Senior Attorney Match Podcast

Episode 13 Trial Attorneys: Open for Business - West Coast

May 5, 2020

In this West Coast edition of “Trial Attorneys: Open for Business,” Attorney Robert E. Cartwright, Jr. of San Francisco based Cartwright Law Firm (www.cartwrightlaw.com) and Attorney R. Brent Wisner of Los Angeles based Baum, Hedlund, Aristei & Goldman, PC (www.baumhedlundlaw.com) join returning guest, mediator Attorney Sarah E. Worley of Boston based Worley Conflict Resolution (www.worleyconflictresolution.com ). Addressing his experience with defense counsel while courts remain closed for trials, Cartwright expresses encouragement about the progression of Discovery, virtual depositions, and virtual mediations. Wisner explains how his Mass Tort practice has transitioned to focusing on areas that do not require in-person interactions. Worley, who transformed her national mediation practice in mid-March to a virtual platform via Zoom, states: “I am mediating every day.” Worley also explains that insurance company decision-makers have actually become more accessible during virtual mediations. Addressing his experience with virtual mediations, Cartwright states that Zoom works “pretty well,” but long-term “we are going to be in trouble if we cannot figure out how to get cases to trial. . . Without the threat of a trial, it’s hard to have the leverage to settle a case.” Looking to the future of Mass Torts once Stay-at-Home orders begin easing, Wisner foresees the need for significant, in-person catch-up. Before then, Wisner comments about ongoing innovation and adaptation in Mass Torts such as the recent stipulation for the appointment of a Special Master in the Zantac litigation. Commenting about how that Special Master has organized the parties to negotiate discovery agreements, Wisner states: “We’ve made more progress during Covid in this limited time than I have ever seen happen in a MDL, and yet, we haven’t even physically met each other one time.” As Poock states: “This is what innovators do. They adapt.”