Genetic ‘Fingerprinting’ May Be Key in Virus Exposure Suits


CLE credits earned: 1 GENERAL (or 1 LAW & LEGAL for WA state)

Participants can expect to learn why genetic sequence-based typing (a form of “genetic fingerprinting”) may offer key evidence in proving or disproving causation in COVID-19 litigation.  Armed with appropriate samples, experts can now identify the genetic sequence of the coronavirus that afflicted a patient, type that sequence, and compare it to other recorded sequences for a possible genetic match.  This matching process allows for important conclusions to be drawn as to how (or where) someone may have contracted the disease.  Similar typing evidence has already been used with success in other infectious disease cases and, if preparations are made now, could be the difference between winning and losing COVID-19 cases.

Key topics to be discussed:

• What is genetic sequence-based typing?
• How could it be used in COVID-19 cases involving personal injury or wrongful death?
• Has this type of evidence been used before in other cases?
• What steps can I take now to prepare?

Date / Time: May 14, 2020

•   1:00 pm – 2:00 pm Eastern
•   12:00 pm – 1:00 pm Central
•   11:00 am – 12:00 pm Mountain
•   10:00 am – 11:00 am Pacific

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•   Live Video Broadcast/Re-Broadcast: Watch Program “live” in real-time, must sign-in and watch program on date and time set above. May ask questions during presentation via chat box. Qualifies for “live” CLE credit.
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Original Broadcast Date: May 14, 2020

Adam Dinnell is a trial lawyer who has handled some of the highest-profile tort cases of the past decade, including suits related to the Flint water crisis, Hurricane Katrina, and the 2001 anthrax attacks. Since joining SHJ, he has focused on complex commercial and toxic tort matters, successfully trying several multimillion-dollar cases for leading companies in the oil and gas industry.
Clients value Adam’s ability to translate complicated scientific and technical subjects—from strip mining practices and fracking techniques to bacterial genomics—into straightforward, accessible presentations to judges and juries. He has presented or cross-examined experts in more than two dozen disciplines, including allergy-immunology, cardiology, combustion engineering, disaster science, drilling engineering, economics, epidemiology, geology, industrial hygiene, infectious disease, metallurgy, mine engineering, molecular biology, natural gas trading, pipelines, pulmonology, toxicology, and water engineering.
Over his career, Adam has tried more than 25 cases and argued before numerous courts across the country, including U.S. courts of appeals, U.S. district courts, state courts, and the U.S. Judicial Panel on Multidistrict Litigation (MDL). As a veteran of multiple MDLs, he is well-versed in MDL strategy and procedure.
Previously, Adam spent a decade as a trial lawyer for the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ), Civil Division, where he defended the United States in complex, high-stakes civil litigation in federal courts nationwide. He served as senior trial counsel in the Department’s Environmental Tort Litigation Section, managing all aspects of mass tort and toxic tort cases. Notably, Adam represented the United States as lead or deputy lead counsel in several high-profile matters, including litigation relating to water quality in Flint, MI; formaldehyde exposures in FEMA trailers used after Hurricane Katrina; and a deadly outbreak of Legionnaires’ disease at the VA hospital in Pittsburgh, PA. Adam’s varied experience also includes prosecution of criminal cases for the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the District of Columbia.
A frequent instructor for law school trial advocacy programs, Adam regularly speaks on a variety of litigation topics, including the use of scientific evidence and strategic case development. Throughout his career, he has been heavily involved in mentorship and pro bono work, serving as a DOJ mentor coordinator, a Houston Bar Association mentor, and pro bono counsel for individual clients in both the District of Columbia and Houston.

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I. What is genetic sequence-based typing? 1:00-1:12
II. How could it be used in COVID-19 cases involving personal injury or wrongful death? 1:12-1:24
III. Has this type of evidence been used before in other cases? 1:24-1:36
IV. What steps can I take now to prepare? 1:36-1:48
V. Questions 1:48-2:00