Expert Hearing on US Class Actions

20 Nov 2014

Organised by Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue
Location: Rüschlikon/Zurich, Switzerland

About the event

Insurance works best for high-frequency, low-severity events that are statistically independent and have probability distributions that are reasonably stationary over time. For many in the re/insurance industry, the litigation landscape in the United States of America has long run counter to the standard text book conditions for insurability. Class actions, in particular, have come to symbolize the worst of the excesses of the US litigation scene.

The concept is quite simple. Class actions provide a means whereby large numbers of claimants may have their causes involving common questions of fact or law adjudicated in a one proceeding. They are intended to promote efficiency and fairness. As with many aspects of the US legal system, the class action had its origin in England with procedures that date back centuries. In 1938 Rule 23 of the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure was enacted and continues to provide the frame work for class action procedure in both US federal and state courts. Rule 23 has been amended several times, most recently with the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005.

This Expert Hearing will bring together leading US attorneys with experience both as judge and advocate to provide insights into current developments that are shaping the US litigation landscape. A special focus will be given to products, no injury, securities and employment class actions. The status of tort reform efforts in the US will also be addressed. Throughout the day, the focus will be on gaining insights into current trends relating to class actions and tort reform and their potential impact the re/insurance industry.

Agenda

8.30

Welcome
Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re

8.40

Introduction – Why the focus on US class actions today?
Christoph Menn, Head Underwriting Strategy, Swiss Re

8.55

The effectiveness of tort reform and current trends
Lauren Sheets Jarrell, Counsel, Civil Justice Policy, American Tort Reform Association

9.35

Discussion
Moderated by Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re

10.00

Coffee break

10.30

The elements of a class action – beyond numerosity, commonality, typicality, and adequacy of representation
Elizabeth B. Sandza, Partner, Wilson Elser

11.00

The judge's role and the impact of recent rulings on the class action litigation landscape
Judge Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., Partner, White & Case

11.30

Discussion
Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re

12.00

Lunch

13.30

Products
What do the numbers tell us? 
Renu Ann Joseph, Analyst Trend Spotting, Swiss Re

The future of products liability class actions
Kate Browne, Senior Claims Expert, Swiss Re

14.10

Employment
Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

No injury
Elizabeth B. Sandza, Partner, Wilson Elser

Securities
Judge Alfred J. Lechner, Jr., Partner, White & Case

15.10

Discussion
Moderated by Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re 

15.30

Coffee break

16.00

Making sense of the system
Kate Browne, Senior Claims Expert, Swiss Re

16.30

The lawyer's perspective
Gerald L. Maatman, Jr., Partner, Seyfarth Shaw LLP

17.00

Discussion
Moderated by Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re

17.25

Closing remarks
Rick Perdian, Senior Business Development Manager, Swiss Re

17.30

End of Event

Speakers

Gallery

Expert Hearing on US Class Actions - Photos by Fredi Lienhardt

Summary

The US litigation landscape and class actions were on the agenda for an Expert Hearing at the Swiss Re Centre for Global Dialogue on 20 November 2014. The goal of the session was to allow experts from the United States to share their insights on tort reform trends, the impact of the Class Action Fairness Act of 2005 (CAFA), as well as recent rulings by the US Supreme Court that are having a significant effect on class action procedure.

To read the entire summary, click here.