The Nebraska Association of Trial Attorneys is dedicated to the improvement of the trial practice, and preservation of the jury system. The Association provides quality continuing legal education and is active in the legislative process insofar as it impacts upon justice in Nebraska. The membership of the Association is open to all lawyers,and law students. The resources of the Association are committed to providing advocacy-related services to members and sponsoring, supporting or opposing legislation as needed to protect rights of citizens to recover for wrongs inflicted upon them and maintaining the integrity of the legal system.
NATA is pleased to present “Practice Pointers” on December 6, 2019 at the Scott Conference Center, Omaha. Program Chair Kathleen Neary has assembled an outstanding faculty of seasoned attorneys who will provide practical tips and successful strategies in handling various aspects of litigation. The program will also include a judicial perspective, caselaw and legislative updates, and ethics in the practice of law. For details and online registration or to download an electronic brochure. Brochures for the seminar will be mailed in mid-October.
NATA's quarterly publication, The Prairie Barrister is an electronic only publication. Volume 25, Number 3, Fall 2019 is now available for Download.
NATA's Annual Meeting and Election of 2019 2020 Officers and Directors was held on September 13, 2019 at the Scott Conference Center, Omaha. Newly elected Officers are Andy Sibbernsen, Omaha, President Elect; Brock Wurl, North Platte, Secretary; and Todd Bennett, Lincoln, Treasurer. Board members elected for three-year terms are Greg Coffey, Lincoln, District One Director; Steve Gerdes, District Two Director; and Directors-at-Large Aaron Brown, Omaha; Joe Dowding, Lincoln; Nancy Freburg, Kearney; Dan Friedman, Lincoln; Matt Knowles, Omaha; Kyle Long, Scottsbluff; Jeff Putnam, Omaha; and Adam Tabor, Omaha. Following the election, NATA President Elect Jason Ausman, Omaha, assumed the office of NATA President, 2019 2020.
Linda Lipsen, CEO American Association for Justice
The House and Senate are now meeting to conference the different provisions in the House- and Senate-passed National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) bills. AAJ advocates that three provisions in the House-passed NDAA be included in the final package: 1) Feres Doctrine fix; 2) Military forced arbitration prohibition; and 3) The designation of Per- and Polyfluoroalkyl Substances (PFAS) as hazardous.
In addition, negotiations have resumed on legislation that would allow more driverless cars onto public roadways and on a bill to regulate the cosmetics industry. AAJ is dedicated to ensuring that injured consumers still have access to state courts and are not forced into arbitration.
AAJ remains dedicated to fighting for the rights of your clients. Below, you’ll find some recent highlights of our advocacy.
Proactive NDAA Provisions
As you may know, when the House considered H.R. 2500, the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) to authorize the Department of Defense, there were three civil justice amendments that made it into the bill and passed the House on final passage in July.
The bipartisan amendment led by Rep. Jackie Speier (D-CA-14), that would create a medical malpractice exemption to the Feres Doctrine and allow servicemembers to recover under the Federal Tort Claims Act (FTCA) for injuries resulting from non-combat related medical malpractice, was adopted into the bill text of the NDAA. The amendment was very similar to the bipartisan bill introduced in late April. Imposed on servicemembers since a 1950 Supreme Court ruling, the Feres Doctrine prevents active-duty servicemembers from suing for non-combat related injuries. This amendment would allow claims under the FTCA by active-duty military for medical malpractice, thereby restoring rights that our servicemembers deserve.
The bipartisan amendment led by Rep. David Cicilline (D-RI-01), that would prohibit the use of forced arbitration in cases filed under the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA), passed the House floor in a voice vote, and is now included in the text of the NDAA. Congress enacted the Servicemembers Civil Relief Act (SCRA) to ease the economic and financial burdens on military personnel when they are called to service. Recently, however, when corporations violate SCRA, servicemembers have been unable to enforce their rights under SCRA due to the ever-expanding use of forced arbitration clauses. The amendment guarantees our servicemembers can enforce the rights already granted to them by SCRA. A similar amendment, prohibiting the use of forced arbitration in servicemember Uniform Services Employment and Reemployment Rights Act (USERRA) claims, was already included in the base text of the House NDAA bill at the committee markup. USERRA was enacted by Congress to ensure that members of the military deployed overseas would be guaranteed their jobs when they returned from deployment. The recent use of forced arbitration clauses has overridden this crucial enforcement protection. The provision in the base text of the House NDAA corrects this by prohibiting the use of forced arbitration clauses in USERRA claims.
The amendment by Rep. Debbie Dingell (D-MI-12) and Rep. Dan Kildee (D-MI-05) to designate PFAS as hazardous substances under the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), also passed the House floor in a voice vote, and is included in the text of NDAA. This amendment would allow the EPA to require parties responsible for PFAS contamination to undertake cleanup efforts or to release federal funding to the agency to pay for cleanup efforts when responsible parties either no longer exist or are incapable of taking on remediation efforts. The current lack of designation is hugely problematic given these chemicals’ persistence in the environment and ability to travel through groundwater. The designation of these chemicals as hazardous substances under CERCLA will allow victims and their families to hold companies responsible for their contamination.
The Senate bill does not contain the proactive civil justice measures supported by AAJ. House and Senate conferees are currently negotiating the two passed bills to come up with a final NDAA conference report that will have to be passed by the House and Senate. AAJ is diligently working to get these three provisions included in the conference report, advocating for the importance of these provisions with NDAA conferees.
Fighting for You and Your Clients
AAJ continues to fight all efforts to undermine civil justice. We look forward to keeping you in the loop on important developments. We welcome your input. You can reach me at email@example.com.