Litigation 2018

February 2018

This seminar is approved for 8.9 total WV MCLE Audio Video credits.

Forensic Accounting & Business Valuation

This course will review the fundamentals considered in developing an opinion of value of a closely held business. Business valuation theory and forensic accounting procedures relative to developing the opinion will be explored.

Heather Baranowski, Consulting Director  
BDO Global

The American Civil Jury Trial - History and Current Status

This three-part presentation will discuss the history, rise, and decline of jury trials in the American legal system. The first portion will focus on the historical evolution of the dispute resolution process in past societies and civilizations. In its second part, the enshrining of the jury in State and Federal Constitutions will be discussed along with the rights of citizens that were derived therefrom. Lastly, the de-evolution of the American civil jury trial through ever-changing legislative tort reform, common law, and arbitration will be examined.

Ryan Umina, Esquire  
Cranston & Edwards, PLLC

Social Media and the Law

Social media is enmeshed in our culture, and its effects on our everyday lives is indisputable. It impacts us both personally and professionally. Lawyers, especially litigators, can use social media as a tool to help provide better representation to clients, whether it is mining for evidence or researching jurors online. The technology can also be used for professional development and networking. This session will discuss the legal obligations arising from use of social media, and review recent developments, since the law in this area is relatively unsettled and constantly changing. Potential challenges and future innovations will also be presented.

Harry Bell Jr., Esquire  
Stewart Bell, PLLC

Liberty's Last Champions - Protecting the Rights of the Accused

If you’ve been active in criminal defense and a member of the National Association of Criminal Defense Lawyers (NACDL), you may be familiar with its slogan - that a true criminal defense counsel is “Liberty’s Last Champion.”  While some of the trial practices of criminal law are useful in civil cases, at its core, criminal proceedings are often fundamentally unfair.  Most significantly, there are criminal charges that are excessive (and too often not supported by any facts).  We are prosecuting those who are ill and treating them as criminals.  Sentencing under current guidelines are out of proportion to the facts of the case and the background of the Accused.  Some current “search” and “seize” techniques violate the expectation of privacy including gps data from cell phones.  Bail is often used to imprison someone pretrial who is not at risk to return to court or to harm himself or anyone else.  Intercepted jail calls are the new questionable discovery technique for prosecutors once bail is denied.  Law enforcement sometimes alters the evidence or withholds key material entirely.  Criminal discovery is anemic – as compared to civil discovery; you will get more information in a $500 bad debt case.  Prosecutors do not seek out the exculpatory evidence that they should turn over to the defense; they turn a blind eye instead.  Junk science is admitted into evidence though neither reliable nor sufficient.  Prior bad acts are used by the prosecution to inflame and prejudice a jury improperly and make up for their evidential shortfall.  There is inadequate representation of the Accused.  The courts too often look the other way at any prosecutorial misconduct, thereby granting license for more misbehavior.  Too many judges were only prosecutors and therefore do not truly appreciate the defense function.  It is our objective to survey some critical areas in criminal law and suggest how to protect the rights of the Accused. Otherwise, Justice is a coincidence of the system, and not a consequence of it.  We have to work on that.

John Flannery, Esquire 
Campbell Flannery, PC

May I Help You: Giving the Mediator the Tools He or She Needs to Help You Resolve Your Case

Mediation: Mediation is not only a successful tool for resolving disputes; in many jurisdictions, it is mandatory. If you really want to settle your case at mediation, you have to give the mediator the tools to help you.  You do that by preparation and presentation, overcoming ego and weeding out the unimportant things to win over the mediator, making him an advocate for your vision of the settlement.  This session offers some tips from a seasoned trial lawyer and mediator on how to settle cases that should not have to go to trial. Nearly every lawyer has studied the qualities and practices that make a great trial lawyer, but similar effort has not been placed on developing mediation skills, despite the fact, many more cases are resolved this way. Most important to the success of any mediation is for the parties to be prepared. This presentation will review items to be considered regarding when a case should be mediated, selecting the mediator, preparing clients for mediation, possible advance resolutions, and the necessity of compromise.

Elliot Hicks, Esquire  
Hicks Resolution, PLLC

Data Security Litigation

Data Security involves the business, technological, and legal issues relating to the security and privacy of networks and data. Lawyers represent clients in investigations, crisis response to data breach incidents, litigation, government relations, counseling, and transactions. Practitioners in this field must learn to lead forensic and incident response teams, as well as develop a deep understanding of applicable federal and state laws. Clients must also be prepared for and assisted with management of legal crisis situations. The presenters will provide an overview of these various areas, as well as suggestions for participants to further develop their knowledge and experience.

Robert Sellards, Esquire & Thomas Hancock, Esquire  
Nelson Mullins LLP

Thoughts About Litigation and Litigators from the Bench, a Dialogue

Judge Clawges has been serving on the bench for more than two decades. As part of his presentation, he will share his thoughts and impressions on how litigation and attorney practices have evolved during that time, as well as identify common missteps and errors observed. Additionally, Judge Clawges will address the main items most judges look for in certain matters, and particular issues that might draw or distract a judge’s attention. Finally, the judge will note steps lawyers should take, both in the courtroom and out, to improve their skills as litigators and aid in their client representation.

The Honorable Russell M. Clawges, Jr.  
Seventeenth WV Judicial Circuit Court

What is Jurisdictional after the Supreme Court's Decision in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago

This session will discuss the United States Supreme Court’s recent opinion in Hamer v. Neighborhood Housing Services of Chicago, 138 S. Ct. 13 (2017), which held that Federal Rule of Appellate Procedure 4(a)(5)(C)’s 30-day limitation on extensions of time to file a notice of appeal is mandatory but not jurisdictional.  In that case, the Court clarified that an appeal filing deadline prescribed by statute is jurisdictional, meaning that late filing of an appeal notice requires dismissal of the appeal.  On the other hand, A deadline prescribed only in a court-made rule, like Rule 4(a)(5)(5), is mandatory but subject to forfeiture if not properly raised by the appellee.  The session will explore the distinction between mandatory and jurisdictional in other contexts.

Amy Smith, Esquire  
Steptoe & Johnson PLLC

Civil Claims & Insurance Matters Involving Arson

Mr. May will be bringing his extensive knowledge and experience in the fire service industry to this session. Topics discussed will include civil vs. criminal fire investigations, witness statements, bias, arson immunity acts, fire science and dynamics, and forensic and fire pattern analysis. He will also dive into fire investigator and expert witness qualification, trends in fire expert admissibility, and the rules of evidence 701 and 702.

Tom May, Esquire  
Law Office of Thomas May