In the latest of NCJI’s series of academic symposia, we partnered with Lewis & Clark Law School to present Class Actions, Mass Torts and MDLs: The Next 50 Years on Nov. 1–2, in Portland, OR. The program featured a world-class faculty of legal academics, judges, and attorneys, and was held before an overflow crowd consisting of the same. The group considered – through 11 academic papers prepared for the symposium – the status of class actions, mass torts, and MDLs, as well as potential future developments. Topics covered include the current landscape of state court MDLs and class actions, the impacts of forced arbitration clauses, Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 23 amendments, the future of mass torts, appellate issues in complex civil litigation, cy pres in class actions, the role of attorneys in MDLs, class actions as a means of private enforcement, and the role of class actions in social justice reform.
Working with Symposium Faculty Chair Prof. Robert Klonoff of Lewis & Clark Law School, a large and outstanding faculty gathered for this two-day discussion. Legal academics who wrote papers or participated include: Lynn Baker (Texas); Robert Bone (Texas); Zachary Clopton (Northwestern); Joshua Davis (San Francisco); Brian Fitzpatrick (Vanderbilt); Samuel Issacharoff (NYU); Robert Klonoff (Lewis & Clark); Alexandra Lahav (Connecticut); David Marcus (UCLA); Arthur Miller (NYU); Alan Morrison (GW); David Noll (Rutgers); Teddy Rave (Houston); Judith Resnik (Yale); Briana Rosenbaum (Tennessee); Adam Steinman (Alabama); and Beth Thornburg (SMU). Judicial faculty include Oregon Supreme Court Justice Thomas A. Balmer; Northern District of Illinois Judge Robert M. Dow Jr., a member of the Judicial Conference Advisory Committee on Civil Rules and chair of its Rule 23 and MDL Rules subcommittees; Hon. Robert B. Freedman (ret.) formerly of the Superior Court of California, County of Alameda; and Hon. David R. Herndon (ret.) of the Southern District of Illinois. Attorneys who co-wrote papers or participated include Jennie Lee Anderson of San Francisco; Lori Andrus of San Francisco; Jennifer Bennett of Oakland; Elizabeth Cabraser of San Francisco; Sarah Crooks of Portland; Sindhu Daniel of Dallas; Brian Devine of San Francisco; Steve Herman of New Orleans; Jocelyn Larkin of San Francisco; Ellen Relkin of New York City; Gerson Smoger of Dallas; and David Sugerman of Portland, OR. The 11 papers will be published in a forthcoming issue of the Lewis & Clark Law Review.
The Symposium also featured a lively and informative discussion between Prof. Klonoff and Prof. Miller on the historical impact of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure on class actions.
Attendees and faculty rated the symposium a nearly perfect 4.97 out of 5. Specific comments sent to NCJI and Lewis & Clark include:
- “The symposium was top-notch all the way from start to finish. A rare opportunity for engagement, both formal and informal, looking backward and forward, at how we resolve complex litigation of all kinds. It was a privilege to participate.”
- “I have chaired and attended countless conferences, and rarely have I seen such impressive, substantive panels, one after the other.”
- “The symposium was excellent. Impressive lineup, impressive participation from the audience.”
- “Outstanding presentations by members of a world class panel.”
- “You have set a new, very high bar for conferences and symposia everywhere in terms of intellectual content, hospitality, and general organization! I feel honored to have been invited to participate.”
- “Compelling presentations and speakers, engaging topics, and well-orchestrated event. Kudos!”
- “Incredible group. Bravo!”
- “The papers and presentations were fascinating.”
- “…I do an enormous amount of CLE programs where I am speaker. So, I know a good from a bad program. This was 5 star—spectacular! I watched via webcast the entire day and half, that is a work day and a weekend afternoon (East Coast), and, trust me, that is a testament to how good this was…. I have not a single criticism, and…I have been around the block many, many times. Keep up the good work. Now more than ever we need the insights of a faculty like the one you assembled.”
- “A really great symposium. Lots of useful information and terrific discussions.”
- “The substantive discussion topics were timely, relevant and useful. The work in preparation of the papers and presentations was impressive. The make-up of the faculty was sterling at the least. Lastly, but the best, was the organized nature of the entire symposium.”
- “To engage so many people on panels and recycle us-wonderful way to make a conference work. You run a terrific conference. Many thanks!”
- “Thanks for putting on such a wonderful symposium. You have certainly raised the bar for what a conference can be. I feel very privileged to have been included.”
- “Kudos for putting on such a fantastic event. I really enjoyed being a part of it.”
- “Congratulations on a fantastic conference and thank you again for letting me be a part of it…. I felt so fortunate to be able to hear from and spend time with such smart and interesting people who are doing fantastic work.”