Annual Meeting registration opens, Virtual Trivia Night September 15, General Assembly updates, and more. .

VADA Defense Line August 2020

President's Welcome

The challenges of 2020 have been significant, and even overwhelming. While COVID-19 has wreaked economic havoc, fear, and/or personal hardships and loss, it has also spawned a resiliency in each of us to carry on and move forward. As attorneys, we have adopted new ways to continue to practice law, especially in light of the temporary cessation of jury trials and traditional discovery and resolution methods. Many of us have embraced conducting remote depositions, remote mediations, and other creative ways to keep our cases moving. Similarly, the VADA has also had to recalibrate its traditional manner of providing our members excellent educational and networking opportunities. Earlier this year, as our ability to meet in person, network, and enjoy the usual collegiality continued to be impaired, the VADA did not miss a beat and presented its regular Spring Series programming through remote means. Recently, VADA resurrected its Advanced Expert Witness Workshop, which had been canceled on the eve of the scheduled date in March because of COVID-19 concerns and closures. This new, successful, and well-received offering was held remotely on August 7, 2020, with all of the speakers presenting remotely. VADA’s adaptation to the present new COVID-19 challenges would not be possible without the commitment, enthusiasm, creativity, and efforts of our Director of Meetings, Amy Gilbody; Executive Director, Sherma Mather; and our hard-working Executive Committee, Board of Directors, Section Chairs, and Vice Chairs.

As the year continues, so do the COVID-19 challenges and hard decisions of whether to go live for our Annual Meeting. This is a gathering where we look forward to spending time at a luxurious venue seeing friends, catching up, networking, attending solid CLE programming, ushering in new leaders, and bestowing special honors. In the spirit of maintaining this tradition and balanced with COVID-19 concerns, we will be moving forward with our Annual Meeting, scheduled on October 14-15, 2020 at the Homestead, in a modified and truncated format. This means that everyone can attend, either in person or remotely. The Homestead is open for business and following COVID-19 guidelines. As long as we are in the present phase, and for those who feel comfortable doing so, members are invited to attend the meeting in-person. The meeting starts with its usual Wednesday evening reception followed by a robust CLE program, annual luncheon meeting, and reception on Thursday. Attending members will be given the choice of viewing the webcast stream programming together in a large ballroom or from the comfort of your guest room. For those members who do not wish to travel, you may attend our Annual Meeting via webcast at the location of your choice. We hope you can join us either in person or remotely for this long anticipated program. Special thanks to our Annual Meeting Committee Chair Julie Palmer, members of her hard-working Annual Meeting Committee, and Amy Gilbody for developing an excellent and fluid program, to include Virginia Supreme Court Justices, judges, and knowledgeable speakers on topics of interest to all of members. See the complete agenda and register on the meeting website.

In addition to our objective of continuing to provide substantive educational opportunities in these challenging times, VADA also, through the diligent efforts of Treasurer Jason Moyers, strives to ensure that you are kept current on case law and legislation through postings to Facebook, Twitter, and LinkedIn. Please sign up for these resources so you can keep up with material changes for the betterment of your practice and clients. We always invite you to let us know how we can better serve you.

Melissa H. Katz
VADA President, 2019-20

Attend in-person or via webcast

Many of our members, sponsors, and friends have been looking forward to gathering again for in-person VADA meetings. Others among us, however, are uncomfortable doing so. Understanding and respecting both of these perspectives, we are modifying our 2020 Annual Meeting to a quasi-hybrid format. In addition to trimming our CLE content to a single day, October 15, with opportunities for networking both that day and evening, as well as the evening before, all of our CLE offerings will be presented virtually, via webcast.

For those who feel comfortable doing so, we invite you to come to The Homestead for in-person events and to view the webcast stream either together or from the comfort of your guest room.  If you are planning to attend, book your hotel room before September 11. For those who do not wish to travel, you may attend our Annual Meeting via webcast from the comfort and security of your home or office.

Click here for the the updated Annual Meeting agenda and to register. Whether you plan to attend in-person or via webcast, we ask that you please register ASAP, so we can better plan this new hybrid format. We hope you are able to join us!

If you are planning to attend the meeting, either in-person or via webcast, please help us get an accurate registration count as soon as possible by registering and booking your hotel now, using the links below.

Thank you!

September 15 at 7:00 PM

Join us for an evening of networking and fun with fellow VADA members from across the Commonwealth!

Registration is now open!

In addition to an opportunity to connect with your VADA colleagues, we'll test your knowledge of VADA history, the law, and current events, as well as trivia regarding The Omni Homestead Resort, site of our 2020 Annual Meeting, with our trivia host, Erin Barclay of Orange Cat Trivia!

Make a team of your own (up to 6 people) or we'll assign you to one. We'll use Zoom breakout rooms so you don't need to be in the same location as your teammates. In addition to bragging rights, we'll also have prizes for the winners courtesy of our sponsors Planet Depos and J.S. Held, LLC!

Are you up for the challenge? Registration is free to all VADA members, but RSVP's are requested here.

When to Use Vocational Rehabilitation and Life Care Planner Experts and Effective Cross Examination

Sean Workowski, Frith Anderson & Peake
Susan Wirt, MSN, Wirt & Associates

In order to prove damages, and in cases where long-term care is necessary, experts are often used to project future costs. This includes future medical care, lost wages, and/or loss of earning capacity. Experts are also used to establish whether someone is capable of returning to their former employment and/or establishing their work limitations. Read more here to learn how experts are used to lay the foundation for this information and damages, and how to either strike such testimony if the proper foundation is not laid, as well as to discuss effective cross-examination when these types of experts are used.

This information was originally presented at our Advanced Expert Witness Workshop on August 7, 2020. Find this, and all past meeting written materials, in the members-only section of our website.

The General Assembly has convened in special session. Many bills address COVID-19. SB 5064 mandates employer reporting of employee COVID confirmed cases. SB5076 makes unlawful the discharge or discrimination against an employee for taking unpaid sick leave and creates a right of action for violations. HB 5028 and SB 5066, 5071, and 5104 create a presumption of occupational disease for first responders and health care workers for workers’ compensation benefits. SB5105 requires public disclosure of COVID cases at nursing homes. SB5082 and HB 5059 provide for certain immunity for certain hospices and assisted living facilities. SB5065 and HB5013 expand the opportunity for a civil cause of action for deprivation of rights by law enforcement, effectively creating a Section 1983 action in state law for violations of state and federal law. Sovereign and qualified immunities do not apply to the proposed bill.

Join our social media sites where we post current court updates and relevant legal developments.  

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.

September 15
Virtual Trivia Night
Via Zoom

October 14-15
Annual Meeting
The Homestead and via Webcast

December 4
Young Lawyers Boot Camp

May 5-7
Spring Sections Seminar 
Boar's Head Inn, Charlottesville

This Garden State native and Potomac Regional Director loves travel and the thrill of exploring new cultures.  At the top of her bucket list is a trip to Scandinavia to experience the Northern Lights.  To learn more about this month’s VADA Spotlighted member, click here.

It’s not too late to get on the SS VADA before it sets sail for the Annual Meeting on October 15!  We hear that the buffet of CLE and fellowship is incredible, virtually or in-person! 

If you have questions about your membership status, please contact Sherma Mather at or Sam Bernier at for more information!

We are so pleased to welcome our new VADA member.

Philip Abbruscato
Gordon Reese Scully 

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