First Annual Class Action Annual Case Law and Practices Review Bench-Bar Conference

Join the James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center for an online open bench-bar conference, which will review case law and practices developments that have arisen in class actions during the past year. Experts in class actions, including 12 federal judges and 15 prominent practitioners, will lead discussions with an expected audience of approximately 75-100 practitioners. The panel presentations will be given in six 90-minute online sessions, which are available separately or as a group at a discount. 

Click the buttons below for supplemental conference materials and biographies of participants.


Panelist Biographies







The opportunity to directly talk to and engage panelists, including prominent lawyers and judges, in robust discussions is a hallmark of every center conference.  We allot half the time to participant remarks and questions.  Because of the coronavirus, the conference will be held online via technology similar, but superior, to Zoom.  To enhance interaction, separate 15-minute roundtables of 15 or fewer panelists and conference participants will follow each 90-minute panel session, who will continue discussions in a more intimate setting.   

The conference will examine changes in case law or practices during the past 12 months affecting selected issues, which typically arise in class actions. Following the conference, the center will consider developing best practices addressing class action case-management problems identified at the conference. Judges and practitioners attending the conference will be given the first opportunity to join teams drafting these influential class action best practices and guidelines under the auspices of the center with assistance of its Scholars Council.  

The conference 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 conference is expected to be held annually. Experienced practitioners attending the conference will be considered to be invited as a panelist speaker for a future class action conference. The conference is made possible by lawyer conference registration fees and the generous contributions of sponsors.

The registration fee for a single 90-minute session plus 15-minute breakout roundtable discussion is $199. The registration fee for all six sessions, including roundtables following every individual session, is $399. Register here.

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.

Thursday, November 12, 2020
[all times ET]

10:30 am - Noon: Panel 1 – Aftermath of 2018 Rule 23 Class-Action Settlement Amendments
Moderator: Associate Dean Alan B. Morrison, George Washington University Law School

  • Aaron Van Oort, Faegre Drinker Biddle & Reath LLP – Front-loading provisions at notice stage and extent of information required by court at approval stage (Rule 23(e)(1)) 
  • Steven Weisbrot, Angeion Group – Notice and claims forms sent by electronic means; enhancing class-member understanding and participation (Rule 23(c)(2)) 
  • Paul Geller, Robbins Geller Rudman & Dowd LLP – Assessment of objectors’ provision; instances of appellate-court review Rule 23(e)(5)) 
  • Hon. John Lungstrum (D. Kan.)
  • Hon. Robert Dow (N.D. Ill.) 

Noon − 12:15 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 1

1 − 2:30 pm: Panel 2 – Aftermath of 2018 Rule 23 Class-Action Settlement Amendments (Continued)
Moderator: Professor Rick Marcus, UC Hastings College of Law

  • Fred Baker, Motley Rice LLC – Judicial scrutiny of attorney’s fee awards at certification and approval stages (Rule 23(e)(1) & (e)(2)(C)
  • Scott Smith, Bradley Arant Boult Cummings LLP – Judicial scrutiny of claims-made settlements; number of claims actually submitted (Rule 23(e)(1); (e)(2)(C))  
  • John Beisner, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom – Unaddressed issues– ascertainability pick-off settlements proposals; pre-
    litigation class-action settlement demands; and named plaintiff-only settlements
  • Hon. Gene Pratter (E.D. Pa.)
  • Hon. Rebecca Pallmeyer (N.D. Ill.)

2:30 − 2:45 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 2 

3 − 4:30 pm: Panel 3 – Class Certification 
Moderator: Professor Brian Fitzpatrick, Vanderbilt Law School

  • Michael Hausfeld, Hausfeld LLP – “No injury” classes; Spokeo concrete showing of injury 
  • Sheila Birnbaum, Dechert LLP – Timing of certification decision (“at an early practicable time”) 
  • Dan Girard, Girard Sharp LLP – Discovery issues specific to class actions, including pre-certification discovery 
  • Hon. John Koeltl (S.D.N.Y.)
  • Hon. Sidney Fitzwater (N.D. Tex.)

4:30 – 4:45 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 3

Friday, November 13, 2020
[all times ET]

10:30 am – Noon: Panel 4 – Technology Tools Facilitating Class-Action Case Management
Moderator: Professor Jay Tidmarsh, Notre Dame Law School

  • Adam Moskowitz, The Moskowitz Law Firm – Conducting motion calendar, depositions, in-court witness proceedings, and mediation sessions remotely by zoom and other electronic means
  • Christopher Guth, Bayer U.S. – Timing, presentation, and evidentiary status of “Science Day” tutorials for bench and bar [CARES Act requirements]  
  • Francesca Castagnola, Western Alliance Bank – Electronic payment/claims administration 
  • Hon. Douglas Arpert (D. N.J.)
  • Hon. Jesse Furman (S.D.N.Y.) 

Noon − 12:15 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 4

1– 2:30 pm: Panel 5 – Selected Class-Action Litigation Issues
Moderator: Professor Howard Erichson, Fordham Law School

  • Adam Levitt, DiCello Levitt Gutzler LLC – Managing MDLs, which include class actions; leadership appointments; selection of bellwethers; and attorney’s fee award allocations
  • John Yanchunis, Morgan & Morgan PA – Medical-monitoring classes 
  • Ellen Meriwether, Cafferty Clobes Meriwether & Sprengel LLP – Broadening inclusivity in appointment of class counsel 
  • Hon. Jed Rakoff (SDNY)
  • Hon. Karen Caldwell (ED, Ky)  

2:30 − 2:45 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 5

3 − 4:30 pm: Panel 6 – Class-Action Challenges 
Moderator: Professor Lynn Baker, University of Texas School of Law

  • Peter Prieto, Podhurst Orseck PA – Range of claims and liability theories asserted in covid-19 class-actions 
  • Christine Azar, Burford Capital – Frequency of litigation financing in class actions; extent of disclosures
  • Chris Seeger, Seeger Weiss LLP (tentative) – Determining Settlement Amount 
  • Hon. Solomon Oliver (N.D. Ohio)
  • Hon. Lee Rosenthal (S.D. Tex.)

4:30 – 4:45 pm: Breakout Sessions for Panel 6 

Founding Patron
Western Alliance Bank (2020-2021)

Premier Patrons
Seeger Weiss LLP (2020-2021)
Technology Concepts & Design, Inc. (TCDI)

Contributor Sponsor
Angeion Group


James F. Humphreys Complex Litigation Center