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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: Summer 2016 Newsletter

The latest edition of Mass Torts is now available.

Message from the Chairs

To our Mass Torts members,

We are all very excited about the 2016 Joint CLE, which is January 21–23, 2016, at the Grand Summit in Canyons Resort, Park City, Utah. We look forward to seeing everyone there and taking part in an incredible CLE, and connecting and reconnecting with new and old friends, and in working together with the Environmental Litigation Committee and the Products Liability Committee as well as our many sponsors.

We would like to take this opportunity again to congratulate the Content Subcommittee, and particularly Jim Beck and Deborah Elsasser for receiving “Newsletter of the Year” for the 2015–2016 bar year in the Section of Litigation. This is an awesome achievement; as you all know from frequent and timely articles that we receive on a quarterly basis from the newsletter, their work is incredible and well done. We also want to take this opportunity to thank David Schwan and Karen Woodward for their hard work in preparing and planning for this incredible Joint CLE.

Thanks to all of our subcommittee cochairs and subcommittee members for their hard work in providing member benefits for our committee members. This includes numerous recent Sound Advice recordings, a core knowledge publication “Taking Your First Expert Deposition” for young lawyers slated for March 2016, as well as our cosponsorship of Section Annual Conference programming, including the Class Actions and Derivative Suits Committee (Seven Wonders of Class Action World: Tour of Changing Rule 23 Landscape and Is this CAFA or Kafka? Multi-State Actions in a Time of Metamorphosis).

We also have planning well underway for the ABA National Institute on Aviation Litigation, as well as in connection with our cosponsoring the Third Annual Western Regional CLE Program on Class Actions and Mass Torts.

Finally, and most importantly, we ask that you consider folks within your firm, as well as within your practice area and geography, to become new members of the ABA Section of Litigation. Our Membership and Diversity Subcommittee stands ready, willing, and able to encourage potential new members, to reach out to them, and to share with them the many benefits available in becoming a member of our great committee.

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

David Schwan

Houston, TX

Social-Media Editor

Courtney E. Ward-Reichard

Minneapolis, MN

James M. Beck

Philadelphia, PA

Vice Chair

David Schwan

Houston, TX