for challenges ahead
Also at the awards dinner, members paid tribute to PaTLA's immediate past president Frank J. Wesner Jr. and honored state Senator Robert C. Jubelirer (R-30th Dist.) with the 2000 President's Award. In addition, William F. Goodrich of Pittsburgh received the Milton D. Rosenberg Award and Terry S. Hyman of Harrisburg was presented with the George F. Douglas Jr. Amicus Curiae Award.
In his inaugural speech, Shollenberger pledged to uphold PaTLA's mission to keep the courts open to all citizens. He also issued a stern challenge to corporate wrongdoers, insurance companies, and HMOs who are seeking to rewrite the law to insulate themselves from responsibility for the harm they cause: "We are not going to sit idly by while these forces seek to undo the body of law that has been so carefully crafted by our Legislature and our courts." Shollenberger vowed to work for fairness in the civil justice system, improve workplace safety, and hold the makers and sellers of harmful products accountable for their actions.
Shollenberger's primary focus will be on Senate Bill 5, the "Lawsuit Abuse Reform Act," which is currently before the Senate Judiciary Committee. If passed, SB 5 would severely limit the rights of Pennsylvanians in civil cases. Among its more onerous proposals is one that would drastically limit the portion of damages designed to punish wrongdoers. Another is a statute of repose that would set a 15-year time limit on products, after which no liability lawsuits could be filed. Shollenberger said PaTLA's main duty during his term as president will be to stand strong in its opposition to this legislation. "We're going to continue to advocate that position, because it's the right one for Pennsylvania consumers," Shollenberger said.
Shollenberger will also lead PaTLA in support of SB 1025, a pro-consumer bill that would expand the rights of consumers in the areas of toxic exposure, limit secrecy orders that prohibit public discussion of unsafe products, promote workplace safety-giving employees a limited right to sue for intentional harm for damages in workplace settings previously only covered by workers' compensation, and grant other employee rights dealing with just cause treatment for dismissal. "PaTLA is taking a proactive role with SB 1025 because we believe the system can work more effectively for those who suffer harm," he said.
In addition, he will reach out to Pennsylvania elementary and middle school students by staging statewide mock trial programs on the risks of smoking. This program will be done in conjunction with the American Heart Association. "Tobacco and children are terms that are too often synonymous," Shollenberger said. His goal is to obtain 5,000 written pledges from students that they will not use tobacco related products.
Shollenberger long ago became affiliated with the American Heart Association. He has served as a member of the Board of Directors of the South Central Pennsylvania Chapter. He has also volunteered his time or otherwise contributed to Big Brothers/ Big Sisters and youth sports activities.
Professionally, Shollenberger is perhaps best known for his work in the field of automobile law. A 1981 graduate of Dickinson School of Law, he is the founder of PaTLA's popular "Nuts and Bolts of Auto Law" course. A prolific writer, his most recent book and CD-ROM, which he co-authored, is "Pennsylvania Auto Litigation: Guidelines and Forms for the Trial Lawyer." He also co-authored PaTLA's well known "Pennsylvania Motor Vehicle Insurance" book.
A champion of trial and comp. lawyers and their clients, Tim served in 1996 as the first president of the Central Pennsylvania Trial Lawyers Association. In 1997, he was appointed by the Supreme Court as chairperson of an Attorney Hearing Panel for the Disciplinary Board and served as a Hearing Committee member from 1992 through 1996.
In 1998, Tim was the co-recipient of PaTLA's prestigious Milton D. Rosenberg Award for outstanding service to the organization.
Shollenberger promised to deal with the daily challenges in the best way he knows how. Later in his speech, he acknowledged that it is sometimes tough to be a dedicated trial lawyer these days when lawyers are vilified by the media, made the butt of jokes at times, and blamed unfairly. He urged his colleagues to continue with the good work that they are doing and then shared a quotation from Mother Theresa about the path to follow through life: "Give the world the best you have, and you'll get kicked in the teeth. Give the world the best you've got anyway."
Shollenberger resides in Mechanicsburg with his wife, Marissa, and their children, Ryan and Jessica.
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