Friday, October 14, 2016

7:30–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

8:45–9:00 a.m.

Welcome & Opening Remarks
Alicia K. Haynes, NELA President & Matthew C. Koski, NELA Program Director

9:00–10:15 a.m.

Developing A Discovery Plan For Defeating Summary Judgment
Speakers: Sandra L. Blevins & Heather Newsom Leonard
Organizing a comprehensive discovery plan as early as possible in the case and carefully implementing it is essential to overcoming a motion for summary judgment. Our panelists will provide a roadmap to bring with you to the Rule 16 conference that will help you acquire the factual support you need to get your client’s claims before a jury, as well as advice on how to navigate past the roadblocks that defendants commonly erect during discovery.

10:30 a.m. –11:45 p.m.

Winning The Framing Fight At Summary Judgment: Pretexts, Motivating Factors & Convincing Mosaics
Moderator/Speaker: Matthew C. Koski
Speakers: Amanda A. Farahany, Rebecca L. Salawdeh & Professor Sandra F. Sperino

A big part of prevailing at summary judgment involves effectively aligning the applicable evidentiary framework with the particular facts of your case. Despite the U.S. Supreme Court’s ruling in Desert Palace v. Costa, many courts continue to use the direct/indirect evidence framework and apply McDonnell-Douglas as a matter of course at summary judgment. In some recent cases, however, other courts have expressed doubts about the utility of McDonnell-Douglas, and instead have shifted their focus—more properly—to the employer’s burdens. Our panelists will discuss the strengths and weaknesses of these different frameworks and suggest strategies for getting the court to accept the framing that is most advantageous to your client.

12:00–1:15 p.m.


1:30–2:30 p.m.

The Problem Doctrines
Speakers: Professor Michael Foreman & Christina M. Royer
Our panelists will give you the good and the bad in the world of the problem doctrines, including “stray remarks,” and the “same actor” and “same protected class” inferences. They also will address the increasingly restrictive definitions of “similarly-situated” comparators, the troubling re-emergence of “pretext-plus,” the “HR Manager” exception, and other defense tactics. Our veteran practitioners will share advice on how to respond when the defendant raises these issues in your case.

2:30–3:15 p.m.

Attacking The “Honest Belief” & “Business Judgment” Defenses
Speakers: Charles E. Guerrier & David L. Lee
These two “problem doctrines” are so pernicious that they have earned their own panel. Our presenters will provide you with the state of the law regarding these increasingly prominent arguments, and suggest tactics that you can use to ensure that they do not derail your case at summary judgment.

3:30–4:45 p.m.

Defeating Summary Judgment In ADA & FMLA Cases
Moderator: Dara M. Smith
Speakers: Christine T. Elzer & Lorrie F. McKinley

Claims that arise under the Americans with Disabilities Act and Family and Medical Leave Act often take a different form and have elements distinct from claims arising under other employment laws. Our panelists will help you understand these differences, identify the pitfalls to avoid when bringing claims under these statutes, and survey common defense tactics that are used to derail these cases at summary judgment.

4:45–5:30 p.m.

To Move Or Not To Move: That Is The Question
Speakers: Reena I. Desai & Jason P. Hungerford
This panel will explore the various considerations in moving for summary judgment from the plaintiff’s perspective, either on a prima facie case or affirmative defense, in different types of employment cases.

5:30–7:00 p.m.

Co-sponsored by The Employee Rights Advocacy Institute For Law & Policy.

Saturday, October 15, 2016

7:30–9:00 a.m.

Registration & Continental Breakfast

9:00–10:15 a.m.

A View From The Bench: The Judge’s Perspective On Summary Judgment
Moderator: Alicia K. Haynes
Speakers: The Honorable Michael R. Barrett* & The Honorable Abdul K. Kallon*

Join us for an in-depth discussion of the summary judgment process from the judge’s perspective. Our distinguished jurists will share their views on Rule 56 in employment cases. By learning how judges review summary judgment, you will improve the ways in which you brief and argue these motions, and find out what tactics to avoid in order to stay on the right side of the judge in your cases.

10:30–11:45 a.m.

Overcoming Summary Judgment In Harassment & Hostile Work Environment Cases
Speakers: Charlotte M. Croson & Allegra L. Fishel 
Our experts will examine the unique obstacles to overcoming summary judgment in these often factually complex and legally demanding cases. They will review the state of the law regarding the “severe or pervasive” and “tangible employment action” standards, and discuss the ways in which the U.S. Supreme Court’s adoption of a restrictive definition of “supervisor” in Vance v. Ball State has tipped the scales against victims of workplace harassment.

1:15–2:15 p.m.

Just The Facts On Creating Persuasive Fact Sections
Speakers: M. Nieves Bolanos & Kelly Mulloy Myers
Regardless of how your jurisdiction requires fact sections to be organized at summary judgment, our experts will provide tips and strategies for ensuring that your client’s story is presented in the most persuasive manner possible.

2:30–4:00 p.m.

Putting It All Together: Effective Written & Oral Summary Judgment Advocacy
Moderator/Speaker: Cedar P. Carlton
Speakers: Richard M. Schall & Laura Welles Wilson

Too many summary judgment motions are lost because plaintiffs’ attorneys are trying to “win” their cases, rather than simply defeat summary judgment. This panel will weave together the threads that have been discussed during the seminar and present the keys to avoiding this problem, as well as how to draft your brief persuasively and argue your position effectively at oral argument.

4:00–5:00 p.m.

Understanding The Art Of The Appeal In Summary Judgment Cases
Speaker: Professor Eric Schnapper
Because summary judgment is so often granted in employment cases, it is inevitable that at some point you will be standing before a court of appeals panel arguing that the district court’s decision should be reversed. Accomplished U.S. Supreme Court and appellate advocate Professor Eric Schnapper will close the seminar by identifying the important ways in which briefing and argument must be approached differently at the appellate level, and by providing strategies that can help you not only get that all-important reversal, but also position you and your client to prevail on remand.

   * Program subject to change without notice