Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes for February 12, 2014
Litigation Section Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Present: George Burbidge, David Castleberry, Heather Thuet, Rod Andreason, Hon. Stephen
Roth, Hon. Kate Toomey, Keith Call, Jon Hafen, Kent Holmberg, Heather Sneddon,
Michael Stahler, Dan Steele, Joe Stultz, and Jenifer Tomchak.
By Phone: Patrick Burt, Shane Gosdis, Christian Hansen, and Sade' Turner.
Excused: Ryan Frazier and Kelly Nash.
1. Secretary's Report: In advance of the meeting, Rod Andreason sent draft minutes from the
Executive Committee's meeting held on January 8, 2014, which was circulated for review. No
comments were made to the draft prior to or during this meeting. Rod moved to approve the
minutes for that meeting, seconded by Judge Toomey. The Committee unanimously approved
the draft minutes from that meeting.
2. Treasurer's Report: In advance of the meeting, Heather Thuet provided a balance sheet for the
Section as of January 7, 2014, a spreadsheet of the Section's Past Income and Expenses, and a
budgeting worksheet entitled "Litigation Section: Policy Choices". At the meeting, Heather
provided a balance sheet for the Section as of January 31, 2014, as well as copies of receipts for
events held from October through December 2013. Heather described the documents that she
had provided and confirmed that the Section continues to manage its finances well and have
money sufficient to meet all of our expected expenditures.
3. Chair's Report: George Burbidge reported that he received notice of a legal education program
dated March 27-28 with a litigation theme. George asked whether we should forward this or
similar information to our Section members. Rod Andreason stated that it was fine to inform
members of such events, although we should distinguish that from actually promoting such
events. Jenifer Tomchak asked if the program would provide any benefits to our members.
George said that he didn't think so. Dan Steele said that we could send an email blast to our
members. Rod Andreason suggested that we not send out too many email blasts, including for
this, or they will make our emails less effective and thus dilute our own events. Several
supported putting notice of this event on the web site. Heather Thuet moved to put it on the
web site, Michael Stahler seconded, unanimously approved.
a. George also discussed the Utah Law Review Online Edition. He was informed that the
Law Review wanted to have a kickoff meeting to discuss the Edition and asked for
people to submit ideas for topics. Judge Toomey agreed that we could provide this to
our members to inform them about it, but should let them know that submissions
would need to be scholarly. Jenifer Tomchak indicated that these may be more succinct
than typical law review publications. Dan Steele said that we have a topic bank for ideas
already on our web site. Keith Call suggested that sending an email out regarding this
could be helpful, particularly if we have a monthly email from the Chair that identifies
what is going on in our Section, inlcuding regarding our own CLEs. This depends on
whether the newsletter is up and running. Dan Steele was asked whether the topics in
our topics database have been used. Dan said that these topics have been collected,
but perhaps not reviewed. Judge Toomey suggested that George be given the discretion
to decide items such as this and the prior discussion himself without having to present it
to the Committee. Kent moved that such occur, Rod Andreason seconded, and the
voting was unanimous.
b. George also noted that candidates for Bar positions had asked to speak in our Executive
Committee meeting and whether we had any input regarding that. Several Executive
Committee members suggested that having any candidates attend our meetings would
make the meetings more partisan, we would need to hear from all candidates, and that
we already had a significant amount of work to accomplish during our meetings, and
thus this may not be the best use of the Committee's time.
4. Chair-Elect's Report: David Castleberry reported that after receiving our comments and
questions on the various bills he presented to the Committee, he conveyed those to the
Government Relations Committee for the Utah State Bar. That committee expressed its
appreciation for those comments.
5. Committee Reports:
a. Membership: Kent Holmberg reported that this Committee prepared and submitted to
the Bar an insert to be included in communications to new bar admittees, describing the
Litigation Section and the admittees' membership in the Section.
b. Technology: Shane Gosdis said that he met with Summer to discuss putting videos of
CLEs on our web site. Dan Steele asked if people could receive CLE credit by viewing
those videos, and if so, he recommended that we make these videos available free to
members of the Section and at some charge to nonmembers. Kent Holmberg talked
about how he had discussed this issue with Connie, and the current rule is that
simulcast CLE is still considered self-study credit, but there may be momentum to
change the rule. Michael Stahler said that having a payment-requiring firewall would be
appropriate, including to help us track who is using our CLE materials and what CLE is
interesting to our Section members. Rod Andreason suggested that such would also
enable the Bar to have confirmation that the people who are reporting that they have
viewed the CLE are actually accessing it. George asked the Technology Committee to
identify the method to do this, and Shane Gosdis agreed.
c. Newsletter: George Burbidge indicated that he was continuing to work on this with
Kelly Nash. Rod Andreason suggested that since the newsletter has been a large burden
and difficult to publish, not just this year, that we should focus on preparing a more
succinct version of what we have done before and emailed out prepared by someone
other than George, who inserts his own Chair's Message. Keith Call agreed, indicating
that the newsletter has perhaps always been too great a burden and too long for people
to read. George said he would consider this further and report back. . . . After the
meeting began, Kelly Nash sent an email to George and Rod, stating that a small
Newsletter subcommittee has been assembled and he is hoping to have their
organizational meeting in the next week or so. He indicated that he and Nicole have
had difficulty getting together for transition issues, but he plans to meet with her
d. Bench Books: Sade' Turner reported that the revised list of bench book questions was
ready to go with just a few items that the Committee wanted to add regarding family
law issues. This committee has created a comprehensive list of commissioners and
judges and forms for new judges and commissioners. The forms should be going out to
the judges by the end of the month. Jon Hafen said that Judge Conners emailed him,
saying that he would like to do a bench book, and if someone from the Committee
would reach out to him quickly he would respond. George asked Sade' to follow up on
this, and she said that she would. Judge Roth said that he spoke with judges who
wanted to get their own bench books done, but had not been able to address it yet. He
said that contacting the judges and walking them through this is important.
e. Law Student Relations: Jenifer Tomchak said that our law student reception will take
place tomorrow night, 30 have registered including 8 from our Executive Committee.
We have arranged for food for 50 people, which we hope to have filled. She was
informed that some new potential calendar conflicts had arisen late, so we may want to
do this in January next year, but it is looking good for tomorrow.
6. CLE Reports:
a. Recently-Completed CLEs and Sponsorships:
i. Regarding the the Davis County reception, Jenifer Tomchak reported that it
went very well, there were at least 10 judges, about 1 for every 4 attorneys
attending, a very good opportunity to get to know judges. One judge
commented that the Section's bench books were useful and he appreciated
ii. Regarding the Ski & CLE, Michael Stahler reported that the snow, student
participation, and instruction from the OPC were great, the only downside was
low attendance: 16, although a number of other attorneys were slated to come
but were ultimately unable to do so. Some who attended the event suggested
that a different location may have been more popular. Judge Toomey
wondered whether this type of event meets our typical format, since
entertainment is the main part of the program. Jon Hafen suggested that if we
do this again, we coordinate with a regional bar association such as the Summit
County Bar Association. Kent Holmberg and Keith Call said that the Park City
skiing event was popular in part because they got major speakers, such as Tenth
Circuit judges. Jon Hafen confirmed that it was great that Michael and Kent had
done the work for this CLE to give us our first experience that we could build
iii. Regarding the Section's sponsorship of the PGAL event in the Eight District,
Keith Call said that although he did not attend this event in person, he
understood that it was very successful. All three judges from the Uintah Basin
attended, and 20 practitioners attended out of approximately 35 in the area.
Judge McClellan did a great job with his presentation. Keith recommended that
we promote this in other areas of the state, as well as have some regular,
follow-up training. These would be periodic CLEs, held in the later afternoon or
evening, with perhaps just light refreshments. Keith wanted to know what sort
of funding the Section would provide for this. Heather Thuett asked what
attendance was expected, and Keith said that he would follow up on that. Dan
Steele inquired about the Family Law Section being involved in this. Keith said
that such had been investigated, but part of this effort is to assist the Judiciary
Committee. Jon Hafen suggested that it may be best for the Committee to
authorize an annual amount that is budgeted to the PGAL effort as opposed to
making individual allocations. Judge Toomey suggested that this was worth
devoting significant money and effort toward, that it was a great way to reach
people around the state that we don't reach in any other way. Keith said that
he would like to set a budget for small meetings around the state with minimal
refreshments. Jon Hafen moved to authorize $1,500 to the PGAL for these
efforts, seconded by several, voted unanimously. George asked Keith to
prepare an annual plan and budget for this. Keith said he would do so.
b. Quarterly Lunches:
i. 2014 Q1: Sade' Turner said that this luncheon was set to go on February 20
with John V. Cattie, Esq. from Garretson Resolution Group presenting at the
Episcopal Church. She is coordinating efforts to have the event videotaped.
ii. 2014 Q2: Kent Holmberg reported that the title of the presentation will be
“Pitfalls and Traps, Expert Witness Discovery Under New Rule 26.”ť He is still
working on the final date, but expects to have this at the Marriott at City Creek,
seeking to have over 200 attendees. The expected speakers are Lloyd Jones
from Peterson & Associates, Judge Paul Parker from the Third District Court, and
Roger Griffin from Craig Swapp's office.
i. 2014 Q3: Michael Stahler stated that he was working on a date and speakers
for this and would report more details on this at the next meeting.
c. Rise & Shine
i. 2014 Q1: George Burbidge stated that he was speaking with Justice Parrish's
clerk to see if she was available.
ii. 2014 Q2: Ryan Frazier was excused from this meeting and no discussion was
held regarding this event.
iii. 2014 Q3: No discussion was held regarding this event.
d. CLE Advisory Committee: Jon Hafen reported that the annual meeting will likely be
pushed toward the time of the Fall Forum, and that sections of the Bar will also be
encouraged to have their annual meetings at that time. Potential changes to the
locations of the annual meeting are also being discussed. Jim Gilson is being proactive
and thoughtful in the way he administers this committee. Jon said that if we want to
promote simulcasting, we can do it through him to the Advisory Committee. We can
put something together and have him address it. Having people get together in-person
is good, for networking and otherwise, but we can have them do so at locations
throughout the state.
e. Jon Hafen also noted that the Southern Utah Federal Law Symposium in St. George is
coming up in mid-May, and that Jen, Dan, and he are working on this. The Section's
banner will be posted at this event, which draws around 100 people. He asked that the
Section provide sponsorship, as in the past, to pay for postcards and an email or two
announcing the event. Kent Holmberg moved for the Section to pay for such postcards,
Jenifer Tomchak seconded, and the voting in favor was unanimous.
f. Jon Hafen also asked if Michael Stahler and he could continue to work as the
representatives of the Section at the meetings to discuss and plan the Fall Forum. The
meeting to organize this will be held soon. George Burbidge indicated that he had not
received requests from others to participate, so Jon and Michael were welcome to
g. Spring Convention 2014: Christian Hansen stated that this convention was all set to go,
only a month away, and all should sign up to attend if they have not already done so.
h. Annual Convention 2014: Heather Thuet stated that the committee regarding this is
meeting next week to vote on what presentations make the final cut. Three proposals
were well-received by the committee, regarding the economic loss rule, jury behavior,
and a presentation by Jerry Gardner as a keynote speaker. Heather said that she would
report back on the results of the vote.
a. CLE/Social Event with Women Lawyers of Utah: Heather Sneddon reported that she
intends to have this held at Caputo's and to have a tasting class, which should be
simpler and shorter. There will be space for a group of 40-50 that is curtained off, but
we can expand if we need to. She thinks this should start at 5:30 and go for about an
hour and a half. The idea is to have a panel of female trial lawyers. Elaina Maragakis
and Juli Blanch have agreed; she is waiting to hear back from several others. She is
considering whether to reach out to judges, but for a one-hour event, she didn't know if
that would make panel too large. She is looking at dates in March and April for this.
The base price will likely be $25 plus a potential extra $15 if people wanted to have
alcohol. She asked for input on how to price the event. The Women Lawyers of Utah
would be great to help promote this. Judge Roth suggested that we charge $25 for the
tasting component and let people network afterward. Jon Hafen suggested that the
panel not be too large or would be difficult to hear much from any one panelist.
7. Judicial Receptions: Jenifer Tomchak said that she understood that the Second District Meet
and Greet with Justice Court Judges was proceeding on February 28. Regarding the Third
District event, Joe Stultz asked for advice on preparing this by those who had done this
previously. David Castleberry indicated that he had worked on this before and offered to
suggest dates and give other ideas.
8. Future Committee Meetings: The agenda noted that the next Executive Committee meeting
will take place on March 12, 2014. Michael Stahler moved to adjourn the meeting, seconded by
Heather Thuet, and voted for unanimously.
The Meeting adjourned at @9:20 a.m.
For the Executive Committee
/s/ Rod N. Andreason