Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes for March 12, 2014
Litigation Section Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Present: George Burbidge, David Castleberry, Heather Thuet, Rod Andreason, Hon. Kate
Toomey, Gregory Gunn, Jon Hafen, Heather Sneddon, and Michael Stahler.
By Phone: Amber Masters, Kelly Nash, Jenifer Tomchak, and Sade' Turner.
Excused: Hon. Stephen Roth, Patrick Burt, Keith Call, Ryan Frazier, Shane Gosdis, Kent
Holmberg, Christian Kesselring, and Bryan Pattison.
1. Secretary's Report: In advance of the meeting, Secretary Rod Andreason sent to the Executive
Committee draft minutes from the Executive Committee's meeting held on February 12, 2014,
which was circulated for review. No comments were made to the draft prior during this
meeting. Judge Toomey moved to approve the minutes for that meeting, seconded by Heather
Thuet. The Committee unanimously approved the draft minutes from that meeting.
2. Treasurer's Report: In advance of the meeting, Treasurer Heather Thuet provided to the
Executive Committee the Section's Balance Sheet and Statement of Revenues & Expenses as of
the end of February, 2014. At the meeting, Heather reported that the Section continues to have
the money needed for all of its projects and is scheduled to use that money well for those
3. Chair's Report:
a. George Burbidge reported that he had been contacted regarding the Linda Anderson
Trial Advocacy Competition for law school students. The Section has previously
attended the Competition to give awards to law school students who win the
Competition. Isaac Paxman was contacted regarding participating in the awards
ceremony this year, on March 27, 2014. George asked who would be interested in
representing the Section at this event. Sade Turner agreed to do so.
b. George also reported that John Lund contacted him to get an update as to what the
Section was doing. John indicated that the Section has more money in its accounts than
other sections of the Bar, but he is aware that the Section is holding many more events
than others. John expressed appreciation from the Bar for the activities of the Section.
4. Chair-Elect's Report: David Castleberry reported the Government Relations Committee for the
Utah State Bar. He indicated that the Bar has avoided the passage of some seriously
problematic bills, but with two days remaining for the State Legislature, he would confirm the
final result of those efforts at the Section's April meeting.
5. Committee Reports:
a. Membership: There was no report provided at this meeting.
a. Technology: George Burbidge reported that he has spent a lot of time working with
Shane Gosdis on this committee. Shane was not able to attend this meeting, but is
planning to report to at the Section's April meeting.
a. Newsletter: Kelly Nash reported that he had a very good meeting with Nicole Farrell
and the publisher. The Newsletter Committee also met, and is now operational. The
Committee is hoping to get a newsletter out this next month and identify it as a first
quarterly newsletter. The Committee wants to have a Chairman's report, provide a
report re the recent CLE activities, provide a calendar of events, any bench book articles
or profiles, any helpful articles regarding either of the two local law schools. Kelly spoke
with the publisher about the newsletter's size and decided to make it much shorter than
previously. Kelly said that if he receives a written summary of the activities of the
various committees by March 20, the Newsletter Committee could get the newsletter
out by the end of March. Kelly indicated that we cannot hold the newsletter up when
items haven't been submitted. Kelly asked for a write-up in particular of the Law
Student Reception at Squatter's. He also said that the publisher wants pictures to
include in the newsletter.
a. Bench Books: Sade' Turner reported that the bench book questionnaire and cover
letter have been updated. She gave special thanks to Judge Roth and Tanya Peters at
Richards, Brant for helping with the criminal and family law sections of the bench book.
Jess Krannich, Patrick Burt, and she have divided the work, and each have 28
commissioners/judges to contact. They are working with their assistants to get all of the
letters/questionnaires out and tracking their returns. Sade' called and emailed the
questionnaire to Judge Connors after our last meeting. Jess also sent them to Judge
Stone and Judge Harris. The Committee has included a section where it asks the
judges/commissioners for their biographical link (and/or judicial profile), as well as any
stock instructions, trial orders, etc. George Burbidge said he anticipates receiving some
of these returned within the month, since several judges had said that they wanted to
get this done.
b. Law Student Relations: Jenifer Tomchak reported that the Law Student Reception at
Squatter's was very successful. She had learned two days before the event that there
were deadlines at the S.J. Quinney College that may have prevented some students
from attending, but many attorneys attended, including Board members. She said that
the event was very helpful to students, who expressed their appreciation. The event
also was completed in less than the amount budgeted and approved.
6. CLE Reports:
a. Recently-Completed CLEs and Sponsorships:
i. Q1 Lunch: Sade Turner said the event was well attended, with approximately
100 attendees. The Episcopal Church was a great location with good parking,
convenient access, good food, competitive pricing, and little difficulty in making
arrangements. It is a venue we should use again in the future. The speaker was
gregarious and enjoyable, spoke to attendees afterwards, brought significant
material for review that has been put on the web site, took the email list of
attendees and is providing information to them. George said that he attended
this event, felt that it went well, and stated his appreciation that material from
this speaker was placed on the web site, which creates valuable content and
drives traffic to the site.
ii. Meet & Greet, Justice Court Judges: Jenifer Tomchak said that she was not able
to attend this event and has not heard a report regarding it, but she assumes
that it was as well attended as the related judicial reception. She suggested that
next year, the Section take a more active role in planning and executing this
b. Quarterly Lunches:
i. 2014 Q2: Kent Holmberg emailed Michael Stahler, who reported at the meeting
on Kent's behalf that the Marriott Hotel was booked on April 29 before the Bar
could complete its contract for this event to be held there on that date. Kent is
considering other locations for this event. Michael Stahler suggested that the
Episcopal Church may be a good option for the venue of this event.
i. 2014 Q3: Michael Stahler stated that he was looking at either August 27 or
September 3 for this event. He is looking for a judge and two practitioners to
help with this and asked for suggestions.
c. Rise & Shine
i. 2014 Q2: George Burbidge reported that Ryan Frazier is planning to do this
event in May, and we will likely hear from him more regarding this event at our
ii. 2014 Q3: No discussion was held regarding this event.
d. CLE Advisory Committee: Jon Hafen stated that there was no new update since our last
meeting, but there would likely be an update after the Spring Bar Convention.
e. Spring Convention 2014: Members were reminded of this Convention without further
a. Annual Convention 2014: Heather Thuet stated that the Litigation Section's four
convention topics have made the cut for presentation at the Convention. Professor
Gardner is enthusiastic regarding his presentation; the Bar is picking up his attendance
fee. Judge Toomey will provide instruction regarding jury tips along with two other
judges. The third presentation will be on expert discovery under the new rules. Two
practitioners and a judge will speak on this topic, but this needs to be further
developed. The fourth presentation regards the economic loss rule, spearheaded by Jon
Hafen. Jon indicated that the rule is difficult to understand but can be very effective.
We're seeking to use judges already attending to lessen expenses, but the Section will
need to pay some amount of this. Jon indicated that we may add a federal judge to this
panel regarding the economic loss rule. Heather indicated that the Section may need to
pay travel expenses for up to three individuals.
a. CLE/Social Event with Women Lawyers of Utah: Heather Sneddon reported that the
panel for this event is put together, and will include Elaina Maragakis, Linda Jones, and
Juli Blanch. She will have lunch together with them to solidify the presentation.
Heather anticipates a one-hour panel on women litigators, the challenges faced in their
own careers, and the practice of women litigators, followed by food tasting. She has set
a tentative date of May 22 and is confirming with Caputo's. The cost is $25 for foodtasting,
more for wine. She asked if it would be a better approach to say Section
members may attend for $15, providing a $10 discount. Jen Tomchak said that alcohol
at Squatter's was less than budgeted; she had planned on two drinks per person but
ended up paying for less. Jon Hafen suggested that the Women Lawyers just bear the
responsibility of advertising and not pay part of fees at Caputo's. Judge Toomey agreed.
Heather said that the fee to close Caputo's early is $250. She is looking at starting the
event at 5:00 pm, and thinks it will cost between $1,000 and $1,500. Jon and George
said this is well-worth such a cost. Heather Thuet moved to approve a budget of $1,500.
Jon asked if Heather Sneddon had enough information for this, suggested that she start
with $1,500 then seek more if needed. Jon then seconded Heather's motion. The
voting in favor of the motion was unanimous.
a. Fall Forum: Michael Stahler said that he attended a Fall Forum planning meeting on
Feb. 27. He reported that last year's attendance was 500 people, the largest Bar event,
catering to solo and small firms, as well as people who don't attend the Summer
Convention. He said that the Fall Forum will be on November 20-21. The planners are
thinking of having a judicial panel for the Thursday night event to achieve better
attendance at that part of the event. Michael supported this idea. As potential keynote
speakers, "Crisis in Overconfidence" was very well received, and multi-tasking less so.
Other potential subjects include the lack of practical training in law schools and what
"kills a law firm." Michael said that Litigation Section is planning on doing its mini trial
academy. Other subjects include changes to the limited liability company act, changes
in health care law, and more. The next meeting to plan the Forum will be held on April
7. Judicial Receptions: There was no report regarding this subject.
8. Future Committee Meetings: The agenda noted that the next Executive Committee meeting
will take place on April 9, 2014.
The Meeting adjourned at @8:54 a.m.
For the Executive Committee
/s/ Rod N. Andreason