Florina Altshiler is a former prosecutor and currently the managing attorney for the Buffalo, NY office of Russo & Toner LLP specializing in litigation. She is the exclusive Legal Analyst for WKBW ABC News and an instructor at Columbia University and Buffalo State College. She has been quoted and published throughout the country, including the Chicago Tribune, the Daily Beast, the New York Law Journal and BBC. She frequently presents for Lawline, ClearLaw Institute, NITA and various Bar Associations.
Daniel J. Arnett is the founder and partner of Chicago based Arnett Law Group, LLC, where he focuses his practice on product liability, insurance defense and commercial litigation. I addition to his legal practice, Mr. Arnett serves as a counselor, providing guidance to corporate executives, entrepreneurs, families and friends in personal and commercial matters. He has been a member of DRI and the Trial Tactics Committee for 17 of his 23 years as a practicing attorney and the Program Chair of the 2014 Trial Tactics Seminar.
Tillman J. Breckenridge is the Immediate Past Chair of the Appellate Advocacy Committee. He has represented companies, individuals, and governments in the Supreme Court of the United States, as well as in every federal circuit and several state appellate courts. Mr. Breckenridge is also the St. George Tucker Adjunct Professor of Law at William & Mary Law School, where he teaches appellate advocacy and manages the school's Appellate and Supreme Court Clinic.
Jack P. Burden is a shareholder at the law firm of BACKUS, CARRANZA & BURDEN and is a litigation attorney with 18 years of litigation experience in general liability, premise liability, construction defect and product liability matters. His clients range from Fortune 200 companies to small businesses in Nevada. He holds an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell and was voted as one of Nevada's Top Lawyers in 2013-2017. Mr. Burden has co-authored portions of the Nevada Pattern Jury Instructions and has extensively lectured on a variety of litigation topics including insurance bad faith, premise liability, personal injury and Medicare for the State Bar of Nevada, Defense Research Institute (DRI) and National Business Institute. Mr. Burden is admitted to the State Bar of Nevada, the United States District Court, the United States Court of Appeals and the United States Supreme Court.
Sergio E. Chavez is the managing shareholder of the Rincon Law Group. He has been with the firm since 2009, and has 16 years of civil litigation and trial experience. Sergio's practice is focused on the defense of motor carriers, passenger coach companies, and commercial drivers in a wide range of legal matters including catastrophic accidents and cargo/freight claims. Sergio serves on the Trial Tactics seminar steering committee, and was the committee's Webcast Chair for over 3 years. In 2015, Sergio was named as a Rising Star by Super Lawyers Magazine in the area of commercial transportation which is recognition awarded to only 2.5 percent of Texas lawyers.
Erin Muller Eddy, MBA, CSSC, has been in the structured settlement industry for thirteen years, first working as a settlement coordinator and now as an annuity specialist. An undergraduate of Iona College, she received her MBA from St. John's University and the Structured Settlement Certification from Notre Dame. Erin has been very involved in the structured settlement trade association, having spent two years as the Co-Chair of the Education Committee. In addition to planning the Regional and Annual meetings during that time, she also assisted in planning Structures 101 and building the course agenda for Structures 202. A firm believer that structures can help in the negotiation process and facilitate an effective settlement, she has spent time on Capitol Hill education Representatives and their staff, has spoken in front of the New York State Bar and participates in Ringler Radio.
The Honorable John Cannon Few began his legal career as law clerk to The Honorable G. Ross Anderson, Jr., United States District Judge. Before joining the South Carolina Supreme Court, Justice Few served for almost ten years as a trial judge on the Circuit Court of South Carolina, and then served for almost six years as the Chief Judge of the South Carolina Court of Appeals. Justice Few is a frequent public speaker, and he also has been active in teaching law. He has served on the faculty at the National Judicial College in Reno, Nevada, and he now teaches at the University of South Carolina School of Law. Justice Few also has always been active in community service, and he currently chairs the South Carolina Access to Justice Commission.
John P. (Jack) Freedenberg, CFEI, a founding partner of the firm, concentrates his practice in the areas of products liability, catastrophic personal injury, and intellectual property litigation. He has handled over 150 trials, 100 of them to verdict, and has had many summary judgments granted making trial unnecessary. Jack serves as national coordinating counsel for two major manufacturers, and he has handled the defense of numerous products liability actions around the United States. These have included catastrophic personal injury cases and major fire damage cases, and they have involved appliances, household products, controls, power generating and other heavy equipment, high-end products, lift trucks, electrical systems, and aircraft engines. As a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI), Jack provides Goldberg Segalla clients with a strong competitive advantage in litigation involving damage and injury from fires. He is actively and deeply involved in the investigation phase of each fire case, and in the courtroom, he brings the weight of fire investigation credentials that often match or exceed those of opposing expert witnesses. He has participated in dozens of fire scene inspections and more than 100 laboratory inspections of fire scene artifacts, and he has conducted hundreds of depositions and dozens of trials in fire-related cases.
The Honorable W. Michael (Mick) Gillette served for nearly nine years on the Oregon Court of Appeals, and then served 25 years on the Oregon Supreme Court before joining Schwabe. Prior to that, he was the State of Oregon's chief appellate lawyer. He has participated in thousands of appeals and written hundreds of legal opinions. Mick uses his extensive litigation background to assist other Schwabe attorneys concerning virtually any client legal question that may arise. In addition, he provides focus in particular areas—administrative and government law, for example—in which he has a personal background, and writes briefs and argues appeals concerning the broadest possible range of subjects. Mick has argued cases in the Oregon appellate courts, the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the Supreme Court of the United States. He has also achieved important victories for clients in the judicial and lawyer discipline contexts.
Jennifer Snyder Heis is a partner in the Cincinnati office of Ulmer & Berne, where she represents product manufacturers and sellers, including drug and medical device companies and dietary supplement manufacturers. She defends clients both locally and nationally, in multidistrict litigation and coordinated state proceedings. Ms. Heis is actively involved with DRI's Drug and Medical Device and Product liability Committees, and serves on the Law Institute.
Michael A. Hinojosa is Chief Claim Officer, Senior Vice President for National Claim Services Inc, a third party claims administrator for Allstar Financial Group a managing general underwriting agency. He has been a claims executive with over 30 years of experience in all lines of insurance. His responsibilities include the overall claim management of all areas of claim. Prior to joining National Claim Services, he held the position of Chief Claim Officer for American Safety Insurance Company and Westchester Fire Insurance Company. His areas of expertise were in driving efficiencies in operation while optimizing appropriate cost effective strategies in claims management.
Guy E. Hughes is a partner with Casey Bailey & Maines PLLC in Lexington, Kentucky where he has a broad based litigation practice handling matters in the areas of products liability, fire loss, trucking law, premises liability as well as the defense of professional liability claims. Mr. Hughes work has also included representation of recreational product, automobile and motorcycle manufactures as well as work for a Class I Railroad with trials throughout the Commonwealth of Kentucky. Mr. Hughes is a member of the Defense Research Institute (DRI) and currently serves as the Vice-Chair of the Trial Tactics Committee.
Jennifer L. Jaskolka is Assistant General Counsel at Xcel Energy, a Fortune 500 company providing gas and electric services to customers in eight states. Jennifer manages local and multi-district litigation matters, is responsible for the Company's asbestos litigation portfolio, and handles Occupational Safety and Health legal issues for all operating companies. She serves as a legal advisor and strategic business partner to various business lines and functions, including senior and executive leadership, Corporate Safety, electric & gas distribution and transmission, and energy supply. Before joining Xcel, Jennifer was a partner at White & Steele, PC in Denver, Colorado, and a shareholder at Sullivan & Ward, P.C. in Des Moines, Iowa. Jennifer received her J.D. from the University of Nebraska College of Law and recently completed her undergraduate degree in Occupational Safety & Health with honors.
Harry S. Johnson is a Senior Litigation Partner at Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP. His practice focuses on complex litigation, with an emphasis on product liability. For over 10 years he was one of the principal counsels for Baltimore City in Thompson v. HUD, a federal civil rights action concerning public housing. His practice has ranged from defense of various product manufacturers to civil rights actions. He has also defended hospitals, physicians and attorneys in professional liability cases. He was named one of America's Top Black Lawyers by Black Enterprise Magazine in 2003 and was recognized with The Daily Record's 'Leadership in Law' award the same year. For over 27 years he was a member of the Court of Appeals of Maryland Standing Committee on Rules of Practice and Procedure. Mr. Johnson has a long history with the Maryland State Bar Association where he served as the first African American President. He is also active in the American Bar Association, where he served on the ABA Standing Committee on the Federal Judiciary from 2007 – 2010, and in August 2017 completed his term as Chair of the ABA Standing Committee on Public Education. He also served as Chair of the Board of Directors of GBMC Healthcare from 2011 to 2014, and is currently a member of the Executive Board of the Maryland Hospital Association. His service includes membership on the boards of the Baltimore Community Foundation and the State Office of the Public Defender. He is a graduate of the Greater Baltimore Committee Leadership Program.
Melinda S. Kollross is a senior partner and Co-Chair of Clausen Miller's Appellate Practice Group, handling post-trial and appellate litigation for savvy clients nationwide. She has litigated more than 100 appeals in state and federal reviewing courts, including participation in two appeals before the United States Supreme Court. Melinda's practice includes commercial litigation, first-party property, liability insurance coverage and liability defense. Her skilled advocacy has saved clients millions of dollars. Melinda's notable works include a chapter on post-trial motions in DRI's A Defense Lawyer's Guide to Appellate Practice (2004), and two feature articles published in DRI's For The Defense magazine. "Oral Argument: What It Really Takes To 'Please the Court' " (October 2015), and "Evaluations, Negotiation and Effectuating Settlements on Appeal" (March 2016).
Colette Magnetta is the chair of the DRI Trial Tactics Committee. She is a shareholder with Acker & Whipple in Los Angeles and practices in the areas of construction defect, product liability, premises liability, and general tort litigation.
Michael J. McCabe, Jr., Ph.D., DABT, ATS is an internationally-trained and nationally recognized scientist with both research and teaching experience. He has a broad-based background in toxicology with specialized expertise in mechanistic immunotoxicology and human health assessment. Dr. McCabe earned his M.S. and Ph.D. degrees in Microbiology and Immunology from Albany Medical College, NY, and completed post-doctorate training at the Karolinska Institute in Sweden. He sits on the editorial board of four toxicology journals, has been widely published and has received numerous research grants from NIH.
Stephen C. Pasarow is a director with Knapp, Petersen & Clarke in Glendale, California. Since being admitted to the State Bar of California in 1980, he has specialized in civil litigation, with an emphasis on the defense of automobile accident, transportation and premises liability cases. Mr. Pasarow is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He is a member of ABOTA with the rank of Diplomate and a past president of the Los Angeles Chapter. Mr. Pasarow previously served as DRI State Representative for California and Program Chair for the Trial Tactics Seminar.
The Honorable Kristina Pickering is a justice of the Supreme Court of Nevada. Justice Pickering began her career as law clerk for United States District Judge Bruce R. Thompson in Reno. She then entered private law practice and handled complex civil litigation at both the trial and appellate level in Reno and Las Vegas before her election to the Nevada Supreme Court in 2008. Justice Pickering is a life member of the American Law Institute. She served as an advisor on the ALI's Federal Judicial Code Revision Project and as a consultative group member on the Restatement of the Law Governing Lawyers. Over the course of her legal career, Justice Pickering served in a variety of positions to improve the legal profession and court system in Nevada. She was a member of the Nevada Board of Bar Examiners from 1992 to 2007. She also served on committees at the state and national levels addressing court rules, lawyer ethics and professional conduct. She was an adjunct faculty member at the William S. Boyd School of Law at the University of Nevada, Las Vegas in 2000 and 2002. Justice Pickering also has received the Legal Aid Center of Southern Nevada Pro Bono Project Award of Judicial Excellence.
John C.S. Pierce represents clients in all areas of insurance, business and product liability litigation. He counsels businesses and business owners in the areas of construction, transportation, professional liability, products liability, business disputes, insurance matters and corporate formation and guidance. He chaired the Defense research institute's Trial Tactics Committee in 2014 and is the former chair of its Scaffolding Cranes and Aerial Devices Specialized Litigation Group. He is also a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel and Product Liability Advisory Council. He is admitted to practice in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the First and Eleventh Circuits, the Supreme Court of Alabama, the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern, Middle and Southern District of Alabama.
Claire Plotkin is a jury consultant in the Los Angeles area who has consulted in all types of civil ligation, including employment, personal injury, and business disputes. She selects juries, mock tests cases, preps witnesses to testify, and gives advice on how best to present your case in trials, from large to small. You can reach her at email@example.com.
The Honorable Johnnie B. Rawlinson was appointed to the U.S. Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals in 2000. Before her appointment to the Ninth Circuit, Judge Rawlinson served as a U.S. District Judge for the District of Nevada. Prior to her judicial service, Judge Rawlinson spent 18 years with the Office of District Attorney, Clark County, Nevada. She rose from deputy district attorney to chief deputy district attorney to assistant district attorney, where she supervised civil, family support and administrative divisions.
Lynn M. Roberson is a mediator with Miles Mediation and Arbitration Services in Atlanta, GA following her retirement from 36 years of litigation during which she handled premises liability, product liability, trucking and auto accident, professional malpractice and misconduct cases, as well as insurance coverage matters. Lynn is a past president of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association and the Atlanta Bar Association, the largest voluntary bar in the Southeast. She is also a past chair of DRI's Trial Tactics committee.
Abigail Rossman, a partner with Haworth, Rossman & Gerstman, LLC, represents and advises a wide variety of corporate clients in complex civil litigation matters involving several diverse areas of law, including construction litigation, product liability, mass tort, privacy violations, commercial trucking, consumer fraud and general negligence in both state and federal court. Ms. Rossman regularly represents owners/developers, construction managers, engineers, general contractors, subcontractors and telecommunications carriers and their contractors in both personal injury and property damage matters arising out of allegations of construction defect, New York Labor Law and negligence. Ms. Rossman also represents commercial trucking clients in personal injury and property damage matters as well as manufacturers, distributors and retailers of industrial machinery, cosmetics and beauty products, textiles, exercise equipment and children's products in product liability and consumer fraud individual and class actions.
Ewing E. (Eddie) Sikes III, a partner with Royston Razor in their Brownsville, Texas office, practices in the areas of construction defect, personal injury and wrongful death, commercial and maritime litigation, and massive toxic tort litigation. In addition, he handles labor and employment issues and transactional work. Mr. Sikes is the program chair of this seminar.
Todd H. Silberman has worked as general counsel for Express Carriers and Mesilla Valley Transport which are large national motor carriers. Todd has extensive experience in managing outside counsel, managing complex litigation, regulatory compliance, transactional oversight, strategic decision making, and even international litigation. Todd is currently Deputy General Counsel and Sr. Vice President Southwest Region at American Trucking and Transportation Insurance Company, RRG (ATTIC, RRG), which is a transportation risk retention group. Todd's responsibility includes strategic management and litigation oversight and as well as directly handling some claims. Having been in-house for nearly 20 years, Todd brings valuable insight from his business and corporate background Todd is a graduate of the University of Florida, and earned his Juris Doctorate from South Texas College at Law in Houston, Texas.
Sarah Elizabeth Spencer is a shareholder at Christensen & Jensen in Salt Lake City, Utah. She is an experienced appellate advocate who has handled a variety of appeals in state and federal court. Ms. Spencer also defends high-stakes lawsuits involving commercial disputes, business torts, and product liability claims. She has been active in DRI since 2008. Ms. Spencer currently serves as the marketing co-chair of DRI's Appellate Advocacy Committee and previously served on the DRI Young Lawyers Committee's steering committee.
Robert F. Ulrich is a Vice President in the Excess Casualty Claim Department at AIG in New York, NY. Bob oversees catastrophic damage, tort liability cases pending throughout the United States in cases where AIG is the excess carrier or has excess exposure.
Jill M. Wheaton is a member of Dykema Gossett, PLLC, resident in the Ann Arbor Michigan office, where she serves as the Chair of its nationwide Appellate Practice Team. Ms. Wheaton has argued numerous cases in various state and federal courts of appeals and is a frequent writer and speaker on various subjects related to appellate practice. Ms. Wheaton is a graduate of the University of Michigan Law School.
The Honorable Jerry A. Wiese II, is a judge on the Eighth Judicial District Court in Nevada. Judge Wiese was first elected on November 2, 2010, and took office on January 3, 2011. He was re-elected in 2014, winning a new term that expires on January 3, 2021. Prior to assuming the bench, Judge Wiese practiced law in Nevada from 1994 until 2010.
Marc E. Williams is the managing partner of the West Virginia office of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, where he also serves as a Team Leader and as Co-Chair of the firm's Consumer, Mechanical and Products Practice Group. His practice focuses on class actions, mass torts, products liability and commercial litigation. He has had primary responsibility for over 100 trials and appeals during his career. He is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers. He has served as President of DRI, Lawyers for Civil Justice and the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence.
Monté L. Williams, a former state trooper, works to protect his clients at trial, managing litigation, negotiating settlements, conducting investigations, or partnering with them to find ways to avoid future problems. Monté collaborates with his clients long before litigation is a reality to protect them and fight for the best possible outcome.
Teresa M. Young is a partner in the St. Louis, Missouri law firm Brown & James, P.C., practicing in the firm's St. Louis office. Within her specialty of insurance defense, Teresa regularly takes on cases that fall into the category of complex litigation, including coverage analysis, multi-party and multi-jurisdictional cases, as well as cases that contain intricate factual or legal issues. She also consistently handles appellate matters for her insurance clients and was recently named an Influential Appellate Advocate by Missouri Lawyers Weekly for her work in bringing a seminal case on co-employee liability before the Missouri Supreme Court. She received her Bachelor's and Master's degree from the University of Kansas, and her J.D. from Washington University in St. Louis.