DRI Asbestos Medicine Seminar Focuses on Latests Medical Advances


December 4, 2015

What happens in Vegas doesn’t always have to stay there. From November 5-6, 2015, 1,062 individuals from throughout the country traveled to Las Vegas, Nevada to attend the annual DRI Asbestos Medicine Seminar. The seminar’s focus was on the latest medical advances in diagnoses and treatment with regard to asbestos related diseases, but provided advice and techniques on all aspects of defending asbestos-related lawsuits.  The seminar attracted not only attorneys, but insurers and representatives from defendant companies as well, all of whom came to learn from preeminent asbestos litigation practitioners and experts on the best practices in the field.

On Thursday, November 5, seminar participants had the opportunity to attend many presentations including: a talk delivered by Jason Irvin on Plaintiff tactics to shift the focus of a jury by using fear based language and testimony; a presentation by Dr. Gary Friedman on recent changes in PFT, x-ray and ATS criteria in the diagnosis of asbestos related diseases; an explanation by Dr. David Lynch on the recent technological advances in radiology and CT scans; a lecture by Dr. Charles A. Weaver III on research indicating that witness recollection and memory may not be reliable evidence and is often subject to bias through suggestion; and a discussion by Dr. Mark Utell on various updates related to Lung Cancer asbestos-related lawsuits by examining new approaches to examining medical records and alternative theories of causation. 

Seminar attendees also had the opportunity to attend various breakout sessions, which included presentations related to: strategies and information for young lawyers; the value of obtaining bankruptcy trust information in asbestos related lawsuits; challenging myths spread by Plaintiff’s counsel; the value of obtaining a pathologist; new issues in asbestos-related lung cancer lawsuits; using idiopathic and spontaneous occurrence in defending asbestos lawsuits; innovative deposition techniques; methods to be more persuasive to jurors; how state and federal law shape asbestos litigation; issues related to economic damages; genetics; litigating as a first chair trial attorney; post-trial motions; and examining mesothelioma on a global scale.  After a long day of lectures and presentations, attendees were encouraged to attend various dinners and receptions to network and catch up with old friends.

On Friday, November 6, the seminar continued on a number of pertinent topics including: professional ethics in defending asbestos related lawsuits; problems with forum shopping in asbestos lawsuits; other cancers claimed to be attributed to asbestos; a history of asbestos litigation; other causes in developing cancer; how to interpret scientific evidence; and an examination of “independent” organizations related to asbestos or asbestos related disease.  Not only did the speakers deliver concise and informative presentations, most also provided written materials that provided further detail in each of their respective topics. 

The presentations provided invaluable advice, information and technique on how to pragmatically defend asbestos-related lawsuits and interpret the often complicated scientific evidence involved.  Additionally, seminar attendees were encouraged to submit questions to the faculty and receive on-the-spot answers from faculty experts. The seminar further provided networking opportunities for all attendees, such that seminar faculty and attendees could engage in further discourse about related topics. 

The seminar’s success was dependent on all of the program sponsors including: Aiken Welch Court Reporters, Burr Forman LLP; Campbell Trial Lawyers; Exponent; Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP; Hermes Netburn; HG Deposition and Litigation Services; KCIC; McCaffery & Associates, Inc.; Miles & Stockbridge; PACE; RJ Lee Group; SEA; Speziali Greenwald & Hawkins; Thomson Reuters; and Wilson Elser.

Mark Steiner is a trial attorney who focuses his practice on the litigation of toxic tort, product liability, professional liability, transportation and complex commercial litigation matters. He has extensive experience in drafting contracts and agreements, writing legal memoranda, writing model trial briefs, and researching and drafting published court opinions.