Advanced Strategy Mass-Tort MDL Certificate Course

The James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center is excited to offer a unique and innovative in-depth Advanced Strategy Mass-Tort MDL Certificate Course. Instead of a general overview seminar touching many topics at a single setting, the GW certificate course will delve deeply into defense and plaintiff strategies and tactics, addressing a handful of key issues in three separate one and one-half day Modules, which will be held in February 2022 in Miami, July 2022 at GW, and February 2023 in Miami.

Blue-ribbon faculties of six judges and 12 plaintiff and defense lawyers are being formed for each Module, which will scrutinize key issues, explaining how “the sausage is actually made.” The Modules’ general topics are here and a detailed syllabus for Module 1 is here. Certificates of completion will be awarded after attending each module.

Module 1 will address: (i) JPML Centralization Process; (ii) Steering Committee Appointment Process; and (iii) Common Benefit Fund. Lead counsel will explain their thinking and reasons about issues such as when to centralize, whether actions leading up to filing of centralization motion are coordinated among law firms, whether state MDLs are an option, how slates are formed, what are the amounts of the PSC monthly contributions, how are common-benefit-fund percentages estimated, when are distributions to lawyers made among many, many other issues. The judges will discuss what they focus on in ruling on these issues.

The curriculum is informed by annual GW bench-bar conferences, including the recently held GW mass-tort MDL judicial conference with 120 practitioners and 35 federal judges. Differences in approach will be highlighted in pharma, medical device, and product liability mass-tort MDLs.       

The hallmark of every GW bench-bar conference is the interaction between the faculty and the audience. This certificate program is no different. We will avoid long monologues by talking heads. Panelists will make their remarks in rapid-fire succession. The “students” will have ample time and opportunity to ask questions and engage the faculty in a meaningful discussion.

The course will be held under the Chatham House Rule:
"[P]articipants are free to use the information received, but neither the identity nor the affiliation of the speaker(s), or that of any other participant, may be revealed." 

The program is made possible by lawyer conference registration fees and the generous contributions of sponsors.


The registration fee for the conference is $1,499, which includes curriculum materials, two continental breakfasts, coffee breaks, lunch, a group reception and dinner on Thursday evening, and grab-and-go snacks at adjournment.  Two or more lawyers registering from the same law firm receive major discounts ($1,499 – single: $999 second registrant; and $599 – for the third and each additional registrant). 

Early Bird Registration

A ten percent early-bird discount is offered for each of the three registration fees if you register before December 31, 2021 ($1,350 – single; $900 – second registrant; and $540 – for the third and each additional registrant).

CLE will be applied for in New Jersey. Attorneys will receive a Certificate of Attendance and a completed Uniform Application for Accreditation form after the conference in order to submit CLE hours for your state. MDLs

Course Patrons and Sponsors

Course Agenda

Thursday, February 24


8:30 am – 8:40 am: Welcoming Remarks

8:40 am – 10:00 am: JPML Centralization Process

  • Moderator – Hon. Brooks Smith, Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit
  • Hon. Matthew Kennelly, Northern District Illinois
  • Hon. Robert Miller, Northern District Indiana 
  • John Yanchunis, Morgan & Morgan
  • Cliff Merrell, Greenberg Traurig
  • Richard North, Nelson Mullins
  • Steven Babin, Babin Law LLC
  • Courtney Enloe, 3M Corporation
  • Susan Sharko, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP

10:00 am – 10:15 am: Break

10:15 am – 11:30 am: JPML Centralization Process (con’t)

11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Plaintiff and Defense Breakout Sessions

12:00 pm – 1:15 pm: Lunch; Featured Guest Speaker: Former Governor Jeb Bush


1:15 pm – 2:30 pm: Steering Committee Appointment Process

  • Moderator – Hon. Vaughn Walker (ret.) FedArb
  • Hon. Edmund Sargus, Southern District Ohio
  • Hon. Kathryn Vratil, District of Kansas
  • Adam Moskowitz, Moskowitz Law Firm
  • Michael London, Douglas & London
  • Wendy Fleishman, Leiff Cabraser Heimann & Bernstein
  • Daniel Gallucci, NastLaw
  • Alyson Jones, Butler Snow

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm: Break

2:45 pm – 4:30 pm: Steering Committee Appointment Process (con’t)

4:30 pm – 5:00 pm: Plaintiff and Defense Breakout Sessions

5:30 pm – 7:00 pm: Reception


Friday, February 25, 2021


8:30 am – 9:45 am: Common Benefit Fund

  • Moderator – Professor Alan Morrison, George Washington Law School
  • Hon. Brian Martinotti, District New Jersey
  • Hon. John Tunheim, District Minnesota
  • Richard Arsenault, Neblett, Beard & Arsenault
  • Mark Lanier, Lanier Firm
  • Bryan Aylstock, Aylstock Witkin Kreis Overholtz
  • Joe Rice, Motley Rice
  • Donna Welch, Kirkland & Ellis LLP

9:45 am – 10:00 am: Break

10:00 am – 11:30 am: Common Benefit Fund (cont'd)

11:30 am – 12:00 pm: Plaintiff and Defense Breakout Sessions

12:00 pm: Adjournment; Grab-and-Go Snacks


Course Materials

Faculty Biographies  

Session 1 

D. Brooks Smith is a Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit. He has served on the Third Circuit since 2002 and presided as the Chief Judge from October 1, 2016 to December 4, 2021. Judge Smith is the only judge in the history of the Circuit to have served as both a chief district judge and chief circuit judge. 

Judge Smith has served by appointment of the Chief Justice of the United States on the Judicial Conference of the United States (JCUS) Space and Facilities Committee, concluding a three-year term as chair on September 30, 2016. In the 1990s, he served on the JCUS Advisory Committee on Criminal Rules. 

Prior to his elevation to the Third Circuit, Judge Smith was the Chief Judge of the United States District Court for the Western District of Pennsylvania.  He joined the District Court in 1988. 

While on the federal bench, he has participated in various rule of law programs for the judiciary in a number of Eastern European Countries. As an adjunct professor at Penn State Law, Judge Smith taught a seminar on class actions. Now a Distinguished Jurist in Residence at Penn State Law, he teaches the vital role of our courts in the life of the nation and the lives of our communities. In 2016, the law school presented Judge Smith its first “Leadership Award,” and, in 2017, Penn State presented him with the Distinguished Alumni Award, the University's highest alumni honor. 

Judge Matthew F. Kennelly was appointed to the United States District Court for the  Northern District of Illinois by President Bill Clinton in 1999. Before his appointment,  Judge Kennelly worked as an attorney in private practice, representing individuals and  corporations in complex civil cases and in criminal cases in trial and appellate courts. In  1996, he was a recipient of the American Bar Association’s Pro Bono Publico award, a  Public Interest Law Initiative citation for distinguished public service, and the Mexican American Legal Defense and Education Fund’s Community / Public Service award. In  1993, the Chicago Chapter of the Federal Bar Association awarded him its Walter J.  Cummings Award for excellence in advocacy. Judge Kennelly has been a Fellow of the  American College of Trial Lawyers since 1999, prior to his appointment to the bench.  Following his appointment to the court, Judge Kennelly has served as the Seventh  Circuit's representative on the Information Technology Committee of the Judicial  Conference of the United States for a seven-year term and later as a member of the  Information Technology Advisory Committee of the Administrative Office of the U.S.  Courts for a two-year term. In 2019, he was appointed by Chief Justice John Roberts to a  seven-year term on the Judicial Panel for Multidistrict Litigation. Judge Kennelly also  serves as the vice chair of the Seventh Circuit Criminal Jury Instruction Committee and  as a member of the Seventh Circuit Civil Jury Instruction Committee, and he chairs a  committee of district judges and lawyers that drafted and periodically updates the local  rules for patent infringement cases in the Northern District of Illinois. He has served as  president of the Federal Bar Association's Chicago Chapter, the Richard Linn American  Inn of Court, and the Lawyers Club of Chicago. In 2021, he was awarded the American  Inns of Court Professionalism Award for the Seventh Circuit. Judge Kennelly received  his undergraduate degree from the University of Notre Dame and his law degree from  Harvard Law School.

Robert Lowell Miller, Jr. is an Article III federal judge on senior status for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana. He joined the court in 1985 after being nominated by President Ronald Reagan. Miller took senior status on January 11, 2016.

A native of South Bend, Miller graduated from Northwestern University in 1972 with his bachelor's degree and graduated from Indiana University Law School in 1975. After law school in 1975, Miller was a law clerk for the United States District Court for the Northern District of Indiana for one year, then in 1975 was appointed to be a circuit court judge for St. Joseph County.

John A. Yanchunis leads the Class Action Department of Morgan & Morgan. Mr. Yanchunis’ practice— which began after completing a two-year clerkship with United States District Judge Carl O. Bue, Jr., Southern District of Texas—has concentrated on complex litigation and spans over 36 years, including class actions for almost two-thirds of that time.

Mr. Yanchunis has served as lead, co-lead, or class counsel in numerous class actions in a wide variety of areas affecting consumers, including but not limited to anti-trust, civil rights, defective products, environmental claims, life insurance, annuities, and unfair and deceptive practices. He has been appointed by courts to leadership positions in multidistrict class action litigation, and presently serves as the lead in In re: Yahoo! Inc. Customer Data Breach Security Litigation, 5:16-md-02752 (N.D. Cal.), as a member of the plaintiffs’ steering committee In re Equifax, Inc. Customer Data Sec. Breach Litig., 1:17-md-02800 (N.D. Ga.); on the three-member Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in MDL No. 2664, In re: U.S. Office Personnel Management Data Security Breach Litigation, and serves on the Executive Committee overseeing the consumer class, the financial institution class, and the shareholder derivative litigation pending against Target Corporation—one of the largest data-breach cases to date—in In re Target Corporation Customer Data Security Breach Litigation, MDL No. 2522 (D. Minn.).

Cliff Merrell focuses his practice on products liability litigation, with an emphasis on pharmaceutical and medical device litigation. As national counsel for many pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers, Cliff has a wide range of experience managing products liability litigation in state court, federal court, and multidistrict litigation (MDL). His experience includes large mass tort actions as well as single plaintiff litigation. He has litigated cases involving a wide range of branded and generic pharmaceutical products for pain relief, depression, weight loss, birth control, and menopause. He has also litigated cases involving a wide range of medical devices, including insulin pumps, surgical mesh, endotracheal tubes, neurostimulators, and implantable cardioverter-defibrillators (ICDs). Cliff’s experience includes all aspects of litigation, including managing written discovery and document productions, taking and defending expert and fact depositions, and drafting and arguing motions. He has served as trial counsel in several pharmaceutical and medical device cases that have gone to verdict in state and federal court. 

Richard focuses his litigation practice on pharmaceutical and medical device defense, aviation law, product liability, and commercial litigation. A former leader of the firm's general litigation practice group, he presently heads up a litigation team.

Before starting Babin Law, Steven served as a law clerk to Judge Alan E. Norris at the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit. Steven also clerked for United States District Court Judge Peter C. Economus.

Steven has extensive experience with law and briefing in complex multi-district litigation (“MDL”) matters. Steven is highly sought after by MDL leadership committees across the country for his legal research and writing skills. He has drafted all types of legal papers from research memorandum, Daubert briefs concerning complicated scientific evidence, dispositive motions, and motions in limine for Bellwether trials. Steven has performed work on the following MDLs: Xarelto Products Liability Litigation, MDL–2592; Benicar Products Liability Litigation, MDL 15-2606; Bair Hugger Products Liability Litigation, MDL 15-2666; Invokana Products Liability Litigation, MDL 16-2750; and National Prescription Opiate Litigation, MDL 2804.

Courtney Enloe currently serves as Senior Vice President and Chief Litigation Counsel at 3M in St. Paul, Minnesota. In this role, she leads 3M’s global legal strategy on significant litigation and other matters across the enterprise and advises executive leadership and the Board of Directors on legal and reputational risk.

Prior to joining 3M in 2017, Courtney served as Chief Counsel – U.S. Pharma and Chief Counsel - Litigation for McKesson Corporation, a Fortune 5 global healthcare company based in San Francisco, California. In these roles, Courtney led the litigation team, served as the lead lawyer for multiple business units, and provided legal oversight for material pharmaceutical sourcing transactions. Before McKesson, Courtney served as Senior Litigation Counsel at Georgia-Pacific, a multi-national consumer products and manufacturing company, where she led strategy on a wide range of litigation and consumer safety matters, including a successful appeal to the Supreme Court of the U.S. Prior to Georgia-Pacific, Courtney served as Senior Litigation Counsel and the lead employment lawyer at EarthLink, a technology company.

Before moving in-house, Courtney worked in private practice as a litigator at Holland & Knight LLP and Alston & Bird LLP in Atlanta, Georgia. After law school, Courtney served as a law clerk to Judge James E. Massey, U.S. Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia.

Susan Sharko is a certified civil trial attorney who concentrates her practice on products liability and mass torts. She has significant experience managing pharmaceutical and medical device litigation in federal and state courts throughout the United States, including the successful strategic development of Daubert motions and Daubert hearing presentations and arguments. Susan is highly regarded for her experience as global and national coordinating counsel in multidistrict pharmaceutical and medical device litigations. She also has significant experience in the design, negotiation and implementation of large national settlement programs. She has been appointed as lead and liaison counsel in MDL and state court litigations in New Jersey and around the country many times.

Susan received the Trial Attorneys of New Jersey’s Trial Bar Award, the highest honor given to trial attorneys in New Jersey in 2018. She is consistently recognized by Chambers USABenchmark Litigation, and Best Lawyers in America as a leading lawyer in the area of Products Liability.

Session 2

Judge Walker was nominated by President George H W Bush and earlier by President Reagan and confirmed by the United States Senate in November 1989. Judge Walker was the Chief Judge from September 2004 until December 31, 2010. Judge Walker is a 1966 graduate of the University of Michigan. He worked briefly at the Securities & Exchange Commission and was a Woodrow Wilson Fellow in economics at the University of California (Berkeley). He studied law at the University of Chicago and Stanford University (JD 1970).

In 2007, Judge Vaughn Walker was assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to handle In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, MDL No 06-1791, a series of cases challenging telecommunications carriers’ alleged cooperation with the Terrorist Surveillance Program of the Bush administration. Judge Walker denied motions by the government and telecommunications carriers to dismiss the litigation on the ground that it would reveal state secrets. Hepting v A T & T, 439 F Supp2d 974 (ND Cal 2006). In later decisions, Judge Walker held that the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act preempted the state secrets privilege with respect to foreign telecommunications surveillance, In re National Security Agency Telecommunications Records Litigation, 564 F Supp 2d 1109 (ND Cal 2009); denied government motions to dismiss claims in one case, Alā€Haramain Islamic Foundation, Inc v. Bush, 595 F Supp 2d 1077 (ND Cal 2009) and later ordered entry of a judgment in favor of the plaintiffs in that case, 700 F Supp 2d 1182 (ND Cal 2010) while dismissing other cases on grounds of legislatively enacted retroactive immunity and standing. See 630 F Supp 2d 1092 (ND Cal 2009); 633 F Supp 2d 949 (ND Cal 2009) and Jewel v National Sec Agency, 2010 WL 235075 (ND Cal 2010).

In 2000, Judge Walker was assigned by the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation to handle a series of cases arising out of claims by former prisoners of war; resolution of the claims required interpretation of provisions in the 1951 Treaty of Peace entered into by the United States, Japan and other nations. In re World War II Era Japanese Forced Labor Litigation, 164 F Supp 2d (ND Cal 2001), affirmed sub nom Deutsch v Turner Corp, 317 F 3d 1005 (9th Cir 2003), reh denied, 324 F 3d 692; certiorari denied 540 US 820 (2003).

In twenty-one years on the federal bench, Judge Walker handled about 8,000 cases, more than 250 trials, numerous settlement conferences and sat by designation on the United States Courts of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit and the Federal Circuit. Judge Walker currently teaches a complex litigation course at the University of California Berkeley School of Law.

Edmund A. Sargus, Jr. is a judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Ohio. He joined the court in 1996 after being nominated by President Bill Clinton. Judge Sargus served as chief judge from January 1, 2015, to September 16, 2019.

A native of Wheeling, West Virginia, Judge Sargus earned his bachelor's degree from Brown University in 1975 and his J.D. from Case Western University School of Law in 1978. 

Senior Judge Kathryn H. Vratil is the 23rd judge and first woman named to the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Judge Vratil graduated from the University of Kansas Law School, where she was a member of the Order of the Coif, a scholastic honorary, and the Board of Editors of the Kansas Law Review. Judge Vratil began her legal career as law clerk for the Honorable Earl E. O’Connor, a distinguished member of this Court, from 1975 to 1978. She was Judge O’Connor’s first female law clerk and both of them were proud and delighted when President George W. Bush appointed her to fill Judge O’Connor’s seat in 1992.

As a federal district judge, in addition to her case-related responsibilities, Judge Vratil handled court administrative duties as Chief Judge from 2008 to 2014. She also served for nine years on the Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (“MDL”), from 2004 to 2013, and presided over nine MDL dockets. She has served on various committees of the Judicial Conference of the United States, including the Committee on the Administrative Office of the United States Courts (2000-2006) and the Committee on Judicial Conduct and Disability (2015-2019). Judge Vratil was a member of the Board of Directors of the Federal Judicial Center (2011-2015) and chaired its District Judge Education Advisory Committee from 2006 through 2009. She was a member of the Tenth Circuit Judicial Council (2002-2004), and also held various leadership roles in the U.S. District Court for the District of Kansas. Judge Vratil served on the Board of Directors of the Federal Judges Association from 2014 to 2017.

Adam M. Moskowitz is the Founding and Managing Partner at The Moskowitz Law Firm. He has devoted his professional life to legal excellence in the service of his clients and advocating for consumer rights and protection.

A highly respected national authority on class action litigation, Adam has served as lead and co-lead counsel in many of the largest class action cases in recent history. As Managing Partner, he leads The Moskowitz Law Firm's participation in multi-state class action cases that involve teams of law firms from around the nation. With decades of experience as a trial lawyer and an exemplary track record of success, Adam continues to provide clients with unmatched legal representation and guidance.

Michael A. London is one of the founding partners of the law firm Douglas & London, P.C., located in downtown New York City. Mr. London obtained his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida, and his Juris Doctor degree from Brooklyn Law School in Brooklyn, New York.  Mr. London is admitted and licensed to practice law in the States of New York and New Jersey, as well as in the United States District Courts for the Eastern District, Southern District, and Western District of New York, as well as the District of New Jersey.

Mr. London has represented hundreds of women exposed in utero to the drug Diethylstibestrol (“DES”) in litigation formerly pending before the Honorable Jack B. Weinstein.  He also represented and continues to represent people and families who were victims of other toxic and mass torts for which formal Plaintiffs’ Steering Committees were not established, including representing hundreds of individuals who were injured as a result of the September 11, 2001 bombings of the World Trade Center in the World Trade Center Disaster Site Litigation, representing individuals who suffered from glenohumeral chondrolysis in In re: Ambulatory Pain Pump-Chondrolysis Products Liability Litigation where he firm colleague Rebecca Newman secured some of the earliest and largest settlements in the country, representing children and families who were victims of the Chorionic Villi Sampling (‘CVS’) device/procedure, and others.

Mr. London served as trial counsel in multiple tobacco trials, including the first successful verdict against the tobacco industry in the state of New York, where he and law firm partner, Gary Douglas, secured a $20 million-plus verdict for the widow of a former smoker.  

A partner in our New York office, Wendy R. Fleishman is a passionate and experienced lawyer for the injured and the loved ones of those who died due to the wrongful misconduct of others. With more than thirty years of courtroom experience to draw upon, a large part of Wendy’s practice today consists of representing patients prescribed drugs with undisclosed and dangerous side effects or who received defective medical devices.

Wendy has served in leadership roles in significant Multidistrict Litigation cases in federal and state courts involving pharmaceutical drugs, medical devices, and personal health products, including a 2019 appointment by the district court judge ass Co-Lead Counsel in the NFL Concussion Injuries litigation and a recent appointment to the Plaintiffs Executive Committee in the IVC Filter Injuries Litigation. Wendy’s leadership roles in other cases include the Stryker Rejuvenate and ABG-II hip implant litigation, Zimmer Durom Cup Hip Implant Litigation, Yaz and Yasmin litigation, DePuy hip implant litigation, Medtronic Sprint Fidelis heart lead, the Guidant cardiac defibrillator, the Ortho Evra Patch litigation, and contaminated contact lens solution litigation against Bausch & Lomb and Abbott Medical Optics. Wendy devotes a part of her practice to a wide range of individual catastrophic injury cases. Her expertise includes vehicle accidents based on design defects, as well as serious and complicated medical malpractice cases.

Since 2006, Wendy has been named a New York Super Lawyer by Super Lawyers magazine. She is an AV+ rated by Martindale-Hubbell, which indicates she is regarded as preeminently qualified by her peers. She has been named in the top 100 trial lawyers in America. Wendy is an officer of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association. She is a Life Fellow of the American Bar Foundation, the New York State Delegate to the Board of Governors of the American Association for Justice, and past President of the American Association for Justice’s Section on Tort, Environmental and Product Liability Litigation.

Daniel N. Gallucci manages the Mass Torts team at NastLaw LLC. Philadelphia Magazine selected Mr. Gallucci as a Pennsylvania Super Lawyer for every year he has been eligible, naming him as one of the top 100 attorneys in Philadelphia. Most recently, Mr. Gallucci was selected to the George Washington School of Law Complex Litigation Center’s Advisory Cabinet, which is an honor reserved for nationally recognized leaders in complex litigation.

Mr. Gallucci is a member of the Million Dollar Advocate Forum and the Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum. He is a member of the National Trial Lawyers Top 100 Trial Lawyers. Mr. Gallucci serves as a Moot Court Judge for the Dickinson Law Advocacy Program and is a member of the Pennsylvania Judicial Evaluation Investigative Division. For four years, Mr. Gallucci was co-chair of the American Association of Justice’s Heparin Litigation group, and chaired the Lancaster Bar Association’s Trial Committee from 2004 to 2006.

Mr. Gallucci has substantial professional experience in pharmaceutical litigation and has served as Court-appointed Executive, Steering or major committee member in pharmaceutical cases, including, by way of example, the following recent cases: In re: Xarelto (Phila. C.C.P. No. 2349) (Co-Lead); In re Xarelto Products Liab. Litig., MDL 2592 (E.D. La.)(J. Fallon) (Federal State Liaison); In re: Mirena IUD Products Liability Litig., MDL 2434 (S.D. N.Y.); In re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 2342 (E.D. Pa.); In re: Pelvic Repair Systems Litig. (S.D. W.V.), including Ethicon, Inc., MDL 2327, Boston Scientific Corp., MDL 2326 and American Medical Systems, Inc., MDL 2325; In re: Yaz, Yasmin, Ocella Prod. Liab. Litig. (Phila. C.C.P. No. 1307) (Co-Lead); In re: Heparin Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1953 (N.D. Ohio) (PEC Member); In re: Medtronic, Inc. Sprint Fidelis Leads Litig., MDL 1905 (D. Minn.); Avandia Marketing, Sales Practices and Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1871 (E.D. Pa.); In re: Medtronic, Inc. Implantable Defibrillators Litig., MDL 1726 (D. Minn.); In re: Digitek Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1968 (S.D. W.V.) (PSC Member); In re: Accutane Prod. Liab., MDL 1626 (M.D. Fl.); In re: Welding Fume Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1535 (N.D. Ohio); Serzone Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1477 (S.D. W.V.); Baycol Prod. Litig., MDL 1431 (D. Minn.); and In re: Diet Drug Prod. Liab. Litig., MDL 1203 (E.D. Pa.).

Alyson serves as Practice Group Leader for Butler Snow's Pharmaceutical, Medical Device and Healthcare Group. Frequently called upon to assemble teams and manage both coordinated proceedings and individual plaintiff cases, Alyson represents pharmaceutical and medical device companies in product liability litigation across the country. Recognized by The Legal 500 US (2021) for her “considerable MDL experience,” she is well-versed in MDL procedures, having represented major companies in high-profile MDL proceedings. Her recent experience includes serving as lead counsel successfully obtaining summary judgment in favor of a medical device manufacturer in the Middle District of Florida and serving as co-lead MDL counsel for a major pharmaceutical company in litigation consolidated in the Eastern District of New York. She has also served as MDL defense liaison counsel for another major pharmaceutical company in litigation consolidated in the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and lead counsel for national litigation in multiple jurisdictions across the country for a medical device company

Session 3

Alan B. Morrison is the Lerner Family Associate Dean for Public Interest & Public Service at GW Law. He is responsible for creating pro bono opportunities for students, bringing a wide range of public interest programs to the law school, encouraging students to seek positions in the non-profit and government sectors, and assisting students to find ways to fund their legal education to make it possible for them to pursue careers outside of traditional law firms.

Brian R. Martinotti is a federal judge on the United States District Court for the District of New Jersey. He joined the court in 2016 after an appointment from President Barack Obama. Prior to joining the district court, he was a judge on the Vicinage 2 Superior Court in New Jersey, serving in the civil division.

A native of Englewood, New Jersey, Martinotti earned a B.S. from Fordham University in 1983, and a J.D. from Seton Hall University in 1986.

THE HONORABLE JOHN R. TUNHEIM was nominated by President William Clinton, confirmed by the U.S. Senate and took the oath of office on December 29, 1995. He succeeded Judge Donald D. Alsop, who took senior status.  Judge Tunheim was born in Thief River Falls, Minnesota, and raised in Newfolden, Minnesota. He graduated from Concordia College in Moorhead, Minnesota in 1975 and served as a staff assistant to U.S. Senator Hubert H. Humphrey.  In 1980, he graduated from the University of Minnesota Law School where he served as President of the Minnesota Law Review.  

Judge Tunheim has invested a significant amount of time in international rule of law development.  His early work in Kosovo helped the United Nations to re-establish and improve the legal system, and ultimately, to restructure the entire judiciary.  In 2007-2008, he worked as the principal outside advisor to the process that developed the Kosovo Constitution, including training the constitutional commission, negotiating the final compromises and drafting provisions that established the judicial system, the constitutional court and the intelligence and security sectors.  

The Wall Street Journal has described Arsenault as having “national notoriety,” BusinessWeek described him as “a Dean of the Louisiana Tort Bar,” and The New York Times described him as one of the “big players” in the legal community. Arsenault has been an invited lecturer at various law schools including Baylor, Duke, Emory, University of Texas, Tulane, George Washington and LSU where he served on the Trial Advocacy faculty. He has been involved in over 25 Multidistrict Litigation proceedings, often serving in leadership capacities. He served as Lead Counsel in the Actos MDL where a jury rendered a $9 billion verdict. He subsequently served on the negotiating team that secured a $2.4 billion settlement, which is the largest single mass tort settlement for a drug that is still on the market. He was also appointed to the Pinnacle MDL Executive Committee and was a trial team member where three Bellwether trials resulted in $502 million, $1 billion and $247 million verdicts. Arsenault is listed in the Bar Register of Preeminent Lawyers as well as The Best Lawyers in America and has an AV Martindale-Hubbell rating. He has been recognized as one of America’s 50 Most Influential Trial Lawyers by Trial Lawyer magazine, nominated for the Trial Lawyer of the Year Award by the Public Justice Foundation, and recognized by the National Law Journal as one of America’s Elite Trial Lawyers. Arsenault is a founding Board Director of the National Board of Complex Litigation Lawyers, a division of the National Board of Trial Advocacy. The American Bar Association recently approved the National Board Certification in Complex Litigation and Arsenault will become one of the first practitioners in the nation to be Board Certified in Complex Litigation. The Louisiana Supreme Court Chief Justice appointed Arsenault to serve on the Rules of Professional Conduct Class Action, Bench Book, and State MDL Exploratory Committees.

Mark Lanier is a founder of Lanier Firm, and consistently recognized as one of the top civil trial lawyers in America. Best known as a zealous advocate for individuals in personal injury and product liability claims against major corporations, Mark brings passion, creativity and an unparalleled ability to connect with juries in courtrooms across the nation. He has achieved some of the largest verdicts in history, accomplishments that have changed business practices to protect the public and have gained justice for the victims of dangerous drugs, medical devices, and other consumer products. Mark’s success in the courtroom and perspectives on litigation have been featured in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, the Los Angeles Times, The Boston Globe, Bloomberg News and the Houston Chronicle, among many other publications.

Mr. Aylstock founded his firm in 2001, which is now comprised of 19 attorneys and 150 staff members who have directly handled the claims of more than 10,000 clients over the past 14 years.  The vast majority of Mr. Aylstock’s legal career has been focused on the representation of individuals injured as a result of defective pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices.  Mr. Aylstock is currently serving as one of three Coordinating Co-Lead counsel charged with overseeing five separate Multi-District Litigations (MDLs) involving the use of the pelvic repair system products currently pending before the Honorable Joseph R. Goodwin in the Southern District of West Virginia.  In addition, he was recently appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC), as Multi-District Coordinator (MDC), in In re: Zoloft (Sertraline Hydrochloride) Products Liability Litigation, MDL 2342. Previously, Mr. Aylstock served on the PSC as co-lead counsel in In re: Avandia Marketing Sales Practices and Products Litigation, MDL 1871, and also served as co-chair of the discovery committee and the administrative committee.  He was recently selected as “Best Attorney” in the 2013 “Best of the Coast” awards by The Independent News.

Having served as the lead negotiator in the largest civil actions in history, Motley Rice co-founder, Joe Rice is recognized as a skillful and innovative negotiator of complex litigation settlements. He is most respected for his ability to develop unique settlement structures that resolve the most complex of cases. Corporate Legal Times reported that national defense counsel and legal scholars described Joe as one of the nation's “five most feared and respected plaintiffs’ lawyers in corporate America.” Joe is recognized by the nation’s leading defense lawyers as being “the smartest dealmaker they ever sat across the table from,” Thomson Reuters reported. Well-known for his lead in structuring some of the most significant resolutions of asbestos liabilities and playing a central role in crafting the tobacco Master Settlement Agreement in the 1990s, Joe has continued to work extensively in the area of complex mass torts litigation. His skillset in negotiating complex litigation settlements brought him to the forefront in negotiating the class action settlements in the BP Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill in the Gulf of Mexico, as well as settlements reached on behalf of thousands of women in the transvaginal mesh litigation, and the nearly $15 billion Volkswagen Diesel Emissions Fraud class action settlement. He is currently one of three co-lead lawyers for more than 3,000 municipal plaintiffs in the National Prescription Opiate Litigation and led negotiations for the settlement that resolved claims ahead of the MDL’s first bellwether trial. Joe recently led negotiations for the proposed $26 billion settlement reached in July 2021 with Johnson & Johnson and the nation’s “Big Three” opioid distributors, and was appointed a member of the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee in August 2021 for multidistrict litigation filed against global consulting firm McKinsey & Co. with regards to its alleged role in the opioid crisis.

Donna Welch is a Kirkland trial lawyer, who has tried complex cases involving a broad range of business and commercial issues before federal and state courts. Her practice includes public nuisance claims, breach of fiduciary duty, pharmaceutical litigation, government investigations, class actions and litigation involving fraud and civil RICO. Donna was recently recognized as an American Lawyer “Litigator of the Week” for achieving a complete defense win in a $50 billion public nuisance suit against opioid manufacturers in a six month trial in Orange County, California. CVN named it the #1 most impressive defense verdict of 2021. Donna’s practice also includes plaintiff-side litigation, obtaining the largest civil verdict then recorded in Wisconsin and a top ten national jury verdict involving breach of fiduciary and RICO claims. Donna also serves as pro bono coordinator for Kirkland’s Chicago office.