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Executive Committee Meeting Minutes

Minutes for November 11, 2009

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Litigation Section Executive Committee
Minutes for November 11, 2009
The Executive Committee of the Litigation Section met on Wednesday, November 11, 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:

  • Thomas Boyle
  • George Burbidge
  • Keith Call
  • David Castleberry
  • Jon Hafen
  • Brian Hansen
  • Ryan Harris
  • Kent Holmberg
  • Wayne Klein
  • Judge Denise Lindberg
  • Isaac Paxman
  • Patrick Tanner
  • Dan Steele
  • Ryan White

    Executive Committee members excused were:
  • Elaina Margakis
  • Michael Petrogeorge
  • Sammi Anderson

Wayne Klein was out of town and participated by telephone. Dan Steele rose to the occasion and conducted the meeting as if he were born to the job.

1. Minutes: Minutes of the October 14, 2009 meeting were read and approved.

2. Treasurer’s Report: This item was deferred to the next meeting. Dan Steele reported that the final numbers have not yet come in for the recent golf and CLE programs that our section sponsored, but early indications are that they will be significantly under budget.

3. Chair’s Report:
a. Bar Leadership Conference: Wayne Klein reported that he attended the Bar Leadership Conference last month. He said that it was a worthwhile event, but did not offer many details leaving other committee members wondering what really happened.
b. Plugs for the Section’s Website: Wayne Klein noted that our section’s website has recently received some notable plugs, in particular a mention in Steve Owens’s President’s message published in the Utah Bar Journal. The committee was encouraged to shamelessly plug the section’s website at every possible opportunity. Dan Steele
reported that he has made an effort to add content and keep the website current by including all upcoming CLE events that may be of interest to our members and by submitting brief summaries of recent Utah appellate court decisions on sporadic occasions. Dan also reported that he has referred some potential advertisers. Kent Holmberg indicated that our website had not yet signed any sponsors but there has been interest.
c. Quarterly Newsletter: Wayne Klein noted that he has forwarded a draft quarterly newsletter. He invited the committee to email him with any suggested additions or changes. He promised to follow his own admonition and promote our section’s website in the newsletter in ways that are both subtle and obvious.
d. Program to Place Volunteers in the Courts: Wayne Klein reported that he recently attended a meeting with the Judicial Council to discuss the possibility of introducing a court volunteer program. Wayne said that a subcommittee is being set up to address this issue and should be meeting within the next few weeks.

4. CLE Committee:
a. Report on Ethics Symposium: Jon Hafen reported that he did not attend but was told that approximately 100 people attended this event and it received rave reviews. No motion was made to strike this report based on hearsay so it was admitted.
b. Report of St. George Golf and CLE: Dan Steele reported on this event which our section co-sponsored with the Federal Bar Section. Dan said that the CLE program was good and the combined event was well received. Dan led a discussion about continuing to combine our event in St. George with the Federal Bar Association. The consensus was to continue this as a joint event as long as the CLE topics are litigation focused, and that in the future we sponsor the event on an equal footing with the FBA.
c. Next Quarterly Luncheon: Jon Hafen reported that this will be held on December 9th, 2009. Jon spoke with Judge Benson who agreed to anchor a panel on legal writing, particularly addressing drafting complaints and other pleadings. However, Jon has been unable to confirm the date with Judge Benson. Jon said that the event will proceed on December 9th, even if Judge Benson is unable to participate on that date. In addition to, or in lieu of, Judge Benson, Jon anticipates having one or more state trial judges speaking on the panel. Judge Lindberg proposed inviting an appellate judge to be on the panel who could discuss the issues on appeal that arise from poorly written pleadings. Jon will make arrangements for the CLE and post it on the section’s website.
d. Fall Forum: Jon Hafen reported that this event starts tomorrow. The Litigation Section is sponsoring three breakout sessions on advanced evidence, one breakout session on proposed revisions to the rules of civil procedure to reduce litigation costs which Frank Carney will moderate, and a breakout session on expert witnesses that Jon will moderate.
e. Spring Convention: Kent Holmberg reported that it will take place March 18-20, 2010. The Litigation Section will be sponsoring two breakout sessions; one a panel discussion on obtaining medical records in litigation and the other addressing ethical issues involving pro se opponents.
f. Annual Convention: George Burbidge reported that the committee has met and is in the process of narrowing down keynote speakers. The Litigation Section has two consecutive breakout sessions on Friday morning. Jon Hafen said that several years ago the section sponsored a session on closing arguments where we had two attorneys deliver mock closing arguments which set the stage for a discussion on closings. A proposal was made to have the first session focus on opening statements and the second session focus on closing arguments. George also invited others to suggest topics or speakers for the breakout sessions because we will likely have others to fill, but nobody else volunteered any suggestions.

5. Law Student Relations Committee:
a. Publishing Law Student Research Articles: Isaac Paxman reported that he has received all of the approvals that he needs from BYU for its students to participate in conducting research projects on current issues of interest to litigators for publication on the website. Isaac is in the process of obtaining approvals from the U of U, and reported that its preliminary reaction has been favorable. Isaac said that the next step is to elicit topics that can elicit excitement among law students and litigators. Wayne Klein offered to solicit research topics in the quarterly newsletter that will be sent to the whole membership.
b. U of U Student Representative: Ryan White, the student representative from the U of U has reached the end of his tenure. Brian Hansen ( was present and will be taking over as the new student representative from the U of U law school.

6. Bench Book Committee: Ryan Harris reported that no new bench books have been added this last month. Ryan reported that there are only about a dozen or so judges that do not have bench books, most of whom are new judges but a few have been around long enough to be without excuse. The committee discussed ways of getting through to these holdouts, including personal contacts by attorneys who know the judges, offering to let them fill out a simplified form if they feel the current list of questions is too daunting a task, or of even having members of the committee interview the judge and write up the bench book in their behalf. Judge Lindberg asked Ryan Harris to provide her with a list of judges who have not submitted bench books. She did not specify what she would do once she receives the list. Needless to say, we anticipate the ranks of the bench bookless judges to thin considerably very soon.

7. Committee on Assisting Courts: Deferred.

8. Model Jury Instructions Committee: Judge Lindberg reported that in the last month this committee has met. She has tried unsuccessfully to connect with the committee responsible for drafting new model civil instructions so they can coordinate their work. Judge Lindberg expressed a particular interest in finding practitioners outside of the urban areas of the Wasatch Front to participate in drafting instructions. Bryan Pattison, Randall Jeffs and Gary Anderson all practice outside of the metropolitan Salt Lake City area and were not in attendance so other members of the committee eagerly volunteered them to help.

9. Electronic Filing Committee: Patrick Tanner reported that the state courts will begin electronic filing, district by district, starting within the next few weeks. Tanner noted that there are a number of CLE and other educational programs to train people to use this, so there is probably not a need for our section to do training.

10. Liaison to Other Bar Groups: Deferred.

Meeting adjourned at 9:00 a.m.
Next Meeting: December 9, 2009 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 code 2708#.
Approved December 9, 2009.
For the Executive Committee
George W. Burbidge II