The Section held its 2013 spring meeting at the Gideon Putnam Resort in Saratoga Springs from May 3 through May 5, 2013. At the Saturday gala dinner attended by 160 people Second Circuit Judge Reena Raggi presented to Eastern District Chief Judge Carol Amon the Section’s Robert L. Haig Award honoring a member of the legal profession who has rendered distinguished public service. The CLE programs included one on third-party litigation funding moderated by Albany Law School Professor Patrick Connors, a topic which the Section has also addressed in a recent report. See the link to the Section’s report here.
Among other things, the panelists drew a distinction between funding of commercial cases for a share of the outcome and funding of consumer cases in which the consumer is personally lent money secured by a portion of any recovery. A second panel on the Southern District of New York pilot program for complex cases was headlined by Southern District Judges Shira Scheindlin and Victor Marrero. They described the pilot program, some metrics for complex cases resolved in the Southern District in 2010 and 2011, and prospective changes in the Federal Rules of Civil Procedure, including a narrowing of the scope of discovery, a reduction in presumptive discovery limitations, and new provisions for sanctions for preservation failures. Sunday’s CLE programs focused on whistleblowing in relation to commercial fraud under the federal False Claims Act, the New York False Claims Act (the strongest in the nation) and the SEC Whistleblower Program established in 2010. Two surprising statistics emerged. In 80% of the cases under the federal False Claims Act, the federal government declined to intervene or take over the case after investigation. In 82% of the cases involving the SEC whistleblower statute, the relator complains internally first. The meeting was kicked off by a riveting lecture regarding the recovery of stolen art and other cultural property from the recipients of such works from tomb raiders in Turkey to Hitler’s henchmen.
A full report on the meeting appeared in the recent Section’s newsletter: Commercial and Federal Litigation Section Newsletter