Luncheon Seminar Series – Jury Selection: “Cause is Necessary”

Please join us for the next CATA Luncheon Seminar Series on March 12, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton Riverview Room at 12:00 p.m.  The luncheon will feature Dennis Mulvihill discussing jury selection in a program entitled – “Cause is Necessary.”  This will be our last seminar of the season, so we hope the weather cooperates and everyone can be there.

The registration form for the event is linked below.

Luncheon Seminar Registration Form

Facts Contradict Physician’s View on Medical Malpractice

Please find a link below to a guest column written by Past CATA President Dennis Mulvihill and OAJ Member Meghan Connolly published on the Cleveland Plain Dealer website.

Technology Tips for Attorneys – Winter 2013-2014 Edition

by William B. Eadie and Andrew J. Thompson


iPad/Tablet Privacy Shields

iPads and other tablets are passed the hot-new-thing stage, and have become a part of many lawyers’ daily practice, especially when travelling.  If you use your iPad for depositions, when travelling, or in negotiations, keeping eyes off your tablet might be an important issue.

3M recently launched Easy-On Privacy Filters, removable privacy shields (retailing presently on Amazon for a little under $50).  The filters are removable (and include a carrying folder) for times when you need group collaboration (including the kids watching a movie on the road).  3M claims the product uses bubble-free technology, and is not prone to attract dust, making removal and reapplication easier than stay-on shields.

Don’t need to remove the shield, or don’t have an iPad?  There are cheaper products available, such as ZAGG invisibleSHIELD Privacy Screens, which have iPad and non-iPad tablet compatible options.


Card Munch vs. Business Card Reader

Smartphones can now help manage—or eliminate—dealing with business cards by taking a photo of the card with an app.

CardMunch (, a free LinkedIn app for the iPhone, sends the picture to LinkedIn for processing.  You take a picture with the app and a business card is converted to a contact automatically in your phone.  LinkedIn goes the next step and shows you the LinkedIn profile information and connections you have in common—allowing you to make the connection instantly.  For iPhone users who network with LinkedIn, this takes all the extra steps out of converting an in-person card-exchange to a contact.  You can even hand them the card back.

Business Card Reader ( reads the card data to convert it into a contact.  BCR works on multiple platforms—desktop and mobile—to “readily transfer contact data such as names, phone numbers, e-mail addresses and other key information found on business cards directly to a contact manager, a database or mobile address book, or save and share this information in electronic form.”  Unlike CardMuch, BCR is not free, with current app prices at $4.99 for the basic, and $89.99 for pro.

Appellate Judges Panel

The next CATA Luncheon Seminar Series will be held February 5, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton (Riverview Room) at 12:00 p.m.  The luncheon will feature a panel of distinguished appellate judges, including Judge Melody Stewart (8th District), Judge Eve Belfance (9th District), and Judge Thomas Wright (11th District).  The panel will discuss How to Maximize Your Effectiveness on Appeal.  The panel will be moderated by Mary Jane Trapp, Esq.

Click on the link below to download a your registration for this event.  We hope to see you there!

Luncheon Seminar Registration Form

Annual Litigation Institute set for May 30, 2014

CATA is pleased to announce that the Annual Litigation Institute will take place on Friday, May 30, 2014 at the Ritz-Carlton in Cleveland.  This year’s seminar will be a full day event titled Story, Groups and Juries: Exploring New (and scary) Frontiers in the Courtroom.  Our guest speakers will be Carl Bettinger and Fredilyn Sison.  Learn about the presenters and see the agenda for the meeting below.

This is an event you will not want to miss!  Registration materials will be available soon.  Please mark your calendars.

Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys

May 30, 2014

Story, Groups and Juries: Exploring New (and scary) Frontiers in the Courtroom

  We’ve all heard the importance of “telling a story”, but  when was the last time anyone helped teach you how?

This program will teach trial attorneys classic story structure and group formation as it relates to trial work, particularly in voir dire, opening and closing. It will be a working, on-your-feet program, utilizing techniques from improvisational acting, classic story telling and psychodrama. During the workshop you will:

*Learn the basic skeleton of the herocentric story

*Explore how the different herocentric roles (hero, villain, victim, mentor, trickster) apply to a trial

*Be introduced to some improv basics – the concept of “Yes, and…”

*Explore, in action, the story spine.

*Explore, in action, how to get a witness off the stand and set a scene in the courtroom

*Be introduced, through the action method, to some new frontiers in voir dire: How to really see who is in front of you; Can you “yes, and…” anything?



Carl Bettinger of Shapiro Bettinger Chase LLP in Albuquerque, New Mexico, has litigated hundreds of personal injury, medical malpractice and nursing home neglect claims.  Author of Twelve Heroes, One Voice: Guiding Jurors to Courageous Verdicts (Trial Guides 2011), he has some of the largest personal injury verdicts in New Mexico, first for $54 million in a 2007 trial involving a ManorCare nursing home and then for $54.1 million in a 2009 trial involving a ResCare group home. He practices and consults in New Mexico and nationally. He focuses on bringing trials alive, utilizing a variety of non-conventional approaches, including those from  improvisational acting, storytelling and psychodrama. In a recent trial, he sang part of his closing. Before attending University of New Mexico Law School, Carl went to medical school at Boston University School of Medicine and then completed an internal medicine residency at The University of New Mexico. In his spare time he goes fishing.

Fredilyn Sison: Fredi is an honors grad of Cornell University and New York University School of Law.  Prior to joining the Federal Defenders of Western North Carolina in the Asheville branch office, she served as an Assistant Federal Defender in the Districts of Nebraska, Nevada and Idaho.  In 2005, she was visiting counsel at the Defender Training Branch and at the U.S. Sentencing Commission in Washington, D.C.  She has served on the faculty for the Federal Trial Skills Academy, the Sentencing Advocacy Workshop, 3Sisters Programs, National Advanced Defenders Program, Non-Capital Mitigation Seminar and Orientation Seminar for Federal Defenders.  Fredi co-authored Trial in Action: The Persuasive Power of Psychodrama, has written a chapter on child pornography in Practical Guide for Defending a Federal Case and on Voir Dire in the 3rd edition of Cultural Issues in Criminal Defense, co-wrote and edited chapters on Jury Selection and Foreign Law in Defending a Federal Criminal Case and has published articles on jury selection, cross examination and the effects of incarceration on families in The Champion and The Warrior.  She has been certified as a practitioner in psychodrama (“CP”), which employs guided dramatic action to examine problems and issues raised by individuals and groups.  Her interests include reading, hiking, piano, Improv and dancing.


Course Schedule

8:00 am: Registration

8:30-9:30: Herocentric story structure: The key to trial is story, but in order to understand how to tell a client’s story, the lawyer must first understand the component parts to classic herocentric story structure, as well as the character archetypes in such stories. This part of the course will focus on teaching the participants the nature of three act story structure (ordinary world, new world, climax and return), how the various parts of trial fit within that structure, how to paint the various characters in the case so that the jury will understand them to be Villain, Victim, Mentor or Hero, which, ultimately, is the role we want the jurors to play.

9:30-10:45: Improv exercises to warm up voice and body: As lawyers, our courtroom tools are our voice and our bodies. Of the five ways of communicating (spacework (i.e., engaging in a particular physical activity); movement; emotion; character; and words), lawyers tend to ignore all but words. These exercises will help the participants understand the power of non-verbal communication.

10:45-11:00: Break

11:00-12:00: Story telling exercises in action: This part of the course is designed to show the participants how to discover the stories in their cases through dramatic reenactment techniques that bring the stories alive, thereby not only discovering the stories, but providing the participants with material that can be shown to the jury, as opposed to just told.

12:00-1:00:  Lunch

1:00-2:30: New approaches to voir dire: The average voir dire often  produces nothing other than the resentment of potential jurors who see the attorney before them as trying to manipulate them.  This part of the course will explore techniques from improvisational acting and psychodrama that will provide the participants with new ways to connect with the jurors and to form a group.

2:30-2:45:  Break

2:45-5:00: Cont: New approaches to voir dire: A story which is told is nowhere near as compelling as one that is shown; that is why as kids we did “show and tell”, as opposed to “tell and tell”.  This part of the course will teach the participants the basics of setting dramatic scenes in the courtroom, weaving the same into their Openings and  Closings.

CATA Luncheon Series – View From The Bench

CATA is pleased to have three distinguished jurists join us for a “View from the Bench” panel to discuss issues of concern for our members on Wednesday, February 13, 2013 from 12:00 – 1:30 p.m.  This is part of CATA’s regular luncheon CLE series.  (One hour CLE credit.)

Our panel features:

·       Judge Vincent Culotta, Lake County Common Pleas Court

·       Judge Nancy Fuerst, Cuyahoga County Common Pleas Court

·       Judge James Miraldi, Lorain County Common Pleas Court

Topics will include how the court may assist litigants when confronted with discovery roadblocks, and questions from attendees.

To register, complete the registration form.

DATE:          Wednesday, February 13, 2013

TIME:           12:00 – 1:30 p.m.

LOCATION:  The Ritz-Carlton (Riverview Room)

COST:          $45/Member


[Judges and Staff Attorneys Complimentary]

Have any thoughts for future luncheon topics?  Something you’d like to hear this panel discuss?  Please leave a comment, and let us know you’ll be attending on our Facebook event page.


Ohio Supreme Court Further Injures Ohio Workers

On November 20, 2012, the Ohio Supreme Court delivered yet another blow to injured Ohioans.  In Hewitt v. L.E. Myers Co., Slip Opinion No. 2012-Ohio-5317, the Court held that the term “equipment safety guard” as applied to R.C. 2745.01 “means a device designed to shield the operator from exposure to or injury by a dangerous aspect of the equipment, and the ‘deliberate removal’ of an equipment safety guard occurs when an employer makes a deliberate decision to lift, push aside, take off, or otherwise eliminate that guard.”

Larry Hewitt sustained a permanent injury to his right upper extremity when he was caused to come into contact with 7200 volts while only wearing leather gloves.  That same day Mr. Hewitt had been ordered by his supervisor not to wear his rubber gloves and sleeves and further, the foreman testified that had Mr. Hewitt, an apprentice, failed to follow this instruction, he would have been fired.  As a result of following this instruction, Mr. Hewitt has been left with complete paralysis of his right arm and a psychological condition.

While R.C. 2745.01 seemingly purports to protect injured workers, the Hewitt decision shows that this legislature and Court will not stop until such causes of action are merely theoretical.  Through reliance on Fickle v. Conversion Technologies, Internatl., Inc., 6th Dist., No. WM-10-016, 2011-Ohio-2960, the Court meanders through a decision and adds language to the statute in order to reach their ultimate conclusion that R.C. 2745.01 only applies to machines and not personal protective equipment.  The Court fails to address the fact that even the Fickle court reversed their own decision after several appellate decisions relied on Fickle to grant summary judgment. See Beyer v. Rieter Automotive N. Am,. Inc., 2012-Ohio-2807, 973 N.E.2d 318 (6th Dist.).

The ultimate question remains, “what protections remain available under an employer intentional tort claim?”  While the bar still awaits the interpretation of deliberate intent, the analysis of most cases will fall under the first prong of the statute – removal of an equipment safety guard.  Through the Hewitt decision it is apparent that there are still arguments to be made and ultimately cases to be won.

–          Any case where there is a literal removal of a safety guard from a piece of equipment.

–          Any case where there is a deliberate misrepresentation of a toxic or hazardous substance.

–          Any case where an employer causes a safety guard to be lifted, pushed aside, removed or otherwise eliminated.

–          Any case where a safety guard has been made unavailable, such as bypassing or disabling a guard.

If we are to be completely honest, the grey cloud currently over intentional tort law in Ohio is not new.  It has been here since 2005.  However a careful examination of the cloud does reveal a few holes where injured workers can still seek protection.  While the hole continues to grow smaller and smaller, it is up to us as trial attorneys to continue to make sure that cases that should fit, do fit.

Post written by CATA Member:

Frank Gallucci

CATA Luncheon Seminar Series – Upcoming Events

Check out the Events page on our website for more information on the following upcoming CLE luncheons:

12/12/12 – Speaker Brett Burney will discuss how lawyers can utilize the iPad effectively in court and in their practice.

02/13/13 – “A View from the Bench” – A panel of 3 judges discuss discovery issues.

03/13/13 – Speaker Cathleen Bolek will talk about how personal injury attorneys can assist clients with employment law issues.

Also, stay tuned for further details on the CATA Litigation Institute’s upcoming CLE program in April 2013.

Luncheon Seminar Series – October 18, 2012

Slaying the Dragon: How to Beat ERISA Reimbursement Liens in Your Personal Injury Cases

Matt Wessler

The Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys will sponsor this new program in its Luncheon Seminar Series on October 18, 2012 from 12:00 to 1:30 p.m. at the Ritz Carlton, Skylight Office Space 1st Floor.  The seminar will be presented by Public Justice Kazen-Budd Attorney Matt Wessler, and focus on the watershed ERISA reimbursement decisions in U.S. Airways v. McCutchen and CGI v. Rose.  Click on the links below for more details on the luncheon and for a registration form.  We hope to see you there!

CATA Luncheon Seminar Series 10-18-12

10-18-12 CATA Lunch Seminar Registration Form

CATA Welcomes Susan Saladoff at The Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner

The Cleveland Academy of Trial Attorneys is pleased to welcome Susan Saladoff as the keynote speaker at The Annual Meeting & Awards Dinner on June 22, 2012.

Susan Saladoff is the Producer/Director of the documentary film Hot Coffee.  She spent 25 years practicing law in the civil justice system, representing injured victims of individual and corporate negligence.  She stopped practicing law in 2009 to make the documentary, her first feature-length film, which premiered at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, and had its broadcast premiere on HBO in June 2011.  Hot Coffee and Susan have received many awards since the film’s debut, including the Grand Jury Prize Best Documentary 2011 Seattle International Film Festival, Best Documentary at the Tampa and Albuquerque Film Festivals, and the award for the Documentary Every American Should See 2011 Traverse City Film Fest (Michael Moore’s Film Festival).  Most recently, Hot Coffee received the 2012 TV Academy Honors award given by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences (which gives the Emmy awards) celebrating “Television with a Conscience” – for shows that inspire, inform, motivate, and even have the power to change lives.

The power of Hot Coffee lies in its ability to add a fresh perspective to a debate that has been fiercely one-sided for the past two decades.  Since its premiere at the 2011 Sundance Film Festival, Hot Coffee has screened at dozens of film festivals across the U.S. and the world, and has been broadcast in many countries, including Israel, Japan, Denmark and Venezuela.  Susan is currently on tour with the film, going state by state, screening at local movie theaters, law schools, universities, churches and community events, encouraging people to take action to protect our rights to access the courts.