Class Action Money and Ethics Conference 2017

Beard Group brings together class action professionals from a variety of disciplines for a one-day conference in Midtown Manhattan, to discuss economic and ethical considerations in class actions, and to provide valuable networking opportunities among top-tier professionals.

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Date: May 1, 2017
Location: The Harmonie Club, 4 East 60th Street, New York, NY 10022
CLE Credit: Program will seek accreditation for seven hours of CLE credit, with two of those hours qualifying for ethics credit.

Conference Brochure Cover.pdf

Relevant conference articles written by our faculty:

Click on speaker’s name below to access his or her biography:

Panel Time Title Faculty Panel Description
7:30 a.m. Registration and Continental Breakfast
8:00 a.m. Opening Remarks Robin Cantor (Berkeley Research Group)
8:10 a.m. Evaluating Economic Outcomes and Ethical Considerations in Litigation Financing James Batson (Bentham)
Radosław Góral (Dentons)
Lucian Pera (Adams & Reese)
Anthony Sebok (Cardozo)
Geoffrey Wyatt (Skadden)
Litigation investing is coming under increasing scrutiny, particularly in light of the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California recently announcing (on Jan. 23) a new rule requiring the automatic disclosure of third-party funding agreements in proposed class-action lawsuits, walking back from an earlier proposal for broader transparency requirements. This panel will analyze the ethics and effectiveness of litigation financing at the larger level, and address the current benefits and concerns, pros and cons of this controversial practice.
9:10 a.m. The Economic Influence and Role of the Class Representative – Ethical and Policy Issues Michael Ciklin (Perini Capital)
Peggy Daley
(Berkeley Research Group)
Andrew B. Clubok (Kirkland & Ellis)
Annika K. Martin (Lieff Cabraser)
Nicholas Porritt (Levi & Korsinsky)
This panel examines the role of the class representative and in particular, what makes an effective class representative. The panel will consider what effects the class representative has on the action, and how active they can/should be. Does the quality of class representatives make any difference for the outcome for the class? Do individuals or institutions make the most effective class representatives? What process should a court follow in appointing class representatives? What is the extent of the role of defense counsel in the appointment of class representatives? How should counsel deal with conflicts between the class and the representative?The panel will also discuss negotiations between class counsel and the class representative over fees, and ethical issues and conflicts presented by incentive awards.
10:10 a.m. Morning Networking Break  Refreshments will be served
10:30 a.m. Implications of the Proposed Changes to Rule 23 Perry Cooper (Bloomberg BNA – moderator)
Jay Edelson (Edelson PC)
Robert Klonoff (Lewis & Clark Law School)
Alan B. Morrison (George Washington University)
Patrick F. Philbin (Kirkland & Ellis)
Panelists will discuss some of the controversial proposed changes to Rule 23, particularly as they relate to 1) criteria judges should consider when approving settlements; 2) side payments that parties make to objectors needing disclosure and court approval; and 3) allowing notice to class members via electronic mailings, rather than just US mail. Other topics for discussion will include timing of final proposals going into effect, what the committee decided to leave out and why, and may touch on the interplay with the Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017, H.R. 985.
11:30 a.m. Alternative Dispute Resolution to Mass Claims Robin Cantor (Berkeley Research Group)
Halli Cohn (King & Spalding)
Kenneth Feinberg (Law Offices of Kenneth R. Feinberg, P.C.)
Ethan Greene (Reisman Karron Greene)
Scott Nader (Garden City)
This panel will emphasize strategic resolution of complex litigation, with a particular focus on class actions and mass torts. The speakers will be asked to address approaches, methodologies, and the potential value for complex litigation using novel class action, mass action, and inventory settlements. Speakers will be asked to comment on such factors as the role of national settlement counsel in large mass torts, court-appointed special masters to assist plaintiffs and defendants in achieving resolution of complex litigation, analytical products that can enhance the resolution process, and the role of mediators to resolve cases. Other issues important to the topic include consideration of the comparative risks and benefits of litigation and settlement, how the balance of those risks may change over time, and efficiently administering settlements and claims processing to address bankruptcies, probates, and liens asserted against settlements by healthcare and other providers, and the potential of additional liability exposures.
12:30 p.m. Plated Lunch Keynote Address, Ken Feinberg: Class Actions — The Benefits to both Class Members and Defendants Salad: Baby spinach, shaved red onion, baby golden beets, teardrop tomatoes, dijon vinaigrette.
Entree: Lemon and herb marinated chicken breast, grilled marinated vegetables & herb roasted potatoes
Dessert: Apple tart tatin w/ whipped cream and caramel sauce
Coffee & Tea
1:40 p.m.* Increased Class Participation in the Digital Age Shana E. Scarlett (Hagens Berman)
Honorable Faith Hochberg
Samuel Issacharoff (NYU)
Mark Sole (Sipree)
Steven Weisbrot (Angeion Group)
The rise of social media and global interconnectedness via the internet has helped facilitate an increased awareness to class participants in class actions, and recent case trends indicate this is not just an anomaly, but an indication of a ‘new normal’. In what ways does increased class participation, and social media awareness of class actions, benefit or hinder the process? This panel will discuss how this recent trend affects the efficiency and legitimacy of class actions, in what ways it helps increase transparency in the settlements process, whether it leads to less abuse, how it affects defendant’s strategy, and how social media and new technology is being utilized to increase class participation and bring efficiency to the payout process.
2:40 p.m. Consumer Class Actions and Product Labeling: Consumer Protection or Opportunism? Jonathan Shapiro (Baker Botts)
Alok Khare (FTI)
Bethany Lukitsch (McGuireWoods)
Rosemary Rivas (Levi & Korsinsky)
Rick L. Shackelford (Greenberg Traurig)
Investigations in the area of product labeling have expanded substantially in recent years. Regulators and consumer advocates are looking closely at labels designed to signal specific product attributes related to health, safety, environmental, and performance qualities. When the attribute information is challenged, it is becoming more common to encounter the related class-action litigation for damages to consumers from alleged mislabeling, especially with food products. Class-action labeling litigation can be an expensive “bet-the-company” process for product producers and it is increasingly being regarded as an example of baseless legal opportunism. Given the growth of these matters and their potential liability risk, it is worth investigating the current legal issues and economic methodology used to support mislabeling impact and damages claims.Panelists for this session will address: 1) the primary jurisdiction doctrine and the likely impacts of pending FDA guidance on the use of the term, “natural,” 2) the measurement of common impact and economic damages in consumer fraud matters, 3) the likely impact of the Ninth Circuit’s ConAgra opinion addressing a separate administrative feasibility prerequisite to class certification, 4) labeling omissions and the failure to warn.
3:40 p.m. Afternoon Networking Break Refreshments will be served
4:00 p.m. Future Regulation in Class Actions – Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act 2017 John C. Coffee, Jr. (Columbia)
Alison Frankel (Reuters – Moderator)
Brad S. Karp (Paul Weiss)
Alexandra D. Lahav (University of Connecticut)
Jonathan D. Selbin (Lieff Cabraser)
Panelists will evaluate and analyze the proposed procedural rule changes of the “Fairness in Class Action Litigation Act of 2017” (H.R. 985) introduced by Representative Bob Goodlatte (R-Va.), and consider questions such as, “How likely is this rule to pass? Will it be toned down by the Senate? What ultimate impact will it have on class actions as we know it? Who will benefit most from some of it’s most controversial sections, such as 1717(b)(2) on the ‘Prohibition of Conflicts’?” Will the bill increase “fairness” in class actions?

 Note: Due to a last minute change, the 1:40 pm panel (Increased Class Participation in the Digital Age) will switch time slots with the 2:40 pm panel (Consumer Class Actions and Product Labeling: Consumer Protection or Opportunism?)

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For more information, contact:
Joseph Cardillo
joseph@beardgroup.com
856-381-8268

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