2017 Hartford Legal Education Conference | May 04, 2017

Registration is currently closed. To be added to the waitlist please contact Joelle Underwood at 215.717.4015 or junderwood@gordonrees.com


Gordon & Rees attorneys and distinguished guest speakers will present a full day of stimulating and timely legal education on Thursday, May 4 focusing on cutting-edge trends, case law and recent verdicts.  Attendees will be able to earn up to 5.0 CLE & CE credits, including 2.0 ethics credits. The conference concludes with a cocktail reception, providing an additional opportunity for attendees to interact and engage with fellow attendees.


For a complete description of event speakers, program summaries and other details, click here for online Flipbook (Desktop version / Mobile version) or download a PDF.


CLE credit will be provided for New York, New Jersey, California, Connecticut, Florida, Illinois, and Texas. CE credit will be provided for New York, New Jersey, Florida, Connecticut, and Texas.


The full day of programs, lunch and cocktail reception is offered at no cost to our valued clients and guests.


Joelle Underwood

Thursday, May 04, 2017
8 AM - 6 PM

Hartford Marriott Downtown
200 Columbus Blvd
Hartford, CT, 06103


8:00 AM - 9:00 AM

9:00 AM - 10:00 AM

During this panel presentation, we will discuss our Top Five Rules to avoid employer liability. Gordon & Rees’s top employment attorneys will provide cutting-edge advice so that well-informed employment decisions can be made to avoid the expense and uncertainty of litigation. We will also address new litigation trends identified in employment law and provide insightful advice on how to develop best practices to avoid liability. 

Debra Meppen / Partner, GRSM
Gina Haggerty Lindell / Partner, GRSM
Kevin Fisher / Allied World
Alyssa Pianelli / Beazley

No matter what your political leanings, we can agree that many doubted Donald Trump would win the republican nomination and later, the presidency of the United States. We will discuss, in “Ted Talk” style, what has occurred and what is anticipated to happen in a Trump presidency with policies and laws impacting healthcare, employment, personal/business taxes and the insurance/regulatory world. Join us for this topical, timely and fast paced program as we delve into important legislation and issues which are sure to impact you, your families, your business and our nation.      

Elizabeth Lorell / Partner, GRSM
Matt Foy / Partner, GRSM
Peggy Kozal / Partner, GRSM
Carol Schaner / Partner, GRSM
Mercedes Colwin / Partner, GRSM

In an effort to maximize recoverable damages, plaintiffs’ attorneys have become increasingly aggressive in adopting litigation strategies aimed at setting up insurers by issuing time sensitive policy limits settlement demands with the goal of “taking the lid off” the defendant insured’s liability insurance policy.  This presentation will provide an overview regarding the duty to settle, the potential consequences for insurers that reject a reasonable demand to settle a claim within available policy limits and related “best practices” for investigating, evaluating and responding to policy limit settlement demands.  These best practices will assist insurers from falling prey to bad faith set-ups and preserve policy limits.  Our panel will also include a policyholder counsel to provide additional insight on policy limit demand cases and war stories to illustrate those points.

Michelle Bernard / Partner, GRSM
Asim Desai / Partner, GRSM

10:10 AM - 11:10 AM

Although settlements are the destination for more than 98 percent of all civil cases, the same obstacles crop up again and again and interfere with achieving timely and favorable outcomes.  This lively and informative program explores the statistically-documented most common reasons that settlement negotiations fail and provides practical solutions geared toward achieving positive and lasting resolutions.  Join us for a roadmap to success at mediations in order to avoid trial and error.

Dion Cominos / Managing Partner, GRSM
Dave Reif / Mediator

With sustainable/green construction on the rise across the country, there has been relatively little in the way of claims being made by owners geared directly at energy efficiency in newly constructed buildings.  This panel will give a brief history of the rise of green construction, a discussion of why we have not seen claims materialize to date, and what the future holds for green claims moving forward.  This panel will explore the insurance industries’ involvement in this phenomenon, mainly that the relatively small amount of “green” policies that are available are actually deterring many prospective plaintiffs from making claims.  It will also explore the potential exposure to design professionals, under traditional errors & omissions policies, for economic claims by owners whose energy/water savings are not as significant as advertised.  As well, the panel will explore some of the other hot topics in the construction industry.

Matthew Hawk / Partner, GRSM
Jay Gregory / Partner, GRSM
Julie Haddon / Partner, GRSM

Not all defense cases are equal. Intellectual property claims and class action litigation can fall within the purview of commercial general liability policies, presenting unique challenges that require equally unique claim management skills. This session will address the circumstances in which insurers must defend intellectual property cases and class actions, as well as the particular requirements and challenges in litigating them, using recent examples of trademark, trade dress, and copyright litigation and consumer class actions.

Ilan Rosenberg / Partner, GRSM
Howard Shipley / Partner, GRSM
Ben Morton / Partner, GRSM

11:20 AM - 12:20 PM

A group of our top employment attorneys will provide practical advice to in-house counsel, claims representatives, and general counsel on handling an employment claim, from inception to resolution. Speakers will share real life litigation, trial, and settlement secrets, war stories, and detailed advice on best practices.

Laura De Santos / Partner, GRSM
Michael Lucey / Partner, GRSM
Michael Laurenson / Partner, GRSM

This presentation will provide a modern view of successful strategies for the handling and trial of today’s environmental and toxic tort cases.  Our presentation will include:

  • Our top 10 successful strategies in claims handling of today’s environmental and toxic tort claims;
  • Importance of venue in toxic tort claims
  • Assessing damages at an early stage particularly in asbestos cases, including a cross-examination practicum;
  • The impact of the current political atmosphere on handling and resolution of environmental matters;
  • Feedback on the use of technology in environmental and toxic tort matters.


Mike Pietrykowski / Partner, GRSM
Nancy Erfle / Partner, GRSM
Ginger Squitieri / Partner, GRSM
Jim Lowery / Partner, GRSM
Kristin Reyna DeHart / Partner, GRSM

Presenting to all claims and plan administrators an assessment of the scope of the final regulations related to claims procedures for plans providing disability benefits that became effective in January 2017.  This presentation will evaluate how the regulations may affect the way administrative claims are handled, and identify what proactive steps should be taken to ensure compliance with the regulations. This presentation will also include a discussion on strategies claims and plan administrators should consider implementing in light of the trend toward allowing discovery beyond the administrative record, particularly in determining the extent to which a conflict of interest affected an administrator’s decision.

Ron Alberts Partner, GRSM
Sarah Turner Partner, GRSM

12:30 PM - 1:45 PM


1:50 PM - 2:50 PM

Now more than ever, companies, insurers, and their lawyers have an increasing myriad of ethics laws to deal with, adhere to and report on.  Join us as we play a fast-paced game of Jeopardy which will emphasize how to avoid common ethical pitfalls in the defense arena.  The session will address the ever expanding dilemma on how to protect attorney/client communications and the attorney/work product privilege as the courts continually erode the privilege.  Other categories will include HIPAA privacy laws, conflicts of interests, dual representation, practical implications of shared client representation, coverage related conflicts, and the tri-partite relationship.  The answer and question format will also highlight practical strategies to avoid ethical woes in order to protect you and your companies from walking into an ethical minefield.

Peggy Kozal / Partner, GRSM
Tom Packer / Partner, GRSM
John Robinson / Partner, GRSM

Defending litigation brought by providers, both contracted and out-of-network, has cost health plans billions of dollars.  In this session we will discuss common themes and defenses to provider litigation, including claims brought under ERISA and state common laws, reasonable and customary litigation, facility claims, and claims for payment for emergency services and discuss effective strategies for mitigating risks for disputes and litigation. 

We will also address the recent increase in litigation brought by health plans to affirmatively prevent fraudulent and improper billing by providers and curb provider litigation, and will discuss recent cases and their impact on the overall trend, lawsuits brought to curb improper billing practices by non-contracted providers, and how to enforce the terms of contracted providers’ contracts through litigation. 

Courtney Hill Partner, GRSM
Matt Kleiner Partner, GRSM

3:00 PM - 4:00 PM

On the internet, word of mouth has become "world" of mouth. Until recently, most lawyers, jurors, and judges simply lacked the means to conduct research on each other. All of that has changed in the digital age as social media crashes into the courtroom. Now, with the mere click of a button, the jurors, parties, judges, lawyers, and the witnesses are finding out more information than they need (or should) know during a case. Jurors are blogging and tweeting from the jury box. And lawyers, in the heat of a trial (and sometime the judges too), are friending jurors (and witnesses) which are creating ethical conundrums. Join us for a fast paced informative presentation where we present real life cases in which lawyers and judges have been hit with ethical violations and jurors have been sanctioned for going too far afield in cyberland.

Brandon Saxon / Partner, GRSM
Cecily McLeod / Senior Counsel, GRSM
Roger Mansukhani / Partner, GRSM

4:00 PM - 6:00 PM