The Academy of Court Appointed Masters

Academy of Court Appointed Masters pic
Academy of Court Appointed Masters

A partner at Gentle, Turner, Sexton, and Harbison, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama, Edgar Gentle also serves as director at Custom Cable Services, Inc. Moreover, Edgar Gentle is an experienced mass tort attorney and speaker and a member of the Academy of Court Appointed Masters (ACAM).

Established in 2004, the Academy of Court Appointed Masters is dedicated to encouraging the effective use of special masters in state and federal court cases when necessary to help parties, their lawyers, and the courts. Comprised entirely of special masters, including court monitors, judicial referees, and court adjuncts, ACAM offers its members the opportunity to network and share ideas at its annual meetings and to attend continuing legal education webinars. ACAM welcomes the membership of any former judge or attorney who has served as a special master in a state or federal court case.

A key resource that ACAM makes available is the ACAM Benchbook, which is free and includes information on federal and state master rules and authorities. It also features sample appointment orders for various situations, along with a checklist.


PCBs, Pollution, and Legal Liability

Polychlorinated Biphenyls pic
Polychlorinated Biphenyls

Ed Gentle serves as an attorney and founding partner with a Birmingham, Alabama, law firm. Well-versed in mass tort litigation and settlement administration, Ed Gentle administered a $300 million settlement for a major polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) pollution case in Anniston, Alabama.

PCBs are a class of chemicals that were used for industrial purposes in the United States from 1929 to 1979. They have a variety of useful properties, including functioning as electrical insulators and exhibiting a high degree of stability. Unfortunately, scientists discovered PCBs are extremely toxic to humans in that they damage the immune system and are carcinogenic.

Due to their harmful effects and the fact that they were employed so extensively in the United States, companies that used PCBs face liability and often enter into settlements with the intention of funding or partially funding the environmental cleanup of contaminated sites. In Anniston, for example, thousands of claimants settled with the Monsanto Company and other corporations to the tune of $300 million to address PCB pollution and the property damage caused by it.

More recently, the city of New Bedford, Massachusetts, settled with the AVX Corporation and Cornell-Dubilier Electronics for more than $8 million to remediate a site polluted by PCBs.

Differences Between Mass Tort and Class Action

Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, LLC pic
Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, LLC

As partner in the law firm of Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, LLC, in Birmingham, Alabama, Ed Gentle is an attorney with many years of experience. The firm represents individuals and businesses as well as government agencies. Among the main matters that attorneys like Ed Gentle handle are litigation and mediation for mass tort/class action cases. along with the settlement administration related to them.

The terms mass tort and class action may sound familiar, but what’s the difference between the two? A class action suit is filed when there are numerous people who share a similar adverse event. The reasons could span from defective products to mistreatment by a company. One reason class actions are filed is to relieve the court of the burden of dealing with each claim individually, instead linking them together because of the similar issues involved.

Mass torts, on the other hand, are handled differently from class action suits. While both involve numerous people with similar complaints, mass torts are more complicated and can take longer to litigate. Mass torts are generally filed for cases where there may be a range of complaints, with plaintiffs suffering different impacts. And because of the complexity of these cases, compensations are often more difficult to ascertain.

Pond Mountain Tales

Xlibris Press pic
Xlibris Press

Birmingham, Alabama, attorney Ed Gentle serves as a partner with Gentle Turner Sexton and Harbison, LLC. Outside of his legal work, Ed Gentle pursues a range of hobbies, including creative writing. He has recently published a book of his short stories and poetry with Xlibris Press entitled Pond Mountain Tales.

Containing poems, stories, and vignettes that relate to the eleven years that the author spent living on a 200-acre farm, the writing in Pond Mountain Tales deals with relationships between people and nature. For example, the piece “Rattler Truce” is about the shaky coexistence of copperhead rattlesnakes and people on the farm and the author’s ultimate decision to not bother the snakes on his property.

Fishing themes also run through Pond Mountain Tales. For instance, the short story “The Pipe I” is set at a fishing tournament the author participated in. The story is about a specific fishing incident and includes both “official” and “unofficial” accounts of what happened. The author also examines the larger philosophical issues of why fishing and fishing tournaments have such an appeal to humans.