Fawzi Bayan, PE, CSP received his Master of Science in Aeronautics and Astronautics Engineering from Stanford University and his Bachelor of Science in Aerospace Engineering, from the University of Colorado. He specializes in the reconstruction of transportation accidents. He is a registered Professional Engineer (PE) as well as a Certified Safety Professional (CSP). Mr. Bayan has participated in the reconstruction of large-scale accidents with the NTSB (National Transportation Safety Board) or for SEA where he is currently the director of the Transportation Group in the Baltimore/Washington office. Mr. Bayan has provided expert testimony in a court of law and is also published in the areas of accident reconstruction, computer simulation and night visibility, conspicuity and perception.
Bard David Borkon is a Partner with Bowman and Brooke LLP, is a first-chair trial attorney with extensive experience defending high-exposure catastrophic injury and wrongful death automotive product liability litigation. He has tried cases for the world's largest automobile manufacturers in seven different states and has participated in trials in six additional states. With more than 20 years of dedicated industry experience, he has defended a wide range of issues including rollovers, seat belts, airbags, unintended acceleration, electronic stability control and other emerging technologies.
James Cain is the senior manager of business communications for General Motors' Chevrolet brand, and he has more than 25 years' experience advising business leaders, corporate litigators and law firms on media issues. From 2014 – 2017, he was one of GM's lead spokespeople during its ignition switch recall crisis. He developed and executed the communication strategy for a wide range of ignition switch-related issues, including state and federal litigation, and investigations by the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission, the Federal Trade Commission and the Department of Justice. Prior to joining GM in 2011, he was a communications executive with Ford Motor Company, where he specialized in both brand and corporate communications, including litigation media strategy. He began his PR career at Lehman Brothers, Inc.
Krzysztof Czarnecki, PEng is a Professor of Electrical and Computer Engineering at the University of Waterloo. Before coming to Waterloo, he was a researcher at DaimlerChrysler Research (1995-2002), Germany, focusing on improving software development practices and technologies in enterprise, automotive, and aerospace sectors. While at Waterloo, he held the NSERC/Bank of Nova Scotia Industrial Research Chair in Requirements Engineering of Service-oriented Software Systems (2008-2013) and has worked on methods and tools for engineering complex software-intensive systems. He received the Premier's Research Excellence Award in 2004 and the British Computing Society in Upper Canada Award for Outstanding Contributions to IT Industry in 2008. His current research focuses on autonomous driving and the safety of systems that rely on artificial intelligence. As part of this research, he co-leads the development of UW Moose, Canada's first self-driving research vehicle (autonomoose.net).
Alan L. DeGraw is Senior Counsel with FCA US LLC (formerly Chrysler Group LLC), where his main area of responsibility is vehicle safety and regulatory compliance. A graduate of Michigan State University and DePaul University College of Law, Alan has been in-house counsel, with three Fortune 500 companies, for more than 20 of his 28 years in practice. Alan has private practice law firm experience, and was regional counsel for one of the United States' largest integrated steel manufacturers prior to entering the automotive industry. An established speaker, Alan has given hundreds of presentations to internal client groups, trade associations and conferences.
Erinn D. DePorre is Lead Counsel, Product Liability for General Motors LLC. DePorre manages complex product-liability matters for General Motors. Along with other OGC lawyers, DePorre also supports and advises senior management and various business groups on emerging issues. Prior to joining General Motors LLC, DePorre was senior staff counsel in the Office of the General Counsel for another Tier I automotive manufacturer.
James G. Derian is Corporate Counsel with Delphi Automotive Systems, LLC in Troy, Michigan, where his practice is focused on commercial litigation, product liability and regulatory affairs. Derian formerly was a shareholder in the law firm of Butzel Long in Detroit, where he was principally involved in commercial and other business litigation, including the representation of automotive industry suppliers. Derian is a graduate of the University of Michigan and Wayne State University Law School, where he was a member of the Wayne Law Review. Derian serves as a neutral commercial arbitrator and mediator for the American Arbitration Association. He is a Past President of the Oakland County Bar Association and the current Chairman of the Board of Governors of the Original Equipment Suppliers Association's Legal Issues Council.
George Feygin is Senior Managing Counsel at Nissan North America where he leads a team of attorneys and staff focused on product liability defense and prevention counseling, recalls and safety regulatory compliance, and onboard cybersecurity.
Heather Russel Fine is an experienced trial attorney adept at managing all aspects of complex product liability cases from inception through to verdict and appeal. She chairs the Litigation and Dispute Resolution Group at Griesing Law, a woman-owned boutique law firm which represents Fortune 500 companies, privately held businesses, government entities and quasi-governmental entities, non-profit organizations, higher education institutions and a variety of individual executives. Her practice includes the representation of national and international automobile manufacturers and pharmaceutical companies, national restaurant operations, local companies and quasi-governmental agencies. She also represents major banking institutions for a variety of litigation claims, and a wide range of entities in employment discrimination matters and claims of race and disability discrimination, sexual harassment and civil rights violations. Heather's practice also includes sensitive workplace investigations and representation of multiple universities and institutions of higher learning in the resolution of Title IX claims.
Dennis C. Garcia is an Assistant General Counsel for Microsoft based in Chicago. He leads the legal support function to Microsoft's U.S. Central Region Enterprise & Partner Group team that is based in an eighteen state region and across six Microsoft districts. Prior to joining Microsoft, Dennis worked as an in-house counsel for Accenture and IBM. Dennis received his B.A. in Political Science from Binghamton University and his J.D. from Columbia Law School. He is admitted to practice in New York, Connecticut and Illinois (House Counsel). Dennis is a Fellow of Information Privacy, a Certified Information Privacy Professional/United States and a Certified Information Privacy Technologist with the International Association of Privacy Professionals. He serves on the Board of Directors of Illinois Legal Aid Online and the Association of Corporate Counsel – Chicago Chapter.
John Gersch is a Managing Counsel with Toyota Motor North America, Inc. He has defended multiple high-exposure automotive product liability cases, covering a wide range of defect theories, as both outside and in-house counsel, and he has experience at Ford and Nissan in addition to his work at Toyota. Some of John's current duties include analyzing emerging safety technologies and reviewing advertising from a product liability perspective.
Todd J. Hartley is Advertising Counsel with Nissan North America, Inc. Todd's responsibilities include defending advertising litigation and government investigations and advising Nissan regarding the creation of U.S. and global advertising materials. Prior to joining Nissan, Todd held several roles, including as a trial lawyer for Nissan and other large auto manufacturers
Beth T. Hill is the General Counsel, Chief Compliance Officer and Head of Purchasing at FordDirect. Ms. Hill's automotive legal and technology experience spans more than fifteen years and focuses on how data is transforming the automotive experience and industry. Ms. Hill is focused on developing the organization's policies, and strategic direction for compliance and ethics, intellectual property, data privacy and security, and leading purchasing and legal affairs for the company. Ms. Hill is the Secretary to the Board of Directors. Prior to joining FordDirect in February 2013, Ms. Hill was Senior Counsel and Enterprise Privacy Counsel for Chrysler Group LLC (now FCA), where she provided legal support for operational groups including connected vehicle, sales and marketing, information technology, dealer relations, purchasing and vehicle brands. Ms. Hill earned a BA from New York University and Juris Doctor (JD) from Fordham University School of Law. Ms. Hill maintains two privacy certifications from the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP) including the CIPM and the CIPP, US.
Erika Z. Jones is a respected advisor and litigator whose practice is particularly focused on regulatory matters involving motor vehicle safety and consumer product safety, and related litigation. She has been characterized by Chambers USA 2006 as "focused on road safety work . . . [with the] ability 'to give plain English advice, often on the fly, because she knows it so well.'" More recently (2007), Chambers described Erika as "'outstanding, extremely bright,' . . . an 'excellent manager of resources.'" Erika joined Mayer Brown LLP in 1989. Previously, she worked with the federal government in various high-level capacities. Before joining Mayer Brown, she was the NHTSA Chief Counsel between 1985 and 1989. From 1981 to 1985, she was Special Counsel to the Administrator of the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, US Department of Transportation. Erika was also an attorney and Regulatory Policy Analyst for the Office of Management and Budget (1980–1981) and a staff member for the Federal Communications Commission (1976–1980)
Kerry Kolodziej is the Acting Assistant Chief Counsel for Litigation and Enforcement at the National Highway Traffic Safety Association (NHTSA) in Washington, D.C. In that role, which she has held since April 2016, Kerry is the senior career attorney overseeing NHTSA's enforcement and litigation work and staff of 10 trial attorneys. Kerry joined NHTSA in 2012 after working in private practice in Chicago, where she practiced in the areas of environmental law and products liability. Kerry is a graduate of the Georgetown University Law Center.
Robert L. Love is a senior partner within BLG's Insurance and Tort Liability Practice, Bob Love leads the National Product Liability and Automotive sector groups in addition to effectively defending clients against claims and resolving disputes. His expertise includes aviation, subrogation, insurance defence and municipal and professional liability. Bob has represented a wide array of clients — from insurers to small and global entities — and has appeared as lead counsel at all levels of the trial and appellate courts of Ontario. He is known for his abilities to simplify complex, technical matters and render them more easily understood; critically and accurately assess damages; and finding pragmatic, innovative approaches to resolution.
Mary Massaron is a past president of DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar. She is Vice Chair of the Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) and currently chairs its Class Action Reform Committee. In addition to being a recognized leader of the defense bar, Mary's skill as an appellate lawyer has been nationally recognized. She is a fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, a member of the American Law Institute (ALI), and has served as chair of the ABA Council of Appellate Lawyers (CAL), a division of the Appellate Judges Conference, the ABA TIPS Appellate Advocacy Committee, and the Appellate Practice Section of the State Bar of Michigan. She has handled significant appeals in state and federal appellate courts for governmental and private clients including representing property owners to overturn decades-old precedent involving condemnation, establishing the retroactivity of dealer statute amendments before the Michigan Supreme Court, and overturning multi-million dollar judgments on appeal.
Michael A. McCaskey is a trial attorney and partner at the Chicago office of Swanson, Martin & Bell, LLP. Mike's trial practice includes defending clients in catastrophic liability, product liability, toxic tort, class actions and commercial litigation. Mike has tried product liability cases to verdict in federal and state courts throughout various jurisdictions in the United States. He currently serves on the board for the Defense Research Institute's Automotive Product Liability Committee, and is the chairman of his firm's Pro Bono Committee. Mike has been selected as an Illinois Rising Star for seven consecutive years, and as an Illinois Super Lawyer in 2016. He regularly speaks and authors articles relating to product liability defense, including jury strategies and social media admissibility.
The Honorable Bridget Mary McCormack joined the Michigan Supreme Court in January 2013. Before her election to the Court in November 2012, she was a law professor and dean at the University of Michigan Law School. Since joining the Court, Justice McCormack continues to teach at the Law School as a Lecturer. In 2008, then-Associate Dean McCormack cofounded the Michigan Innocence Clinic, in which students represent wrongfully convicted Michiganders. The clinic has exonerated seven people so far, and has shined a light on the important justice issues underlying wrongful conviction.
William E. (Bill) McDonald IIIis a partner at Bush Seyferth & Paige in Troy, Michigan. Bill focuses his practice on commercial, insurance, and product liability litigation. He has counseled clients in matters involving the Federal Trade Commission, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, and the Department of Justice. Bill also has extensive experience handling large-scale e-discovery projects. Bill received his Juris Doctor from The Ohio State University Moritz College of Law. Before his legal studies, Bill attended Grand Valley State University, double-majoring in Economics and Finance, and earned a 3-year merit scholarship from The Ohio State University for law school.
Agnieszka McPeak joined the University of Toledo College of Law faculty in fall 2014 and teaches Torts, Ethics, Data Security & Privacy Law and Social Media Discovery. Her research interests involve the impact of new technology, like social media, on civil procedure, ethics, and privacy law. Before joining the Toledo Law faculty, Professor McPeak was a Westerfield Fellow at Loyola University College of Law in New Orleans, Louisiana. She was admitted to the Louisiana bar in 2007 and practiced for five years with the New Orleans law firm of Stone Pigman Walther Wittmann LLC in the areas of complex commercial litigation, intellectual property law, malpractice, and mass tort litigation. During her time at Stone Pigman, she was selected for inclusion to the 2009 edition of Benchmark Litigation for her work in commercial litigation and has been recognized as a "Rising Star" by Louisiana Super Lawyers magazine. She received her J.D., magna cum laude, from Tulane University Law School in 2007, where she served as a managing editor of the Tulane Journal of International and Comparative Law, won the 2006-07 Tulane Moot Court Senior ADR Competition, and served as the Administrative Justice for Academic Affairs of the Tulane Moot Court Board. Upon graduation, she received the Brian P. McSherry Award for demonstrating the greatest dedication to the Law School's community service program and the Federal Bar Association, New Orleans Chapter, Award for achieving the greatest distinction in the study of federal law. She received her B.A., with honors, in Literature and in History from University of California, Santa Cruz, in 2001.
The Honorable Stephen J. Murphy III is a federal judge in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan. Previously, Judge Murphy served as the presidentially appointed United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Michigan. Prior to his service as a United States Attorney, Judge Murphy was an attorney with General Motors Legal Staff, where he specialized in litigation, internal investigations, counseling on various business law issues, and other "white collar" matters. Judge Murphy began his legal career as a Justice Department lawyer for twelve years, including eight as an Assistant United States Attorney in Detroit. Judge Murphy received his Juris Doctor from St. Louis University and his Bachelor of Science degree from Marquette University.
Sridhar Natarajan, M.D. is a Principal in Exponent's Biomechanics practice. Dr. Natarajan is Board Certified by the American Board of Pathology in Anatomic, Clinical and Forensic Pathology. He has been a Chief Medical Examiner for over a decade with involvement in more than 10,000 forensic autopsies that included determining natural and non-natural causes of death and manners of death. Dr. Natarajan has practiced forensic pathology with an emphasis on injury causation and biomechanics in both vehicular and non-vehicular traumatic events, as well as a variety of criminal matters. He has testified in over 300 cases as an expert in criminal and civil matters in district and federal courts and for the Department of Justice. Dr. Natarajan's extensive experience includes numerous investigations involving , vehicular trauma, falls from height, occupational hazards, gunshot wounds, , toxicology, burns, drowning, asphyxiation, electrocution suicide- related events, abuse cases and in-custody incidents.
Jodi Dyan Oleywith Eckert Seamans Cherin & Mellot has a diverse practice in civil litigation, with a particular emphasis on product liability litigation. Jodi's practice includes representation of national automobile, motorcycle and medium/heavy duty truck and tractor manufacturers. She is also experienced in litigation of toxic tort, mass tort, construction and personal injury matters. Jodi is skilled in Federal Employers' Liability Act litigation, as well as other railroad and transportation actions. Jodi has been appointed as national discovery counsel for an international automotive manufacturer and acts as regional trial counsel for a national motorcycle manufacturer. Jodi is the seminar Program Vice Chair.
Nicholas (Nick) C. Pappas is a member of Frost Brown Todd LLC, where he concentrates his practice on the defense of construction, agricultural and mining equipment and automobiles. Nick represents clients in lawsuits in state and federal courts throughout the United States, and has tried cases to defense verdicts in Alabama, Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, South Dakota and Wisconsin. He also successfully argued cases in front of the Indiana Court of Appeals, Indiana Supreme Court and the 6th Circuit Court of Appeals. Nick chaired the DRI 2012 Product Liability Conference. He is a past chair of the ACMIE SLG, and he was the 2010 Defense Trial Counsel of Indiana Defense Lawyer of the Year. He is currently the vice-chair of DRI's Product Liability Committee.
Bryce C. Pilz is the Director of Licensing at the University of Michigan's Tech Transfer. Bryce is also the chair of the legal working group at the University of Michigan's Mobility Transformation Center. Before he was Professor Pilz, Bryce was a clinical assistant professor of law where he taught, among other things, courses relating to autonomous vehicle law. Prior to joining the Law School, Bryce practiced at Kirkland & Ellis LLP in the firm's intellectual property practice and clerked for the Hon. Amy J. St. Eve in the Northern District of Illinois. Most recently, he served as associate general counsel at the University of Michigan, where he worked with the Office of Technology Transfer on startups and licensing. Bryce was part of a team that spun-out more than 60 tech startups and entered into more than 500 technology licenses over a five-year period. He also assisted in the creation of the University's Venture Accelerator at the North Campus Research Complex and advised the U-M Center for Entrepreneurship on student entrepreneurship matters. He also has served as a National Science Foundation I-Corps mentor, is currently a Tech Stars mentor, and teaches in the University's Master of Entrepreneurship program. He received his JD from Michigan Law in 2000 and his BS in mechanical engineering from the University of Michigan College of Engineering in 1997. He is registered to practice before the U.S. Patent & Trademark Office and is a member of Phi Kappa Phi. His most recent article, "Student Intellectual Property Issues on the Entrepreneurial Campus," was published in the Michigan Journal of Private Equity & Venture Capital Law.
The Honorable Lita Masini Popke has been a judge in the Wayne County Circuit Court since 2000. She has a combined docket of General Civil and Business Court cases. Her prior service includes Chief Judge Pro Tem (2009 – 2013), Executive Committee (2005 – 2013, 2016-present), Presiding Judge Family Division (2005 – 2007), and Mediation Tribunal Association Board Member. She has also held various positions outside the Court including President of the Michigan Judges Association (2013); Member, Judicial Section of the State Bar of Michigan (2009-present); Member of the Child Support Leadership Council by appointment of the Michigan Supreme Court from 2004 through 2009; Member, Michigan Judicial Institute Academic Advisory Committee; SCAO Post-Judgment Docket Committee; Faculty member for the MJI New Judges Seminar; Member, State Bar subcommittee on Civil Discovery Scope; Member, SCAO committees ( Judicial Resources and Case Weights, Court Clerk Duties), Inn of Court and the Dads From Day One Advisory Board . Judge Popke has been an invited speaker on various topics at numerous conferences, seminars, and radio programs. Before joining the bench, Judge Popke was an appointed member of the State Board of Ethics, a Wayne and Oakland County mediator, and active in various community organizations. She currently serves on the Schoolcraft College Development Board Authority. In private practice from 1983-2000, she practiced commercial litigation and fidelity and surety law. She is a graduate of St. Mary's College, Notre Dame, Indiana and the University of Detroit School of Law.
Anthony M. Ruffolo is Manager, Legal Affairs & Counsel at Honda Canada. He is responsible for management of the legal team supporting both Honda's sales organization and captive finance business in Canada. Anthony's practice includes management of products' litigation, including class actions, regulatory advice relating to recalls and product campaigns, as well as advertising review. Prior to joining Honda, Anthony was an associate lawyer at a national law firm in Toronto.
Nasstaran Tara Ruhparwar Squire Patton Boggs, San Francisco, California . Tara's practice focuses mainly on defending US and German companies in product liability claims, ranging from single-plaintiff cases to nationwide class actions. She has significant experience representing companies and complex commercial litigation matters involving allegations of trademark/trade dress infringement, false advertising, breach of contract, and unfair business practices. She also has been involved in all stages of litigation, including discovery, pre-trial motions, and trial preparation, and has assisted clients with US trademark registrations and prosecution. Prior to relocating to the US, Tara practiced law in Germany.
Jonathan Schulz currently serves as Corporate Legal Counsel for Autoliv, a Fortune 500 company and the world's largest automotive safety supplier, with over 70,000 employees in 27 countries. In his role at Autoliv, Jonathan is responsible for a variety of different practice areas, including product liability litigation, labor and employment issues, import-export matters, and contract negotiation / dispute resolution with Autoliv's customers and suppliers. Prior to joining Autoliv, Jonathan spent 8 years in private practice (first, at Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC, and then at Clark Hill PLC) where he represented a variety of companies in product liability, employment, and commercial litigation disputes. Jonathan received his bachelor's degree in finance from Wayne State University in 2002. In 2004, Jonathan graduated with an MBA from Walsh College. And in 2007, he graduated from Wayne State University Law School, where he was a member of the National Moot Court team and served as a legal intern for the Honorable Robert P. Young of the Michigan Supreme Court.
Patrick G. Seyferth is a founding Partner of Michigan-based Bush Seyferth & Paige PLLC. Patrick specializes in defending high-exposure product liability cases, commercial litigation, and class actions. As National Coordinating and Trial Counsel for a major automotive manufacturer as well as an international supplier, Patrick and BSP handle matters from beginning to end, including issue identification and counseling, pre-suit claims, fact investigation, discovery, expert selection, case preparation, motion practice, and as necessary, alternative dispute resolution or trial. Patrick has successfully first-chaired catastrophic cases in 23 states, arguing motions before some of the top trial judges in the country. He has tried cases to verdict in MI, TN, and AZ. Patrick frequently presents to inside and outside counsel on topics including trial skills, social media, and emergent issues in product liability. Patrick graduated cum laude from the University of Michigan Law School, and clerked for U.S. District Judge Robert H. Cleland. Patrick represents a wide range of clients in a variety of industries including: FCA US LLC, PulteGroup, Mercedez-Benz USA, Delphi, IEE Sensing, and FordDirect.
Robert A. Shields is a partner at Wilson Turner Kosmo and has been with the firm since 2000. His practice is focused on the representation of automobile, motorcycle, automotive component parts, and industrial equipment manufacturers who have been sued for damages in catastrophic injuries. In addition, Mr. Shields supervises his firm's representation of product manufacturers in a host of breach of warranty claims based on the Song-Beverly and Magnuson-Moss Warranty Acts, and consumer fraud statutes. Rob has defended numerous cases that have been dismissed on summary judgment motions, including claims of negligence, design defect, breach of warranty, breach of contract, fraud, and misrepresentation. Mr. Shields has been responsible for regional and statewide defense programs concerning consumer litigation, manufacture, design and warning defect claims. He has consulted with manufacturers in the development of policies for product litigation management, product warranties, and compliance issues. He has managed and defended complex toxic tort cases, including chemical exposures. He has significant experience implementing strategies for clients involved in national litigation, managing statewide, regional and national caseloads, managing discovery, and conducting expert depositions. He has successfully mediated well over a hundred cases to creative and successful conclusion. He has successfully analyzed and prepared cases at the pleading stage to promote early resolution, mediation and dismissal based on lack of merit. Since 2000, he has taken approximately 2,000 cases to resolution.
Brian S. Westenbergwith the firm of Miller canfield Paddock and Stone PLC is a trusted advisor and product liability litigator with a cross-functional practice that focuses on representing clients in automotive regulatory matters (defect investigations and compliance) involving the U.S National Highway Traffic Administration (NHTSA) and Transport Canada (TC). Brian is also co-leader of the Automotive Group and Autonomous and Connected Vehicles Group. He has participated in hundreds of automotive defect investigations and related regulatory matters pending before NHTSA and TC. Brian also advises clients on navigating the requirements of NHTSA's Transportation Recall Enhancement, Accountability and Documentation ("TREAD") Act. Brian is a member of the Regulatory Affairs Committee of the Motor and Equipment Manufacturers Association (MEMA). He is also a member of the Sedona Conference Working Groups on Best Practices for Electronic Document Retention and Production and Protective Orders, Confidentiality and Public Access.
Glenn M. Zakaib is a partner with Borden Ladner Gervais LLP. The focus of his practice is on product liability claims and class proceedings. Glenn has been recognized as a leading practitioner in Chambers Global Guide, Chambers Canada, Martindale-Hubbell (AV Preeminent), Canadian Legal Lexpert Directory, ALM 500, Benchmark Litigation, Best Lawyers in Canada, Who's Who Legal, Euromoney's Guide to the World's Leading Litigation and Product Liability Lawyers and Expert Guide's: Best of the Best (Global). He is a long-standing member of DRI, Canadian Defence Lawyers, IADC, the Advocate's Society, the Canadian Bar Association, and the Ontario Bar Association, Toronto Lawyers Association and is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America, an invitation-only honorary trial lawyer society. Glenn is a past Canadian Regional Director for DRI and the former Chair of the International Committee. He currently serves as a member of the Law Institute for DRI and Chair of the Automotive Specialized Litigation Group for the Product Liability Committee of DRI and is the seminar Program Chair.