Helping Crime Victims Pursue Civil Justice

The NCVBA provides technical support to attorneys representing crime victims in civil actions, refers crime victims to lawyers in their local area, and works to increase general awareness about the availability of civil remedies for victims of crime.


2018 NCVBA National Conference

September 5-7, 2018
Orlando, FL

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The National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA) National Conference, “Civil Actions for Criminal Acts,” provides essential, cutting-edge information on current legal subjects, as well as offers important resources and litigation strategies that attorneys need to best represent crime victims. Held in conjunction with the National Training Institute of the National Center for Victims of Crime, this annual gathering brings together up to 1,000 victim advocates, civil attorneys, criminal justice professionals, and law enforcement officers to share their knowledge and experience across disciplines.


The National Crime Victim Bar Association (NCVBA) National Conference, “Civil Actions for Criminal Acts,” provides essential, cutting-edge information on current legal subjects, as well as offers important resources and litigation strategies that attorneys need to best represent crime victims. Held in conjunction with the National Training Institute of the National Center for Victims of Crime, this annual gathering brings together up to 1,000 victim advocates, civil attorneys, criminal justice professionals, and law enforcement officers to share their knowledge and experience across disciplines.

Tuesday, September 4th, 2018

9:00 a.m. – 5:00 p.m.                  CSA Section Meeting

4:00 p.m. – 6:00 p.m.                  Early Registration

6:00 p.m. – 8:00 p.m.                  Welcome Reception for Speakers and Members

Wednesday, September 5th, 2018 – Moderators:

7:30 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.                  Amicus Committee Meeting

8:30 a.m.  – 10:00 a.m.               Opening Plenary

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.              Break

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.             Andrew C. Lauersdorf & Joel Shapiro

The Story of S.H. and A.G.: A Collaborative Approach to Obtaining Justice and Compensation for Survivors of Human Trafficking

S.H. and A.G. were 13 and 15 years old respectively when they were sexually exploited and trafficked through a popular strip club in Beaverton, Oregon, by unrelated traffickers. This presentation will discuss the collaborative efforts of S.H. and A.G., law enforcement, prosecuting attorneys, the Oregon Bureau of Labor and Industries, and civil attorneys that resulted in the arrest and prosecution of the traffickers, bankruptcy and closure of the strip club, and awards of restitution, fines, and civil damages totaling approximately $3.4 million in favor of S.H. and A.G. The presentation will discuss the benefits and unique challenges of private and public sector cooperation in simultaneous litigation of criminal, administrative, and civil actions, with an emphasis on protecting victims' rights and furthering the interests of survivors.

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.             Joanna Woolman & Katie Olson

Representing Survivors of Abuse: Building Relationships and Effective Advocacy

This presentation will provide a basic overview of the effects of trauma experienced by individuals who have been physically and sexually abused. It will focus on offering attorneys and advocates practical strategies to assist in building and maintaining trusting, strength-based, and collaborative client relationships, and providing competent advocacy in court. Some of the strategies to be discussed include: what types of questions to ask during interviews, what to look for in client community services, explaining survivor behavior to other court parties, and engaging non-legal professionals in the client’s healing process. This presentation will look at trauma informed practices when working with children and adult trauma survivors in both criminal and civil proceedings.                                                                                                                                                         

12:30 p.m. – 1:45 p.m.                Afternoon Plenary

1:50 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.                  Break

2:00 p.m. – 2: 45 p.m.               Jessica Pride & Steve Estey       

Managing the Media During Litigation

The presentation will discuss how to effectively handle the media in sexual assault cases. It will discuss tips from how to hold a press conference, to how to influence your jury pool. It will also provide tips on how to dress and speak.

2:45 p.m. – 3: 30 p.m.         Pamela Maass & Natasha Koeplin  

Achieving Justice for Victims of Sexual Assault by Medical Professionals and Massage Therapists

The prevalence of sexual violence against patients is occurring with alarming frequency and is often overlooked. Survivors of this type of abuse often suffer from significant trauma given the position of trust. This presentation will focus on achieving justice for survivors through the civil legal process who have been sexually assaulted by doctors, optometrists, therapists and massage therapists. This presentation will also present a team approach to empowering survivors from the perspective of the lawyer and paralegal.

3:30 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.                Break

3:45 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.                Brian Kent         

Ratification – Holding Third Party Entities Vicariously Liable for Conduct after the Fact

This presentation will focus on handling cases where there is limited notice prior to the abusive/assaultive incident and using “ratification after the fact” theories to hold third party entities vicariously liable for the acts of the perpetrator by their acquiescence or approval of the conduct after it has been committed. The restatement and its application in each state will be examined. Mr. Kent will show first hand examples of how he was able to show that the third party entities were vicariously liable for their conduct after the fact in the Father Andrew McCormick and Jerry Sandusky abuse cases.

4:30 p.m. – 5:15 p.m.          Norman D. Bates    

Negligent Hiring Cases - Common Misbeliefs and Mistakes by Employers

This session is designed to help the litigator understand how negligent hiring cases are developed and what standards are applied to private sector employers. Information will be provided regarding the impact of EEOC guidelines, "ban the box" legislation and common industry practices relating to the types of background investigations conducted. Several common misbeliefs and mistakes made by employers will be discussed in detail. Recent case examples will be included in the program.

Thursday, September 6th, 2018 – Moderators:

8:00 a.m. – 8:30 a.m.                ARS Committee Meeting

8:30 a.m. – 10:00 a.m.              Morning Plenary: Parkland – 90 MIN

10:00 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.             Break

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.            Ryan DiMaria                                                

New Tax Law, Structured Settlements, & The Settlement Process

The overarching focus of this presentation is on the settlement process, what plaintiffs must do and consider, what plaintiff’s lawyers must do and consider, the plaintiff/victim psyche and how that impacts the settlement process and beyond.  These issues all relate to the focus on the 3 main technical areas: 1) the taxation of settlements and verdicts with a focus on the new tax laws that everyone has been asking about (tax law re plaintiff’s settlements, nondisclosure agreements and denial of defendant deduction, law firm taxes, and what to do); 2) the role of structured settlements and other settlement instruments; and 3) plaintiff lawyer obligations to their clients in the settlement process and malpractice concerns.

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.              Jason Lazarus 

Settlement Planning Tools

A deep dive into the intersection of all ethical issues surrounding the settlement of a catastrophic case involving a victim of crime.  The program covers complex subrogation issues (Medicare, Medicaid, ERISA, disability, VA/Tricare), the preservation of critical public benefits in the future, cutting edge settlement planning tolls and strategies as well as unique options for the tax deferent of contingent legal fees.

11:45 a.m. – 12:00 p.m.             Break

12:00 p.m. – 1:30 p.m.              National Crime Victim Bar Association Awards Luncheon

1:30 p.m. – 2:15 p.m.               Leto Copeley, Jeff Fritz, & Chelsie Lamie           

To Sue or Not to Sue? Considerations in Joining the Perp

One of the greatest strategy questions a lawyer for crime victims faces is the decision whether to add the perpetrator of a crime to a case against the institution that enabled the crime.  In some states the defendant can add the perp, taking the decision out of your hands.   Your strategy in the case may be influenced by your state’s laws on apportionment of liability and/or whether the plaintiff is deemed to have brought claims against a party brought in by the defendant.  In every case, you should consider in advance how the perpetrator’s presence or absence may affect your plans for discovery and trial.  You will also learn ethical and strategic considerations for communicating with or deposing the perpetrator.

2:15 p.m. – 3:00 p.m.               Josh Koskoff & Katie Mesner-Hage

Sandy Hook Familites v. Remington Arms

We will discuss representing the shattered and aggrieved families in the case arising out of the Sandy Hook school shooting against Remington Arms Company, the maker and seller of the Bushmaster AR-15 used in the shooting.

3:00 p.m. – 3:45 p.m.               Daniel S. Chamberlain

Dram Shop Cases in an Electronic Era

Description will be listed soon!

3:45 p.m. – 4:00 p.m.                Break

4:00 p.m. – 5:30 p.m.                Case Workshop

5:30 p.m. – 6:30 p.m.                Advisory Board meeting

Friday, September 7th, 2017 - Moderator:

8:00 a.m. – 8:45 a.m.                Devin McNulty

Compassion and Dignity When Declining Representation

Prospective clients contact lawyers seeking legal help, but also because they need to be heard. The act of calling or visiting a law firm takes courage. An experienced lawyer can, however, often determine within seconds if they can help a prospective client. An attorney may hastily explain an SOL or "sovereign immunity" or some other obtuse legal concept and then end the meeting or get off the phone. The lawyer will frequently follow this interaction up with a letter. But lawyers do not consider the psychological impact that rejecting a case has on the person seeking help. The prospective client frequently feels foolish or embarrassed for "wasting" a lawyer's time. This negative contact with the legal system perpetuates feelings of disenfranchisement with the establishment. Small tweaks to the lawyer's attitude and nomenclature in rejecting cases can leave prospective clients feeling empowered even if their case is rejected.

8:45 a.m. – 9:30 a.m                   Konrad Kircher & Mark O'Mara

Managing Competing Interests in Multiple Beneficiary Wrongful Death Cases

On July 19, 2015, Sam DuBose was pulled over by a University of Cincinnati police officer for a pretextual reason. Within minutes, Sam was dead, having been shot in the head by the young, overzealous officer. The prosecutor immediately held a press conference and called the death an indefensible murder. Sam left a mother and father who were never married and did not get along, half a dozen siblings and half -siblings who did not have the same interests, and 13 children by almost as many different women, ranging in age from two to early 20s. Mark O'Mara was hired to pursue the civil rights case by some of the family members over the objection of others. The case settled for $4.85 million. Konrad Kircher was hired to administer the settlement through probate court. The presentation will describe the various challenges O'Mara and Kircher faced in pursuing justice.

9:30 a.m. – 10:15 a.m.                Erin Olson

Secret Settlements

Description will be listed soon!

10:15 a.m. – 11:00 a.m.             John Leighton

Mass Shootings In America: Is The Solution Legislation or Litigation?

Discussion of mass shooting problem, continuing disaster, what litigation has ensued thus far, past proposed legislation and future alternatives. The talk with address PLCAA and legislation in existence now that immunizes firearms manufacturers and sellers, as well as attempts to overcome the immunities (federal and state). Alternative theories and defendants will be discussed as well.

11:00 a.m. – 11:45 a.m.             Mike Haggard

Strategic Litigation in Negligent Security Cases

11:45 a.m. – 12:30 p.m.             Closing Plenary