Weitz & Luxenberg attorneys are recognized nationally for their experience and skill. Participating in important legal learning opportunities for colleagues comes with the territory.
Three of our attorneys have been invited to participate at the New Jersey Association for Justice’s (NJAJ) Boardwalk Seminar. It is being held at the end of this month.
Attorney Michelle C. Murtha, from our Mesothelioma and Asbestos Practice Group, is co-chairing the NJAJ’s Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Seminar. Partner and practice group chair Ellen Relkin is co-chairing the Mass Torts program. And attorney Brendan A. McDonough, from the Drug and Medical Device Litigation team she chairs is also involved, and presenting on the ongoing Philips Respironics CPAP litigation.
Outstanding Speakers Featured
The NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar takes place from Wednesday, April 27, to Friday, April 29, at Harrah’s Resort in Atlantic City, New Jersey. This three-day event focuses on trial attorneys continuing educational requirement needs.
Exceptional local and regional speakers are featured along with topnotch national speakers. W&L attorneys are typically involved in several aspects of the conference.
Murtha Co-Chairs Women Trial Lawyers Caucus Seminar
W&L’s Ms. Murtha is co-chairing this women’s caucus seminar on Thursday, April 28, from 9:30 to 11:30 a.m. Topics include Virtual Reality: Practice in a “Post-Pandemic” World and Virtual Reality: Work/Life Balance in a “Post-Pandemic” World.
“I’m really excited to be part of this women’s caucus,” Ms. Murtha says. “Our featured speakers include three attorneys, a mediator, and a psychologist. They represent women from various stages in their careers.”
“The possibilities for discussion are as varied as the women themselves — all of us have faced huge challenges in our law practice and personal lives,” Ms. Murtha continues. “Many of us have grown accustomed to meeting clients in person, even traveling to visit clients in their own homes.”
“We’ve had to modify how we work, acclimate to working from home, learn to use new technology for video conferencing, dress for virtual meetings, and balance home responsibilities with work demands,” Ms. Murtha elaborates.
“Our clients, too, have found themselves more isolated than ever. Especially my asbestos clients who have been diagnosed with mesothelioma. They weren’t supposed to see family members or risk exposure to people in public places, including hospitals. But their disease didn’t pause,” she adds.
“Sadly, many of us have lost friends, family, and clients to the pandemic.” Ms. Murtha states. “So much has changed. So many of us don’t know what will happen next. That’s why this NJAJ women trial lawyers caucus is so important. It gives us all a chance to check in with each other and consider how we move forward from here.”
Ms. Murtha points out, “We plan on sharing each firm’s best practices, as we open up in conjunction with the courts, so we can continue to reach successful results for our clients.”
Relkin Co-Chairs NJAJ Mass Tort Program
The Mass Tort program is being co-chaired by Ms. Relkin. It is scheduled for Thursday, April 28, from 8 a.m. until 3 p.m. Topics include CPAP, 3M Earplugs, Paraquat, Roundup, and PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances), among others.
“It’s always exciting to have the opportunity to share my knowledge with colleagues,” explains Ms. Relkin. “I strongly believe in giving back to our profession and helping steer fellow attorneys on the path of getting justice for our clients. We have an obligation to drive the field forward.”
Recognizing Ms. Relkin’s Legal Experience
For those attorneys who frequently attend NJAJ Boardwalk seminars and similar events, seeing Ms. Relkin’s name at the top of the program listing comes as no surprise. Ms. Relkin has not only been a regular featured speaker for NJAJ, but also has co-chaired numerous events over the years and is a long-standing member of the BJAJ Board of Governors.
She brings a perspective drawn from decades of litigation experience, as well as multiple court-appointed leadership roles. These include: co-lead counsel for In Re: DePuy ASR Multi-District Litigation (MDL) and the In Re: JUUL MDL, lead and liaison counsel for New Jersey’s In Re: Stryker Rejuvenate & ABG II Modular Hip Implant Litigation and the Stryker LFIT V40 Multi-County Litigation, Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee member in the In Re: Xarelto Product Liability Litigation, Executive Committee member for In Re: Invokana (Canagliflozin) Products Liability Litigation, and Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee member for the In Re: Biomet Hip Implant Litigation.
Ms. Relkin has received a host of awards, recognitions, and honors. She is an elected member of the American Law Institute. You can also find her name listed among the Top 100 New York Lawyers and Top 50 New York Women Lawyers by Metro Super Lawyers and Super Lawyers in New Jersey and Best Lawyers in New York.
McDonough Shares CPAP Litigation Background
W&L’s Brendan McDonough is speaking about the Philip Respironics CPAP recall as part of this Mass Torts program. He shares information about the litigation from 11:20 until 11:45 a.m. on Thursday, April 28.
Mr. McDonough currently plays a leading role in W&L’s efforts against Philips. He holds a degree in biomedical engineering, which gives him a unique understanding of the dangers of CPAP, BiPAP, and other mechanical ventilator devices.
“When a product gets recalled for being defective, we have a responsibility to understand the implications and get people the help they need,” says Mr. McDonough. “I use my engineering background to translate exactly what went wrong into language everyone can better understand, even if they are unfamiliar with CPAP medical devices.”
Mr. McDonough has lectured at multiple national events delineating the chemical dangers of the degradation and off-gassing of CPAP and related devices containing toxic polyester polyurethane sound abatement foam. This foam degrades via hydrolysis.
Users of these devices may experience long-term, irreversible, even life-threatening health complications after breathing in PE-PUR foam. Potential illnesses include Acute Respiratory Distress Syndrome (ARDS), Reactive Airway Disease, respiratory failure, recurrent pneumonia, and other lung ailments as well as certain cancers.