Executive Committee Meeting Minutes
Minutes for December 09, 2009
Litigation Section Executive Committee
Minutes for December 9, 2009
The Executive Committee of the Litigation Section met on Wednesday, December 9,
2009 at 8:00 a.m. at the Utah Law & Justice Center in Salt Lake City.
Executive Committee members present or participating by telephone were:
- Sammi Anderson
- Thomas Boyle
- George Burbidge
- Ryan Frazier
- Jon Hafen
- Ryan Harris
- Kent Holmberg
- Wayne Klein
- Judge Denise Lindberg
- Elaina Margakis
- Brian Pattison
- Isaac Paxman
- Dan Steele
- Patrick Tanner
Executive Committee members excused were:
- Keith Call
- Brian Hansen
1. Minutes: Minutes of the November 11, 2009 meeting were read and approved.
2. Treasurer’s Report: Ryan Frazier provided balance sheets and statements of revenue and
expenses for the section’s funds for the months of August, September and October, 2009. At
the end of October the section had just under $50,000, a respectable number but still a far cry
from several years ago. There was a discussion of the Bar’s proposal to increase the
percentage of our membership dues that it retains.
3. Chair’s Report:
a. Attorney Volunteers in Courts: Wayne Klein reported that he met with the Judicial
Council to discuss the proposal to utilize unemployed lawyers as volunteers to help the
courts. The Judicial Council liked the idea enough to explore it further and formed a
subcommittee that has drafted recommendations which have been submitted to the
Judicial Council and will be discussed at its meeting next week. The proposal included
three types of lawyer volunteers: (1) chambers volunteers to help judges; (2) public
assistance volunteers who act as liaisons with the public, similar to Tuesday Night Bar;
(3) administrative office of the courts volunteers. The proposed program will be limited
to attorneys who are underemployed in the legal field to avoid conflicts of interest.
Target employees will be graduates who have not yet found legal employment. This will
require a 3 month commitment for 20 hours per week. The concern is that the limitations
that need to be in place in order for the volunteers to be helpful to the courts will likely
severely limit the pool of applicants. The program is intended to primarily benefit the
courts and provide secondary benefits to underemployed lawyers. If the judicial council
approves the proposal the program will move forward.
b. Resignation of Michael Petrogeorge: Wayne reported to everyone’s dismay that he had
received a notice that our beloved former section chair, Michael Petrogeorge, had
submitted his resignation from the Executive Committee. After a moment of stunned
silence Dan Steele proposed that we reject Michael’s resignation and instead reappoint
him as an officer just for trying to resign. This proposal met with overwhelming support
until Wayne got all technical and pointed out that the section’s bylaws not only allow a
past chair to resign, but actually encourage the practice. Surprise at this news quickly
turned to fear that other members of the committee who had served time as chair might
develop similar ideas, and then where would we be? The discussion quickly turned to
soliciting a new member or two. Mike recommended Nichole Ferrel as a new member.
A discussion was held about whether to have the committee appoint a new member or to
open this up to the membership as a whole. The consensus was to invite Nichole Ferrel
to join and also post a notice on the Section’s website to solicit others who may be
interested in joining the committee. Kent Holmberg agreed to post the announcement on
c. Online Court Assistance Policy Board Reappointment: Wayne reported that the
Administrative Office of the Courts asked us if we want to reappoint Eric Mittelstadt to a
4 year term as a member of the online court assistance policy board. A motion was
seconded and approved to have Wayne Klein contact Eric and have Eric reappointed if he
willing to continue in that position.
d. Quarterly Newsletter: Wayne reported that the section’s quarterly newsletter was sent
November 12, 2009.
e. Belated Recognition of Sammi Anderson: Wayne presented Sammi with a plaque
recognizing her for her service as past chair of the Section. Everyone offered their thanks
for her good work.
4. CLE Committee:
a. Next Quarterly Luncheon: Jon Hafen reported that this will take place later today. The
topic is advanced legal writing. It will be presented by a panel of judges including Kate
Toomey, Anthony Quinn and David Nuffer. Registration has reached capacity and
people have arranged to appear by telephone. The following quarterly luncheon will be
b. Report on Fall Forum: Jon Hafen reported that this event was very successful. Every
seat was filled in every breakout session and they had to turn people away. The breakout
sections sponsored by the Litigation Section were interesting and well attended.
c. Spring Convention: Kent Holmgren reported that the spring convention committee is
preparing the final mailing that will go out within the next month. Our section will have
two breakout sessions on Saturday morning. One session will address current issues
involving discovery of medical history and medical records presented by Judge Michael
Westfall, Grace Acosta and John Fay. Judge Shumate will discuss ethics and the pro se
litigant in the second breakout section.
d. Annual Convention: George Burbidge reported that our section has two breakout
sessions on Friday morning. We are still planning on the first one addressing opening
statements including practice tips and attorneys delivering mock opening statements. We
plan to address closing arguments in the second session and use the same facts as were
used in the opening statements session.
e. Appellate Nominating Commission CLE: Elana Margakis suggested we have a CLE
discussing the appellate nominating commission. She reported there has been a decline
in application for appeal court judges and thought it might be interesting to have a CLE
with members of various nominating commissions to generate interest for open appellate
court positions. There was a discussion that we had something like this about a year ago,
but the committee was interested in pursuing this CLE. Elaina Margakis and Dan Steele
agreed to will work on setting up a CLE on this topic in late January or February of next
5. Web Site Committee: Kent Holmberg reported that our website has had increasing traffic
on all levels for last 3 months. There was a big spike when the section newsletter went out
and when Steve Owen sent out his president’s message in early November. People are also
spending more time on the site. Sammi Anderson sent Wayne Klein a draft contract for
businesses who would like to advertise on our website and will also send it to the rest of the
executive committee for review. Sammi reported there have been a number of potential
advertisers who have expressed interest in advertising on our website.
6. Law Student Relations Committee: Isaac Paxman reported that he is waiting to hear back
from Dean Peterson at the U of U and get final approval for the law student research project.
Once that happens the project will be ready to start soliciting topics. Isaac proposed we send
out an email discussing this project and soliciting article topics so that we can get a number
of topics as quickly as possible to get the program up and running. Wayne Klein suggested
when Isaac sends the email have the web site have more information so that the email can be
a short teaser and the longer sales pitch can be on the web site. Isaac will work with Kent
Holmberg to get an announcement on the website describing the program.
7. Bench Book Committee: Ryan Harris reported that Judge Maughn turned in his bench
book. He has also had several other judges ask for electronic copies of the form but they
have not sent them back yet. Ryan Harris said that he and Tom Boyle will start cold calling
8. Committee on Assisting Courts. Sammi Anderson reported that she and Jon Hafen are
trying to reschedule a lunch meeting with Chief Justice Durham.
9. Meeting Adjourned: at 9:00 a.m.
10. Next Meeting: January 13, 2010 at 8:00 a.m. The call-in number for those who are unable to
attend in person is: 1-800-442-5794. Wait a relatively long time for the beep, then enter pass
Approved January 13, 2010.
For the Executive Committee
/s/ George W. Burbidge II, secretary