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41st Annual Civil Trial Practice Institute: Day 1

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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.

Partner Jay G. Safer is a partner in Locke Lord Bissell & Liddell's New York office and has experience handling complex litigation and arbitration in the United States and abroad. He represents clients in matters concerning contracts, antitrust, securities, RICO, banking, qui tam, international litigation and arbitration, including application of the New York Convention and enforcement of foreign judgments and arbitration awards, insurance, construction, real estate, employment, media, product liability, health care, professional ethics, financial, constitutional and regulatory issues. He also counsels clients on commercial matters, including protection and preventive measures, creation of risk litigation plans, pre-litigation analysis, e-discovery, e-readiness, esignature/ e-sign, document retention policies, and electronic records. Jay was appointed to serve on the Planning Committee for the Judicial Conference of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit, which he attended with the Judges of the Second Circuit. Jay was appointed by Chief Judge Judith S. Kaye to serve on a Special Commission on the Future of the New York State Courts. The Commission is composed of lawyers, civic leaders, government and private sector representatives, academicians, and sitting and former trial and appellate court judges. The Commission's charge is to redesign the state's trial court structure. Jay is the Past Chair of the 2,000 member Federal & Commercial Litigation Section of the New York State Bar Association and is the Co-Chair of its Federal Judiciary Committee. Jay has served as a lecturer on panels and a member of committees with judges and attorneys discussing a wide range of civil litigation issues, international arbitration and litigation skills, including cross examination for the National Institute for Trial Advocacy, professional ethics, ediscovery, e-signature and e-records. Jay is a member of The Sedona Conference Working Group on Electronic Document Retention and Production (WG1) and The Sedona Conference Working Group on International Electronic Information Management, Discovery and Disclosure (WG6). Jay is a member of the Advisory Board of the Institute for Transnational Arbitration (ITA). Education Columbia University,J.D., 1971 Vanderbilt University, B.A., 1968 Bar Admissions New York, 1972 Courts u.s. Supreme Court New York State Court U.S. Court of Appeals (2nd Circuit) U.S. Court of Appeals (3rd Circuit) U.S. Court of Appeals (11 th Circuit) U.S. District Court, S.D. New York U.S. District Court, E.D. New York U.S. District Court, N.D. New York U.S. District Court, N.D. Illinois U.S. District Court, Connecticut

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

John DiBlasi, a former Justice of the New York State Supreme Court, has been rated the Top Mediator in the United States in the 2014, 2015, 2016 & 2017 National Law Journal Annual Reader's Survey and has been repeatedly selected as a Super Lawyer. He has consistently been rated a top mediator in multiple categories in the New York Law Journal's annual survey. He holds an AV Preeminent peer rating from Martindale-Hubbell in the fields of Alternative Dispute Resolution (ADR) and Litigation—a distinction given to those who possess the highest ethical standards and professional ability. He is proud to be associated exclusively with National Arbitration and Mediation (NAM). His ADR practice encompasses a wide and varied range of civil actions including all types of commercial litigation, employment, real property, estates and trusts, civil rights/discrimination, and personal injury actions. Judge DiBlasi's many years of experience as a full-time arbitrator and mediator in commercial disputes are supplemented by his past tenure as a Presiding Justice of the Commercial Division of the Supreme Court of the State of New York. His alternative dispute resolution practice, which, in many ways, mirrors his work as a jurist, draws upon his experience as a Justice of the Commercial Division, where he presided over complex commercial litigation involving contract disputes, employment disputes, real property/land use matters and environmental litigation. He created the Alternative Commercial Dispute Resolution Program used successfully by the court in which he presided.

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