Free Webinar Thursday on Remote Depositions, HCA Sports Med 5K Race Rescheduled, VADA Award Winner, and more.

VADA Defense Line March 2020

President's Welcome 

Given the recent coronavirus (COVID-19) news, we want to assure you that the safety and well-being of our members is a top priority. We postponed last week’s Advanced Expert Witness Workshop and will work to reschedule it, either in person or online, in the future. Our HCA 5K has been presently rescheduled to May 9 and we hope you can still join us in our friendly competition with VTLA.

We have not made any decisions concerning the status of other upcoming events, but rest assured that we will make those decisions with the best interests of our members in mind. We are closely monitoring the VDH for guidance regarding cancelling or modifying events and we encourage everyone to follow the CDC's guidelines regarding COVID-19 and check out the CDC resource, Interim Guidance for Businesses and Employers: Plan, Prepare and Respond to Coronavirus Disease 2019.

Recognizing you may need to modify the way you work, we have partnered with Planet Depos to offer an online webinar on Thursday, March 19 on Remote Depositions. Click here to register for the free event, where you will learn how to use technology to conduct depositions, trials, arbitrations and other proceedings, in real time. Paralegals are also welcome to join.

As we navigate through unchartered territories and deal with court closings, please use our NETWORKING resources if you need any assistance in a jurisdiction which is not close to your office. All of our VADA members are listed on our website. If there is any assistance that the VADA Board can provide, please feel free to reach out to us: Sherma Mather, Executive Director: (804) 649-1002 and/or contact our officers, regional directors, or directors listed here.

Additionally, if you have not joined our social media sites, we encourage you to do so. VADA’s Treasurer Jason Moyers is regularly and timely posting updates regarding court updates and communications as we all navigate this situation on a day to day basis. The links to join are as follows:

VADA Closed Facebook group
Linkedin Page

We will continue to be of service to you and encourage you to reach out to us and your fellow members.

Melissa H. Katz
VADA President, 2019-20

Thursday, March 19
12:30-1:00 PM

Register online here

Free to VADA members and their paralegals.

Free Webinar on the Use of Remote Depositions

We realize you may need to modify the way you work, so we are pleased to invite you to a webinar demonstration, A Look at Remote Deposition Capabilities, on March 19 at 12:30 PM. Billy DiMonte, Co-Founder and Managing Partner of Planet Depos, will walk you through everything you need to know to easily conduct your deposition from anywhere in the world. There will also be a Q&A portion to address any questions that may arise.

The event is free to members and their paralegals.

HCA Sports Med 5K

The HCA Sports Med 5K race is on now on Saturday, May 9, 2020 in Richmond, with a start time of 9:30 a.m. VADA and VTLA are gold sponsors of this race, which is part of our 2020 Wellness Initiative to get attorneys moving. The race further benefits and serves the community, as all proceeds from this event will benefit FeedMore Richmond, a charity dedicated to providing food to the homeless.

The 2020 Spring Sections Seminar Registration Opens Soon

New Hotel Madison on the JMU campus May 13-15

Save the date for our annual specialized litigation sections training. Assuming we are able to meet in person, we'll meet from May 13-15 in Harrisonburg. Should we be unable to meet in person, we will explore distance learning options. This year, we'll discuss hot topics such as What Virginia Laywers Need to Know about Cannabis Legalization, Challenging the BAC Test Results in Civil Litigation, Hospital's Duty to Protect Patients and Control Other Violent Patients on the Premises, Cybersecurity, and more.  See the complete agenda here.

Thank you to our section leadership for developing an excellent agenda! We hope to see you in Harrisonburg.

Appellate Advocacy
Chair: Joseph Pope
Vice Chair: Judson Peverall

Auto & Transportation Liability
Chair: Matthew Roberson
Vice Chair: Patrick O'Grady

Corporate & Commercial Litigation
Chair: Greg Bean
Vice Chair: Karissa Kaseorg

Local Government
Chair: Bobbi Jo Alexis

Medical Malpractice
Chair: Kari Jackson
Vice Chair: Lauren Kadish

Policy Coverage
Chair: Guy Harbert
Vice Chair: Josh Goodwin

Product & Toxic Torts
Chair: Laura May Hooe
Vice Chair: Surge Moghadassi

Professional Liability
Chair: Lindsey Lewis

Workers' Compensation
Chair: Esther King
Vice Chair: Marilyn Harvey

VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award

Congratulations to VADA member and past president Kate McCauley of Moran Reeves Conn, whom the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association has selected as this year’s recipient of the VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award! Check your email for information on how you can nominate a worthy VTLA member. Congratulations, Kate, on an honor well-deserved!

Southwest Region Happy Hour
April 23 from 5:30-7:30

Watch your email for updates

(Speakeasy Bar at Fortunato)

Join us for an evening of networking and fun with fellow VADA members. Drinks, snacks and exciting raffle prizes provided by our sponsor, Planet Depos. Bring a colleague, who is not yet a VADA member, for an extra raffle ticket. Registration is free, but RSVPs are requested here.

Capitol Region Happy Hour

We had an awesome time last month with our friends from the National Capital Region of the Association of Corporate Counsel at our Capitol Region Networking Happy Hour! Many thanks to all who joined us for the fun at Slingshot Social Game Club! Many thanks, too, to our generous sponsors!

Mark your calendar now for these upcoming VADA events.  Be sure to bookmark VADA Upcoming Events so you don't miss out.

Watch your email for updates on all upcoming events.

April 3
VADA Board Meeting
Via Conference Call

April 23
Southwest Region Happy Hour

May 9 (New Date)


May 13-15
Spring Sections Seminar
Hotel Madison (NEW LOCATION)

May 20
Potomac Region Happy Hour
Capital Ale House Fairfax

June 19
VADA Board Meeting
Virginia Beach

Member Spotlight

This Regional Director and Fairfax native loves reading, travel, and the movie Mean Girls. On her list of places to visit is a return trip to India. To learn more about this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

DRI Update

The DRI 2020 Summit will take place in Washington DC beginning Wednesday, October 21, 2020. 

Please check the DRI website for upcoming seminars in your practice area. 

Please contact John Peterson or Lindsay Rollins for information on joining DRI, including special discount offers!

The Governor has signed into law HB781 and SB661, providing that a cause of action does not accrue for malignant asbestos injury or disease upon the diagnosis of a previous diagnosis of a nonmalignant asbestos injury or disease. It is effective 7/1/2020. This law is intended to reverse the Supreme Court of Virginia’s opinion in Kiser v. Chesteron, 285 Va. 12 (2013).  In addition, HB1359, providing that upon a motion in a circuit court action to decrease a plaintiff’s ad damnum to within the jurisdiction of the general district court, the circuit court shall order transfer without dismissal or nonsuit, has passed the General Assembly and awaits the Governor’s approval. Also awaiting the Governor’s approval is HB46, which provides that the Workers’ Compensation Commission shall order an employer within 30 days to provide notice to a person injured at work whether it intends to: 1) accept the claim; 2) deny the claim; or 3) if more information is required.

Membership renewals continue during this first quarter of the year. All members should have received an electronic renewal notice in their email beginning January 1, and continuing Feb 1 and March 1. All non-renewed members for 2020 also should have received paper invoices that were mailed out Feb 22. All lapsed members (who did not pay dues in 2019) would have received paper invoices mailed during the first week of March.

Benjamin Beliles
Eckert Seamans

Lauren Bohdan

Matthew Daly

Lisa Duley
Schoenberg & Associates

Brittany Gold
Williams, Negler, Verser & Lane

Kenneth Hirtz
Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman

Frank Hudson
Teumer & Drash

Michael Kozak
Chesterfield County Attorney's Office

Thomas Lane
Law Office of Thomas D. Lane

Sarah Marks
Timothy S. Smith & Associates

Brennan Morrissett
McCandlish Holton

Blaire O'Brien
Office of the Attorney General

Royce, Daniel

Ramika Stephens
Timothy S. Smith & Associates

Megan Wagner
Harman, Claytor, Corrigan & Wellman

We welcome you 
to the VADA family!

2019-20 Regional Directors

Meet our 2019-20 Regional Directors! Clockwise from the top left are Matt Kelley, Southwest Region; Rachel Horvath, Blue Ridge Region; Jonathan Hyslop, Tidewater Region; Madelaine Kramer, Potomac Region; and Lindsay Rollins, Capitol Region.

Thank you, Matt, Rachel, Jonathan, Madelaine, and Lindsay for your service to our membership!

For Rule 4:10 Exams,
Reciprocity is Key

Dawn E. BoyceBancroft, McGavin, Horvath, & Judkins

In personal injury actions, it is becoming more and more common for Plaintiff’s counsel to seek as a “condition” for a Rule 4:10 examination that the examination be recorded. Where such a “condition” is granted on Plaintiff’s motion, defense counsel should consider filing a motion for an order compelling recording of all examinations by Plaintiff’s designated experts. Judge Michael Devine of Fairfax County Circuit granted one such motion. In the case before Judge Devine, Plaintiff’s counsel argued, over objection, that the Rule 4:10 examination should be audio recorded. The primary reason asserted was to ensure the veracity of the process and to eliminate the possibility of any disparity between what the Plaintiff asserted occurred or was said and what the doctor set forth in his report or testified to at trial. Defendant’s counsel, John McGavin, argued that if the court believed that such was necessary for a defense expert, then the same should apply for any designated expert for the Plaintiff. That motion was not before the court, but the court encouraged Defendant’s counsel to file a motion based on the need for reciprocity.

The motion was filed and opposed by Plaintiff’s counsel. The primary argument in opposition was that the court had no authority to order the relief sought. Judge Devine rejected this argument, finding authority under the discovery and disclosure provisions in Va. Code § 8.01-399 (B) and Rule 4:1 (b)(4)(A)(iii). He opined that where the Plaintiff takes the position that the integrity of the examination process is at issue and the only way that the information presented can be verified as accurate is by audio recording an examination, then all examinations with the Plaintiffs’ designated experts should be subject to the same safeguard. Judge Devine concluded that this was the only equitable and fair way to address contentions of bias or discrepancies in reporting. However, Judge Devine ruled that reciprocity was key. Accordingly, if the Plaintiff made no such request or withdrew the request for a recording, then the Defendant would not be entitled to the relief sought. As a result of Judge Devine’s ruling and a concern that statements made during the examinations might be admitted into evidence as party admissions, plaintiff’s request for audio recording of the Rule 4:10 examination was withdrawn. It should also be noted that many jurisdictions, including some of the judges in Fairfax Circuit Court, apply Federal Court’s majority rule of proving “good cause” for any extra discovery measures not provided by Rule 4:10. The plaintiff’s argument that recordation prevents discrepancies is illogical as that possibility exists in all exams – and that is why a demand for reciprocity is warranted if the court is not inclined to use a “good cause” standard.

Appellate Mediation Program

Not every appeal should go all the way to final adjudication. Some appeals cry out for a mediated settlement. But settling a case on appeal presents unique challenges, particularly when the winning party in circuit court, emboldened by the judgment, sees no reason to bargain. For the mediator, the approach after judgment is as different from pretrial mediation as appellate oral argument differs from a closing argument to a jury.

Recognizing this, Virginia has created an appellate mediation system featuring mediators specially trained in handling post-judgment disputes, available after the Supreme Court grants a writ. The Court approved a two-year pilot program, and we’re now just over halfway through it. The program permits litigants in qualifying cases – which includes just about every tort case– an automatic 30-day stay of deadlines to pursue mediation.

Many (perhaps not all) of us enjoy appellate oral arguments, but sometimes our client’s best interests may be served by not pursuing the appeal all the way to a final decision. We invite you to consider this specialized version of ADR for your appeals, even if you tried and failed to settle the case in the trial court. Information is available on the program website. 

VADA’S Mission

The mission of the Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys is to assist Virginia attorneys in the professional and ethical representation of their clients in civil litigation through education, communication and fellowship.

Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys
1915 Huguenot Road, Ste 301
Richmond, VA  23235