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41st Annual Civil Trial Practice Institute: Day 1

Total Credits
6 - 7.5
CDs/DVDs Only
This course is only available in CD/DVD format.
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Program Chair Robert Kelner, Kelner & Kelner, has brought together an extraordinary faculty of judges, experienced litigators, mediators and medical experts for the 41st Annual Civil Trial Practice Institute.

Day 1 will focus on Preparing for the Trial and cover such topics as:

  • Civil Pre-Trial Practice: Commercial Litigation & Personal Injury Litigation
  • Preparation of Plaintiffs and Defendants
  • Conference and Settlement and Mediation in Commercial and Personal Injury Cases
  • Courtroom Techniques: Dealing with Expert Testimony and Hearsay
  • Courtroom Techniques

Lecturer Bios

Tracee Davis

Tracee E. Davis is a senior associate in the commercial litigation group at Zeichner Ellman & Krause LLP. At ZEK, Ms. Davis handles both federal and state court cases involving matters ranging in complexity: from commercial business disputes to consumer and lender’s liability class actions to disputes involving complex structured refinancing transactions. She is a graduate of Montclair State College and of American University, Washington College of Law, where she earned her law degree. Prior to joining Zeichner Ellman & Krause LLP, Ms. Davis served as the Principal Court Attorney to Justice Charles E. Ramos of the New York State Supreme Court, Commercial Division in Manhattan. During her five years with Justice Ramos, Ms. Davis assisted in managing the resolution of more than 400 complex commercial cases. She researched and wrote court opinions, many of which were published, and negotiated case settlements on panoply of business and commercial issues. Some of the cases she handled included consumer fraud class actions, unfair competition and employment contract disputes, and conflicts arising from private investment/financial arrangements. She also served an Adjunct Professor of Law at New York Law School. Ms. Davis lectured at Education Unlimited for several years to real estate salespersons on the laws regulating commercial and residential real estate transactions. Ms. Davis is currently a Delegate to the New York State Bar Association’s House of Delegates, the immediate past Secretary of the New York State Bar Association’s Commercial and Federal Litigation Section and since 2001 has been a member of the Section’s Executive Committee. She also served as Co-Chair of the Section’s State Court Counsel Committee. Ms. Davis is also a member of the Association of the City Bar of the City of New York and member of the Association’s State Court of Superior Jurisdiction Committee. In 2004, she was also appointed Director of the Independent Judicial Screening Panel, New York County Democratic Party (Civil Court 2004) to oversee the merit-based screening and selection process for reviewing applications and identifying qualified candidates. Ms. Davis has chaired or served as a faculty member of a number of programs for the NYSBA, the Association of the City Bar, the New York County Lawyers’ Association, and the Anti-Bias Committee of the New York State Supreme Court, New York County.

Jay G. Safer, Esq.

Jay G. Safer is a partner at the law firm of Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP in New York City. Jay is both a litigator and an arbitrator,

Jay has for many years handled complex litigation in the United States and abroad. Jay represents clients in matters concerning contracts, antitrust, securities, RICO, qui tam, FCPA, international litigation and arbitration, including application of the New York Convention and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards, banking, financial institutions, corporate governance, technology, privacy, insurance, construction, real estate, labor and employment, product liability, health care, professional ethics, financial, constitutional, and regulatory issues, mediation, class actions, defamation, and media. Jay also counsels clients on commercial matters including, protection and preventative measures and pre-litigation analysis. He has represented clients in international litigation, including domestic and foreign clients in courts outside the United States and foreign clients in the U.S. courts.

Jay has extensive ADR experience both as an arbitrator and as an advocate. He has engaged in numerous arbitrations and mediations and in teaching and speaking at ADR programs. As an arbitrator, he has served in numerous arbitrations involving complex commercial and business matters in various industry areas both as a single arbitrator and as Chair and member of a Tribunal panel. These have included arbitrations administered by various ADR organizations, ad hoc arbitration, and under various rules and laws. He is on the Roster of Neutrals of the AAA for U.S. arbitrations and on the Roster of the AAA’s ICDR for international arbitrations. He is a Fellow of the Chartered Institute of Arbitrations (CIArb) and teaches and trains international arbitrators. As an advocate, Jay has represented clients from the United States and around the world in arbitrations.

His ADR experience has involved a wide range of U.S. and international arbitrations, mediations, and enforcements of arbitration awards including disputes involving contracts, mergers and acquisitions, sales of businesses, investments, energy, healthcare, sales of equipment from U.S. companies to governmental entities abroad, telecommunications, corporate governance, dispute among shareholders, real estate, construction claims, oil and gas leases, insurance, labor and employment, fraud, and entertainment agreements. Jay is both a speaker and teacher on U.S. and international arbitration.

Jay is a Lecturer at Law and Adjunct Professor at Columbia Law School and Fordham Law Schools teaching foreign lawyers and LLM candidates American litigation practice and the management of U.S. Litigation, and the role of arbitration and mediation in U.S. proceedings. Jay was appointed to the Advisory Group to the New York State Federal Judicial Council consisting of federal and state judges appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New York and the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit. Jay was appointed by the Chief Judge of the State of New York to the Commercial Division Advisory Council that advises the Chief Judge and the Judiciary on matters involving the Commercial Division of the State of New York. He was also appointed by the New York State Chief Administrative Judge to serve on the New York State Advisory Committee on Civil Practice.

Jay has served on panels, bench-bar forums, and is a member of committees with judges and attorneys discussing and speaking on a wide range of civil litigation and dispute resolution issues, litigation and arbitration skills, and U.S. and international arbitration and international litigation practice. He has for many years presented numerous programs and seminars in the U. S. and around the world on U.S.and international litigation and arbitration to U.S. and foreign judges and lawyers. He frequently presents webinars and CLE programs to national audiences.

Jay is involved in leadership positions in numerous bar associations, including as past chair and present member of many bar association sections, executive committees, and committees.

Jay has made appearances on television and authored numerous articles and publications.

Contact Information:
Jay G. Safer
Wollmuth Maher & Deutsch LLP
500 Fifth Avenue
New York, New York 1010
Direct tel: 212-556-0379

Robert Kelner, Esq.

Mr. Kelner graduated from Columbia University School of Law, and is a member of the Bar of the State of New York. He is admitted to the United States District Court, Southern and Eastern Districts.

Currently, Mr. Kelner is a member of the law firm Kelner & Kelner, Esqs., specializing in the practice of personal injury, medical malpractice and products liability law. He has obtained many verdicts in excess of $10,000,000, including one verdict of approximately $23,000,000 (Martin v. Dellwood) and one verdict in excess of $36,000,000 (Driscoll v. New York City Transit Authority).

Mr. Kelner has lectured before virtually all major bar associations in Continuing Legal Education Programs, including, but not limited to, the New York State Bar Association, New York State Trial Lawyers Association, Association of the Bar of the City of New York, and the New York County Lawyers’ Association, where he is Co-chair of the annual Civil Trial Practice Institute.

In addition, he lectured at Princeton University and Columbia University School of Law. Mr. Kelner is the author of numerous publications and serves as co-columnist of the New York Law Journal’s monthly column on Trial Practice.

Lewis Tesser, Esq.

Lewis Tesser is a senior partner in the New York law firm of Tesser, Ryan & Rochman, LLP, concentrating his practice in litigation and mediation, representing licensed professionals and professional practices, administrative law and commercial law. Lew Tesser is Vice-President of the New York County Lawyers’ Association and Director of its Ethics Institute.

Prior to private practice, Mr. Tesser was an Assistant United States Attorney in the Eastern District of New York. In that capacity, he represented various agencies of the United States government in litigation in the United States District Court and United States Court of Appeals. Mr. Tesser also served as a Judge Advocate in the United States Army where he prosecuted and defended criminal cases and was the chief legal advisor to the Commanding General of the U.S. Army War College, Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He also has served as an Arbitrator for the American Arbitration Association, New York City Civil Court, a Judge for the Environmental Control Board of the City of New York and a lecturer for various Bar Associations and New York area law schools.

Mr. Tesser, who was admitted to practice in 1971, is a 1970 Honors graduate from the National Law Center, George Washington University, a Masters graduate from the Wharton Business School, University of Pennsylvania (l974) and a graduate of the Harvard Law School Program of Instruction for Lawyers. He is a past President of Congregation Sons of Israel, Nyack, NY.

David Jaroslawicz

David Jaroslawicz, the principal partner of Jaroslawicz & Jaros, is a member of the New York, Florida and California bar. He has been in practice for over 34 years and has secured tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients during this time. Mr. Jaroslawicz has handled both trials and appeals and has argued before the United States Supreme Court, the New York State Court of Appeals, the United States Court of Appeals for the Second, Ninth, and Tenth Circuit, as well as the Florida Supreme Court. Mr. Jaroslawicz has represented countless clients involved in commercial litigation; contract disputes; real estate litigation; sexual discrimination and harassment, sexual abuse by priests, medical malpractice; product liability cases such as defective medical products, pharmaceuticals, bicycle or motorcycle helmets, industrial machinery, tires, hospital equipment, and defective automobiles, among others. His contributions to the practice of law have helped shape New York and New Jersey common law. In fact, Mr. Jaroslawicz was among the legal pioneers who developed the “concerted action” theory that was utilized against drug manufacturer Eli Lilly Pharmaceuticals, who had manufactured and sold DES, a drug that caused cancer in children decades after their mothers had ingested the drugs while pregnant. (link to Eli Lilly case and other notable cases). In addition to his work in the personal injury field, Mr. Jaroslawicz has also handled several class-action consumer fraud lawsuits as well as lawsuits on behalf of stock holders who have suffered severe financial losses as a result of securities fraud during the dot-com downfall. Due to his expertise, Mr. Jaroslawicz had been invited to lecture on numerous occasions on behalf of lawyer groups such as the New York Trial Lawyers Association.

Hon. Saliann Scarpulla

Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, Elected, 2013 to 2026 Acting Justice, Supreme Court, New York County, Appointed by Chief Administrative Judge Ann Pfau, 2009 to 2012 Judge, Civil Court of the City of New York, New York County, Elected, 2002 to 2011; Re-elected, 2012 to 2012

Joshua D. Kelner, Esq.

Joshua D. Kelner graduated cum laude from Williams College in 2001 and cum laude from Harvard Law School in 2004. While in law school, he was Articles Editor for the Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review, and a finalist in the Ames Moot Court Competition. In college, he was President of the Williams College debate team. He has been associated with Kelner & Kelner since 2005, during which time he has concentrated his practice on the trial preparation of complex personal injury cases and on appellate advocacy. He has conducted depositions, second seated trials, and argued numerous motions before the courts. He has also successfully briefed and argued numerous appeals. He was previously associated with the law firm of Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel, LLP, during which time he focused on federal litigation and white collar criminal defense. He is the author of The Anatomy of an Image: Unpacking the Case for Tort Reform, which was published in the University of Dayton Law Review in 2006. He is a member of the New York State Trial Lawyers Association and the New York State Bar Association.

Dorothy M. Weber, Esq.

Dorothy M. Weber received her law degree from Brooklyn Law School in 1981. She graduated cum laude with a BA degree from Brooklyn College in 1977. Ms. Weber is a member of the New York Bar and is admitted to practice in the Southern and Eastern Districts of New York, Second Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. She is a partner at Shukat Arrow Hafer Weber & Herbsman, LLP where she has a litigation practice specializing in intellectual property, and has represented book publishers, visual artists, theatrical and film entities, recording artists and others in copyright, trademark, unfair competition, and contract cases. Ms. Weber's practice also includes extensive intellectual property licensing activities, including mergers and acquisitions involving the Internet. Ms. Weber has handled a number of seminal Second Circuit cases dealing with Copyright and Trademark issues, as well as participating in the landmark Supreme Court decision Eric Eldred et al. v. John D. Ashcroft, 01 U.S. 618, on the copyright term extension by filing an amici curaiae brief on behalf of Amsong, Inc., whose members include the Estate of Frank Loesser and the Estate of Hoagy Carmichael. Ms. Weber is a member of the Bar Association of the City of New York and the First Amendment Lawyers Association, and has been a member of the Committee on Trademark and Unfair Competition and the Committee on Art Law of the Bar Association of the City of New York. Ms. Weber has lectured widely on copyright and trademark issues and is the author of various articles in the intellectual property field, including The Visual Artist's Manual, The New York Law Journal and Cardozo Entertainment Law Review.

Judge Kelly O’Neill Levy

Kelly O’Neill Levy is an Acting Justice of the Supreme Court of the State of New York and presides over a civil trial (IAS) part in Supreme Court, New York County. Judge O’Neill Levy served from 2013 to February 2015 as an Acting Justice of New York Supreme Court and Administrative Judge of the Harlem Community Justice Center, a problem solving court established by the Office of Court Administration and the Center for Court Innovation. From 2011 to 2013, she was assigned to Bronx Family Court where she served as a child protection judge in cases of child abuse and neglect. She is a member of the Board of Trustees of the Community Service Society of New York, an anti-poverty organization, and the Board of Directors of the New York Women’s Bar Association. Judge Kelly O’Neill Levy is a graduate of Boston College and Fordham University School of Law. She served as Principal Law Clerk to Hon. Sherry Klein Heitler, Supreme Court, Civil Branch, New York County, before her election to the bench.

Judge Doris M. Gonzalez

Judge Doris M. Gonzalez started her legal career in 1985 in the insurance industry where very few Hispanic female attorneys were employed, and rose thru the ranks to become a senior trial attorney trying high profile cases. After 15 years of practice in the private sector, she went to work for a Supreme Court Judge in the Appellate Term 1st Department and then in Supreme Court Civil Division, Bronx County. Judge Doris M. Gonzalez was elected as a Civil Court Judge, in Bronx County, in November of 2006. In December 2009, she was appointed by Judge Pfau as Acting Supreme Court Justice. She sat in Supreme Criminal Bronx County for three years; Supreme Court Matrimonial Division for three years; and now sits in Supreme Court Civil Division Bronx County handling an array of civil matters. Judge Gonzalez has served on the following: President of the Latino Judges Association; Chair of the Committee to Encourage Judicial Service, (NYC Bar); member of the Gender Fairness Committee (a) “Women of Distinction” Subcommittee; appointed to the Judicial Advisory Council; and Treasurer of the National Association of Women Judges, New York Chapter.

Hon. John DiBlasi

HON. JOHN P. DiBLASI (Ret.) Justice of the Supreme Court, Presiding Justice of the Commercial Division The Honorable John P. DiBlasi’s illustrious career includes 10 years spent as Justice of the Supreme Court, Commercial Division where he resolved hundreds of matters. As the presiding justice of the commercial part in the court in which he sat, he developed the rules for discovery practice and for the trial of commercial matters which are similar to those used in the federal courts. While on the bench he presided over complex commercial litigation involving contracts, employment, real property/land use and environmental litigation matters and developed extensive experience in the trial and settlement of complex commercial matters.

Judge DiBlasi created the Commercial Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) Program, which was successfully implemented by the Court. In 2020, for the seventh year in a row, Judge DiBlasi was named one of the Top Three Mediators in the United States by The National Law Journal Best Of Survey (voted #1 four years in a row). He was voted the #1 mediator in the United States by the 2018 Corporate Counsel Best Of Survey and for the third year in a row, he was named a National Law Journal Alternative Dispute Resolution Champion, as part of a select group of only 46 nationwide. Further, he was ranked a Top Ten Mediator in the 2020 New York Law Journal Best of Survey for the eleventh consecutive year. He has consistently been designated a Super Lawyer since 2013 and holds an AV Preeminent Peer Rating from Martindale-Hubbell in both Alternative Dispute Resolution and Litigation – a distinction given only to those who possess the highest ethical standards and professional ability. As a full-time neutral with NAM (National Arbitration and Mediation), his ADR practice encompasses a wide and varied range of cases, inclusive of commercial, class action, construction, corporate dissolution, debtor/creditor, employment, environmental, insurance, investor fraud, international law, land use, professional liability, as well as catastrophic personal injury actions, among others. Judge DiBlasi is based in New York, hears cases throughout the country, and has handled significant, high-stakes matters in multiple locations, including Boston, Chicago, Hartford, Las Vegas and Miami.

As a mediator, Judge DiBlasi has developed a reputation for settling the most complex matters and is persistent in following up with parties after the mediation in an effort to assist the parties in reaching and finalizing a resolution. As a commercial arbitrator, he has the skills necessary to digest and analyze expert testimony, complex contracts and documents, as well as the ability to render prompt and reasoned decisions. Judge DiBlasi’s experience and deep knowledge of a variety of practice areas enables him to take on almost any subject matter that is brought before him. He is known to be well prepared and adept at comprehending even the most complex issues. He has mediated and/or arbitrated numerous cases involving commercial matters, complex insurance coverage issues among multiple defendants; complex land use actions inclusive of large commercial developments; municipal projects, and allegations of noncompliance with SEQRA; and employment law matters involving sexual harassment, wrongful termination, claims under the Employee Retirement Income Securities Act, retaliation cases involving in-house “open door” policies, tortious interference with employment contracts and prospective business relations; toxic tort and other complex catastrophic personal injury actions.

Justice DiBlasi is an active speaker and has devoted his time to presenting workshops on a wide range of commercial topics at many of the top law firms throughout the United States. He is also a longtime supporter of the K9 Rescue Mission, a non-profit organization dedicated to the service of retiring and retired Military Working Dogs and Contract Working Dogs. He also serves on the advisory board of the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals) of Westchester County, NY. From 1990-1998, Judge DiBlasi served proudly as an officer in the U.S. Army Reserve in the Judge Advocate General’s Corp (JAG) where he performed legal services during three tours of duty in the Republic of Panama, West Point, NY and Fort Dix, NJ. He was honorably discharged with the rank of Captain. Judge DiBlasi is available to arbitrate and mediate cases throughout the United States.

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