Defense Counsel Journal

Editor's Page - Volume 86, Number 1

Volume 86, No. 1

February 07, 2020

Meyer_Ken_2022_sized Kenneth R. Meyer

Kenneth R. Meyer

Ken Meyer is with McCarter & English and is a former editor of the IADC Defense Counsel Journal. He is senior trial lawyer certified by the Supreme Court of New Jersey as a Civil Trial Attorney and is primarily a commercial litigator who defends complex product liability, mass tort, and significant personal injury and property damage cases. He has litigated cases in state and federal courts in 27 States, has acted as defense liaison counsel for branded pharmaceutical companies, and serves as national coordinating, regional, and local counsel.

As I watch the snow swirl outside of my office window here in Newark, New Jersey, distracting me from preparation of this note, I can’t help but reflect upon the winters of my youth and the piles of snow and ponds of ice that were consistently present from December through at least February here in the Northeastern United States. That reality, from a mere fifty or so years ago, has been supplanted by unpredictable dangerous weather, melting icecaps, receding shorelines, and sixty degree days in December in New York City. How is it possible that while the rest of the world is actively addressing the issues of man-made climate change the U.S. continues to debate its reality and incredibly seeks to expand its carbon footprint? One answer can be found in Craig Thompson’s President’s Page for this edition: “Trust the Process.” Indeed, the IADC’s consistently excellent leadership, and the fact that our organization is comprised of members that are all leaders in our profession, permits those of us in the IADC to Trust our Process. If only that concept played out in similar fashion in our national political stage.

The IADC Process of excellence is, as Craig observes, exemplified in all we do. I am confident that our Process would not permit the IADC to ignore harsh realities, like some are doing with climate change, but rather to seek remedies for the issues facing us, no matter how difficult. IADC seeks real solutions, instead of reconfiguring and disguising issues in a manner that may benefit the leadership in the short term but harm the organization, and as a result our profession, in the long run. As Craig says, it is this “cutting edge” and “clear” thinking that informs and drives those responsible for the Defense Counsel Journal. We delight in publishing thoughtful articles that offer insights and answers to the diverse and difficult problems facing those of us in the defense bar.     

We don’t chose to ignore, or recharacterize, the wallaby at the water cooler down the hall from our client’s office. There is actually a wallaby there, and we not only identify it for what it is but then, through the fine writing of Donna Burden, Sarah Hansen, and Sean Nash in, “Are You Ready for a Wallaby at the Water Cooler? Service Animals and Emotional Support Animals in the Workplace—What Do Employer Clients Need to Know?” help our clients and fellow IADC members appreciate how to deal with this animal. The article presents a timely and insightful look at workplace accommodations employers are asked to make for employees’ service animals. So too, Anne Guillory’s article entitled “Good Strategy or Forum Manipulation? The Continuing Evolution of the Bad Faith Exception to the One-Year Time Limit on Removal” looks at the complicated issues relating to removal, diversity jurisdiction, and forum shopping, and then provides helpful and practical commentary on the “bad faith” exception to the legislative time limit imposed upon removal. This article is of particular value as it analyzes a process that by its nature is not susceptible to appellate review, and explanation, and thus often misunderstood and misused. Our third article, “Department of Justice Combats Asbestos Trust Abuse,” is by Mark Behrens and William Northrip. It looks at the troubling abuse found in the asbestos trust arena and discusses governmental efforts to deal with the fraud and mismanagement prevalent with administration of these trusts. It is a companion article to one appearing in last quarter’s DCJ and a continuing effort on the part of the DCJ Board of Editors to promote articles that accentuate and further other work done within the IADC, in this case the efforts by the IADC Civil Justice Response Committee to promote trust transparency laws.

I hope that you find our January publication of interest, even though January 2019 is unlike those of the not too distant past. I encourage all of you to consider writing an article for the Defense Counsel Journal. With the aid of Jerry Kraisinger, Chair of the Corporate Counsel Committee, we have launched an effort to match corporate counsel members with a potential topic and with members of the relevant Substantive Committee interested in co-authoring an article on the subject. I see this as a win-win situation for the IADC and the DCJ. It will present opportunities for those of us in private practice to work with, and get to better know, our corporate counsel members while producing an article that will be of value to our members in general. Further discussion of this initiative, and hopefully resulting articles, will appear in future publications. Until then, I encourage everyone to continue to “Trust the Process” here at the IADC, and to do whatever possible to Fix the Process elsewhere.