8:00-9:00:  There are five section meetings on Thursday, one of them being a blockbuster.  Pick your area of interest and start out our last day of programming on the right foot.

CIVIL RIGHTS AND PUBLIC ENTITY LIABILITY SECTION AND INSURANCE COVERAGE SECTION BLOCKBUSTER: The Innocence Project and the Righting of Wrongful Convictions:  Causes, Civil Consequences and Resulting Coverage Issues

The increasing prevalence of wrongful criminal convictions has generated substantial civil litigation brought by persons declared innocent after years, sometimes decades, of incarceration when they were convicted for crimes they did not commit.  These claims present substantial civil liability for counties, municipalities, and government officials involved in the alleged wrongful conviction.  Significant insurance coverage issues and a potentially large number of liability insurers, depending upon years of incarceration, may be implicated and litigated by and against insurers writing state, county, and municipal liability coverage, often many years before the convictions are overturned.  Many of these sentences are overturned by the work of The Innocence Project.  What is The Innocence Project, its nationwide work, and track record?  You will hear the story of The Innocence Project and its case histories told by one of its principals.   The Blockbuster program also will address the nature and parameters of wrongful conviction claims, claims arising under 42 USC §1983, malicious prosecution, suppression of exculpatory evidence, fabrication of evidence and conspiracy.  Participate in a roundtable discussion of how to defend these claims, as well as the significant coverage issues that can arise from an array of different types of liability coverages including commercial general liability, law enforcement liability, directors and officers, excess, and umbrella liability insurance.

Janis C. Puracal, Oregon Innocence Project, Portland, Oregon

Thomas P. Miller, Christie Law Group, PLLC, Seattle, Washington

Robert C. Lockwood, Wilmer & Lee, Huntsville, Alabama

Lauren S. Curtis, Traub Lieberman Straus & Shrewsberry , St. Petersburg, Florida

View and download the paper here.

DRUG DEVICE AND BIOTECHNOLOGY SECTION; HEALTHCARE PRACTICE SECTION: Seller Beware:  The Rise of Slack Fill and Other Empty Suit Litigation

We are continually exposed to situations that may impact our physical health and emotional wellbeing, including from such mundane things as inhaling exhaust from passing vehicles or jostling our fellow passengers in a crowded train, to more devastating events such as observing a close friend suffer from an illness.  State consumer laws relax some elements required for certain claims, although they were originally not intended to provide compensation to people whose purchase of a product has no connection to alleged deceptive qualities or advertisements.  Yet the plaintiffs’ bar, ever inventive, finds new ways to see liability for seemingly every type of imagined injury or economic harm that occurs in America under a “no injury” theory.  These types of claims have been coined “empty suit litigation,” claims in which the harm to plaintiffs is illusory. Recovery is sought for speculative present and future “injuries” relying upon a sometimes-fictitious construction of economic law from equally inventive expert witnesses.  This roundtable discussion will be led by a panel of representatives and a legal expert discussing claims for recovery of emotional harm, liability for the estimated costs of medical monitoring following alleged exposure to potentially harmful substances absent physical injury, class action litigation involving a product’s actual value being lower than the purchase price and class actions challenging product labeling, or advertising on behalf of all consumers where only a few allegedly were actually misled.  The panel also will lead a discussion on the judicial and defense response to such claims, including application of safeguards governing class certification and expert testimony, as well as curbing lawyers who knowingly file meritless claims.

Chris Barrett, Associate Director, Actavis, Parsippany, New York

Gary Kelly, GNC Acquisition Holdings, Inc., Pittsburg, Pennsylvania

Cary Silverman, Shook Hardy, Washington, DC

Daniel J. Herling, Mintz, Levin, Cohn, Ferris, Glovsky and Popeo, P.C., San Francisco, California

iew and download the paper here.


Join Section Chair Marjorie Berger, and Vice Chairs Ryan Beckett and Bruce Parkerson, and participate in the ground breaking of this newest Federation substantive law section.  Become a charter member of the Section and help shape its growth and future course.  

Marjorie J. Berger, American Nuclear Insurers, Glastonbury, Connecticut

P. Ryan Beckett, ButlerSnow, Ridgeland, Mississippi

CLASS ACTION AND MULTI-DISTRICT LITIGATION SECTION and TRIAL TACTICS, PRACTICE PROCEDURES SECTION: ESI Discovery and Spoliation of Evidence:  The Amended Rules and their Impact on Discovery and Trial

The amendments to the Federal Rules, effective December 15, 2015, will impact preservation and discovery of ESI, the discovery process, spoliation issues, and sanctions for discovery abuse.  The Class Action and Trial Tactics Sections have teamed up to focus on “What you need to know” -- in terms of what has changed and how it can impact your practice.   You will also be updated on what defense organizations are doing in response to the Rules changes.  Don’t miss this timely and informative program.

Terence Ridley, Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell LLP, Denver, Colorado

Gray Culbreath, Gallivan, White & Boyd, PA, Columbia, South Carolina

Edward B. Ruff III, Pretzel & Stouffer, Chicago, Illinois

Christopher P. DePhillips, Gibbons PC, Newark, New Jersey

Stephen C. Pasarow, Knapp, Peterson & Clarke, Grenada, California

Paul C. Kuhnel. LeClairRyan, Roanoke, Virginia

View and download the papers here.

EMPLOYMENT PRACTICES AND WORKPLACE LIABILITY SECTION: DC Gridlock/Agency Activism: What You and Your Clients Need To Know  

Don’t let talk of partisan politics and DC gridlock lead you astray on federal regulatory agencies.  They aren’t asleep.  On the contrary, they are actively promulgating new regulations, pursuing causes of action, and establishing agendas that require attention and compliance.  This panel discussion will inform employment attorneys and corporate counsel of of the ever-changing employment landscape.   Come and get equipped to advise clients on what they need to know now and what they need to do next.  The discussion will include hot NLRB topics as well as recent EEOC and Department of Labor developments. 

 Paul M. Finamore,  Niles, Barton, & Wilmer, LLP, Baltimore, Maryland

 Kay H. Hodge, Stoneman, Chandler, & Miller LLP, Boston, Massachusetts

Michelle R. Stewart, Hinkle Law Firm LLC, Overland Park, Kansas

William E. Vita, Westerman, Ball, Ederer, Miller, & Sharfstein, LLP, Uniondale, New York

Eric A. Schneider, Anderson, McPharlin & Conners LLP, Los Angeles, California

View and download the papers here.

9:00-9:30: Networking Opportunity

9:30-10:15: Business Meeting

10:15-10:30: Presentation of Annual Meeting,La Malbaie, Quebec, Canada                             • Michael T. Glascott, Goldberg Segalla, and Tricia Glascott, Buffalo, New York

10:30-11:30: Keynote Closing Speaker, futurist Michael Rogers.  

Technology pioneer.  Visionary.  Best-selling author and award-winning journalist.  These are the words regularly used to describe Michael Rogers, the Practical Futurist, who helps businesses worldwide think about the future. In recent years he has worked with companies ranging from FedEx, Boeing and NBC Universal to Prudential, Dow Corning, American Express and Genentech.

Mr. Rogers will provide us with invaluable insight by describing not only what the practice of law will be like in the future, but also how these changes to the legal profession will offer new opportunities. He will provide concrete steps today to guide the profession's strategy for the future, providing a sense of not just what to expect, but what we can do now to prepare. Mr. Rogers' presentation will not focus solely on law but also weave elements of technology, culture and demographics, particularly the impact of the next generation.

He recently completed two years as a futurist-in-residence for The New York Times Company and also writes the Practical Futurist column for NBC.com.  For ten years he was vice president of The Washington Post Company's new media division, guiding both the newspaper and Newsweek into the new century.  He is a regular guest on radio and television including Good Morning America, The Today Show, PBS, CNN and The History Channel.

Michael studied physics and creative writing at Stanford University, with training in finance and management at Stanford Business School's Executive Program. He began his career as a writer for Rolling Stone and went on to co-found Outside magazine. He then launched Newsweek's technology column, winning numerous journalism awards, later becoming editor and general manager of Newsweek.com. In 1999 he received patents for multimedia storytelling, and in 2007 was named to both Who's Who in Science and Engineering and the Magazine Industry Digital Hall of Fame.

He is also a best-selling novelist whose fiction explores the human impact of technology. He lives in New York City where he works on book and television projects.