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Spring Symposium

The Annual Spring Symposium, to be held Friday, March 10, 2017 in Chicago will feature great CLE programming on Mass Toxic Tort Litigation, and an exhibit hall. The afternoon before the Spring Symposium, we will also offer a CLE for those new to Mass Toxic Tort Litigation. We hope you can join us!

When: 03/10/2017
8:00 a.m. - 4:15 p.m.
Where: The University of Chicago Gleacher Center
450 N. Cityfront Plaza Drive
Chicago, Illinois  60611
United States
Contact: Sandra Wulf

Online registration is closed.
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Mass toxic tort cases continue to be filed at a high rate, new trends regularly emerge in this litigation, and Illinois remains a jurisdictional hot spot for mass toxic tort litigation. Because of the important role this litigation plays in Illinois, the Spring Symposium will focus on defending mass toxic tort litigation. Whether you are a veteran of, new to, or interested in expanding your practice to include mass toxic tort litigation, the Spring Symposium provides an excellent opportunity to improve your skills, learn, and network.

At the Spring Symposium, you will learn about recent developments and emerging trends in mass toxic tort litigation, obtain key practice tips from preeminent attorneys, and gain valuable insight from expert witnesses, insurance carriers, and judges. Even if your practice does not include mass toxic tort litigation, the Spring Symposium will address topics important to any civil defense attorney, including discovery, spoliation of evidence, personal jurisdiction, evidence, proximate causation, insurance coverage, and ethical responsibilities.

If you have limited experience dealing with mass toxic tort litigation or are brand new to the practice area, be sure to check out the IDC Beginner's Guide to Mass Toxic Tort Litigation, which will be held the day before the Spring Symposium. Follow this link to learn more!



8:00 - 8:30 
Registration and Networking
8:30 - 8:45 Opening Remarks
8:45 -9:15

"I've Been Sued, Now What?" Preparing Your Client for Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Presented by: Edward J. McCambridge, Segal, McCambridge, Singer & Mahoney, Ltd.

This program will address the issues you should consider when your client has been named in a mass toxic tort lawsuit. Topics of discussion will include what historical information you need to learn about your client, locating insurance coverage, identifying and retrieving historical documents, avoiding spoliation claims, identifying a corporate representative, and responding to discovery requests.

9:15 - 10:15

Personal Jurisdiction in Mass Toxic Tort Litigation
Presented by: Nicole C. Behnen, Polsinelli PC

Following the landmark Daimler and Walden United States Supreme Court opinions, the doctrine of personal jurisdiction continues to evolve. This presentation will focus on recent court opinions and orders addressing general, specific, and consent jurisdiction and examine what those holdings suggest about the future of the personal jurisdiction defense. 

10:15 - 10:30 Refreshment Break
10:30 - 11:30

A Path to Victory: Proving a Sole Proximate Cause Defense 
Presented by: Raymond R. Fournie, Armstrong Teasdale LLP

In mass toxic tort litigation, the sole proximate cause defense can be extremely effective, but is often difficult to successfully assert due to evidentiary hurdles. This program will address the importance of the sole proximate cause defense at trial and in settlement negotiations, the evidentiary burden associated with this defense, and potential sources of evidence to support this defense. The program also will explore how specific venues are ruling on issues relating to the sole proximate cause defense.

11:30 - 12:15
12:15 - 1:30

Is Talc the New Asbestos? Emerging Issues in Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Presented by: Elizabeth D. Kellett and Patrick W. Stufflebeam, HeplerBroom LLC

Overview: Is talc litigation the next trend in mass toxic tort litigation? The number of talc-related lawsuits being filed, new defendants being named in these cases, and talc litigation verdicts being reached would suggest so. This presentation will address why talc litigation has become such an important aspect of mass toxic tort litigation and focus on the allegations at issue in talc litigation, the scientific principles involved in these cases, and the keys to defending talc-related lawsuits.

Patrick W. Stufflebeam Presentation: This portion of the presentation will address why talc litigation has become such an important aspect of mass toxic tort litigation and focus on the allegations at issue in talc litigation, the scientific principles involved in these cases, and the keys to defending talc-related lawsuits.

Elizabeth D. Kellett Presentation: This portion of the presentation will address the ethical issues that can arise during talc litigation. Specifically, the presentation will focus on ethical implications defense counsel must consider due to widespread local and national advertising, media coverage, and public outreach that occurs during talc litigation.

1:30 - 2:15

From the Bench: A Judicial Roundtable Discussion on Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Moderator: Tobin Taylor, Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen
Panelists: Hon. Clare McWilliams, Cook County Circuit Court and Hon. Steven R. Ohmer, 22nd Judicial Circuit (St. Louis City)
This roundtable discussion will be led by a panel of judges that preside over some of the most active mass toxic tort litigation dockets in the country. They will discuss their experiences presiding over these dockets, detail the local rules and procedures governing these dockets, identify what they expect from attorneys practicing before them, and address recent developments in their jurisdictions.

2:15 - 2:30
Refreshment Break
2:30 - 3:15

Panel Discussion: Insurance Issues Arising in Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Moderator: Gregory W. Odom, HeplerBroom LLC

Panelists: Martin P. Cillick, Allstate Insurance Company, Ryan Gillespie, Nationwide and Jennifer K. Gust, Resolute Management

This panel discussion will focus on mass toxic tort litigation from insurance carriers’ perspectives. The speakers will provide insight into insurance carriers’ expectations of defense counsel in mass toxic tort litigation, the management of mass toxic tort litigation claims in Illinois, and insurance coverage issues unique to mass toxic tort litigation.

3:15 - 4:15

Ethics and The Tripartite Relationship in Mass Toxic Tort Litigation

Presented by: Seth Lamden, Neal, Gerber & Eisenberg LLP

This program will address ethical considerations arising from the tripartite relationship in mass toxic tort litigation. Vignettes of real-world scenarios will be used to explore ethical issues involving settling a mass toxic tort case, defending cases involving potentially non-covered claims, and reporting issues.

Continuing Legal Education Credit

The program has been approved by the Illinois MCLE Board for 6.25 hours of continuing legal education (CLE) credit. We will apply for 1.5 hours of Illinois professionalism credit. We will apply for the following CLE credit in other states:

  • Indiana 6.25 CLE; 1.5 Professionalism
  • Iowa 6.25 CLE; 1.5 Professionalism
  • Missouri 7.5 CLE; 1.8 Professionalism
  • Wisconsin 7.5 CLE; 1.8 Professionalism

Events Committee

Gregory W. Odom, HeplerBroom LLC, Chair

Kelly A. Pachis, Lowis & Gellen, LLP, Vice Chair

Denise Baker-Seal, Brown & James, P.C.

Laura Beasley, Joley, Oliver & Beasley, P.C.

Jeremy T. Burton, Falkenberg Fieweger & Ives LLP

James P. DuChateauHeplerBroom LLC

R. Mark Mifflin, Giffin, Winning, Cohen & Bodewes P.C.

Seminar Fees

IDC Members in Private Practice $195*

IDC Governmental Members $145*

Non-Members $295*

Insurance or Corporate Professionals $100*

Registration for the Symposium includes Symposium materials, Continuing Legal Education Credit, lunch, a refreshment break and great networking opportunities at our complimentary Cocktail Reception on Thursday, March 9.

*Please note that registration for the IDC Beginner's Guide to Mass Toxic Tort Litigation seminar is complimentary when you register for the Spring Symposium. Just use promo code: Spring2017 when registering for the Beginner's Guide program.


Justification Letter

Need approval from firm leadership to help pay/offset your expense for attending the Spring Symposium? If so, follow this link to view a Justification Letter template for you to use when making the request to your firm. 

Refund Policy

Refunds must be requested in writing and will be made according to the following schedule:

  • 100% Refund – Through February 10, 2017
  • 50% Refund – February 11 - 24, 2017
  • No Refund – February 25 - March 10

Substitutions for your registration may be made. However, only one copy of seminar materials will be offered per registration. Please submit substitution information in advance of the event.


Phone: 800-232-0169, Fax: 866-230-4415 (Do Not Fax or Email Credit Card Information)


Download Symposium Materials

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