DRI Faculty List

Outsmarting the Trucking Reptile at Trial Seminar

InterContinental Chicago Magnificent Mile | Chicago, IL, United States | May 24, 2017

MaryJane Dobbs
Bressler, Amery & Ross PC

MaryJane Dobbs is a partner in the law firm of Bressler Amery & Ross PC in Florham Park, New Jersey. She has substantial experience in handling defendant personal injury matters, including premises liability, products liability and trucking negligence actions. Ms. Dobbs has defended numerous corporations in their general personal injury cases, including a variety of transportation-related entities. She has worked extensively with expert witnesses in the medical, pharmaceutical and scientific fields. Besides transportation cases, Ms. Dobbs also specializes in employment matters including litigation and counseling. Ms. Dobbs is the Chair of the DRI Trucking Committee.

Matthew S. Hefflefinger
Heyl, Royster, Voelker and Allen PC

Matthew S. Hefflefinger is a Shareholder in the Peoria, Illinois office of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen PC and is Chair of the firm's Trucking Practice Group. His practice is devoted primarily to the defense of complex personal injury cases in the trucking and construction industries. Matt is an aggressive advocate who has tried many cases to verdict and is frequently contacted by clients immediately after a catastrophic loss to help develop the facts and case strategy. He is a frequent presenter on a variety of litigation related topics at local and national legal seminars. Matt is the currently the Vice Chair of the DRI Trucking Law Committee.

Bradford G. Hughes
Selman Breitman LLP

Bradford G. Hughes is a Partner in Selman Breitman's Los Angeles office where he serves as Chair of the Trucking and Transportation Practice Group and Co-Chair of the Commercial Litigation Practice Group. Bradford is considered an industry leader in defending motor carriers in catastrophic injury litigation at trial and on appeal. Bradford brings a wealth of experience to the litigation of catastrophic injury lawsuits arising out of trucking accidents and has extensive knowledge of both the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations and the CSA Program. He defends interstate, intrastate, and local "last-mile" carriers in a variety of litigation, including subrogation and cargo matters. Bradford also manages the firm's 24-Hour Accident Investigation Emergency Response Team for California, Nevada, Oregon and Washington. Bradford is rated AV® Preeminent™ by Martindale-Hubbell, earned the Certified Litigation Management Professional ("CLMP") designation in 2015 from the Claims & Litigation Management (CLM) Alliance, was recognized as a 2014-2016 Super Lawyers Rising Star, and Top 100 Southern California Rising Stars in 2015 and 2016. Brad is the seminar Program Vice Chair.

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D.
Vice President
Courtroom Sciences, Inc

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. is recognized as a national expert, author and speaker in the areas of witness preparationand jury psychology. He provides top-quality litigation research and consultation to defense counsel involved in civil lawsuits. Bill has expertise in all aspects of litigation research and consulting, including: –– Witness Preparation: Special proficiency in pre-deposition and pre-trial witness effectiveness training, particularly with corporate executives, healthcare professionals, foreign-born witnesses, and 30(b)(6) witnesses. –– Trial Science: Expertise in all aspects of jury research, including research design, sampling methods, multivariate statistical analysis, and juror profiling; also skilled in juror questionnaire and voir dire development, jury selection, opening statement construction, case strategy analysis, and persuasive visual aid creation. –– Settlement and Mediation Science: Expertise in early case assessment, empirical damages prediction, and witness effectiveness assessment.Bill's success with training witnesses for deposition and trial testimony is remarkable. His systematic witness training methodology is efficient and effective, as it is designed to meet each witness's unique needs, while concurrently teaching core principles of persuasive communication. Clients benefit from Bill's ability to transform poor or average witnesses into extraordinary communicators. Bill earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. in Clinical Psychology from the University of Florida.

John (Jack) J. Laffey
Founding Partner
Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC

John (Jack) J. Laffey is a partner with Laffey, Leitner & Goode LLC and has an extensive Product Liability and Commercial Transportation Catastrophic Injury practice that regularly takes him to courts in Wisconsin and across the nation. In his 30 years of practice, Jack has been proud to represent clients in litigation in more than 25 states. He has had more than two dozen jury verdicts since he started practicing law in 1985. Jack has had the unique experience of having been a winning plaintiff's attorney during that time (1989-1995); this provides Jack with a very interesting and productive insight into the thought processes and motivations of his clients' adversaries. Jack's Product Liability experience ranges from industrial machinery (conveyors and overhead cranes) to consumer products (furnaces and smoke detectors) to toxic torts (asbestos, silica and mold) to pharmaceuticals (diet drugs), to outline a few. Jack has been asked to handle and resolve some of his clients' most problematic and dangerous cases in some of the most challenging venues in this country, oftentimes after the discovery has been completed. These engagements have been particularly rewarding personally because of the faith and trust his clients have placed in him. Jack takes that trust very seriously. His Catastrophic practice always presents very "interesting" problems to solve and it centers upon Wrongful Death, Spinal Cord Injury and Traumatic Brain Injury matters. Jack's specialties include: Catastrophic Case oversight and resolution, Trial and Appellate work as well as an extensive mediation practice on behalf of corporate litigants.

Matthew G. Moffett
Managing Partner
Gray Rust St Amand Moffett & Brieske LLP

Matthew G. Moffett is a partner with Gray Rust St. Amand Moffett and Brieske LLP and is the immediate past president of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association and defends wrongful death and serious injury cases in state and federal courts. Several years ago, Matt tried to a defense verdict a wrongful death case, opposite the author and creator of the Reptile trial strategy. Since then, Matt has presented across the country to defense lawyer organizations, industry associations and for DRI on how to counter and prevail against this strategy, both in discovery and at trial.

Stephen G. Pesarchick
Sugarman Law Firm LLP

Stephen G. Pesarchick has been a partner with the Sugarman Law Firm LLP, in Syracuse, New York, since 1994. His practice focuses on catastrophic personal injury and property damage cases. His civil litigation experience includes motor carrier accidents, farming accidents/issues, transportation accidents, fire claims, construction accidents, product liability cases, and automobile accidents. He has successfully handled countless cases in New York state and federal courts. As an active DRI member, from 2011-2016 he was the editor of In Transit, the newsletter of DRI's Trucking Law Committee, and he is a frequent speaker at many national trucking and fire loss seminars. Stephen is the seminar program chair.

Carlos Rincon
Managing Partner
Rincon Law Group, PC

Carlos Rincon is the founding shareholder of Rincon Law Group, P.C. His practice is concentrated in the representation of motor carriers, railroads and product manufacturers in a broad range of tort litigation. Mr. Rincon is a former Chair of the DRI Trucking Law Committee and previously served on the Board of Directors for DRI. Mr. Rincon is a member of the American College of Transportation Attorneys, the Trucking Industry Defense Association, the Transportation Lawyers Association and the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel. Over the past 8 years, Mr. Rincon has been a regular presenter at the Trucking Law Boot Camps, a private effort to provide continuing education to the risk management community servicing the motor carrier community. Mr. Rincon is board certified in personal injury trial law by the Texas Board of Legal Specialization and has been named a Texas Super Lawyer in Civil Defense Litigation.

Kurt M. Rozelsky
Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP

Kurt M. Rozelsky is a partner with Smith Moore Leatherwood LLP, in Greenville, South Carolina and Atlanta, Georgia where he defends transportation and other technical and expert driven litigation and has tried over 75 cases to verdict. Kurt is the Immediate Past Chair of the FDCC Trucking Committee, Past Chair of the DRI Trucking Law Committee, and Past Vice Chair of the ABA Commercial Trucking Law Committee. He is an active member of the Trucking Industry Defense Association (TIDA) and the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA). Kurt frequently speaks on topics relevant to the trucking industry and trial practice. Kurt has been inducted into the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) for his trial experience and has been selected annually since 2009 for inclusion as one of only four transportation lawyers in the South Carolina Super Lawyers. He has been named to The Best Lawyers in America® 2011-16 and was a 2012 South Carolina Lawyers' Weekly Leaders in the Law recipient.

Heidi E. Ruckman
Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen PC

Heidi E. Ruckman is a partner at the firm of Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen, PC and practices out of the Rockford and Chicago, IL offices. She concentrates her practice in civil defense and specifically in the defense of personal injury cases arising out of the trucking industry, premises liability, and auto accidents. In addition, she handles the defense of legal malpractice claims. She has tried several cases to verdict throughout Northern Illinois and has extensive experience in arbitrations and mediations. She was admitted to practice law in Illinois in 2000 and joined Heyl, Royster in 2006. She has authored several publications and is a frequent speaker at various claims handling seminars, in house meetings for clients and the bar association. She is a certified arbitrator in the Winnebago County Illinois Court Annexed Mediation Program, a vice-chair of the Commercial Transportation Committee of the American Bar Association, and is an active member of DRI, the Transportation Lawyers Association (TLA) and the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA). When she is not practicing law, she spends her time running marathons and competing in Spartan endurance races throughout the United States.

Wendy L. Wilcox
Skane Wilcox LLP

Wendy L. Wilcox earned her B.A. in Sociology, with honors, from the University of California, Los Angeles in 1993 and her J. D., with honors, from Southwestern University School of Law in 1997. Wendy has extensive jury trial and bench trial experience in the firm's practice areas in Southern California and Northern California. For the past 10 years, she has lectured and has hosted numerous workshops nationally and regionally concerning topics such as the "reptile theory", joint defense agreements, expert witnesses, products and professional liability cases, construction litigation and employment litigation. She has also written many articles on several of these topics. In addition, Wendy has represented defendants in published California Appellate and Supreme Court decisions. Wendy is on the Board for the Association of Southern California Defense Lawyers (ASCDC) and Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM). Wendy is also a member of DRI, PLUS and NAMWOLF.