Oct. 19, 2022

The Supreme Court at the Ballot Box

The Supreme Court at the Ballot Box

Host Sean Harris sits down with OAJ President Sydney McLafferty and MAJ President Stuart Sklar for a deep dive on the Ohio and Michigan Supreme Court races this election year. Find your voting resources at oajustice.org/oajvotes and be sure to vote on or before November 8!

Sydney McLafferty Profile Photo

Sydney McLafferty

Partner, Geiser, Bowman & McLafferty/President, Ohio Association for Justice

Sydney comes from a family with many attorneys. Her grandfather, now deceased, started a law firm in Troy, Ohio, which remains in practice today. With a total of three uncles and one aunt all as attorneys, a career in the law was a natural fit. It wasn’t until her first year of law school when she accepted an offer to clerk for the firm, that she recognized the significant impact of representing those that are injured and aggrieved against large corporations and insurance companies. After law school, Sydney joined the firm where she became partner in 2015.

Sydney spends a significant amount of her professional time with her leadership roles at the Ohio Association for Justice which is a state-wide organization dedicated to protecting her client’s constitutional rights and access to the civil justice system. Her involvement with OAJ directly benefits her clients and the clients of other practitioners around the state.

Stuart Sklar Profile Photo

Stuart Sklar

Managing Shareholder, Fabian, Sklar, King & Liss, P.C./President, Michigan Association for Justice

Stuart A. Sklar is a managing shareholder at Fabian, Sklar, King & Liss, P.C., where he has litigated hundreds of fire and explosion cases and collected tens of millions of dollars on behalf of his clients by obtaining judgments and settlements against, property insurance companies, product manufacturers, natural gas utility companies, propane gas suppliers, electric utilities, landlords, property owners, and others.

He is a Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) through the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). For 20 years, he served as a principal member of the National Fire Protection Association Technical Committee on Fire Investigations—the only attorney on the committee representing policyholders and those injured or killed in fires and explosions. The committee is responsible for NFPA 921: Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations.

Stuart currently serves as a principal member of the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Investigator Professional Qualifications responsible for NFPA 1033: Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator.

As one of the nation’s most respected fire loss attorneys and an industry leader in fire origin and cause investigation, Stuart co‐founded the International Symposium on Fire and Investigation Science and Technology (ISFI), a biennial professional symposium designed to bring together international fire investigation professionals to present and discuss the latest in fire investigation science, research, technology and methodology.

He has given expert testimony on fire scene investigation methodologies and has testified before a subcommittee of the Michigan Legislature on pending insurance legislation. Stuart has also lectured extensively on fire and explosion litigation issues throughout the United States, Canada and England.

Stuart is regularly called upon to provide fire litigation training to investigators and attorneys and to organizations such as the United States Department of Justice, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF), the National FIre Protection Association (NFPA), the Insurance Committee on Arson Control, the National Association of Fire Investigators, the International Association of Arson Investigators, the Detroit Fire Department Fire Investigation Division and the Michigan State Police, as well as many others.

In October 2012, NAFI presented Stuart with its “Distinguished Service Award.” Stuart is the first attorney in the more than 50-year history of NAFI to win this award. NAFI selected Stuart based upon his “decades of unswerving and selfless dedication and exceptional service toward the advancement of the fire investigation profession, by promoting and providing excellence in the training, education quality, expertise and professionalism of our vocation.”

Additionally, Stuart has been selected as a Michigan “Super Lawyer” by Super Lawyers magazine every year since 2006. He’s also been recognized as a “Top Lawyer” in DBusiness magazine, a “Best Lawyer in America” in both the insurance law and personal injury litigation‐plaintiff categories by Best Lawyers magazine, and was elected to membership in the American Board of Trial Advocates. Stuart was named a 2013 “Leader in the Law” by Michigan Lawyers Weekly, an honor presented to only 30 attorneys throughout Michigan, for his work in helping to train Detroit Fire Investigation Division members to become Certified Fire and Explosion Investigators.

Stuart earned a B.A. from Michigan State University in 1982 and a J.D. from the Michigan State University College of Law in 1985. He is a member of the Oakland County Bar Association, American Bar Association (Tort and Insurance Practice Section and Property Insurance Committee), State Bar of Michigan, American Association for Justice (Fire and Property Insurance Litigation Group). He is the President of the Michigan Association for Justice.