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Insight & Commentary for In-House Counsel Worldwide

Daubert Diminished

Posted in Litigation Shorts

Guest blogger: Evan Slavitt is general counsel at AVX Corporation. He is also the publications chair and cybersecurity subcommittee chair of the ACC Litigation Committee. He can be reached at evan.slavitt@avx.com.

In Daubert v. Merrell Dow Pharmaceuticals, 509 U.S. 579 (1993), the Supreme Court made clear that judges were to be gatekeepers to keep junk science out of the courtroom. Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence was amended to incorporate this basic concept of Daubert. Unfortunately, many district court judges have decided to ignore Daubert and face little correction from the appellate courts. Continue Reading

Maryland Clarifies the Applicability of Boland’s Heightened Standard in Oliveira v. Sugarman

Posted in Litigation Shorts

Guest blogger: Ed Paulis is vice president and assistant general counsel at Zurich North America Group. He is also chair of the ACC Litigation Committee. He can be reached at edward.paulis@zurichna.com.

In a 2011 opinion, the Maryland Court of Appeals held that while the substantive conclusions of a Special Litigation Committee (SLC) were entitled to deference, directors must demonstrate that no substantial business or personal relationships impugned the SLC’s independence and good faith, and stated that the SLC followed reasonable procedures and employed a reasonable process. Thus, although the Business Judgment Rule applies to the decision of a board to refuse a stockholder demand, an SLC appointed by the board to consider a stockholder demand is not entitled the business judgment presumption as to their independence and process. (Boland v. Boland, 423 Md. 296 (2011)) Continue Reading

Opportunities and Challenges to Board Membership: A Discussion with Mary Chapin at National Student Clearinghouse

Posted in Career

Guest blogger: Ilona Korzha is counsel at Sprint Corporation. She is also co-chair of the ACC Career Development Committee. She can be reached at ilona.korzha@sprint.com or ilonakorzha@yahoo.com. The materials contained herein represent the opinions of the author and should not be construed to be the views or opinions of Sprint Corporation.

Probably one of the more powerful tools for one’s career advancement is serving on a board of a nonprofit organization. Many are simply unaware of its importance. I spoke with Mary Chapin, Vice President and Chief Legal Officer at National Student Clearinghouse, about the opportunities and obstacles to board membership, how to identify an organization to serve for, and how to make the most of the opportunity. Continue Reading

Lessons Learned from Chevron vs. Donziger

Posted in Litigation Shorts

Guest blogger: Ed Paulis is vice president and assistant general counsel at Zurich North America Group. He is also chair of the ACC Litigation Committee. He can be reached at edward.paulis@zurichna.com.

Acclaimed author and speaker Michael D. Goldhaber provided an update to the ACC Litigation Committee on February 9 of the case Chevron vs. Donziger, titled “Lessons from the Litigation Fraud of the Century.” Goldhaber, who is also the senior international correspondent at The American Lawyer, has won multiple awards from American Business Media for his coverage of the case, and his book Crude Awakening: Chevron in Ecuador has been honored by the American Society of Business Press Editors as e-book of the year. Continue Reading

Financial Incentive for Arbitrators to Make Timely Decisions

Posted in Litigation Shorts

Guest blogger: Theresa A. Coetzee is vice president & assistant general counsel at Marriott International, Inc. She is also a publication chair of the ACC Litigation Committee. She can be reached at theresa.coetzee@marriott.com.

In January, I wrote a blog post about resolutions, highlighting US Supreme Court Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s request that we heed the intent of the December 2015 amendments to the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure to “engineer a change in our legal culture.” It appears, however, that US litigation isn’t the only dispute resolution process looking to improve in 2016. On January 5, 2016 the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) International Court of Arbitration announced new policies to foster transparency and efficiency in ICC arbitration. Both policies were unanimously adopted and announced at the Bureau of the Court at its session on December 17, 2015. Continue Reading