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Torts conference set for Feb. 8 in Philly

By Michael P. Tremoglie | Jan 18, 2012


PHILADELPHIA (Legal Newsline) - An organization called Mass Torts Made Perfect will conduct a plaintiff's only seminar next month in Philadelphia titled"Actos and Pelvic Mesh Litigation Update."

Mass Torts, which has been described as a "cutting edge continuing legal education seminar" is set for Feb. 8 at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel, Philadelphia.

The co-chairs of the event are Troy Rafferty, of the law firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor, in Pensacola, Fla., and Paul Pennock, of the New York law firm of Weitz & Luxenberg.

Both firms are well known among the trial bar. The predecessor of the firm of Levin, Papantonio, Thomas, Mitchell, Rafferty & Proctor was the firm of Levin and Askew. Reuben Askew went on to become a two-term governor for the State of Florida and a candidate for President of the United States.

According to the firm's history on its website, Mike Papantonio joined the firm more than 20 years ago. He created one of the most highly regarded mass torts and complex litigation operations in the United States.

"His work in asbestos, breast implant litigation, pharmaceutical drug litigation involving Fosamax, Zoloft side effects, Actos bladder cancer and theDePuy hip recall, and other cases firmly places Papantonio at the center of most mass torts litigation," the site notes.

Then in 2004, Papantonio assisted in starting a nationwide organization called "Mass Torts Made Perfect." The organization has attracted the top lawyers across America and has helped law firms develop successful litigation strategies for confronting wrongdoing by multi-national corporations."

Papantonio is also involved in environmental law. Once again, according to the firm's website, he maintains a close friendship with Riverkeepers founder Bobby Kennedy Jr., and he has been "instrumental in building the firm's environmental law department."

So not only is Levin Papantonio active in mass tort litigation they help their fellow lawyers prepare for it as well.

Papantonio also is a media pundit. He and Kennedy host "Ring of Fire," a nationally syndicated radio show. He is also a frequent guest on MSNBC, CNBC, Fox News Channel and Fox Business Channel.

Mass Torts will present another seminar the next day on Feb. 9 also at the Ritz-Carlton Hotel in Philadelphia that is open to "plaintiff and defense lawyers, and Judges." It is called "Mass Torts Forum: A Roundtable for Judges and Lawyers."

The featured "Judicial Panel" includes: Hon. Carol Higbee, Hon. David Herndon, Hon. Sandra Mazer Moss, Hon. Donovan Frank, Hon. Garrett Brown & Hon. Dan Stack (ret.).

Mazer Moss is the judge in charge of the Complex Litigation Center in Philadelphia. Both Judge Mazer Moss and the Center have been subject to criticism by some lawyers and law professors. Many say it is the preferred venue for the plaintiff's bar.

"Judge Sandra Mazer Moss made courts safe for plaintiff's lawyers," said Prof. Lester Brickman of Yeshiva University law school and author of the book "Lawyer Barons: What Contingency Fees Really Cost America."

The roundtable opening remarks will from Papantonio. One panel will be, "What you need to know about the MDL." It will feature U.S. District Judge Rebecca Doherty. She was nominated to be a federal judge by President George H.W. Bush in 1991. She was confirmed that same year.

The MDL panel will address the issues of:

* Effective strategy for case selection - what to look for, what to avoid, where to find cases

* Developments in California, Chicago and other hot spots

* Are other venue options available?

* State vs. MDL

Another panel will mention what relevant precedents to Actos are currently in an MDL. It will mention what legal issues likely to arise; forecasting the potential problems with these cases; and Daubert, expert testimony and what to expect from expert testimony.

Among the other panels will examine litigation developments in the MDL; how the latest scientific studies affect the plaintiff's cases; and what will the FDA be doing.

"There is nothing wrong with judges attending these conferences," said Michael I. Krauss, a professor of law at George Mason University School of Law. "Judges appear at similar events sponsored by the ACLU or the Federalist Society. So I don't see anything untoward about it."

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