How to Appeal a Personal Injury Claim: What attorneys need to know

Janet Gusdorff, Esq
Ruxandra “Andra” M. Laidacker, Esq
Jeffrey A. Leon, Esq
Janet Gusdorff, Esq | Gusdorff Law, P.C.
Ruxandra “Andra” M. Laidacker, Esq | Kline & Specter, P.C.
Jeffrey A. Leon, Esq | Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP
On-Demand: December 15, 2022
How to Appeal a Personal Injury Claim: What attorneys need to know

$195.00 2 hour CLE

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Program Summary

A successful appeal often depends on what you do – or fail to do – before and during trial. Unfortunately, often trial attorneys relegate appellate considerations to an after-thought. Appeals of personal injury judgments require special considerations at all stages of the trial. Join this panel of experienced appellate lawyers who will provide insider tips and strategies for staging a successful challenge to an adverse judgment, or retaining a favorable one on appeal.

Key topics to be discussed:

  • Preventing waiver/forfeiture of key legal issues
  • How to draft “appeal-proof” jury instructions and verdict forms
  • How to effectively “make a record” for appeal

Date: December 15, 2022

Closed-captioning available


Janet Gusdorff, Esq | Gusdorff Law, P.C.

Janet Gusdorff, Certified Appellate Law Specialist (California Board of Legal Specialization), handles state and federal appeals, with an emphasis on plaintiffs’ employment and personal injury matters. Janet owns Gusdorff Law, P.C., in Los Angeles County. She graduated with academic honors from the New England Conservatory of Music, where she studied classical trumpet performance, and from Loyola Law School, where she served as an editor on Loyola Law Review. She has practiced appellate law exclusively since 2006.

The legal community has recognized Ms. Gusdorff’s ethics and aptitude. Law & Politics has repeatedly named Janet Gusdorff a Southern California “Rising Star,” an honor that is reserved for only 2.5 percent of the lawyers in the state. Ms. Gusdorff was selected to the Super Lawyers “Up-and-Coming 100: Southern California Rising Stars” List, as well as its “Up-and-Coming 50: Women Southern California Rising Stars” list in both 2019 and 2021. Ms. Gusdorff was named a 2023 Southern California Super Lawyer. Los Angeles Magazine included Ms. Gusdorff as one of the Top Women Attorneys in Southern California. Avvo has rated Ms. Gusdorff “Superb.” Pasadena Magazine has recognized Gusdorff Law, P.C. as a “Top Attorney.” Ms. Gusdorff has also earned Martindale-Hubbell’s highest peer review rating, AV-Preeminent.

Ms. Gusdorff serves on the executive committee for the Appellate Courts Section of the Los Angeles County Bar Association, and is a proud member of the California Employment Lawyers Association and Consumer Attorneys Association of Los Angeles. She also is an annual honorary member of the Los Angeles Trial Lawyers Charities. She frequently speaks and writes about appellate advocacy.


Ruxandra “Andra” M. Laidacker, Esq | Kline & Specter, P.C.

Ruxandra M. Laidacker is an attorney at Kline & Specter, P.C., in Philadelphia, who concentrates on representing the firm’s clients in the post-trial and appellate phases of litigation. She joined the 50+ trial attorney firm in 2015, after nearly a decade working in the Pennsylvania judicial system, the last five as staff attorney to former Chief Justice Ronald D. Castille of the Pennsylvania Supreme Court. She has briefed and argued cases in the state courts of Pennsylvania, New Jersey, and Delaware, as well as in several federal courts, notably the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit.

Since 2017, Ms. Laidacker has been serving on the Appellate Courts Procedural Rules Committee, a 12-member group of attorneys that advises the Pennsylvania Supreme Court on matters relating to the Pennsylvania Rules of Appellate Procedure. She is an active member of the Pennsylvania Association for Justice, having authored several amici briefs that were filed on behalf of the organization in the U.S. Supreme Court, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the Pennsylvania appellate courts. She also writes frequently on issues of interest to the plaintiff’s bar, and has contributed a chapter on judicial selection to the recently 2ublicshed The Supreme Court of Pennsylvania: Life and Law in the Commonwealth, 1684-2017 (Hare, J. ed. 2018).

Before practicing law, Ms. Laidacker was a producer with news organizations in New York and New Jersey. Ms. Laidacker earned her undergraduate degree from the School of Public and International Affairs at Princeton University and her J.D. from Tulane University.


Jeffrey A. Leon, Esq | Whiteford Taylor Preston LLP

A veteran trial attorney with decades of experience handling complex litigation matters, Mr. Leon has specialized knowledge in the areas of antitrust, class actions and international litigation, including claims against foreign sovereigns under the Foreign Sovereign Immunities Act. He has deep experience handling shareholder suits, non-competition clause litigation, breach of contract, trademark infringement litigation and various types of employment disputes. In addition, he has litigated some of the largest-ever consumer class action lawsuits, obtaining settlements totaling nearly $1 billion. He both prosecutes class actions and defends companies against class action lawsuits.

Mr. Leon is also an experienced appellate advocate having argued over a dozen times before numerous federal courts of appeals. He is an accomplished writer of appellate briefs having written dozens of appellate briefs. Mr. Leon is sought out for his perspective on identifying appellate issues and his appellate experience has also informed the manner in which he approaches his trial practice.

Mr. Leon has written and spoken extensively. He has lectured on antitrust law at the Kellogg School of Business at Northwestern and has guest lectured at Columbia University’s School of Law and at IIT Chicago Kent School of Law. He has published several articles on antitrust law and, during his five-year tenure as co-chair of the Class Action Committee of the ABA Section of Litigation, helped organize the largest annual class action conference in the country.


I. Preventing waiver/forfeiture of key legal issues | 1:00pm – 1:45pm

II. How to draft “appeal-proof” jury instructions and verdict forms (Part I) | 1:45pm – 2:00pm

Break | 2:00pm – 2:10pm

III. How to draft “appeal-proof” jury instructions and verdict forms (Part II) | 2:10pm – 2:35pm

IV. How to effectively “make a record” for appeal | 2:35pm – 3:10pm