The Coordinating Counsel is a valuable resource available to all GAWDA members and is made possible by voluntary member contributions. The success the industry has enjoyed so far in defending welding fume claims is due in large part to the aggressive, coordinated defense mounted by manufacturers and distributors.
Michael S. Degan
JDF Coordinating Counsel
Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin,
1620 Dodge Street, Suite 2100
Omaha, NE 68102
(402) 964-5000 tel
(402) 964-5050 fax
Since 2002, more than 10,000 lawsuits have been filed against welding manufacturers and distributors-despite a solid safety record spanning over a century of welding in this country. The lawsuits alleged that welding equipment and consumables are unreasonably dangerous and inflicted injury to tens of thousands of welders and persons exposed to welding fumes.
In response to the growing number of welding fume lawsuits being filed against members, GAWDA decided to take action. GAWDA decided to hire a law firm to monitor welding fume litigation nationally, coordinate with manufacturers, and to advise GAWDA and assist its members relating to welding fume issues. A search committee was formed, which reviewed and interviewed several law firms. The Selection Committee ultimately selected Mike Degan and the law firm of Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin LLP to serve as Coordinating Counsel for the Joint Defense Fund. The Joint Defense Fund is funded by voluntary contributions from GAWDA members.
The Coordinating Counsel is responsible for advising GAWDA and its members on issues relating to welding fume litigation and related insurance coverage issues. The Coordinating Counsel communicates to members through GAWDA publications, meetings and this website.
The Coordinating Counsel is also available to assist members with general welding fume litigation and related insurance coverage issues as a service provided by the Joint Defense Fund. The Coordinating Counsel is available to field inquiries relating to:
* How to respond to a welding fume lawsuit
* Insurance coverage and how to deal with insurance companies
* Finding an attorney
* Locating expert witnesses
* Coordination with manufacturers
The JDF Coordinating Counsel is a service available to all GAWDA members.
Blackwell Sanders, a commercial-based law firm with 320 attorneys, is recognized nationally for its transactional and litigation practices. Each year since 2001, Corporate Board Member magazine has named Blackwell Sanders one of the best corporate firms in America; and since 2003 Chambers USA has named Blackwell Sanders among the top law firms in Missouri, Kansas and Nebraska. The Best Lawyers in America 2006 named 40 Blackwell Sanders’ attorneys to its list. Blackwell Sanders has earned the trust of Fortune 500, multinational, and middle-market public companies, and some of the largest privately held companies in the United States. Blackwell Sanders represents businesses in diverse industries, including energy, transportation, finance, insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, communications, retail and construction.
This website is maintained by GAWDA for informational purposes only as a service for the use of GAWDA members. Neither GAWDA nor the law firm of Blackwell Sanders Peper Martin LLP, warrants the accuracy or content of any of the information contained on this website. Any information contained on this website should be independently verified before being relied upon, incorporated or communicated for any purpose.
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