Litigation 2017

February 2017

This seminar is accredited for  8.8 WV MCLE Audio Video credits and 2.2 Ethics/L.O.M credits.

CHANGES TO FEDERAL RULES OF PROCEDURE

This presentation will focus on 2016 changes to the various federal rules of procedure, as well as amendments to the Local Forms and Local Rules for the United States District Court for the Southern District of West Virginia, which are anticipated to take effect in early 2017.

Ancil  G. Ramey, Esquire
Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC – Huntington, WV

LAWYER PROFESSIONALISM

At its core, lawyer professionalism states that a lawyer shall provide competent representation to a client. Competent representation requires the legal knowledge, skill, thoroughness and preparation reasonably necessary for the representation. This presentation will focus on refreshing lawyers on the general principles of being an effective and professional attorney including knowing your cases, being courteous to opposing counsel, and knowing and applying all of the rules of procedure and evidence.

Honorable Paul T. Farrell
Sixth Judical Court

LITIGATING AT AN EVIDENTIARY HEARING THE ENFORCEABILITY OF AN ARBITRATION PROVISION

An "arbitration hearing" can be either procedural or evidentiary.  By definition, an evidentiary hearing is any court proceeding that involves witnesses giving testimony under oath. This presentation will inform litigators regarding various case law and WV and federal statutes that impact enforcing arbitration provisions during these evidentiary hearings.

Susan R. Snowden, Esquire  
Martin & Seibert LC – Martinsburg, WV

THE FAULT OF THE PLAINTIFF: COMPARATIVE NEGLIGENCE, ASSUMPTION OF RISK, ILLEGAL ACTS, AVOIDABLE CONSEQUENCES, SEATBELT DEFENSE, AND OTHER SAFETY TOPICS

When litigating hearings involving comparative negligence it is important for lawyers to understand if, and, where the fault of the plaintiff lies. This presentation will include a breakdown of risk assumption and assessment procedures and how the best lawyers are able to navigate these complicated waters. Discussions of assumption of the risk of seatbelt defense, airbag engagement, DUI’s, and other illegal acts will be included.

Professor Thomas C. Cady  
WVU College of Law – Morgantown, WV

UPDATE ON EVIDENCE AND HOW TO PRESERVE YOUR RECORD

In addition to an overview of important evidence cases this year, this session will identify the many traps in the rules, which prevent attorneys from protecting their record on appeal. The courts consistently seek to avoid ruling on the merits of an evidentiary objection. What can you do to insure that your client's case will not meet that fate?

Professor Marjorie A. McDiarmid  
WVU College of Law – Morgantown, WV

SLIPPERY SLOPE: PRE-TRIAL EXPERT DISCLOSURES AND RULE 26

Modern litigation has seen a dramatic rise in the use of expert witnesses.  In fact, some states, including West Virginia, have gone so far as to require the use of expert testimony in certain types of cases.   Both the West Virginia Rules and the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure have changed over the years in order to keep pace with changes in the litigation climate. The 1993 amendments to the Federal Rules were designed, in part, to allow for meaningful discovery of expert opinions.  The expert disclosure requirements of Rule 26 were to be the cornerstone of these changes. This presentation will address both the Federal Rules related to disclosure of expert opinions as well as the West Virginia Rules related to expert disclosures.

Laurie K. Miller, Esquire  
Jackson Kelly, PLLC – Charleston, WV

ETHICS UPDATE

Significant amendments were made to the WV Rules of Professional Conduct by order of the WV Supreme Court of Appeals. Nearly every Rule of Professional Conduct and/or official comment was amended on January 1, 2015. This presentation will highlight the impact of these new rules and other ethical issues to assist you with compliance.

Rachael L. Fletcher Cipoletti, Chief Lawyer  
Office of Disciplinary Counsel – Charleston, WV

THE NEW WV JURY INSTRUCTION AND WV SUPREME COURT OF APPEALS UPDATE

It is important that trial lawyers and judges have at their disposal legally correct instructions that are understandable to a lay jury. The instructions have been extensively researched and have gone through numerous revisions. The 15 topics covered in the pattern instructions are: Preliminary Instructions to the Impaneled Jury; Complete Closing General Civil Jury Charge; Employment Law; Product Liability and Warranty; Medical Negligence; Motor Vehicles; Deliberate Intent; Personal Injury, Wrongful Death, and Property Damage; Negligence, Comparative Negligence, and Proximate Cause; Premises Liability; Contracts; Eminent Domain; Evidence and Witnesses; Tort of Spoliation; and Punitive Damages.

A review of the recent West Virginia Supreme Court of Appeals opinions and orders will be presented. Specific overturning or clarifying previous case law will be highlighted. Specific cases focusing on statutory review and interpretation will also be discussed.

Honorable Menis E. Ketchum, II  
WV Supreme Court of Appeals – Charleston, WV

Rory L. Perry, Clerk  
WV Supreme Court of Appeals – Charleston, WV