Seminar offers an outstanding program for practitioners and in-house counsel who practice pharmaceutical and medical device law.  The Seminar features nationally recognized attorneys, both in-house and outside counsel, who will speak on a variety of cutting edge topics relevant to the life sciences industry.  The program offers a variety of presentations including moderated panel discussions, individual presentations from leading practitioners and practical demonstrations of trial skills.  There is also a Young Lawyers Blockbuster session. 


In addition to the outstanding educational opportunities, the Seminar provides great networking opportunities to connect or reconnect with counsel and clients from around the country. Attendees may earn up to 12 hours of CLE, including 1 hour of ethics credit.


More information available here. 


CPSC General Counsel Speaks at DRI

I am attending the DRI Product Liability Conference in New Orleans this week (as I know a number of readers are). Your humble blogger serves as Chair of the Mass Torts and Class Action sub-committee.

At the keynote address, Cheryl Falvey, Esq., General Counsel of the Consumer Product Safety Commission, spoke about an issue we have posted on before, the new incident report database.
With the usual disclaimer that she was not speaking for the CPSC officially, she shared a number of personal insights.

The new database went on line last month, and the first consumer reports were posted last week. It can be viewed through the Commission site with a link to SaferProducts.gov. There is a search function for products or manufacturers names, and it lists any recalls and reports, which can be filtered by date.

She indicated that, like Congress and the bar, the Commission is extremely divided on the new database. She stressed that, per the statutory requirement, there is a disclaimer on the site that: CPSC does not guarantee the accuracy, completeness, or adequacy of the contents of the Publicly Available Consumer Product Safety Information Database on SaferProducts.gov, particularly with respect to information submitted by people outside of CPSC. She admitted, however, that some lawyers may well seek to use the database to argue manufacturers were on notice of something regarding the product.

She noted that anonymous reports to the CPSC are not automatically published, but of course as to the public, every report on the website appears anonymous.

The CPSC believes it is mandated to publish reports of risks of harm as well as actual harm.

The Commission, she says, investigates only about 10% of the reports received; they do not have the budget and resources to investigate every report, let alone investigate reports before they are published. The CPSC is thus "not adjudicating" the product complaints, just posting them.

Products Liability Conference Worth A Look

As you plan your CLE activities for 2011, consider DRI’s Product Liability Conference, to be held at the Hilton New Orleans Riverside, April 6–8, 2011.

This conference promises to provide you with insight from in-house counsel, government attorneys, and experienced practitioners regarding national trends and important recent decisions in the products area. The presentations will also provide creative practice tips and invaluable information that may assist you and your clients. This conference offers unmatched opportunities to keep abreast of current issues, earn CLE credits, and network.

Scheduled speakers include Cheryl A. Falvey, General Counsel for the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission, and Prof. Dane S. Ciolino, Loyola University New Orleans College of Law.

The sub-committee or "Specialized Litigation Group" (SLG) sessions will offer detailed analysis in 18 different practice areas. Your humble blogger is Chair of the Mass Torts & Class Actions SLG.  Our scheduled topics for our session include:

  • Update on Climate Change/Global Warming Litigation
  • Medicare Reporting Requirements for Settling Defendants in Class Actions and Mass Torts
  • Impact of Shady Grove on Class Actions and the Plaintiffs’ Bar Response


DRI Annual Meeting Held

Your humble blogger spent part of last week at the DRI Annual Meeting in SanDiego, CA.  (I serve as Chair of the Mass Tort and Class Action Subcommittee of the Product Liability Committee.)

DRI is the international organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. DRI provides numerous educational and informational resources to DRI members and offers many opportunities for liaison among defense trial lawyers. DRI's goals include: To teach and educate and to improve the skills of the defense law practitioner; to strive for improvement in the civil justice system; to be a counterpoint to the plaintiff's bar and seek balance in the justice system in the minds of potential jurors and on all fields where disputes are resolved; and to assist members in dealing with the economic realities of the defense law practice, including the competitive legal marketplace.

The first day keynote speaker was former Navy SEAL Marcus Luttrell.

He received his Basic Underwater Demolition/SEAL (BUD/S) training in Coronado, California, just down the road from the site of the DRI conference.  He participated in multiple missions in Iraq and Afghanistan.  In 2005, Luttrell and his SEAL Team 10 were assigned to a mission to kill or capture Ahmad Shah, a high-ranking Taliban terrorist leader responsible for multiple killings and atrocities.

Luttrell shared with the defense bar lawyers his harrowing mission, beginning with when his team was accidentally stumbled upon by local goat herders.  They let the herders go as non-combatants, but apparently the herders immediately  told the local Taliban about the team. Within a short time, the four SEALs were engaged in a vicious fire-fight against a force of 100-150 enemy fighters. The SEAL team engaged the Taliban for several hours in a running fire-fight through the hills and valleys of Afghanistan, killing more than half of them.  All of the SEALs continued to fight after being wounded multiple times. Eventually, all of the other team members were killed. Luttrell barely survived after being blown out of a gap in the boulders by an RPG, and rolling down the mountain away from the bulk of the forces.

A helicopter trying to rescue the SEALs was also shot down when it reached the hill on which the battle was raging.

Badly wounded in multiple places, Luttrell managed to crawl seven miles to evade capture, during which he killed several more Taliban.  Eventually, he was  given shelter in a village, whose elders follow the belief that an injured stranger needing shelter must be given it.

Luttrell recounts his ordeal in the New York Times bestseller Lone Survivor: The Eyewitness Account of Operation Redwing and the Lost Heroes of SEAL Team 10.

He told DRI that he doesn't view his appearances as being about "motivational speeches."  But it was clear that the dominant theme was applicable to anyone facing bad odds or tough times or difficult  challenges: don't give up, don't give in; you don't know what you are capable of until you try.

DRI Webinar on FRE 502 Worth a Listen

Readers recognize how the discovery landscape has changed, and not necessarily for the better, with the amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure regarding electronic discovery. We are also coming up on the two-year anniversary of Federal Rule of Evidence 502, intended to address concerns about the disclosure of information protected by the attorney-client privilege or work product doctrine, including inadvertent disclosures.

An interesting upcoming DRI webcast in June will discuss how Rule 502 has impacted discovery strategy, document review, and document disclosures, with a focus on the production of documents in the electronic age. The speakers will also discuss how courts have addressed the new rule, how those cases impact your mass tort and complex litigation practice, and how to advise your clients on these issues.

Check out the brochure.

Upcoming Drug and Medical Device Seminar

DRI’s Drug and Medical Device Committee will hold its 26th annual Seminar on May 20-21, 2010, at the San Francisco Marriott, in San Francisco, California.

The Seminar is one of the best of its kind, highly useful to practitioners who represent pharmaceutical and/or medical device manufacturers. This year's Seminar will feature a number of nationally recognized attorneys, both in-house and outside counsel, who will address cutting-edge topics that are relevant to all who practice in this area, whether they are associates, lead trial counsel, or in-house counsel.

This year’s program will offer a mixture of presentations, such as trial skills demonstrations, panel discussions, and individual presentations from leaders in their practice areas. In addition to the outstanding program, there will be numerous networking opportunities, including the annual Young Lawyers Blockbuster. 

See the Seminar Brochure to register or to learn additional information. The advanced registration deadline is April 30, 2010.

Upcoming DRI Product Liability Seminar

Well, it may be too late to switch Northern Iowa for Kansas in your office pool (for amusement purposes only), but it is not too late to sign up to attend the 2010 DRI Product Liability Conference, "The Masters of Product Liability Litigation."

The conference will be held at the fabulous Venetian in Las Vegas on April 7-9, 2010. As always, this annual meeting offers premier educational and networking opportunities.

In addition to the general sessions, the various sub-committees, including the Mass Torts & Class Action group chaired by your humble blogger, will host breakout workshops focusing on topics particular to their practice areas.

Our breakout will include insights from two experienced in-house counsel, Matt Flesher, Assistant General Counsel of Cessna Aircraft Company, and Andy Rudd, General Counsel for the Home and Family Group of Newell Rubbermaid, a group that includes Graco Children’s Products, Calphalon Corporation, Goody Products, Levolor window coverings, and Rubbermaid consumer products. 

If interested, please check out the info here.

Product Liability Seminar Offers Topical Mass Tort Session

We have posted before about the 2010 DRI Product Liability Conference in Las Vegas in April, as an event worth checking out.

Let me add that one of the attractive feature of the conference is that, in addition to the exceptional program put together for the main stage, there are many great Specialized Litigation Group (subcommittee) programs planned, including the highly-relevant-to-readers Mass Torts & Class Actions SLG.

At the Mass Torts & Class Actions SLG breakout session on Thursday, April 8th (likely to be more daring than Criss Angel, more talented than Terry Fator, more energetic than a Blue Man Group) includes:

Legislative and Regulatory Update: Impact of New Administration and New Statutes, Rollback on Preemption and Effort to Rollback Twombley
Jeffrey A. Holmstrand, McDermott & Bonenberger PLLC, Wheeling, West Virginia
Anthony Sammons, Dinsmore & Shohl LLP, Lexington, Kentucky

Emerging Class Action Issues: Impact of the ALI Project on Aggregation and Update on Problematic Causes of Action (Public Nuisance, Consumer Fraud Act and Medical Monitoring)
Richard A. Oetheimer, Goodwin Procter LLP, Boston, Massachusetts
John Parker Sweeney, Womble Carlyle Sandridge & Rice PLLC, Baltimore, Maryland

Emerging Mass Tort Issues: Examination of Daubert/ Frye Issues, Update on Green-Product Issues and Use of Risk Assessment Concepts
Robert C. James, TERRA Inc., Tallahassee, Florida
David C. Uitti, Dechert LLP, Princeton, New Jersey

Best Practices on Managing Mass Torts: Exploring the Virtual Law Firm, Cost Controls, Alternative Fee Arrangements and Early Case Dispositions
Moderator Kip T. Bollin, Thompson Hine LLP, Cleveland, Ohio

You can still register.

Product Liability Conference Worth Investigating

This year’s DRI Product Liability Conference is worth checking out. It's entitled "The Masters of Products: The Stars Come Out to Shine."  The conference will take place April 7-9, 2010 at The Venetian in beautiful Las Vegas, Nevada. In addition to all that Vegas has to offer, the seminar promises a jackpot of 18.5 hours of outstanding CLE, including 2 hours of ethics credit.

The main program features presentations by judges, academics, and government officials, including Hon. Inez Moore Tenenbaum, Chair of the U.S. Consumer Product Safety Commission; Prof. Steven Gensler, Professor at the University of Oklahoma College of Law; Honorable Lee H. Rosenthal, United States District Court, Southern District of Texas; in-house counsel experienced in managing global product liability litigation, the trial of difficult cases including wrongful death and class actions, the use of demonstrative evidence and other trial tactics in product liability litigation, the new CPSIA and the reporting database, and the art of storytelling as a trial lawyer.

Break-out sessions are held by each of the 18 Specialized Litigation Groups (SLGs), (your humble author is Chair of the Mass Tort and Class Action SLG), so you can hone your skills in specific areas. And of course, the program will be attended by in-house and outside counsel from around the country, with ample opportunities to meet, greet and network. You won't want what you learn in Vegas to stay in Vegas.

You can get more info here.



Tags: , ,

Products Liability Seminar Worth Checking Out

Early notice of a seminar that should be of great interest to many readers. 

DRI's Product Liability Conference will be held on April 7-9, 2010 at the Venetian, in Las Vegas, Nevada.

The "Masters of Products" is the theme for the 2010 DRI Product Liability Conference. Product liability superstars will light up the main stage, while rising stars lead breakout sessions in 18 separate disciplines to span timely product liability topics from big-picture issues to the finer points of products practice.

Specialized Litigation Group (SLG) breakout sessions are spread over the three days, offering detailed analysis directly relevant to your product liability practice areas and interests. [Your humble blogger is Chair of the Mass Torts & Class Actions SL group.]

The brochure is here.

And you can register here.


New Punitive Damages Book Worth A Look

For those readers of MassTortDefense who confront issues of punitive damages in their practice, a recently released book is worth a look:  DRI's Punitive Damages: A State-by-State Compendium (2009).

The book is a new compendium of the law of all fifty states, the District of Columbia and all Canadian provinces regarding punitive damages. This publication also contains a number of articles focused on recent trends in this area of the law. The book outlines each state’s law and procedure regarding punitive damages. Topics include: Leading cases and statutes in each state; the level of conduct required to trigger an award of punitive damages; product liability causes of action for which punitive damages are recoverable; special rules applicable to particular types of products, classes of products, or defendants; pleading requirements; bifurcation/
phasing procedures; limits of permissible discovery; state-specific defenses; and post-trial procedures.

Your humble blogger served as Co-Managing Editor/Atlantic Region Editor (but no royalties are involved!)

DRI Annual Meeting

No substantive post today, as your faithful blogger is out of town for a DRI meeting, wearing another hat as the chair of the Mass Torts and Class Action group of DRI's Products Liability Committee.

DRI is the international organization of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. DRI provides numerous educational and informational resources to DRI members and offers many opportunities for liaison among defense trial lawyers. DRI's goals include: To teach and educate and to improve the skills of the defense law practitioner;  to strive for improvement in the civil justice system; to be a counterpoint to the plaintiff's bar and seek balance in the justice system in the minds of potential jurors and on all fields where disputes are resolved; and to assist members in dealing with the economic realities of the defense law practice, including the competitive legal marketplace.

Later this year DRI will hold its annual meeting in Chicago, October 7-11.  This Annual Meeting will celebrate DRI’s 50th anniversary and Lincoln’s 200th birthday.

You can join DRI  here, and register for the annual meeting conference here.

DRI Product Liability Conference Next Week

Next week, your faithful blogger will be on the road in San Diego for the annual conference of DRI's product liability committee.

It's not too late for you to sign up too.  The focus this year is on "green" issues. This program will highlight emerging issues in product liability law associated with increasing environmental awareness and health concerns. The "green" movement will impact a product liability practice and this seminar presents opportunities to learn to help clients navigate the new terrain. As environmental concerns mount and consumers and companies seek to minimize their impact on the planet, new opportunities and risks arise for product manufacturers. Manufacturers are inventing new products using cutting-edge technologies. Consumers are becoming nervous about the use of traditional chemicals in products, but also question newer approaches. The government is involving itself by threatening to more heavily regulate a variety of areas, including product labeling.

Product Liability Conference
Hilton San Diego Bayfront One Park Blvd. San Diego, CA 92101
4/14/2009 - 4/17/2009


Topics include:
􀁴 Litigation arising from the use of phthalates and nano materials
􀁴 New claims emerging from the use of “green” building materials
􀁴 Preemption in the area of product liability
􀁴 How to meet new sustainability standards
􀁴 What new “green” regulatory standards are being considered in Europe and America
􀁴 New rules enacted by the Consumer Products Safety Commission

(Your MassTortDefense blogger is vice-chair of DRI's Mass Torts & Class Actions SLG)


Tags: , ,