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Unfair Competition and Consumer Fraud Statutes: Recipe for Consumer Fraud Prevention or Fraud on the Consumer?

Thursday October 2002

MR. ROBERT DEWEY: On behalf of the Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, I'd like to welcome you to our program this afternoon dealing with the use and, we think, the abuse of state consumer fraud statutes.

I'm Bob Dewey, president of the Federation. I'm going to tell you a bit about our organization as well as Lawyers for Civil Justice, and why we are partnering with the Manhattan Institute to put on this program. Then I will turn the microphone over to Judy Pendell of the Manhattan Institute.

It is truly an honor for the Federation to participate in this program. Our organization was founded in 1936 and consists of defense lawyers in private practice, in-house counsel, and risk management professionals. Membership is by invitation only and involves a thorough peer-review investigation similar to that conducted for candidates for the American College of Trial Lawyers. We have about 1,300 members, of which slightly fewer than 1,000 are lawyers in private practice; the limit is 1,000. We have about 300 risk management professionals who have regional or national responsibility for their corporate employers.

Like the Manhattan Institute, the Federation focuses on education. We publish a journal, The Quarterly, which features scholarly as well as practical how-to articles. We have 24 substantive law sections plus a Corporate Members’ Forum, each of which provides focus for continuing legal education. We meet twice a year, always in nice places: this year, we were in Boca Raton in February and Sun Valley in July.

Our organization has sponsored a number of special projects in recent years, such as a Defense of Nursing Homes Litigation Task Force, in which we partnered with DecisionQuest to do original jury research at various locations across the country in an effort to assist our members in defending those cases.

We hold a Litigation Management College annually at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern University to assist our corporate members in their risk management. We held a Risk Analysis Symposium in Atlanta this spring, which dealt with cutting-edge terrorism issues in the corporate environment.

The Federation has been very active on the civil justice reform front, together with other prominent defense organizations: the Defense Research Institute, or DRI, and the International Association of Defense Counsel, or IADC, both of which have representatives here this afternoon.

The Federation was a founding member of Lawyers for Civil Justice. For over 15 years, LCJ, as a national organization of defense and corporate counsel, has been very involved in providing policymakers and opinion leaders with the defense perspective on a variety of legal reforms and procedural rule-making issues.

For example, LCJ was instrumental in persuading the rules committees of the Judicial Conference last year to adopt recommendations calling for congressional action on fundamental class action reform. In addition to monitoring and responding to legislative and rule-making initiatives, LCJ has engaged opinion leaders in dialogue to engender a better understanding of the American legal system and how it might be improved.


11:30 A.M. Registration
11:45 A.M. Welcoming Remarks
Judyth Pendell, Director, Center for Legal Policy, Manhattan Institute
Robert V. Dewey, Jr., President, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel
12:00 P.M. Luncheon and Speakers
Deceptive Trade Practices Litigation in Context
Sheila L. Birnbaum, Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom LLP
Procedural Standards in Deceptive Trade Practice Litigation
Prof. Francis McGovern, Duke Law School
2:00 P.M. Break
2:15 P.M. Striking A More Balanced Public Policy
Walter Olson (Moderator), Senior Fellow, Manhattan Institute
Jeffrey Jackson, Vice President and Counsel, State Farm
Robert “Barney” Shultz, Jr., Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen
Elizabeth Cabraser, Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein
3:45 P.M. Successful Defense Litigation Strategies
John Turner, (Moderator) Editor in Chief, Environmental Law Reporter
Jack Trigg, Wheeler, Trigg and Kennedy
H. Joseph Escher, III, Howard Rice Law Firm
4:30 P.M. Closing Remarks
John Sullivan, Civil Justice Association of California
Rex Linder, Lawyers for Civil Justice