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June 02, 2021 TIPS NOTES

Update on the Latest Programs and Events in Your Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section

ABA 2021 Midyear Meeting Recap

TIPS members and staff met for a productive Midyear Meeting with standing committees, task forces, some general committees, and Council conducting business meetings to advance the work of the Section. The Wednesday evening Networking Reception featuring comedian Chris Strait offered an opportunity to network with colleagues and share some laughs.

Non-CLE Webinar

TIPS sponsored the showing of the documentary film Belly of the Beast, presented on February 2–3 for viewing, followed by a panel discussion with the director on February 4 (see Belly of the Beast features an unlikely duo who discovered a pattern of nonconsensual sterilizations in women’s prisons. They waged a near-impossible battle against the Department of Corrections. Filmed over seven years with extraordinary access and intimate accounts from currently and formerly incarcerated people, Belly of the Beast exposes modern-day eugenics and reproductive injustice in California prisons. The film is compelling in part because many of us had no idea that this was taking place but also for the legal and ethical implications of the subject matter. This program was brought to our attention by Vincent Tong, chair-elect of the TIPS Plaintiff’s Practice Standing Committee. It was sponsored by TIPS, the ABA Coalition on Racial and Ethnic Justice, and the ABA Section on Civil Rights and Social Justice.

CLE Webinars

Recently produced CLE webinars include:

Recent Developments in ERISA Disability Benefits Litigation: Standard of Review and Discovery (January 8, 2021): Examine the continually evolving state of the law surrounding the standard of review and its impact on discovery in ERISA disability cases.

Animal Shelter Law Symposium 2021 (January 12, 2021): Explore animal shelter liability issues surrounding COVID-19 and progressive animal sheltering models, including topics related to risk management in the age of COVID-19.

ERISA Hot Topics (January 15, 2021): Review new and emerging trends in benefits litigation, with particular focus on “classic” fee litigation and COBRA litigation.

Bad Beneficiary (January 22, 2021): Explore issues where the beneficiary of the life insurance is the problem, including the slayer rule, undue influence, “ghost” beneficiaries, and divorce.

Tracking Public Movement: Exploring the Legal and Privacy Implications of Surveillance Involving Automatic License Plate Readers (January 26, 2021): Examine what automatic license plate readers (ALPRs) are, how they are used, and the Fourth Amendment implications of their usage by law enforcement.

Ethics and Misuse of Social Media, and How to Handle and Counsel Clients Who Use It (January 28, 2021): Explore strategies for representing clients who regularly use social media, and study the ethical boundaries and risks associated with advising clients to “change” or “delete” social media.

A Global Pandemic and the Insurance Industry’s Regulatory Response (January 29, 2021): Consider how existing insurance policies have worked to ease the strain caused by the pandemic, what insurance departments are doing to respond to emerging concerns, and what both in-house and plaintiffs attorneys see as the biggest challenges in this environment.

Fidelity and Surety Law 2021 Virtual Midwinter Conference: Construction Lawyer as Disaster Artist—Two-Part Series (February 3–4, 2021): Explore varied project scenarios, such as bid errors, price escalation, scheduling impacts, false claims exposure, bankruptcy, and bad project documentation, that can be the source of a construction project disaster.

Litigating Ridesharing Cases: Recent Development and Trends in Theories of Liability, Ridesharing Regulations, and Insurance Requirements (February 9, 2021): Review the current issues in the field of ridesharing litigation, including developing trends in theories of liability, regulatory changes and their impact on liability, and other emerging issues in this space.

Ransomware: Where Do We Go from Here? (February 12, 2021): Walk through a mock ransomware scenario and consider the importance of initial third-party expert involvement, forensics process, recovery, and recommendations.

Virtual Litigation: Mediations, Depositions, Hearings, and Trials (March 3, 2021): Learn about effective tools and practical tips for running your cases remotely that can be applied even after courthouses reopen.

Some of these programs are available on-demand. For additional and up-to-date TIPS program information, visit the TIPS CLE & Meetings web page (

Section Leadership Nominated for FY 2021–2022

Council voted to extend for one year the term of the current officers and Council at the 2020 ABA Virtual Annual Meeting. The following is the slate of officers for fiscal year 2021–2022:

  • Chair (one-year term): John C. McMeekin II, Philadelphia, PA
  • Chair-Elect (one-year term; then will automatically become Section Chair for 2022–2023): Gary Gassman, Chicago, IL
  • Vice-Chair (one-year term): Loren Podwill, Portland, OR
  • Secretary (one-year term): Christopher Nolan, New York, NY
  • Diversity Officer (one-year term; serving one additional year): Marcy Greer, Austin, TX
  • Finance Officer (two-year term): Kermit Kendrick, Birmingham, AL
  • Revenue Officer (two-year term; serving one additional year): Meade Mitchell, Ridgeland, MS
  • HOD Representatives: Kay H. Hodge, Boston, MA (term expiring in 2024); Holly Polglase, Boston, MA (term expiring in 2023); and Robert S. Peck, Washington, DC (term expiring in 2022)
  • Council Members, Class of 2024 (five elected, each to serve a three-year term): Gail Vaughn Ashworth, Andy Cao, Fredrick H.L. McClure, Catherine Tanaka Surbeck, and Tamara Tomomitsu

Nominees will be officially elected by TIPS members at the Section business meeting to be held at the 2021 ABA Annual Meeting or virtually, pending developments of the ABA Meetings policy. Terms of each office will begin immediately, which for the Section will effectively begin at the close of the ABA Annual Meeting.

Procedures for additional nominations. According to Section bylaws, at any time prior to July 1, additional nominations may be submitted for one or more of the elected offices to be filled at the Annual Meeting. Not fewer than 50 Section members in good standing, of whom not more than 24 are residents of any one state, may file a nominating petition (which may be in multiple parts), signed, with names and addresses. All such petitions must be accompanied by the written consent of persons so nominated. Petitions may be sent by regular mail to the Section Chair at: John C. McMeekin II, Chair, c/o Theresa Livingston, Section Director, Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section, American Bar Association, 321 N. Clark Street, Chicago, IL 60654-4746.

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