Jessie Zeigler

It is my great honor to serve as this year’s Chair of the IADC’s Product Liability Committee. We are staying on top of the latest developments in products liability defense, whether it is self-driving cars, smart products/the internet of things, drones, privacy issues, or other emerging issues facing our clients. 

The Products Liability Committee is the IADC’s largest committee, serving outstanding in-house and outside counsel who represent companies who manufacture, design, and/or sell products. Our Committee members represent companies across all manners of industry world-wide, including the automotive, chemical, consumer products, food and beverage, pharmaceutical, medical device, pulp and paper, construction, industrial, and/or general manufacturing industries.

Some of the highlights as to how we serve our members include:

Monthly Calls

Our monthly conference calls occur on the first Monday of the month at 11:00 CST. We share information about new laws, rulings, or cases filed in jurisdictions across the country, as well as what our members are working on and their recent accomplishments. If you are an IADC member and would like to be included, please join our Committee by reaching out to me at


We develop programming for upcoming IADC Midyear and Annual Meetings. Here is what we have coming up at the 2018 Midyear Meeting, which will be held February 10 -15 at La Quinta Resort & Club in La Quinta, California.

  • Sunday, February 11: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.
    The United States Supreme Court dramatically altered the landscape of personal jurisdiction in mass tort and other matters in 2014 with the Daimler decision. Daimler severely limited court use of general jurisdiction to drag defendants into courts where the defendant was neither domiciled or had its headquarters, handing defendants a very powerful weapon for motions to dismiss. Since then, plaintiffs have made great efforts to limit the scope of Daimler, but the Supreme Court reinforced its more narrow view of jurisdiction in the recent Bristol-Myers Squibb case. This program will review the case law in this area, discuss the effect of the recent BMS ruling, and provide practice tips on when and how to present successful Daimler motions to dismiss.
  • Monday, February 12: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.

    The recent transition from outside counsel to inside counsel has given Carin Brock a unique and very fresh perspective from “both sides of the aisle.” Former inside and current outside counsel Chas Reynolds will pose some of the most vexing questions to her for insights from someone who understands both worlds and can speak to concerns of lawyers and clients alike.
  • Monday, February 12: 8:45 - 10:15 a.m.

    We live in a “post-truth” era where people often are skeptical of facts or evidence inconsistent with their world view. Many times, these people will instead rely upon their emotions or “gut” in making decisions. It is not a new tactic for plaintiffs lawyers to use “motivated reasoning” to encourage jurors to engage in emotion-biased decision-making. What has changed, however, is the extent to which people are willing to follow and discard objective evidence. This panel of well-seasoned trial lawyers and a jury consultant will discuss the social psychology behind motivated reasoning, use examples from mock trials to demonstrate some of the changes in juror behavior, and provide practical tips to try to counter this growing phenomenon.
  • Wednesday, February 14: 7:30 - 8:30 a.m.

    Preparing your case for appeal starts at the trial court level. This platinum panel will discuss issues that arise at trial in products liability and toxic tort cases that may become appellate issues, and how you can make sure you are developing the best record possible to preserve issues for appeal.
  • Wednesday, February 14: 8:45 - 10:15 a.m.

    This program will focus on the preparation of corporate witnesses for deposition. As any experienced trial lawyer knows, a poorly prepared defense witness can sink the client’s defense. This is especially true with 30(b)(6) witnesses – also known as “person most knowledgeable.” In addition to a panel of experienced defense attorneys, the program will offer the unique feature of the perspective of a veteran corporate witness who has endured these examinations. The panel will discuss various tips and techniques to navigate these challenges and will examine the ethics of witness preparation, e.g., what a lawyer can and cannot do in preparing a witness for deposition.
  • Wednesday 10:30 a.m. - 12:00 p.m.

    This program examines the American Tort Reform Association “judicial hellhole” selections, how they came to be selected, and how certain jurisdictions have been removed from the list by adopting the rule of law.

Please make plans to attend! With good reason, the property is nicknamed the "gem of the desert" and the programming will without a doubt be outstanding.

If you have ideas for future programming, please contact Bill Anderson, Vice Chair of Programming for the Products Liability Committee, at


We develop one-hour Webinar programs on hot topics that our members can attend from the comfort of their desk. These are held on Wednesdays from 12:00 - 1:00 CST. Our upcoming Webinars include:

  • January 31, 2018: The First Thing We Do, Let's Kill All the Lawyers

If you have an idea for a Webinar, please reach out to our Vice Chair of Webinars, Curtis Ott, at

Special Projects

The Product Liability Committee is working on two special projects this year:

  1. Stateside Survey - A 50-state chart that surveys variances in states’ laws on issues such as damages caps, punitive damages caps, application of Daubert or Frye, statutes of limitations, etc.; and
  2. International Special Privacy Project - A chart of numerous foreign countries’ privacy laws on issues that are important to products manufacturers.

If you would like to help with either or both of these projects, please contact our Vice Chair of Special Projects, Bobby Hood, at


We have been publishing two newsletters per month, authored by our members. Our recent articles are:

If you missed these articles, go to and click on publications, then Committee Newsletters. Please contact our Vice Chair of Newsletters, Whitney Watt, at if you would like to write a Newsletter article.

Defense Counsel Journal

The Defense Counsel Journal has been a forum for the publication of topical and scholarly writings on the law, its development and reform, and on the practice of law since 1934. Taking the viewpoint of the practitioner and litigator in the civil defense and insurance fields, the DCJ considers current legal trends at a scholarly level and informs readers of timely problems that they may face in their practice, and is frequently and favorably cited by courts and other legal scholarship. Our Committee has recently submitted two articles for consideration for publication in the DCJ.

If you have an issue that you have recently briefed that would be of interest as a scholarly article, please email our Vice Chair of DCJ, Mary Anne Mellow, at

Corporate Counsel

Our Committee has some of the leaders in the field for in-house counsel at products companies. We are committed to actively recruiting outstanding corporate counsel, seeking to include them in our programming and publications, and ensuring that our Committee helps make their work life easier by addressing hot topics of interest.  If you are a corporate counsel and would like to get more involved, or are interested in learning more about the IADC, our Vice Chair of Corporate Counsel, Sarah Cronan,, will be glad to assist.


We are fortunate to have Sylvie Gallage-Alwis,, serving as our Vice Chair of International during this important year. Our next Annual Meeting will be at the Epic Sana Lisboa in Lisbon, Portugal, July 7-12, 2018, and our Committee has been busy submitting programming ideas and international speakers of interest to all. Sylvie also is actively assisting us with our International Special Privacy Project, discussed above. If you are an international lawyer who would like to get involved with our Committee, please reach out to Sylvie or Alba Romano, our Membership Vice Chair.


We live in a diverse world and are committed to ensuring that our Committee reflects that diversity.  Our Vice Chair of Diversity,  Mike Brown at, helps us ensure that we are including diverse members as candidates for membership, speakers on programs, and Webinars, as well as getting them involved in our Committee.


We want to make sure we are getting news that is important to our Committee members disseminated, whether through the IADC email listservs, the website, social media, or otherwise. For assistance with getting your news out, please reach out to our Vice Chair of Communications, James Hemming, at


Do you know an outstanding attorney who you would like to nominate for membership? Have you nominated someone but need to find two IADC members to sponsor your nomination? Our Vice Chair of Membership, Alba Romano, at, can help.

Back to news