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Congressman Pete Sessions (R-TX) Delivers Keynote Address at SGMA’s Litigation & Risk Management Summit

Date: 4/11/12

SGMA CEO Tom Cove Presents Highlights of SGMA State of the Industry Address

LAS VEGAS, NV – April 11, 2012 – Relevant and helpful are two words that many attendees have used to describe SGMA’s 5th Annual Litigation & Risk Management Summit (LRMS) which was held April 9-10 at the Venetian Palazzo Hotel in Las Vegas, NV.

The Litigation & Risk Management Summit helps participants navigate through the changing landscape of legal risk and regulatory threats. Those who attended the event joined members of SGMA’s Legal Task Force and experts to network, stay abreast of the latest legal developments, and gained practical solutions to pressing legal problems while earning Continuing Legal Education (CLE) Credits.

The event, organized by SGMA’s Legal Task Force, started on the evening of April 9 with a welcoming reception and concluded on April 10 with a panel discussion involving eight experienced industry counsel – moderator: Mark Granger (Morrison Mahoney, LLP) and panelists: Steve Lyverse (Hillerich & Bradsby), Jim Archibald (STX Lacrosse), Marc Clements (Jarden Corporation), Jolene Miller (REI), Martin Nguyen (Easton-Bell Sports), and Keith Wexelblatt (Reebok) -- who examined What’s Keeping You Up at Night: A Candid Discussion with In-House Counsel.

The opening keynote address was delivered by U.S. Representative Pete Sessions (R-TX) who gave the audience a peek inside Capitol Hill in order to learn the latest news on the pressing issues involving the sporting goods and fitness industry on a Congressional level. During his speech, Congressman Sessions applauded the work of the sports industry and recognized the role it has in keeping Americans active, fit, and employed.

“Now more than ever, Americans need products that help promote a healthy lifestyle,” commented Congressman Sessions. “You play an important role in ensuring best practices, as well as in driving our economy by employing hardworking Americans to create safe products and provide valuable services. Your industries' products don't just help people perform better on the field but, more importantly, your products keep people playing safely."

Immediately following Sessions’ remarks, SGMA President Tom Cove presented an overview of the sporting goods industry as it relates to product sales, business outlooks and trends. Cove said that the sporting goods industry had some solid revenue growth in 2011, but some of that was driven by the increased costs of goods. Cove also delivered a summary of SGMA’s newly released Sports, Fitness, & Recreational Activities Participation Topline Report (2012 edition), where he mentioned that ‘inactivity’ rates among children ages six to 12 fell from 16.6% in 2010 to 16.0% in 2011; nearly 220 million Americans are ‘active;’ Utah, Idaho, and New Hampshire have the highest percentage of ‘active’ residents;’ and ‘active’ Americans are more inclined to vote than ‘inactive’ Americans.

Throughout the day, the seminar topics included (1) The Next 50 Years – Moving Towards A New Era of “Greener” and “Safe” Products – by Kevin Mayer (Crowell & Moring LLP), Kim Baker (Williams Kastner) and Elizabeth McNulty (Hewitt Wolensky LLP); (2) An Expensive Awakening - The Class Action Threat – by Gary Wolensky (Hewitt Wolensky LLP), Kevin Breen (P.E., ESI), Peter Pliszka (Fasken Martineau DuMoulin LLP), Paul Rosenlund (Duane Morris LLP), and Keith Wexelblatt (Reebok); (3) The New Frontier of Body Protection – by moderator: Mark Granger (Morrison Mahoney LLP) and panelists: Len Clement (Phoenix Performance Products, Inc.), Christina Schrecongost (Bureau Veritas), and Terry Smith, Ph.D. (Dynamic Research Inc.); (4) Concussions & the Future of Head Protection -- by Bill Staar (Morrison Mahoney LLP), Stacey Vernallis (Goehring Rutter & Boehm), and John Kuppens (Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough LLP); and (5) Advertising, Warnings and Instructions -- How Your Own Words Can Make Or Break You – by moderator: Robert Kelly (Littleton Joyce Ughetta Park & Kelly LLP) and panelists: J. Paul Frantz, Ph.D. (Applied Safety & Ergonomics, Inc.), Ed Haddad (New Balance Athletic Shoe, Inc.), and Charles Burhans (Applied Safety & Ergonomics, Inc.).

There were two luncheon speakers at this event: (1) Jeya Padmanaban, Ph.D. (JP Research Inc.) who discussed The Effective Use of Statistics in Sporting Goods Litigation. Those in the audience learned how databases, such as the CPSC’s, can be used to put injuries in perspective, how surveys can be used to help give exposure data and how statistical methods can show the relevancy of equipment testing and (2) Michael Carhart, Ph.D. (Exponent) who presented Helmets: Head Protection, Testing and Injury Analysis. Carhart’s talk focused on the newest sophisticated test methods to evaluate how sport helmets can influence linear and rotational accelerations to the head and how those loads are then introduced to the spine.

Click here for a complete list of the speakers and the topics they presented at this year’s LRMS.

"There is so much we assume about product standards but when coming to this event, we find out that it's not necessarily true. This event helps ensure that we’re well prepared,” said Len Clement (Director of Product Development; Phoenix Performance Products).

"It's never been a question about whether or not I'm attending this event," commented Karen Griffin (Corporate Risk Manager; Jas D. Easton, Inc.). “This event is always on my calendar because it’s one of the most important conferences that I participate in each year.”

“The LRMS never disappoints its audience. Every year, it features frank and educational discussions of the legal issues which impact the sporting goods and fitness industry,” said SGMA Legal Task Force Chairman Mark Granger (Senior Partner; Morrison Mahoney LLP). “The forum for these kinds of discussions is what makes the entire program so appealing to so many people within the sporting goods and fitness industry.”

SGMA has established a photo album for the 5th Annual Litigation & Risk Management Summit. To view photos captured from this year's Summit click here.

This year’s sponsors of the Litigation & Risk Management Summit included Applied Safety & Ergonomics; Biodynamic Research Corporation; Bureau Veritas Group; Engineering Systems, Inc.; Exponent, Inc.; Guidance Engineering; and JP Research, Inc.

The 6th Annual Litigation & Risk Management Summit is scheduled for April 1-2, 2013 at the National Gaylord Hotel in National Harbor, MD -- just south of Washington, DC. If you would like additional information, please contact SGMA’s Jan Ciambor at jciambor@sgma.com or 301.495.6321.

The Sporting Goods Manufacturers Association (SGMA), the #1 source for sport and fitness research, is the leading global trade association of manufacturers, retailers, and marketers in the sports products industry. SGMA helps lead the sports and fitness industries by fostering participation through research, thought leadership, product promotion, and public policy. More information about SGMA membership and SGMA's National Health Through Fitness Day can be found at www.SGMA.com.

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