2019 Annual Meeting!

April 11-13, 2019 | Omni Chicago Hotel | Chicago, Illinois

Register for the 2019 ACAM Annual Meeting



Thursday, April 11, 2019

4:00 pm – 5:00 pm ACAM Board of Directors Meeting
5:00 pm – 7:00 pm Registration
6:00 pm – 7:00 pm Welcome Reception
7:30 pm – 9:30 pm Dinner for Board, Speakers, and Sponsors (by invitation only)

Friday, April 12, 2019

7:30 am – 4:30 pm Registration
7:30 am – 8:30 am Continental Breakfast
8:15 am – 8:30 am

President's Welcome

Edgar C. Gentle III
Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison LLC
Hoover, Alabama

8:30 am – 9:45 am

Facing Practical Challenges Presented by Cases Big, Small, and in Between

Special master cases of whatever size have much in common. We will discuss, with your involvement, the practical as well as some ethical issues and challenges involving:

  • Getting selected and establishing your value to the case
  • Getting acquainted and allaying concerns by all
  • Getting along and successfully mastering your work
  • Talking to the judge and determining what you should talk about


David M. Tenner, Esq.
Ridley, McGreevy & Winocur P.C., Denver, Colorado

Roger S. Haydock, Esq.
National Arbitration Forum, Minneapolis, Minnesota

J. Gregory Whitehair, Esq.
Whitehair ADR, Lakewood, Colorado

9:45 am – 10:00 am


10:00 am – 10:30 am

Claims Administration 101: Navigating Your Options

Michael O'Connor, Esq.
Epiq, Washington , DC


Nicole Hamann
Epiq, Beaverton, Oregon

10:30 am – 11:45 am

Cy Pres Special Mastering

With regard to addressing the growing desire to provide a classwide benefit or a public interest benefit in the context of a class settlement or other mass resolution, what’s a special master to do? This panel will address the provision of a “generic” type of benefit (as opposed to individual or injunctive relief) in the context of a mass settlement. Examples include funding for electric car charging stations in the VW settlement and establishing a grant-making program in the AO settlement and the farmers’ settlements.

This type of “cy pres” relief presents legal, logistical, and negotiation challenges. The panel will address the current state of the law; the use of such funds; how such cy pres distributions have fared (have they provided relief? can the results be measured?); and the factors that should/can be considered (how is the cy pres distribution related to the claims?). How do you measure “success?” How do you value this relief when the court evaluates the reasonableness of the settlement? We will explore efforts to involve the victims/plaintiffs in the design and use of a cy pres fund. Note that the discussion will likely be affected by the case currently pending in the U.S. Supreme Court.


Christopher A. Seeger, Esq.
SeegerWeiss LLP, New York, New York

Elizabeth J. Cabraser, Esq.
Lieff, Cabraser, Heimann & Bernstein, San Francisco, California

Christine E. Webber
Cohen Milstein, Washington, DC

Deborah E. Greenspan, Esq.

Blank Rome LLP, Washington, D.C.

Randi Ilyse Roth, Esq.
Complex Settlements, P.C., Saint Paul, Minnesota

Noon – 1:15 pm


Guest Presentation: Keys to the Castle

Dr. Michael Quinn Patton will address how we can improve our special master work by drawing on lessons from professional evaluators.

Michael Quinn Patton, Ph.D.
Utilization-Focused Evaluation

1:15 pm – 2:30 pm

ACAM Fellows’ Special Master Experiences

Members have an opportunity to share an instructive master experience in this open forum. You may share a successful or—what?—an unsuccessful effort in one of your recent cases.


David R. Cohen, Esq.
David R. Cohen Co. LPA, Cleveland, Ohio

Edgar C. Gentle III
Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison LLC, Hoover, Alabama

Carlos A. Gonzalez, Esq.
The Gonzalez Firm, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia

Cathy Yanni, Esq.
JAMS, San Francisco, California


Roger S. Haydock, Esq.

National Arbitration Forum, Minneapolis, Minnesota

2:30 pm – 2:45 pm


2:45 pm - 4:00 pm

Update on ABA Blackletter Resolution Re: Special Masters and Pros and Cons of Special Masters

The ABA Special Master Black Letter Working Group now has a formal draft of the resolution and black letter that is being circulated to the Judicial Division; the ABA Standing Committee on the American Judicial System; and Litigation, Business Law, Dispute Resolution, Intellectual Property Law, Antitrust, and Torts Trials and Insurance Practice Sections. The black letter is the product of many hours of work, especially by immediate past ACAM president Cary Ichter, who took primary drafting responsibilities.

The goal is to obtain co-sponsorship from these ABA divisions, forums, and sections in time to submit the resolution to approve the black letter as a formal proposal in November 2018 for consideration by the ABA House of Delegates at the ABA’s midyear meeting in January 2019 in Austin, Texas.

In this presentation, Merril Hirsh and Cary Ichter will provide an update on the ABA proposed resolution, and neutrals and attorneys will discuss the pros and cons (benefits and costs) of the use of special masters.


Merril Hirsh, FCIArb, Esq.
HirshADR PLLC, Washington, D.C.

Carlos A. Gonzalez, Esq.
The Gonzalez Firm, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia

Eric D. Green
Resolutions, LLC, Boston, Massachusetts

Megan E. Jones, Esq.
Hausfield, San Francisco, California

Chris T. Hellums, Esq.
Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, P.C., Birmingham, Alabama

Hon. Shira A. Scheindlin (Ret.)
Stroock, New York, New York


Cary Ichter, Esq.

Ichter Davis, LLC, Atlanta, Georgia

4:00 pm - 4:30 pm

Guiding Principles for Effective Mass Tort Case Management From Consolidation Through Resolution

Ed Bell and Jennifer Alpert
Ankura Consulting, Washington, D.C.

6:00 pm - 7:00 pm

Opening Reception

7:00 pm – 9:30 pm

Annual Dinner and New Fellow Induction Ceremony


Hon. U.W. Clemon
Retired U.S. District Judge of the U.S. District Court of the Northern District of Alabama

Luther J. Strange III
Luther Strange & Associates, LLC, Birmingham, Alabama


Kenneth O. Simon (Ret.)

Judicial Arbiter Group, Inc., Birmingham, Alabama

Saturday, April 13, 2019

8:00 am – Noon Registration
8:00 am – 9:00 am

Continental Breakfast

9:00 am – 10:15 am

Special Master Assessments of Common Benefit Fees and Expenses: From Initial Mass Case Planning to Post Mass Case Audits

The moral of this topic is “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Judge Rosen will discuss his experience with auditing plaintiff common benefit lawyer fees in the recent State Street Antitrust Settlement, resulting in material reductions in common benefit fees. The lessons of MDL 926, the Breast Implant Settlement, without prior to settlement billing rules and ongoing audits will also be discussed. Popular current ways to audit and correct fees and expenses as the case goes forward, based on MDL 2406, the Blue Cross Antitrust Litigation model, will be discussed by one of the lead lawyers in the case and the special master.



Hon. Gerald E. Rosen
JAMS, Detroit, Michigan

Megan E. Jones, Esq.
Hausfield, San Francisco, California

Chris T. Hellums, Esq.
Pittman, Dutton & Hellums, P.C., Birmingham, Alabama


Edgar C. Gentle III, Esq.

Gentle, Turner, Sexton & Harbison LLC, Hoover, Alabama

10:15 am – 10:30 am Break
10:30 am – 11:45 am

Opioid Crisis Special Mastering

The multidistrict litigation known as “In re National Prescription Opiate Litigation” has been described as the most complex lawsuit in the history of the United States. Plaintiffs include cities, counties, states, Indian tribes, hospitals, individual classes, and health and welfare funds; defendants include numerous drug manufacturers, distributors, and pharmacies. Presiding Judge Dan Aaron Polster appointed three special masters—all ACAM past presidents—to assist with both litigation and settlement efforts. They will share with the Academy their stories and insights on how the MDL is addressing this national social crisis.


Francis McGovern, Esq.
Duke University School of Law, Durham, North Carolina

Cathy Yanni, Esq.
JAMS, San Francisco, California


David R. Cohen, Esq.

David R. Cohen Co. LPA, Cleveland, Ohio

11:45 am – 12:15

ACAM Business Meeting (Election of Board)

12:15 pm Adjourn
6:30 pm

Optional Dine Arounds


Hotel and Travel Information

Omni Chicago Hotel
676 North Michigan Avenue
Chicago, IL 60611
(800) THE-OMNI (843-6664)

Group Rate Reservation Link

Room Rate: $239 per night,
single/double occupancy

Hotel Reservations Deadline
Monday, March 18 2019

Please mention ACAM or the Academy of Court-Appointed Masters to obtain the group rate. Hotel reservations are on a first-come, first-served basis until Monday, March 18, 2019, or until the block has sold out. ACAM cannot guarantee the group rate after Monday, March 18, 2019All reservations not canceled within seven days prior to day of arrival will be subject to a one-night cancellation fee.

Check-in Time3:00 pm
Checkout TimeNoon

The only all-suite luxury accommodations on Michigan Avenue are now even better! Omni Chicago Hotel has recently undergone an $11 million renovation. Embracing the iconic architecture of Chicago, the redesign highlights historical elements of Louis Sullivan’s intricate sketches, the Chicago School’s building materials, and the whimsy of modern sculptures synonymous with the city.

Omni Select Program
If you are not already a member of the Omni Select program, be sure to sign up at www.omnihotels.com/loyalty. Get rewards instantly with complimentary in-room Wi-Fi, pressing service, morning beverage delivery, and much more.



Chicago O’Hare  International Airport (ORD)—located 35 minutes/17 miles from the Omni Chicago

Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW) – located 20 minutes/13 miles from the Omni Chicago



$45–$50 each way from O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

$35 each way from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)


$35–$40 each way from O’Hare International Airport (ORD)

$25–$35 each way from Chicago Midway International Airport (MDW)


Valet Parking: $72 per day with unlimited in and out privileges

Other Information

Dress Code 

Business casual attire is appropriate for the ACAM meeting.


The average high temperature in Chicago in April is 59 °F, and the average low is 42 °F.

Register for the 2019 ACAM Annual Meeting