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American Bar Association

Mass Torts Committee



This Committee was created to address both current and emerging issues that arise in a broad spectrum of substantive areas, where the common denominators are the large number of plaintiffs asserting the claims, and the type of claims being a tort in the broadest sense of the word. Thus, this Committee focuses on the substantive and procedural developments in the case law, proposed reforms, and best practice techniques in cases that may involve environmental, toxic torts, pharmaceutical, various types of products liability litigation, aviation, antitrust, securities litigation, and employment claims.

The Committee is also dealing with the management aspects of mass tort litigation, including class action issues, joinder of multiple parties, and the use of ADR in such a context. Every effort is made to have an ecumenical membership that includes demographic diversity as well as representation among the plaintiff’s bar, the defense bar, academia, and in-house counsel. The Committee has established subcommittees to provide a variety of benefits to its members, which includes programming at the Litigation Section’s Annual Conference and the ABA’s Annual Meeting, as well as co-sponsorship of an annual two-day joint CLE seminar with the Products Liability and Environmental Litigation Committees.


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Mass Torts: Fall 2016 Newsletter

The latest edition of Mass Torts is now available.

Message from the Chairs

To our Mass Torts members,

We are happy to report what has been an extremely active bar year for the Mass Torts Committee in 2015–2016. Member benefits have included incredible CLE, networking opportunities, Roundtables and Sound Advices (allowing you to keep up with the state of the law and the profession at no additional charge), as well as, of course, our incredible content available to you through our award-winning Mass Torts newsletter and website. These member benefits would not be possible without the hard work and commitment of our committee leaders and members. So, thank you!

We mentioned incredible CLE above, and consider the ones to date in the first half of 2016: Joint CLE in Park City, Utah; the ABA National Institute on Aviation Litigation in New York; cosponsoring of 3rd Annual Western Regional CLE Program on Class Actions and Mass Torts in San Francisco; cosponsoring two panels at the Section Annual Conference in Chicago. Each of these programs offered not only powerful programming but also great opportunities for networking and growing your relationships among the bar.

Upcoming this year, we are looking forward to the ABA Annual Meeting in San Francisco, August 3–5, 2016. On Thursday, August 4, during the meeting, we have planned a dine-around with the Products Liability Committee and a committee luncheon together at the conference and look forward to seeing you and meeting new friends.

Finally, let us reiterate something that is obvious to those who are active in the Mass Torts Committee: if you are not part of this committee, you are missing out. Unfortunately, few will be reading this who are NOT already involved. Do not keep this committee a secret. Invite those in your firm and in your professional circle to get plugged into the ABA Section of Litigation and specifically our great committee. Will you help get the word out? You and those you touch will be glad you did.

Hoping you all have a wonderful summer, and we look forward to seeing you soon.

All the best,

Richard M. Gaal

Laurie Novion

Monthly committee call held the second Tuesday of every month @ 2 p.m. ET (all members welcome):

Dial In: (866) 646-6488

Passcode: 9968159017


Minutes from Committee Meetings


Our active subcommittees include:

  • Aviation
  • Book Publications
  • Content
  • Experts and Evidence
  • MDL and Class Procedures Practice 
  • Membership & Diversity
  • Pharmaceutical & Medical Device
  • Toxic Torts Litigation
  • Trends and Developments
  • Young Lawyers

Find contact information for committee and subcommittee chairs:

Navigant Partner

Brad Drew

Hamilton, NJ


Mass Torts Leadership
Cochairs Web Editor Newsletter Editor

Richard M. Gaal

Mobile, AL

Laurie Novion

Kansas City, MO

Arvin Maskin

New York, NY

David Schwan

Houston, TX

Social-Media Editor

Courtney E. Ward-Reichard

Minneapolis, MN

James M. Beck

Philadelphia, PA

Vice Chair

David Schwan

Houston, TX