Defense Counsel Journal

Editor's Page - Volume 87, Number 2

Volume 87, No. 2

July 21, 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.

The first IADC meeting my wife, Cynthia, and I attended was the 2002 Midyear Meeting at the Loews Ventana Canyon Resort in Tucson, Arizona. We were blown away by the friendliness of this group, the quality of the people that we met and were welcomed by, and the level of professionalism that we encountered. The only disappointment that I experienced was the Product Liability Committee meeting that I “attended.” The quotes reflect that there was not, in fact, a meeting at all, but rather a lone hotel employee sitting in the room designated for the meeting, greeting those who arrived and asking them to fill in their names and addresses on a sheet of paper. This, despite that, is the largest Committee in the IADC.

Happily, beginning in 2003 with Tripp Haston as Chair, followed immediately by Lela Hollabaugh (2005), the Committee has become one of the most active in our organization. For these reasons, I thought it appropriate to ask the Product Liability Committee if it would undertake responsibility for an entire volume of the DCJ to help celebrate our Centennial year. The Committee agreed, and under the leadership of Chair Bill Anderson with the assistance of many others on the Committee, it assembled this outstanding compendium of product liability related articles. Jordan Lipp and Steven Michalek offer an intriguing piece that explores the unique product liability issues related to 3D printing; Rick Wallace and Bill Anderson probe the ins and outs of tort litigation brought by States; Greg Williams and Will Atfield update the status of litigation funding in Australia; and Sylvie Gallage-Alwis addresses concerns about product liability in civil law jurisdictions.

This issue also features a series of predictive vignettes, written by respected leaders in the product liability arena, a number of whom are past Chairs of the Product Liability Committee. This is a new feature in the DCJ that I anticipate will recur. Bill Anderson; M.C. Sungalia, James Sullivan, and Marco Pulido; Eric Lasker and Brett Covington; Stephanie Rippee; and Jessie Zeigler, Sarah Miller, and Olivia Seraphim look into their respective crystal balls and share their thoughts on the future of our practice (I say “our” as I am a proud member, and past Chair, of this Committee).

I hope that you find this special edition of the DCJ enjoyable and helpful. I expect that this will be the first of two special Centennial editions that we offer. I must thank Deputy Editor, Bob Greenlee, for his hard work and the magic he performs in doing the actual editing that makes this, and all of our publications, look so professional and read so well, and Managing Editor, Amy O’Maley McGuire, who just makes it all happen, always with a smile.

Finally, I cannot resist observing the somewhat frightening, and remarkable, parallel between the IADC’s 100th year and its first. The organizational meeting of the IADC was in Atlantic City in September 1920. That meeting coincided with the final few months of the H1N1 flu virus (Spanish Flu) pandemic (which officially ended in December of 1920). In researching this I ran across the following quote about the Spanish Flu: “With no vaccine to protect against influenza infection and no antibiotics to treat secondary bacterial infections that can be associated with influenza infections, control efforts worldwide were limited to non-pharmaceutical interventions such as isolation, quarantine, good personal hygiene, use of disinfectants, and limitations of public gatherings, which were applied unevenly.” (source) If we eliminate the clause about antibiotics, which we thankfully do have now, this quote is remarkably applicable to our current circumstances. Perhaps we should put it in a time capsule for the IADC to open in 2120? I suggest that you each pull up your favorite chair in the comfort and safety of your home, in isolation and quarantine, after washing your hands thoroughly and using disinfectants (in accordance with the warnings on the label), and enjoy this special Centennial edition of the DCJ.  To echo Bill and Stephanie, “open the pod bay doors Hal” and release this Product Liability Defense Counsel Journal Special Edition!