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Expert Witness 2014

Speaker(s): Blair G. Connelly, Celeste R. Coco-Ewing, David Spears, Edward H. Rosenthal, Hon. Vincent L. Briccetti, Kenneth I. Schacter, Laureen M. Ryan, Lucy P. Allen, Mary Gail Gearns
Recorded on: Jun. 26, 2014
PLI Program #: 51723

Celeste Coco-Ewing is a member in the firm, and serves as chair of the products liability and toxic tort practice group. She practices in all aspects of complex litigation, with a particular focus on defense of national products liability litigation and defense of insurers. Celeste has been recognized by Best Lawyers in the fields of Environmental Litigation and Mass Tort Litigation, by Benchmark Litigation as a “Future Star," by Louisiana Super Lawyers as one of the top 25 women lawyers in the State, and by New Orleans CityBusiness as a leading lawyer in the city. She is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated in Martindale-Hubbell.

Celeste serves on the Executive Committee of the Board of Directors of the New Orleans Federal Bar Association and as Editor-in-Chief of the Newsletter of Commercial & Business Litigation Committee of the American Bar Association. In 2014, she was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve a 5 year term on the Committee on Bar Admissions, Character and Fitness Panel. Celeste is a Fellow of the Litigation Counsel of America. She is an adjunct professor of Trial Advocacy and of Civil Litigation “Boot Camp” at Tulane Law School.  She currently chairs the Board of Directors of KIDsmART, a non-profit organization dedicated to educating children through the arts.

Celeste dedicates time to pro bono matters. She is on the Board of Directors for Louisiana Appleseed, and is a past recipient of the Good Apple Award for her pro bono work on a project to ensure homeless children have access to public schools. She recently secured dismissal of a lawsuit against a non-profit organization through the New Orleans Pro Bono Project.


  • Class Actions and Complex Litigation
  • Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith
  • Securities Litigation and Regulation
  • Environmental
  • Product Liability and Toxic Tort


  • Trial counsel for medical device manufacturer in two federal multi-district litigations and a consolidated Illinois state-court proceeding involving two separate hip implants.Obtained a defense verdict in Illinois state consolidated proceeding following five week jury trial.Selected as trial counsel for first bellwether case in the MDL.Obtained a defense verdict in first bellwether trial in second MDL on a different hip implant following eight week jury trial.
  • Successful defense of consortium of welding manufacturers in multi-district litigation and state court proceedings resulting in complete defense verdicts in five jury trials, including a four-plaintiff jury trial in Civil District Court for Orleans Parish and four jury trials in federal court in Cleveland and Akron, Ohio.
  • Defense of excess insurer in bad faith litigation arising out of BP litigation.
  • Defense of insurer in putative class-action, coverage litigation in Missouri state court resulting in plaintiffs’ dismissal of the action.
  • Defense of foreign mutual insurer of energy assets in litigation over a salt dome fracture and resulting in gas release involving hundreds of millions in alleged damages.


  • Tulane University Law School, J.D. Summa Cum Laude, 1997
  • Tulane University, B.A., 1990


  • Barrasso Usdin Kupperman Freeman & Sarver, L.L.C.
  • Stone Pigman Walther Wittman, L.L.C.
  • Legislative Staff, Senator John Breaux


  • Law Clerk to the Honorable James L. Dennis, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit

Edward H. Rosenthal is Chair of the firm’s Intellectual Property Group and co-Chair of the Litigation Group. He focuses on intellectual property litigation, emphasizing trademark, copyright, right of publicity, advertising, privacy and publishing matters. His clients include businesses and individuals in the media, advertising, sports, and entertainment fields. Mr. Rosenthal represented The Authors Guild and a number of other authors' rights associations and individuals in suits against Google and the HathiTrust arising out of Google's mass book digitization and orphan works programs. He also defended Fredrik Colting, author of 60 Years Later: Coming Through the Rye, and his U.S. distributor, in a lawsuit brought by J.D. Salinger alleging copyright infringement. Mr. Rosenthal also successfully defended J.K. Rowling and Scholastic Inc., the author and publisher of the Harry Potter books, against claims of copyright and trademark infringement

Kenneth I. Schacter is an experienced trial lawyer who handles a broad range of civil and white collar criminal matters. His practice emphasizes securities litigation; complex criminal, antitrust and civil RICO matters; SEC proceedings; intellectual property litigation; and other business litigation. Ken has trial experience before juries, judges and arbitration panels throughout the United States. He has tried more than 30 cases to verdict or award and has also argued dozens of appeals.

Ken gained valuable experience as an Assistant U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of New York, handling many groundbreaking insider trading cases, including the so-called “Yuppie Five” case and major prosecutions of other corporate insiders. While an Assistant U.S. Attorney, Ken also investigated and prosecuted cases involving financial frauds, tax evasion, official corruption, arms smuggling and terrorism.

Lucy P. Allen is Managing Director at NERA Economic Consulting.  At NERA, Ms. Allen directs projects in securities, finance, and the economics of product liability. She has performed valuations of privately-held companies, subsidiaries, and thinly-traded securities, and has assessed liability, materiality, and damages in over 100 securities litigation cases. She has analyzed issues related to subprime lending, ERISA claims, and alleged market manipulation and insider trading including complex financial instruments such as credit derivatives. In the area of tort economics, she has estimated the number and value of claims likely to arise from allegedly defective or harmful products, including asbestos, medical products, and building materials.
Ms. Allen’s recent experience includes expert testimony in the healthcare, banking, information technologies, consumer products, telecommunications, and oil and gas industries.

Ms. Allen has a long history of testifying in high profile cases, including testifying as Halliburton’s expert for the securities class action that went to the Supreme Court twice. She has testified at trials in Federal District Court, Bankruptcy Court, before the American Arbitration Association and the Judicial Arbitration Mediation Service, and in depositions. In the area of finance and securities, she has testified on issues including:

  • Market efficiency, class conflicts, and other issues regarding class certification
  • Loss causation, materiality, and damages
  • Settlement values in securities class action suits
  • Valuation

Before joining NERA, Ms. Allen was a staff economist at the Council of Economic Advisers for both President George H.W. Bush and President Clinton, providing economic analysis on regulation and health care policy issues. Prior to that, she worked as a management consultant for five years, where she formulated marketing, organization, and overall business strategies for clients in a broad range of industries.

Ms. Allen earned an A.B. degree from Stanford University, an M.B.A. with a concentration in finance and accounting from Yale University and M.A. and M.Phil. degrees in Economics also from Yale University.

Mary Gail Gearns is co-leader of the litigation practice in New York. Her practice includes all aspects of complex commercial litigation, with a focus on securities litigation and enforcement matters. Mary Gail regularly represents clients in investigations by the SEC, FINRA, state attorneys general, and various other regulators, and she has substantial experience conducting internal investigations, including whistleblower investigations.

Many of Mary Gail’s matters involve parallel proceedings by multiple regulators and follow-on civil litigation. Her clients include banks, broker-dealers, investment advisers, hedge funds, and other public and private companies, as well as members of their senior management. Several of her recent matters have concerned alleged disclosure fraud related to the sale and marketing of complex financial products and securities, market manipulation, insider trading, sales practice violations, false claims made to the government, violations of federal and state consumer protection statutes, and RICO violations. During her more than thirty years of practice, Mary Gail has litigated in federal and state courts throughout the country, including through trial and appeal, and she has handled numerous FINRA and other arbitrations through the issuance of the final award.

Mary Gail is a frequent author and lecturer on securities law issues and other topics related to her practice.

Vincent L. Briccetti was appointed a United States District Judge for the Southern District of New York by President Barack Obama in 2011.

Judge Briccetti is a graduate of Columbia College and Fordham Law School.  At Fordham, he was Articles Editor of the Law Review.  He later served as a law clerk to Judge John M. Cannella of the Southern District of New York and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District.  As an AUSA, he served as Deputy Chief Appellate Attorney and received the Director’s Award for Superior Performance from the Executive Office of United States Attorneys.

In 1992, Judge Briccetti founded his own law firm in White Plains, the focus of which was criminal defense.  He has lectured at numerous professional conferences on various subjects, including criminal law and procedure, federal civil practice, the federal Sentencing Guidelines, the representation of controversial clients, ethics, and the “art” of cross-examination.  Judge Briccetti is also an Adjunct Professor at Fordham Law School, where he teaches a course on federal sentencing law.  

In 2011, the New York State Bar Association awarded Judge Briccetti its David S. Michaels Award for Courageous Efforts in Promoting Integrity of the Criminal Justice System. 

Laureen M. Ryan, CPA, ABV, CDBV, CFE, CIRA
Managing Director, Global Forensic and Dispute Services

Laureen M. Ryan specializes in accounting and forensic investigations, and disputes with complex economic, valuation, solvency and financial issues.

With over 25 years of experience, Ms. Ryan has advised boards, corporations and stakeholders to help resolve high stakes financial, regulatory and legal issues. She has led complex multi-national investigations, including those involving FCPA and Qui Tam issues, and made presentations to the Securities and Exchange Commission, the NYS Banking Department, the U.S. Bankruptcy Court and Corporate Boards. Further, in her fiduciary roles as Responsible Officer, Chapter 11 Trustee and Liquidating Trustee, she conducted investigations, pursued litigation and resolved complex business, accounting and financial matters in the U.S. and abroad.

Ms. Ryan has written numerous expert reports and testified in depositions and in court in cases residing in various U.S. District Courts, Supreme Court of NY, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, State Court in Georgia, Superior Court of New Jersey, County Court in Texas, AAA and J.A.M.S. arbitrations, various
U.S. Bankruptcy Courts, and the ICC International Court of Arbitration in London. Ms. Ryan has also served as a mediator for the Supreme Court of the State of NY.

Ms. Ryan’s testimony and advice has been provided in civil and criminal matters involving issues related to damages/quantum, valuation, solvency, lost profits, financial reporting, regulatory inquiries, financial transactions, accounting reconstruction, GAAS audits, GAAP accounting, fraud allegations, ponzi schemes, FCPA and Qui Tam, asset diversion, accounting irregularities, over-billing and other fictitious billing and loan schemes, post-acquisition disputes, contract provisions, cost allocations, royalties, escheatment, bankruptcy litigation, insurance, loans and securities.

Ms. Ryan has also been involved in many purchases and sales of businesses, divisions, and assets on behalf of management, secured lenders and other creditors. She has also assisted clients in the preparation of business plans, projections and cash flows. In this regard, she has prepared valuation estimates of businesses in a range of industries in connection with fraudulent conveyance actions, preference actions, viability studies, contract disputes, damage quantification, and lending decisions.

In her various fiduciary roles as Responsible Officer, Chapter 11 Trustee and Liquidating Trustee, Ms.  Ryan conducted investigations, pursued litigation and resolved complex business, accounting and financial matters in the U.S. and abroad. Her responsibilities (in and out of court) comprised managing and winding down company operations, asset sales and divestitures, environmental cleanup, pension and retiree assets and obligations, marshaling assets, solvency analyses, reconstructing books and records, insurance recoveries, billions of dollars of asbestos claims and the establishment of a 524(g) trust, other claims processes and analysis and resolving disputes.

Ms. Ryan has also provided expert witness and financial advisory services to various constituents in distressed company situations and Examiners retained in the bankruptcy court to investigate potential causes of action and to determine financial viability.

Ms. Ryan has worked across a broad range of industries, including financial institutions, mutual funds, hedge funds, broker / dealers, mortgage warehousing, structured finance products, sub-prime and Alt-A loans, securities firms, healthcare, cable, media, telecommunications, hospitality, healthcare and medical claims, casino/gaming, restaurants, franchising, auto dealerships, auto parts, insurance, beverages, entertainment, retail, apparel, real estate, insurance, construction, explosives, mining, trucking, railroad, food distribution, publishing, waste management, textiles, television equipment, health and beauty aids, and sporting goods.

Prior to joining A&M, Ms. Ryan was a Senior Managing Director at FTI Consulting providing investigation and disputes services. She was also instrumental in building FTI’s Forensic & Litigation Consulting practice and held various executive leadership positions, including Northeast Regional Leader and Global Expansion Leader. In addition, she worked at an affiliate, Ferrier Hodgson, in Sydney, Australia.

Ms. Ryan began her career with Ernst & Young (E&Y) where she provided audit and advisory services to the New York and London offices. As a member of E&Y’s National Financial Services Office, she targeted acquisitions, monitored the audit risk profile of banks and thrifts, provided accounting, auditing and regulatory advice for the U.S. and abroad, and worked on matters involving allegations of accounting malpractice and fraud.

Ms. Ryan has given lectures on valuation, accounting, fraud, and troubled company topics to bankers, lawyers, and accountants. She has also written articles for the Commercial Lending Review, ABI Newsletter, Bank Accounting & Finance, and The Practical Accountant, and a booklet entitled White Collar Crime: Loss Prevention through Internal Control in Financial Institutions. Examples of other recent publications and presentations include:

  • Expert Witness 2013 - Role of Expert Witnesses in Complex Litigation panelist; Practicing Law Institute (June 2013)
  • Expert Lawyers on Expert Witnesses  - The Persuasiveness of Expert Testimony - Moderator of panel; ABA Section of Litigation Expert Witness Committee (May 2013)
  • Valuation in Fraudulent Transfer Action: The Balance Sheet Test article; Alvarez & Marsal GFD ENewsletter Archives (June 2012)
  • Difficult Provider-Payor Relationships Likely to Grow More Contentious article; Alvarez & Marsal GFD ENewsletter Archives (Nov. 2012)
  • Lost Profits v. Lost Business; Business Valuation Resources (BVR) Webinar, June 2012.


Certified Public Accountant

Accredited Business Valuer

Certified Distressed Business Valuer

Certified Fraud Examiner

Certified Insolvency and Restructuring Advisor

Professional Affiliations

American Institute of Certified Public Accountants

Association of Insolvency and Restructuring Advisors

Association of Certified Fraud Examiners

New York State Society of Certified Public Accountants

Founding Member, International Women’s Insolvency & Restructuring Confederation

Junior League


B.S. Accounting & Economics Oswego University


Blair Connelly is a partner in the New York office of Latham & Watkins, where he focuses his practice on M&A litigation, securities litigation and corporate governance. Mr. Connelly has represented issuers, financial institutions, boards of directors and individuals in numerous high-profile securities, merger and takeover disputes and indemnity claims, and has had extensive involvement in large, complex internal investigations, derivative actions, class action lawsuits and SEC investigations. Mr. Connelly also has experience in complex insurance coverage and professional liability litigation. Mr. Connelly was recognized as a top litigator by Super Lawyers in 2006, 2007, 2008 and 2013.

Mr. Connelly received his JD from Georgetown University Law Center and his BA from Georgetown University. He is qualified to practice in New York and California.

David Spears is a partner at the New York City law firm of Spears & Imes LLP, a litigation boutique.  Early in his career, he spent many years working in government, including as Deputy Chief Trial Attorney in the SEC’s Division of Enforcement in Washington, D.C., and as an Assistant United States Attorney in the Southern District of New York.  At Spears & Imes, Mr. Spears specializes in white collar defense and complex civil litigation.  He has tried many criminal and civil cases in different courts around the country.  In many of those trials, he put on one or more experts to support his client’s case and/or cross-examined experts put on by the opposing party.  He has also worked with many experts in the preparation of reports for disclosure to the opposing party and in preparation for deposition by the opposing party.  In late 2017 or early 2018, Mr. Spears will be trying a criminal case in the District of Massachusetts in which the government is expected to call one or more experts, and a complex civil case in the Middle District of Florida in which both sides are expected to call multiple experts.