Book Your Spring Meeting Hotel Room Now, Awards Nominations, and more...

VADA Defense Line March 2022

President's Welcome

Greetings!  I begin this month with a well-deserved round of thanks to all involved in our 2022 VADA Trial Tactics Workshop!  To those who registered for the Workshop, I hope you found it to be of benefit to you in your practice.  To our judges and coaches, thank you for sharing with our members your time and your expertise.  To Tracy Taylor Hague, thank you for being our featured speaker Friday evening.  Thank you, too, to our sponsors (many of whom doubled as witnesses for the Workshop), our Young Lawyers Section for hosting, and Amy, Sherma, and everyone else who had a hand in the planning of this event!

Thanks, too, are in order to VADA members Marty Conn, Julie Seyfarth, and Past President Cam Beck for their presentation on “Productivity and Pandemic Practice” at our February Lunch & Learn!  Sponsored by our Wellness Committee, Marty, Julie, and Cam shared with us tips and best practices for maximizing our productivity and efficiency as attorneys, while simultaneously maintaining our own physical and mental wellbeing.  A hat tip to the three of you and to all who attended!

I also would like to congratulate VADA member Alan Rashkind for being named by VTLA as this year’s recipient of the VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award!  Alan received this Award at VTLA’s Annual Convention this past weekend.  Congratulations, Alan, on this well-deserved honor!  Thank you, too, to VTLA for inviting Sherma and me to be with Alan and his wife Suzette as he received this Award.

With the calendar now turned to Spring, we look forward to our Spring Sections Seminar at the Boar’s Head Resort May 4-6!  Props to our Section Chairs and Vice-Chairs for putting together an excellent lineup of speakers and topics for this year’s Seminar.  Along with top flight CLE, we have on tap a number of opportunities to relax, network, and connect with old friends.  For those who are members of our Women’s Section, please be sure to register for our private wine tasting event at Stinson Vineyards on May 4.  With thanks to our Wellness Committee, we invite all to join us for a walk/run the morning of May 5 and yoga the morning of May 6.  We also invite everyone to donate to our fund and supply drive for the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA, as we say thank you to the Charlottesville-Albemarle County community for hosting us for this year’s Seminar!

I look forward to seeing each of you at our Spring Sections Seminar and at other VADA events through the remainder of this year!  Meantime, stay safe and stay well.  Thank you for your support of VADA!

Jason Moyers
VADA President, 2021-22

Spring Sections Seminar
May 4-6
Boar's Head Resort

Registration is now open for our Annual Spring Sections Seminar, which will be May 4-6 at the Boar's Head Resort in Charlottesville.

Our section leaders have developed an excellent program and you can see the complete agenda on the meeting website.  In addition to excellent CLE programming, the meeting also offers a private wine tasting event hosted by our Women's Section, Wellness Committee activities, a pet supply and fund drive for the Charlottesville Albemarle SPCA, and two networking receptions.

Our discounted room block at the Boar's Head will be released March 31, or when the block is full, so book your hotel today

Seminar Activities


Join our private wine tasting event hosted by our Women's Section at Stinson Vineyards in Crozet! Those who attend this event will enjoy beautiful views, wine, and casual conversation with other VADA women. Transportation to and from the event will be provided.  Sign up for this optional event when you register for the Spring Meeting. Attendance is limited, so please register early!

Thank you to Planet Depos for sponsoring this event!


Make plans to join us for a Group Run/Walk on Thursday morning, May 5, and Group Yoga on Friday morning, May 6! All are welcome! Sign up for these optional free events when you register for the Spring Meeting.

Thank you to our Wellness Committee and Metadata Forensics for these awesome opportunities for some healthy fun!


In conjunction with our 2022 Spring Sections Seminar in Charlottesville this May 4-6, VADA is sponsoring a pet supply and fund drive for the Charlottesville-Albemarle SPCA! CASPCA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to providing a safe environment for the lost, abandoned, and homeless animals of Charlottesville and Albemarle County and placing them in good homes. The funds and supplies we collect, in addition to saying thank you to the Charlottesville-Albemarle County community for hosting us for our Spring Sections Seminar, will help CASPCA fulfill its mission of care and support for animals in need. For more on CASPCA, please visit: For a list of needed supplies, please visit: All funds and supplies we collect will be delivered to CASPCA at the conclusion of our Seminar. We thank you for your generosity and your support!

The 2022 General Assembly regular session ended on Saturday, March 12 without a budget. It is anticipated that the legislators will reconvene soon for a special session to finalize a budget which currently has $3 billion in differences between the Senate and House proposed budgets. VADA will continue to monitor for budget impacts to our members as this process moves forward. It is also important to note that by April 11, the Governor’s Office must submit to the General Assembly any bill amendments or vetoes from the desk of Governor Youngkin. Members of the General Assembly will then return to Richmond on April 27 for “Veto Day,” during which members will vote on these matters. Prefiling for the 2023 General Assembly session begins on July 18.

We are pleased to say that VADA’s inaugural Lobby Day, which occurred on February 22, was a great success. We began with a breakfast, where members of VADA’s legislative committee welcomed Delegate Tim Anderson and had an opportunity to gain his perspective and insights as a legislator who sits on the House Courts of Justice Committee. Following breakfast, we spent the rest of the morning meeting with Senate and House legislators, including Delegates Adams, Rasoul, Ware, Avoli, and Bourne, as well as Senators Hashmi, Dunnavant, Peake, Hanger and Edwards. We concluded the day in the Senate gallery, where members of VADA’s legislative committee received a warm welcome to the Senate from Senator Peake.

All in all, it was a successful first-ever Lobby Day, and we are excited to take what we’ve learned and plan for 2023’s Lobby Day!  Thanks for your support of VADA and special thanks to our Legislative Chair, Patrick O'Grady.

Why Do Bad Things Happen to
People In “Good” Cars?

March 31 at Noon

Amy Courtney, Ph.D., CAISS
(Injury Biomechanics)

Marc Paradiso, M.S., P.E.
(Accident Reconstruction)

Regan Lawson, Ph.D.
(Human Factors)

Many modern vehicles have advanced restraint systems and high crashworthiness ratings, yet injuries and fatalities still occur in crashes involving these vehicles. Have advanced restraint systems reduced the rate of serious injuries? What factors are associated with fatalities that occur in highly rated vehicles? In fatal crashes involving fire, can the contributing role of crash forces be distinguished from thermal effects? How have knowledge and data increased to help answer important questions associated with a specific crash incident? What sort of claims arise with rapidly advancing driver assist technology? Join our panel of experts from Exponent who will answer these questions, and more. 

Foundational Requirements
for the Life Care Plan

May 24 at Noon

Michael A. Fryar, M.S., RN, CLCP, CCM, CRC, QRP

Betsy Keesler, RN, BSN, CLCP

Our panel of experts from InQuis will review published life care planning standards, tenets and consensus statements relative to seeking, gathering and establishing comprehensive foundation for the development an evidence-based life care plan.  Case scenarios will be utilized to illustrate appropriate and inappropriate methods/practices relative to foundational requirements.  Finally, the implications and risks inherent to breaching one’s professional scope of practice and/or other standards during the development of a life care plan will be addressed.  

Capitol Region Networking Reception
The Hof Garden
June 23
5:00 - 700 PM

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

Our Women’s Section is excited to announce that it will be hosting a special event at our Spring Sections Seminar in Charlottesville!  Please check out the details above for our private wine tasting event and plan to join us!  

We are still working on a listserv/communication option and hope to have something shortly.  If you have any suggestions for the Section, please contact Rachel Horvath at or Jodi Simopoulos at

We look forward to seeing you this Spring!


Be sure to bookmark VADA Upcoming Events so you don't miss out.

March 31
Why Do Bad Things Happen to People in "Good" Cars?
Lunch & Learn Zoom

May 4-6
Spring Sections Seminar
Boar's Head Inn

May 24
Foundational Requirements for the Life Care Plan
Lunch & Learn Zoom

June 23
Capitol Region Networking Reception
The Hof Garden

October 12-14
Annual Meeting
Hotel Roanoke

VADA Women Leaders

VADA salutes the many exceptional women who currently are serving as leaders of our Association! Thank you Robyn Ayres, Darlene Bradberry, Taylor Brewer, Lauren Darden, Audra Dickens,  Amy Gilbody, Tracy Taylor Hague, Allie Hamm, Laura May Hooe, Rachel Horvath, Sarah Jessee, Madelaine Kramer Katz, Melissa Katz, Sherma Mather, Danielle Matie, Ashley Moss,  Julie Palmer,  Elizabeth Papoulakos, Phylicia Preston, Lindsay Rollins, Julie Seyfarth, Jodi Simopoulos, Ally Sipes, Molly Terry, Megan Wagner, and  Anna Zick, for your dedication and your service to VADA! We are a better Association because of your leadership!

This native of Mechanicsburg, Pennsylvania, loves the outdoors almost as much as she loves her son’s macaroni and cheese.  Tops on her bucket list?  Knowing the path!  To learn more about this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here. 

By the Numbers

In September 1968, seven Virginia attorneys met to discuss the formation of an organization dedicated to the ideals and principles of those Virginia attorneys whose practice involved primarily the defense of civil litigation.  Three months later, these “founding fathers,” along with 28 others, met in Charlottesville to form “The Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys.”  Over the past 53 years, these original 35 members have grown in number to, today, 808.  VADA takes pride in our rich history, and in the contributions our members have made to the cause of justice and the promotion of excellence in civil litigation!

Frank N. Cowan Civility Golf Tournament

We are pleased to announce the 2022 VADA/VTLA Frank N. Cowan Civility Golf Tournament. We will play during the afternoon of September 7 at Independence Golf Club.

To sign up to play, please contact John Owen at and cc Sherma Mather at

See you there!

You still have a little time to submit nominations for our two signature Awards. The deadline to submit nominations for our Excellence in Civil Litigation Award and our VADA/VTLA Civility Award is Friday April 1. For more information on how to submit a nomination, or with questions about the Awards, please reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at


MIssed A Webinar
or Meeting?

Did you know that many VADA Lunch & Learn webinars and online programs are available to watch on-demand? Click here to see the library of available content, which can be found in the members-only area of our website.

The curtain has fallen on our 2022 Trial Tactics Workshop! Thank you, once again, to our sponsors and all who participated in the Workshop! Thanks, too, to the Delta Hotel for being the perfect host!  A special thank you to our Judges: Judge John Tran, Judge John Brown, Judge David Carson, and Judge Jayne Pemberton, and to our featured speaker Tracy Taylor Hague!  A final shout out to Tom Bell, Emily Bishop, Sean Byrne, Bob Harrington, Macel Janoschka, Patrick O'Grady, Julie Palmer, and Clint Verity for coaching this year’s teams and to all involved in the planning of this event!

VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award

Congratulations, once again, to VADA member Alan Rashkind, whom the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association has honored with its annual VTLA-VADA Civility and Professionalism Award! Alan received this Award March 25 at the VTLA’s 2022 Annual Convention in Lansdowne, Virginia. Congratulations, Alan!

Renewal season is underway with VADA! If you have questions about your membership status, please reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at or Membership Chair Todd Anderson at – we are happy to help!

A warm welcome to our newest members:

Connor Bleakley
Byrne Canaan

Andrew Fulwider
Chesterfield County Attorney’s Office

Katherine Donnhauser
Chesterfield County Attorney’s Office

Does Daylight Saving Time Really Interfere with your Productivity?

Melissa H. Katz

The week after daylight saving time (DST) went into effect I felt like I was in quicksand. I had a hard time focusing and feeling productive.  Thinking back on it – was it because my daughter planted the seed in my brain that DST would interfere with my regular biological programming or was it because scientific studies show that DST actually does interfere? The evening before we turned our clocks forward one hour, my youngest daughter shared her AP Biology knowledge that daylight saving time affects your circadian rhythm* and causes more car accidents, heart attacks, and work related injuries. I must have taken the interference caused by DST to heart.  For the remainder of the week, my sleep cycle was definitely off.  I was staying up later and found it difficult to get out of bed at my typical early hour.  My usual sunny disposition was also definitely MIA. 

In an effort to find out if my funk filled week was based on my acceptance of my daughter’s prophecy or a scientific phenomenon I, of course, googled whether DST interferes with our circadian rhythm.  The answer was a resounding “yes.”  The loss of one hour of sleep can make a huge impact, especially on “a nation that is already sleep deprived.”**  In fact, because of the disruption it causes, the Senate unanimously passed a bill, the day after DST, to make it permanent.  This is not law yet as it must be passed by the House and approved by the President.   Whether to make DST permanent or abolish it is the subject of another article and much debate.   The primary point of this article is to confirm that if you, too, suffered adjustment difficulties with the recent time shift – it is not in your head!

Google assured me that my daughter hadn’t performed voodoo on me.  Studies show that the “seemingly harmless one-hour time change” causes people to experience various side effects that can last for multiple days.  Circadian rhythms follow a 24-hour cycle that controls our sleep-wake cycle and it is mainly influenced by light.  The reason why DST can play havoc with our internal clocks is that during the transition period, our bodies are telling us we should be sleeping because it is still dark outside, while our alarm clocks are telling us to wake up.  When these rhythms change, as they do with DST, your body notices the difference.  There are even articles that give you tips on how to prepare for DST.  This includes going to bed 15 to 30 minutes earlier than usual about a week before DST; staying consistent with your other routines; exposing yourself to bright light in the morning; eliminating long naps during the day; and avoiding coffee 4 to 6 hours before bedtime and alcohol.   Since there is a good chance DST isn’t going to become a permanent way of life yet, I shall be better prepared in 2023. 


* Your circadian rhythm is your body’s natural 24-hour cycle.


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    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
    804-649-1002 |

    Executive Director: Sherma Mather
    Director of Meetings: Amy Gilbody
    Journal of Civil Litigation Managing EditorMolly Terry

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