Wednesday, August 31, 2011

ABA Members Recall How 9/11 Changed Their Lives and Their Work

This article in the ABA Journal discusses how September 11th changed the lives of various ABA members, a theme that will be recurring over the next several days about people from all walks of life.  Being prepared for disaster and the aftermath of disaster and how government and businesses respond are critical issues.  As the sidebar in the article notes, the ABA TIPS Disaster Initiative will be covering all these issues.  In commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of September 11th, the ABA TIPS Disaster Initiative September Teleconference Series will have 10 teleconferences and webinars on various issues relating to September 11th and disaster preparedness and response.  To register for the Teleconference Series, click here.

Battle Over Disaster Aid Brewing in Congress

The budget and deficit battles in Washington affect government disaster relief.  With all previous disasters this year, FEMA's disaster coffers have been depleted.  To provide federal disaster relief to those who have suffered harm from Hurricane Irene, Congress may have to replenish the disaster funds.  Will they?  How should government respond to natural disasters?  Is federal funding an entitlement?  This article discusses many of these issues.  Should disaster payments for Irene be offset by additional budget cuts?  What do you think?  Comment on this post.

How government responds to disasters of all kinds is the subject of the ABA's Tort Trial and Insurance Practice Section's year-long Disaster Initiative.  The upcoming Teleconference Series (September 6 - 19) will include many government speakers who will discuss government's response to disasters.  To register, click here.  Disaster Initiative programs in Seattle on October 13, 2011, New Orleans on February 3, 2012, Charlotte on May 17, 2012, and Chicago on August 2, 2012, will all have speakers from government discussing disaster preparedness and response from myriad perpectives.  Click here to learn more about TIPS' Disaster Initiative and to register for these programs.

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

The New York Times reported yesterday that the total damage inflicted by Hurricane Irene may reach $7 billion by the time the storm dissipates in the coming days, making 2011 one of the insurance industry's worst years. The most expensive disaster by far was Hurricane Katrina in 2005, which caused $45 billion worth of damage, the second at $23 billion was the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center and Pentagon. The ABA's TIPS Section is presenting a year long Disaster Initiative, starting with 10 teleconferences from September 6-19, 2011 to commemorate September 11, 2001, followed by 4 live programs on the topic of Disaster Preparedness and Response: Seattle (October 13, 2011 - Homeland Security and Cyber Disasters); New Orleans (February 3, 2012 - Disasters Caused by Negligent Acts); Charleston, South Carolina (May 17, 2012 - Disasters Caused by Acts of Nature); and Chicago (August 2, 2012 - Disasters Caused by Foreign and Domestic Acts of Terrorism). Please join us at these events by clicking here.

Predicting the Unpredictable

The challenges of anticipating and responding to disasters were painfully clear in reviewing the events before and during Hurricane Irene.  Everyone knew it was coming, and what the possible threats were, but could only guess at precisely where it would strike and how severe the impact would be.  New York City battened down the hatches, but New Jersey and Vermont took the hardest hits.  Rain and not storm surge turned out to have the most significant impact.  Power outages, road closures and flooding are ongoing.  The question of who will pay for the recovery, and where the money will come from, is unanswered.  These and other issues will be discussed in the ABATIPS teleconference series in September.  For more information about the TIPS Disaster Initiative, please click here.

Monday, August 29, 2011

Punitive Damages Possible in Deepwater Horizon Spill Case

This short article discusses Judge Barbier's recent ruling that punitive damages may be sought for certain claims in the Deepwater Horizon economic damages litigation.  He also dismissed some state law claims that were preempted by federal maritime law.  These and other issues will be discussed at the ABA's mid-year meeting in New Orleans where the Tort, Trial and Insurance Law Section's Task Force on Disaster Preparedness and Response will put on a program focused on disasters caused by negligence.  For more information about the TIPS Disaster Initiative, please click here.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

NY Officials Begin Preparing for Hurricane Irene

Office of Emergency Management Commissioner Joseph F. Bruno is quoted in this article about NYC's preparations for Hurricane Irene.  Commissioner Bruno is one of the speakers at the TIPS Disaster Initiative September Teleconference Series on September 12, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT, in a live webinar on Disaster Preparedness - Dissater Recovery.  You can sign up for the entire Teleconference Series at a 20% discount.

The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative also will cover preparations for hurricanes and other natural disasters at the TIPS Spring Meeting in Charleston, SC on May 17, 2012.  For more information on the TIPS Disaster Initiative, click here.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Disaster Preparedness and Response Teleconference Series - Update


This updates one of our earlier posts on the TIPS Disaster Initiative September Teleconference Series.  The series starts September 6 and goes through September 19.  You can now save 20% by registering for all 10 Teleconferences.  For TIPS members, the cost for all 10 Teleconferences is $760.  This discount rate also applies to certain other groups as well, including government employees and employees of non-profits.  Click here for details.  This is a fabulous way to obtain a CLE credit from your desk and a great overview of how far we have come in addressing disasters since September 11th.

But there is more good news.  Reduced rates have been established for additional registrants from a single law firm, company, or organization.  The first registrant pays the standard rate (e.g., TIPS members pay $95) and every additional registrant from that same organization pays the reduced registration fee (e.g., the second TIPS member from the same firm pays only $45).  Every individual must register to attend each Teleconference.  Just coordinate within your organization to take advantage of the reduced rates for additional registrants.  Click here for the details on the reduced rates.  Law students pay only $25.

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One of the key features of the year-long TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative is a wonderful series of teleconferences and webinars that will take place in September 2011 as part of TIPS' commemoration of the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001.  On this Blog's home page at the bottom right you will find a page that lists in detail information about all 10 teleconferences (it is also hyperlinked to the title of this post).  We have a great line-up of speakers on a wide range of subjects including responses to aviation disasters, how mass disasters have created canine heros (live rescue dogs at this program), an insiders look at how the September 11th tort litigation was handled presented in a live webinar by Judge Hellerstein, the judge who continues to manage much of the World Trade Center litigation, Ken Feinberg, and Sheila Birnbaum, another litigator's look at the World Trade Center litigation in a live webinar featuring the lead counsel for the City and the contractors and one of the lead plaintiffs' lawyers, along with Michael Cardozo, Corporation Counsel for the City of New York, a look at how to prepare for disasters, international approaches to disaster preparedness and response, a look at how insurance policies have changed to respond to disasters since September 11th, how the coverage litigation surrounding the World Trade Center collapse has affected the way insurance contracts are now being completed, the role of directors and officers in disaster preparedness and response, and employment issues that arise when disaster strikes.

These teleconferences and live webinars begin on September 6 and conclude on September 19.  A detailed listing of all teleconferences and live webinars is on the Pages section of his blog.  Information on how to sign up to listen or watch these programs is available on the TIPS Disaster Initiative home page, this Blog, and on the WestLegalCenter page.  To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

This is one of the most comprehensive series of programs covering disaster preparedness and response.  Please join us.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Podcast: Cyber Security - Terrorism, Crime, and Hostile States

The second in a series of podcasts in the TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative features Professor Jeffrey Addicott, the Director and founder of the Center for Law on Terrorism, at St. Mary's University, School of Law, in San Antonio, Texas.  Professor Addicott discusses the emerging trends in the different forms of cyber attacks that our nation may experience.  Professor Addicott will also be a panelist at the TIPS Fall meeting at the Fairmont Olympic Hotel in Seattle Washington on October 13, 2011 as part of a three hour CLE on “Homeland Security 10 Years Later – How Innovation and Technology Have changed  the Approach to Homeless Security Since the 9/11 Attack,” part of TIPS Chair Randy Aliment's  year-long initiative designed to bring disaster awareness to a heightened level.  Click here to listen.

Teleconference - Employment Issues When Disaster Strikes


In the last ten years, emergencies ranging from horrific terrorist attacks to devastating natural disasters have significantly impacted the workplace. What are the employer’s legal responsibilities and liabilities in a disaster? What responsibility does the employer have to employees after the emergency? Continuing pay? Help to the employee and their families? When employees are represented by a Union, what is the employer’s obligation to bargain with the Union representing its employees?

On September 19, 2011, from 2:00 p.m. to 3:30 p.m. EDT, this teleconference, sponored by the TIPS Employment Law Committee, will provide an experts’ view of the myriad of employment issues that occur when disaster strikes, including the questions listed above and more, all of which are critical to the workplace when disaster strikes.  Moderated by Marlene Heyser, Workplace Law Strategies, the expert panel includes Kay Hodge, Partner, Stoneman Chandler & Miller LLP; Sandra R. McCandless, a past TIPS Chair and Partner, SNR Denton US LLP; Horace Thompson, Occupational Safety & Health Review Commission (invited).

This teleconference is part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's series of podcasts, teleconferences, and live programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. Co-Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, it addresses issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events and by threats to our cyber-security and will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. For more information regarding the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response, click here.

To register for this teleconference, click here.  Save 20% and register for the complete TIPS September Teleconference Series by clicking here.  For the complete list of teleconferences, click here.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Teleconference - September 11, 2001 Terrorist Attacks: Duties of Corporate Directors and Officers in the Preparation and Execution of Disaster Avoidance and Recovery

What are the obligations of corporate directors and officers in evaluating whether companies they serve have reasonable disaster preparedness and recovery plans in place? What are the tasks that need to be undertaken in avoiding catastrophic situations, including property damage, employee injury and death; and what type of plans should be put in place to minimize business interruptions and compensate injured employees and families of employees killed in the line of work? What liabilities do corporate directors and officers face in failing to live up to their obligations and what insurance is available to protect directors and officers from liability?

On September 16, 2011, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT, the Professional Directors and Officers Liability Committee of TIPS will put on a teleconference answering these questions.  Speakers include, Richard Allyn, Partner, Robins, Kaplan, Miller, & Ciresi L.L.P, whose litigation experience includes include the Northeast Power Outage of 2003 and the World Trade Center collapse, Kevin W. DeVore, Partner, Larson King, LLP, Neil B. Posner, Partner, Much Shelist, and Joe Flach - CEO Safe Harbor Consulting, LLC, formerly, Director, Business Continuity & Emergency Preparedness at  Alaska Airlines.

To register for this teleconference, click here.  To view all of the TIPS September Teleconference Series, click here.  To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

This teleconference is part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's series of podcasts, teleconferences, and live programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. Co-Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, it addresses issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events and by threats to our cyber-security and will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. For more information regarding the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response, click here.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Video Webinar - International Approaches to Disasters

This Post was prepared by Marshall Turner of Condon & Forsyth LLP.  Before the dust settles and the body count is in, the media finger pointing has already begun and the lawsuits are already being filed to place the blame for the consequences of natural and manmade disasters.  What lessons have the public and private sectors learned from past disasters and how can they better respond the next time around?

A decade after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks, on September 13, 2011, from 10:00 a.m. to 11:30 a.m. EDT, the International Law Committee and the Governmental Law Committee of the ABA’s TIPS section will present a live video webinar on international approaches and responses to disasters.  Since 9/11, the United States and most of the industrialized world have expended enormous resources to attempt to protect their citizens from terrorist attacks.  To what extent have these efforts succeeded?  At what cost?  Can they be improved?  Can they be sustained?

These are some of the questions that will be explored by prominent experts and experienced counsel who will provide their “in the trenches insider views” on the essential elements of what public agencies and private companies must do to prepare to address the legal and practical issues that will arise when disaster strikes.  Various countries have taken divergent approaches to protect and compensate their citizens with differing results and at varying cost.  How much are citizens willing to pay for this protection in terms of dollars out of their pockets and sacrifice of their civil liberties?  This webinar will give viewers the opportunity to ask questions and receive real time answers on important subjects such as: What legislation to support; What preparation should your company or client take to mitigate potential casualties and damages; What role does insurance play? How to avoid communication breakdowns; and whatever related issues are important to you.

Michael Balboni (Former New York State Senator was the senior Homeland Security and Law Enforcement official for the State of New York after 9/11and also participated in planning the security for the rebuilding of the World Trade Center) along with James R. Tortorella, Esq. ( Director of AON’s property risk consulting group including Rapid Response) will address these issues on this live video webinar.  They will share their first hand experiences in dealing with the aftermath of the September 11 terrorist attacks; Hurricane Katrina; Japan’s March 2011 earthquake/nuclear crisis; and other disasters.  The moderators will include experienced litigators:   Marshall S. Turner, Partner, Condon & Forsyth LLP, who has been involved in numerous major airline and private aircraft disasters; Shirley Spira, with the Law Offices of Todd M. McCauley, LLC, who was an attorney with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey Law Department during the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks; Jill Mariani, Chief Money Laundering and Tax Crimes Unit of the New York County District Attorney’s Office in Manhattan; and Reid Feldman, Partner, Kramer Levin Naftalis & Frankel LLP, and a member of the District of Columbia and Paris (France) Bars with extensive international law experience.

To register for this webinar, click here.

For more information on the entire September Teleconference Series, click here.  For more information on the TIPS Disaster Initiative, click here.  To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

Live Webinar - Disaster Preparedness-Disaster Recovery

Every business and organization can experience a serious incident that can prevent it from continuing its normal operations. This can happen any day at any time. The potential causes are many and varied: flood, explosion, computer malfunction, accident, grievous act---the list is endless. Following a disaster time is of the essence and the ability to think clearly is impaired. To reduce the impact on families, business and communities, a Disaster Plan is essential.  This live webinar, sponsored by the TIPS Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee, will take place on September 12, 2011, from 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT.  Speakers include, Joseph Bruno, Commissioner of New York City Office of Emergency Management; Alan Winchester, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC; and Andrew Feeney, Director of New York State Office of Emergency Management.  The webinar will be moderated by Cynthia Weiss Antonucci, Chair of the Mass Tort and Industry Wide Litigation and Product Liability Practice Groups Harris Beach PLLC, a firm forced to relocate after being in the Second Tower on September 11, 2001.

To register for this program, click here.  To view all of the September Teleconference Series, click here.  To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

This webinar is part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's series of podcasts, teleconferences, and live programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. Co-Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, it addresses issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events and by threats to our cyber-security and will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. For more information regarding the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response please click here.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Live Webinar - The World Trade Center Rescue, Recovery and Clean-Up Mass Litigation

After the collapse of the World Trade Center towers on September 11, 2001, thousands of first responders and construction workers appeared at the site. Within two years, nearly 10,000 plaintiffs initiated suits in individual cases that were eventually venued in the Southern District of New York before Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein. Today, over 95% of the original cases involving the Ground Zero site have been resolved through a complex settlement agreement. Looking back at this disaster and how the litigation process unfolded, what were the lessons learned by the lawyers who were the key litigators in this unique complex case?

On September 9, 2011, at 12:00 noon to 1:30 p.m. EDT, this webinar will bring together James Tyrrell, Managing Partner, New York/New Jersey offices of Patton Boggs, and Lead Defense Liaison Counsel for the City of New York in the First Responder Litigation; Paul Napoli, Senior Partner, Napoli Bern Ripka LLP, and Lead Plaintiff Liaison Counsel for Injured WTC victims; and Michael Cardozo, New York City's Corporation Counsel.  The webinar will be moderated by Stanley Goos, Partner, Harris Beach PLLC, Chair of TIPS Toxic Tort and Environmental Law Committee and defendants' co-liaison counsel for the personal injury claim cases brought by off-site workers after the September 11, 2001 terrorist attacks.  You can register for this Live Webinar by clicking here.  To view the entire September Teleconference Series, click hereTo register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

This webinar is part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's series of podcasts, teleconferences, and live programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response. Co-Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, it addresses issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events and by threats to our cyber-security and will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. For more information regarding the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response click here.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Live Webinar - Ten Years Later: Mass Disaster Spawns Canine Heroes


With the growing number and types of disasters, humans have found that our canine companions have capabilities that we lack and which provide important tools for us in addressing disasters. Canine heroes include scent dogs who work to defend and potentially avoid the disaster, search and rescue dogs who work to find survivors and the remains of loved ones—human and non-human alike—in the immediate aftermath of a disaster, and therapy dogs who provide comfort for victims in recovery. On September 7, 2011, from 1:00 p.m. to 2:30 p.m. EDT, this webinar will bring together the individuals who train and work with these magnificent canine heroes some of whom were present at ground zero when the World Trade Center collapsed to discuss a variety of technical and legal issues.  Register now by clicking here. To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click here.

This webinar is part of the ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Section's series of podcasts, teleconferences, and live programs dedicated to Disaster Preparedness and Response.  Co-Sponsored by Thomson Reuters, it addresses issues arising out of disasters caused by foreign and domestic acts of terrorism, by negligent acts, by natural events and by threats to our cyber-security and will confront the issues of preparedness, risk management, recovery and response, liability, insurance, claims and litigation. For more information regarding the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response click here.

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Terrorism Insurance Risk

Guy Carpenter, one of the leading reinsurance intermediaries, has released a comprehensive report on the state of terrorism insurance and reinsurance.  The report states that terrorism insurance remains abundant and that the industry is meeting the demand, along with governmental pools, for the increased terrorist risk.  Nevertheless, the report concludes that the insurance and reinsurance market remains vunerable to a major terrorism loss. 

The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative will be addressing the terrorism risk and the insurance/reinsurance aspects of that risk at the ABA Annual Meeting in Chicago on August 2, 2012.  Please watch for information about that program.  The September Teleconference Series, starting on September 6, has numerous panels on terrorism and the insurance response.  For more information and to register for the Teleconference Series click here.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

What Does the Zadroga Act Cover?

Many of us remember exactly where we were on September 11, 2001. In January 2011, this year, Congress enacted the Zadroga Act, a new act to provide compensation for the rescue workers, the cleanup workers, the construction workers, the volunteers, the workers on the barges carrying the debris, and workers at the Staten Island landfill where the twin tower rubble was entombed. This act also provides coverage for a larger geographic area than did the initial September 11th 2001 Victim's Compensation Act. The lengthy feature article in today's New York times (click on the title) discusses the Zadroga Act and what it does and does not cover. That Act, enacted in January 2011 and named after a police detective who took part in the rescue efforts and later developed breathing complications, provides $4.3 billion to compensate and treat persons with 9/11 related illnesses. Is PTSD covered under the Act? If the government finds a link between 9/11 dust and cancer, will there be money left in the fund to treat PTSD? These questions are being asked as the 10th Anniversary of September 11th approaches and as the regulations governing the Zadroga Act are in the process of being finalized. The Zadroga Act, and its inclusions and exclusions, will be discussed by the Act's Special Master Sheila Birnbaum in a live webinar on September 8, 2011, along with Judge Alvin K. Hellerstein, who presided over all litigation stemming from September 11th, and Special Master Kenneth Feinberg, who presided over the Victim's Compensation Fund established in 2001. This live webinar is part of a series of 10 teleconferences presented by ABA TIPS to commemorate the 10th Anniversary of September 11, 2001. Please join us on September 8, 2011 by clicking here to register for this and the other commemorative teleconferences. To register at a 20% discount package deal for all teleconferences, click hereThey will be informative and worthwhile. Thank you.

Are You Prepared for a Disaster?

TIPS Chair Randy Aliment prepared this post.  The ABA's Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness developed this short video to educate lawyers on the importance of preparing their legal practice to withstand disasters.  The video was presented at the 2011 ABA Annual Meeting in Toronto and will be available on the ABA Special Committee on Disaster Response and Preparedness' website as well as the TIPS Disaster Initiative page, but can be seen by clicking on video.  Please watch the video and share your comments on this blog.

The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response Initiative addresses these and other issues concerning disasters caused by nature, negligence, and terrorism in its podcasts, teleconferences, and live meeting programming throughout 2011-12.  Please join us at one or more of these DPRI events.  Program and registration information can be found here.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Focus on Homeland Security and Preventing and Insuring Against Cyber Terrorism in Seattle this Fall

 The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative will be putting on a CLE program on October 13, 2011, in Seattle, Washington, on Homeland Security, and Preventing and Insuring against Cyber Terrorism.   How has border, port and transportation security improved? Does a sufficient cyber security network exist?   What insurance products cover damages associated with network security breaches?  Please join us for this program if you are in the Seattle area.  Watch this blog and our Disaster Initiative page for more details.

Post Storm Mitigation

This interesting article discusses the use of cameras to resolve the issue of whether property damage is caused by wind or water.  The debate about the cause of the damage after Katrina often centered on how high the water level rose and whether the damage was caused by water or wind.  This proposal, according to the article, would help in resolving the debate by providing video evidence of the damage as it occurs.  The TIPS Disaster Preparedness and Response initiative will be putting on a CLE program on May 17, 2012, in Charleston, SC, focusing on Disasters Caused by Acts of Nature.  Please join us if you are in the Charleston area for this program.  Watch this blog and our Disaster Initiative page for more details.

Monday, August 1, 2011

Lawyers Helping Victims of Disasters


2011 has been a year filled with devastating disasters from a record number of deadly tornadoes in the U.S., including Alabama, Missouri, and Massachusetts to the earthquake and tsunami that ravaged Fukushima, Japan. Listen to TIPS Chair-Elect Randy J. Aliment, Lawyer2Lawyer co-hosts Bob Ambrogi and J. Craig Williams and Attorney Dennis D. Palmer from the law firm Polsinelli Shughart discuss the legal issues that victims can face in a disaster, disaster preparedness and how lawyers deploy to help those affected.

Learn more about the TIPS Initiative on Disaster Preparedness & Response and the upcoming September Teleconference Series.