Gartin Building Courtroom with the Great Seal of the State of Mississippi

Supreme Court Justice Carlson participates in litigation symposium

November 14, 2001

Supreme Court Justice George C. Carlson Jr. participated in a Nov. 9 litigation symposium at the University of Mississippi School of Law.

"Mississippi Law Journal Symposium: Litigation in Mississippi Today," included five panel discussions on litigation issues that have drawn national attention to the state. Carlson participated in a panel discussion that dealt with topics including appeal bond requirements, forum shopping, venue, judicial discretion, punitive damages and the 90-day time period for exchanging information by opposing parties in a process known as discovery.

"It really helped to be able to just discuss the current issues as they relate to civil litigation in Mississippi," said Carlson, a former Circuit Judge who was appointed to the Supreme Court on Oct. 29. "There was no consensus. There were folks on both sides of the issues. I think everyone was pretty objective and very frank in expressing their opinions," said Carlson.

"I commend the sponsors for creating this forum in order to be able to have such a frank and open discussion on these critical issues," Carlson said.

The panel in which Carlson participated included W. Scott Welch III, president of the American Board of Trial Advocates and past president of the Mississippi Bar; Hazlehurst attorney Jim Shannon; Batesville attorney Richard T. Phillips, former president of the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association; and Alan E. Untereiner, partner in Washington, D.C., law firm of Robbins, Russell, Englert, Orseck and Untereiner LLP. The panel was moderated by National Law Journal reporter Mark Ballard.

Topics discussed by other panels included:

• "Why Are We Here, or How Did a State with Fewer than 3 Million People Become Lawsuit Central for the United States and Did It Really Happen Overnight?"

• "Asbestos Issues"

• "Punitive Damages: How and How Much?"

• "Regulation through Litigation"

National figures who participated in the symposium included, among others, Richard Thornburgh, former U.S. Attorney General, former governor of Pennsylvania and former Under-Secretary General of the United Nations; William Bradford Reynolds, former Assistant to the U.S. Solicitor General and former Assistant Attorney General, Civil Rights Division, U.S. Department of Justice; and Sherman Joyce, president of the American Tort Reform Association.

The symposium was sponsored by the University of Mississippi School of Law, the Mississippi Law Journal, the Mississippi Trial Lawyers Association, the American Tort Reform Association, the Coalition for Asbestos Justice and Friends of the Law Center.

An upcoming edition of the Mississippi Law Journal will include articles prepared by symposium participants as well as a complete transcript of each panel discussion.

For more information, contact Beverly Pettigrew Kraft, court public information officer, at 601-354-7452.