A severe trucking accident is a catastrophic event that can often lead to “bet the company” litigation. Immediately following the accident, the company, its insurers, adjusters, investigators, experts and, most importantly, its attorneys, must mobilize to investigate and respond to the accident. The attorney should be present at the scene to coordinate the investigation, interface with public officials and control the company’s story to the media. Preservation of evidence is crucial to avoiding later claims of spoliation. An established protocol for rapid response is essential to have in place well before the accident so that those on the team know their roles in investigating the people and vehicles involved as well as the roadway itself. Proper evidence gathering and preservation will facilitate a more accurate accident reconstruction analysis.
In this course, Cipriani & Werner Partners Matt Mitchell and Bill Pentecost address what you need to know to understand the importance of establishing a rapid response team to have in place to mobilize immediately upon alert of a trucking accident. They discuss the mechanics of establishing the team, the roles and missions of each member and how their collective work will benefit the company by way of a thorough investigation and evidence preservation. Examples from real-world cases illustrate the importance of the rapid response team.
I. Understand the purpose of a rapid response team
II. Recognize the roles of adjuster, investigator, experts and attorneys on the rapid response team
III. Understand the risks of spoliation and how they can be avoided by proper use of the rapid response team
IV. Identify the key areas of investigation at the accident scene and key areas of follow-up
Since joining Cipriani & Werner, Mr. Pentecost has devoted a significant portion of his practice to complex litigation, particularly in the areas of transportation, trucking, toxic torts and products liability. Mr. Pentecost is an active member of the Transportation Lawyers Association, International Association of Defense Counsel, Defense Research Institute (Trucking and Toxic Tort Committees), American Bar Association, Pennsylvania Bar Association and the Allegheny County Bar Association. He is peer-rated “AV (Preeminent)” by Martindale Hubbell.
Mr. Pentecost is originally from Massachusetts and graduated from Providence College in 1992 with a major in accounting and, in 1996, he graduated first in his class from Duquesne University School of Law, where he served on the Duquesne Law Review and its trial and appellate moot court teams. Mr. Pentecost has been a member of the U.S. Army Reserve since he enlisted in 1987 and is now serving as a Lieutenant Colonel in the JAG Corps, which has him traveling regularly to Fort Buchanan, Puerto Rico, where he leads a team of JAG officers. Since 2008, Mr. Pentecost has been serving on a pro bono basis as the National Judge Advocate of the Reserve Officers Association in Washington, DC. He is also an active member of the Military Order of the World Wars and the Military Officers Association of America.
Mr. Pentecost has practiced in multiple jurisdictions around the country over the years. He is currently licensed to practice before all state courts within Pennsylvania and New Jersey. He is also admitted to practice before multiple federal courts, including the United States Supreme Court, the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit, and the United States District Courts for the Western and Middle Districts of Pennsylvania, the District of New Jersey and the Northern District of Ohio.
Matthew K. Mitchell, Esquire graduated from Lafayette College in 1990 with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Government and Law. During college, he was a legislative intern in Washington, D.C.for Congressman Jim Florio while attending American University’s Justice Program in Washington, D.C. He received his Juris Doctorate degree with Honors in 1993 from the University of Miami School of Law, where he was an active member of the regional and national mock trial team competitions and the law school’s Litigation Skills Program. As a law student, he was certified by the Florida Supreme Court to prosecute cases for the Office of the State Attorney, Eleventh Judicial Circuit of Florida as a legal intern.
After successfully passing the NJ and FLbar exams in 1993, Mr. Mitchell then entered private practice as an associate with an AV-rated law firm in downtown Miami, FL, where he concentrated on insurance defense litigation on behalf of national insurance carriers, third party administrators and self-insured entities. In 1995, he then returned to his native southern New Jersey, where he practiced as an associate and then shareholder with a respected AV-rated insurance defense litigation firm for 16 years.
In March, 2011, Mr. Mitchell joined Cipriani & Werner as the managing partner of the litigation group in the firm’s New Jersey office, where his practice focuses on statewide property/casualty insurance defense litigation in state and federal courts, personal and commercial motor vehicle negligence matters, insurance coverage disputes, bad faith, fraud/SIUmatters, premises liability and product liability.
Mr. Mitchell has successfully tried numerous cases and argued several appellate matters before New Jersey’s Appellate Division. In addition to his jury trial and appellate accomplishments, he has consistently achieved favorable results for his clients through binding and non-binding alternative dispute resolution.
Mr. Mitchell is a founding member of the Central Jersey Claims Association. He frequently provides legal update presentations and accredited seminars to insurance industry professionals throughout New Jersey and abroad.
Mr. Mitchell is a member of the New Jersey State Bar and Camden County Bar Associations, CLM Alliance, New Jersey Defense Association, New Jersey Motor Truck Association, Pennsylvania Motor Truck Association and New Jersey Warehousemen and Movers Association. He is admitted to practice in Florida and New Jersey, as well the United States District Courts for the State of New Jersey and for the Southern District of Florida, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Eleventh and Third Circuits, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Mitchell has achieved and maintained the highest “AV” Peer-Review and Client-Review Ratings in Martindale-Hubbell. He is also listed in Who’s Who in American Law and was voted “Awesome Attorney” in South Jersey Magazine in October 2007 (Personal Injury) and October 2010 (Insurance Law).
Mr. Mitchell co-authored New Jersey Trial and Evidence for the New Jersey Institute of Continuing Legal Education. He also co-authored “Verbal Threshold Update” for the New Jersey Defense Association Magazine.
Mr. Mitchell and his family reside in Marlton, New Jersey.
Excellent practice examples
Now that was a solid CLE. Nice job.
Very knowledgeable Have to avoid them at all costs as a plaintiff's guy.
Program was well done with a wealth of information.
Great course with knowledgeable speakers.
I only handle personal lines auto cases, but I thought this was an excellent presentation and had a lot of valuable information that I will be able to use in my practice. Thank you!
As a attorney going on four years of practice, this was some of the best practical advice I've received from a CLE. Great work!
The presenters were very knowledgeable and did a particularly good job of sharing useful practice pointers. Highly recommend this program.
Enjoyed the presentation-very detailed and interesting
I learned a ton.
commercial auto accidents covered well by expert attorneys.
I have been doing trucking cases for years yet this was very informative.
Very informative presentation and well worth the time.