Trial Tactics - Register by 2/22, Legislative Update, VADA Members Honored, Recent Rulings, and more...

VADA Defense Line February 2019

President's Welcome

Welcome to the 2nd edition of Defense Line. I hope you have had a chance to check out  our new website  Did you enjoy receiving your membership invoice electronically? I hope you found it easier to pay your dues online and did you know we finally can accept AmEx? 

Capitol Region members, I hope you are able to attend tonight's Networking event at Bingo Beer.

Don't miss the many important items in this issue like our recent awards winners, legislative update, recent rulings and a new Member Spotlight. Can you guess who it is? 

We have a wonderful training opportunity in our Trial Tactics Workshop March 15-16 at the University of Richmond. Be sure to sign up before February 22. Mark your calendar now for all our upcoming events listed below.

Please continue to let me know your thoughts on the new design and initiatives at Thank you for your continued support of VADA.

John B. Mumford, Jr.
President, VADA 2018-2019

Upcoming Events

Capitol Networking Reception
TONIGHT Feb. 6, 5:30 @ Bingo Beer

Trial Tactics Workshop
Mar. 15-16 @ U of R

Board Meeting
April 19 in Richmond

Spring Sections Seminar
May 8-10 in Staunton

Annual Meeting
Oct. 2-4 in Norfolk

Boot Camp
Dec. 13 in Richmond

Register for Trial Tactics by February 22

The nature of this hands-on workshop on March 15-16 requires that all attendees register before February 22.  Don't miss out on this unique opportunity, which is only offered every 3 years.  Register here today

VADA Legislative Update      

The General Assembly convened on January 9, 2019.  VADA is tracking bills of interest through its lobbyists at Macaulay & Jamerson, PC.  The Senate recently passed SB 1619 on spoliation of evidence.  It has been referred to the House Courts of Justice.  It essentially mirrors the federal rule.  The Senate and House passed bills (SB 1486 & HB 2197) permitting summary judgment upon discovery depositions when both parties are business entities and the amount at issue is at least $50,000.

VADA Member Spotlight

How has the 1998 film, The Big Lebowski, influenced this member in his law practice?  Click here to find out.

Connect with VADA

Don't miss out on news and events at VADA.  Be sure you are following us on social media. Below are links to our Members-Only Facebook group, public Facebook page, and our Twitter account. Join us!

 Members        Public

VADA Members Honored

The VADA is proud to announce we have three member honorees in the inaugural class of Influential Women of Law!

CONGRATULATIONS to our Past President Lisa Frisina, our President-Elect Melissa Katz and member Patice Holland!

Nominations Sought

We are collecting nominations now for our VADA/VTLA Civility and Professionalism Award and the VADA Award for Excellence in Civil Litigation.  

Awarded for more than 20 years, the Excellence in Civil Ligation Award honors a distinguished jurist, civil litigator, or other who demonstrates exemplary conduct inside and outside of the courtroom, as well as courtesy and fairness in dealing with others. Send your letter of recommendation with the nominee's resume (if possible) to Sherma Mather.

Beginning in 2015, the VADA and VTLA agreed to create an award which each year will recognize and honor a member of each organization for their civility and professionalism in the practice of law. This award commends civility, professional integrity, personal dignity, candor, diligence, respect, courtesy, and cooperation. There is no particular form. Please email your thoughts on why the attorney is worthy of the award by March 4 to Sherma Mather at

Recent Decisions

Clarity on Judges Accepting Complimentary Membership & Conferences from Law Groups

On January 10, 2019, Chief Justice Donald W. Lemons sent a memorandum to all Judges throughout our Commonwealth advising that the Court approved two new comments to Canon 4 of the Canons of Judicial Conduct which make it clear that judges are permitted to accept complimentary membership in bar and law related organizations.  The new comments further advise that judges are also allowed to accept a waiver of registration fees and complimentary meals and lodging at bar or law related functions. 

This is great news as we can expect better attendance by our judges at our functions. We already have a stellar line up of judges at our upcoming Annual Meeting session, “Breakfast with the Judiciary.”  We will be inviting judges throughout our Commonwealth to join us in Norfolk on October 2-3, 2019. For more information regarding the Revisions to Canon 4 of the Canons of Judicial Conduct click here.

Supreme Court of Virginia Upholds Trial Court’s Decision to Grant Missing Witness Instruction where Plaintiff Elected Not to Attend Trial 

The Supreme Court of Virginia recently denied a Petition for Appeal and a Petition for Rehearing in the case of Raighne C. Delaney v. Madison Pommer, Record No. 180903, Circuit Court No. CL-2016-16148. The issue on appeal was whether the “missing witness instruction” was properly granted when plaintiff did not appear for his own trial. Read more here.  

Caution: Trial Court Finds UIM Carrier's Subrogation Rights are not Extinguished Under Section L of Va. Code 38.2-2206 Unless Defendant Tort-Feasor Signs the Release

In a personal injury case pending in the Circuit Court of Fairfax County, Michael Byorick v. Sergia Flores Reyes, Law No. 2018-11642, the defendant’s insurer tendered its policy to the plaintiff, pursuant to Section K,  with the expectation that its duty to defend would end, and the UIM carrier would absorb the defense. Read more here. 

2019 Annual Meeting

The VADA’s 2019 Annual Meeting will take place October 2-4, 2019, at Hilton The Main Norfolk.  In addition to an exciting new venue, this year’s Meeting will feature new opportunities for fun and reconnecting with fellow VADA members and friends.  Also on tap will be some timely and innovative CLE programming, such as a peek inside plaintiff’s counsel’s “playbook,” tips for beating back the Reptile theory in depositions and written discovery, and an update on the law of spoliation of evidence in the wake of Emerald Point, LLC v. Hawkins.  More details to follow.  Hope to see you there!

Local Government Section

Continuing its commitment to Local Government members, the VADA Board of Directors has voted to create a new Local Government Section.  This section will focus on the defense of claims and suits against local governments and local government officials including: civil rights liability, state torts, automobile liability, self-insurance, sovereign and governmental immunity, trial tactics, and more.  The Local Government Section will begin its full programming during the October 2019 Annual Meeting in Norfolk.

To join the Local Government Section, log on to VADA, then click on your name in the upper right corner and then "view profile," & "edit profile."

Using Cellular Records Analysis in Insurance Claims

Often in high-dollar insurance claims, the whereabouts of the claimant may be at issue, especially when there is suspicion of fraud.  But how do you help prove the claimant’s location absent refuting or corroborating testimony?  The answer lies in the cellular records of the claimant.  With a proper subpoena to the cellular provider, you can start to prove or disprove the location of the claimant during, before & after the incident and the best part is, the claimant has no access to this dataOur article talks about this in detail with specific examples of practical case application.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
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Richmond, VA  23235