Segal McCambridge Shareholder, Jeffrey Singer, Will be a Featured Speaker at the American Conference Institute's Defending and Managing Automotive Product Liability Conference


July 2, 2008

Segal McCambridge Shareholders, Jeffrey Singer and Steven A. Hart, will be featured speakers at the American Conference Institute's Defending and Managing Automotive Product Liability Conference, to be held October 29-30, 2008 at the Sutton Place Hotel in Chicago, IL.

Mr. Singer will present on the topic entitled, "Jury Communication and Advocacy: Using Themes, Telling a Detailed Story, and Overcoming Sympathy for Plaintiffs and Bias Against Manufacturers," where he will address:

  • Using themes to explain the details for the jury:
    • the technology that was in use at the time of manufacture
    • "behind the challenged design, there is a positive company story"
    • the notion that "failure" does not necessarily equal "defect"
    • jurors as "investigators of the truth" to counter plaintiff's case done in an overly simplistic, broad brush manner
  • Simplifying the critical issues for the jury: demystifying complicated engineering concepts, complex technical issues, and factual proof
  • Overcoming overwhelming natural and understandable sympathy for catastrophically injured (often blameless) plaintiffs
    • establishing a theme of personal responsibility over deep pockets responsibility
  • Overcoming juror bias against auto manufacturers, including:
    • intolerance of virtually any risk of harm or malfunction
    • the assumption that given advancements in vehicle safety features, any serious injury as a result of an accident means that there must have been something wrong with the vehicle
    • the expectation that all product risks, no matter how minor/ unlikely, will be publicly disclosed

Mr. Hart's topic entitled, "Asbestos Friction Product Claims: Preparing for New Theories of Liability, Challenging Causation Experts, and Defeating Cases Built on Junk Science," will include the following discussion:

The threat of claims brought against automotive companies for exposure to asbestos used in the manufacture of friction products has never been more real. And between recent tort reforms in key jurisdictions and new theories of liability, automotive manufacturers and their counsel must have the current strategies and techniques needed to defend against these claims. This pivotal master class (which will also feature one CLE credit hour of ethics) will provide you with the most-up-to-date expert advice need to stay one step ahead of the curve. Action points will include:

  • Defending against duty to warn claims for third party asbestos-containing products: component parts, replacement parts and beyond
  • Where claims are migrating and why, and how to obtain a friendly forum for your case
  • Managing discovery difficulties that frequently arise in automotive/ friction product cases
  • Maximizing the effectiveness of expert testimony
  • Causation evidence
    • countering plaintiff's evidence that exposure to automobile parts could cause asbestos disease
    • defeating the causal link between exposure to friction products and asbestos disease
    • examining autopsy or biopsy samples: scientifically provability, measurability, peer review and credibility
    • arguing no scientific basis to connect the plaintiffs' disease to a particular defendant's product
    • what you need to know about plaintiff's attempts to use occupational history and pathology to show causation
  • Settlement
    • the various considerations, challenges, and opportunities that face each party
    • the ways to "test" new theories, challenges or causation
    • the settlement process as a way to deal with the influx of emerging claims based on new or novel theories
  • Confidentiality and ethical boundaries
    • assessing confidentiality before entering into settlement negotiations
    • methods for preserving confidentiality
    • confidentiality considerations in: making settlement offers; finalizing the settlement in a private agreement or by court order
  • Improving your odds of success through careful jury selection and a comprehensive understanding of juror motivations
  • Anticipating and preparing for the next wave of asbestos claims and defendants

For additional information about this conference, please click here.