Young Lawyers Boot Camp December 3, New Lunch & Learns, DRI Coat Drive, and more...

VADA Defense Line November 2021

President's Welcome

Thank you to everyone who joined us at the Marriott Resort Virginia Beach Oceanfront for our 2021 Annual Meeting!  From the beautiful new venue to the stellar CLE programming to a long overdue opportunity to gather together and celebrate all that we are as an Association, our 2021 Annual Meeting was a resounding success!  I would like to personally thank our Annual Meeting Committee, our sponsors, our speakers, our invited guests, and all involved in the planning of this year’s event.

As we embark together on our 54th year, we have incredible opportunities for progress as an association.  I look forward to working with our Board of Directors, Section and Committee leadership, our Executive Director Sherma Mather, our Director of Meetings Amy Gilbody, and Molly Terry, Managing Editor of VADA’s The Journal of Civil Litigation, in service to our members and in the pursuit of fairness and equity in our civil justice system.

Looking ahead, I ask that you please mark your calendars for our annual Young Lawyers Boot Camp at The Westin Richmond on December 3.  Please also save the date for our 2022 Spring Sections Seminar at the Boar’s Head Resort in Charlottesville on May 4-6 and our 2022 Annual Meeting at The Hotel Roanoke & Conference Center on October 12-14.  Details on these and other events will follow over the course of the year.  Please stay tuned to our website, Defense Line newsletter, and social media platforms for more information.

As we draw near to this season of Thanksgiving, I am gratified by how truly blessed we are as an Association.  I thank each of you for your continued support of VADA.  To you and your families, I wish good health and happiness.  If there is anything I, my fellow Board members, or our other VADA leadership can do to be of service, please do not hesitate to let us know.

Jason Moyers
VADA President, 2021-22


We are pleased to introduce the members of VADA’s Executive Committee for 2021-22! Pictured below, from L to R, are: Secretary, Lindsay Rollins of Hancock, Daniel & Johnson, P.C.; Immediate Past-President, Tate Love of Timberlake, Smith, Thomas & Moses, P.C.; President, Jason Moyers of Frankl Miller Webb & Moyers, LLP; President-Elect, Julie Palmer of Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman; Treasurer, Jim Cales of Furniss, Davis, Rashkind and Saunders, P.C.; and Executive Director, Sherma Mather.

See our December 15 Lunch & Learn posting below for an opportunity to learn more about the Executive Committee, and watch future Defense Lines to meet additional members of the new 2021-22 VADA Board of Directors. 

This in-person seminar, held in Richmond on December 3rd, is where newer attorneys learn the practical information needed to practice defense law.  Sessions are taught by experienced members of the civil defense bar and the judiciary.  The event includes networking reception at the end of the program. We have a different agenda than 2020, so plan to attend again. 

Topics include:

  • Ethical Issues in a Civil Defense Practice 
  • The Survivor's Guide to Expert Witnesses
  • Navigating Your Way through Virginia General District and Circuit Courts and other Practical Tips in Civil Litigation
  • Mediation in Civil Litigation
  • Written Discovery
  • Insurance Coverage in Automobile Cases
  • Judicial Advice for New Lawyers-Panel Discussion

See the complete agenda and meeting information on the meeting website.

Discounted Room Block
Expires November 17



Graham K. Bryant


During its 2021 session, the General Assembly passed landmark legislation establishing appeals of right to the Court of Appeals of Virginia in nearly every case, civil or criminal.  Join Graham Bryant for a discussion about this legislation based on his award-winning Journal of Civil Litigation article, "Appeals of Right in Virginia: Preparing for The New Appellate Landscape." 

This generational change in Virginia litigation has significant implications for all attorneys. This presentation will discuss the changes in the Court of Appeals’ composition and Virginia appellate jurisdiction. In addition, it will address the recently revised rules of appellate procedure implementing the appeal-of-right legislation that the defense bar will face when the new appellate regime takes effect on January 1, 2022. This strategic overview of Virginia’s new appellate landscape will help VADA members anticipate potential challenges and better prepare to serve their clients in a dramatically changed appellate environment.


Meet Your Executive Committee Q & A

As we move into 2022, join us for an informal chat with your 2021-22 Executive Committee:

President Jason Moyers
President-Elect Julie Palmer
Treasurer James Cales
Secretary Lindsay Rollins
Immediate Past President Tate Love

They’ll talk about plans for the coming year, including new initiatives and scheduled events. They’ll also share ideas on how you can get more involved in VADA and some tips and tricks you may not know about the VADA website. We’ll also leave some time for your questions and suggestions.

The event is fully virtual, via Zoom, and free to current and potential VADA members.

January 12

Utilizing Forensic Engineers: Value Added from Date of Loss through Trial

Matthew Wagenhofer, PhD, PE, CFEI
MW Forensic Engineering

Forensic Engineers provide unbiased investigations into, analyses of, and opinions about engineering issues relevant to a loss.  But did you know that in performing these functions they can add value at all stages of a loss investigation?  Using the scientific method as a framework, loss investigations are discussed in terms of discrete steps and activities corresponding to the method.  Along the way, real-world examples are presented that illustrate how incorporating Forensic Engineers into your team as trusted expert resources can enhance your efforts to advocate on behalf of your clients.

The event is fully virtual, via Zoom, and free to current and potential VADA members.


One of our favorite scenes from our 2021 Annual Meeting in Virginia Beach, as we enjoyed a beautiful oceanfront reception. Thank you again to all involved for a terrific event!

We're already looking forward to next October, so mark your calendar now for October 12-14, 2022, when we'll meet at the Hotel Roanoke.

Thank You for Making Our VADA Children's Book Drive A HUGE Success  

As part of our 2021 Annual Meeting, VADA sponsored a Children’s Book Drive! Designed to benefit the seven area library systems in Hampton Roads, we collected donations of new and gently used children’s books, infant through young adult. We also collected cash donations. We were blown away by the generosity of our members and friends who contributed to this effort! Pictured here with the books that were donated are, L to R, Clara Hudson of the Virginia Beach Public Library; Anita Jennings of the Newport News Public Library; Sonal Rastogi of the Norfolk Public Library; VADA President Jason Moyers; Melissa Christakos of the Chesapeake Public Library; and Clint Rudy of the Suffolk Public Library. Thank you to all who contributed to our Children’s Book Drive! Thank you for making a difference in the lives of the children in our community!


VADA members found their chi the Friday morning of the Annual Meeting during sunrise yoga, compliments of our Wellness Committee and committee member Juliane Miller, who coordinated the event. Thank you, Juliane, Diane Malaspina Yoga + WellBeing, and to all who attended!


Kudos to those who joined our Thursday morning run/walk at the Annual Meeting, sponsored by our Wellness Committee!  A big thank you to committee members, Nate Schnetzler and Cameron Ervin for coordinating! 

We were so excited to see so many women at our Women’s Section kickoff dinner at Mannino’s on October 21.  We enjoyed the opportunity to speak in a casual setting about our struggles and triumphs in our lives and practices, meet newer VADA members, and eat a delicious three-course meal.  Be on the lookout for a Women’s Section listserv and other upcoming events.  Please note that you do not need to sign up to join the Women’s section—it is open to any member who identifies as a woman.  If you have any ideas or events you’d like to see, please contact Rachel Horvath ( and Jodi Simopoulos (  

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

November 30
New Appellate Landscape

December 3
Young Lawyers Boot Camp
Westin Richmond

December 15
Meet Your EC Lunch & Learn

January 12
Utilizing Forensic Engineers:
Value Added from Date of Loss through Trial


VADA CLE Forms for in-person meetings are located on the meeting materials section of the members-only area of the website. You’ll need to put it your personal VADA username and password to enter the site. You can search by meeting, at your convenience, for any missing CLE forms. Check it out here:

Meeting Materials | Virginia Association of Defense Attorneys (VADA)

You’ll also find an upcoming meeting’s written materials here, long before you get the email with the username and password.  Visit this webpage if you would like to download the written material early.

The Journal of Civil Litigation

The Fall 2021 edition of The Journal of Civil Litigation is hot off the presses.  It includes four feature articles:

  • Michael Beverly explains the developing legal landscape as to the discovery of electronically stored information (ESI).
  • Graham Bryant goes in-depth on the changes coming with the expansion of size and scope of the Virginia Court of Appeals.  This article was selected by the Editorial Board as the Journal Article of the Year!
  • Karissa Kaseorg and Walker Terry write on the recent Graves v. Shoemaker case and the impact it will have on the discovery and admissibility of bias information regarding expert witnesses.
  • Jacob Perkinson explains next developments in what constitutes an “injury” in the workers’ compensation context.

Plus, there are fourteen judicial opinions from around the Commonwealth.

Many thanks to our Managing Editor, Molly Terry; our Editor-in-Chief, Kent Sinclair; our Chair of the Board of Editors, John D. Eure; and the rest of the Board of Editors for consistently producing such a quality journal. 

VADA members receive a hard copy of the Journal as a benefit of their membership.  Also remember that members can search current and past journals, including by keyword, on our website.

When he’s not practicing med mal defense, this double Spider and Syracuse, New York, native enjoys fishing, boating, and taking in concerts and sporting events with family and friends.  His advice to new lawyers?  “Make it count!”  For more on this month’s VADA Spotlighted Member, click here.

By the Numbers

VADA’s flagship publication, The Journal of Civil Litigation, has been in publication since the Summer of 1988.  Published four times each year, it was preceded by the VADA Quarterly, which published from June 1982 to the Summer of 1988.  Preceding the VADA Quarterly was the VADA Newsletter, which published from May 1976 to June 1982.

Per a search of LEXIS, The Journal of Civil Litigation has been cited in at least 13 judicial opinions, both state and federal.  While most of these citations are from courts in Virginia, one is in Oregon; another, in Delaware.  Add in The Journal’s two predecessors, this number expands to at least 15.  In addition, The Journal and its predecessors have been cited in at least four legal treatises and no fewer than 18 law review articles.

If you have questions about your membership status, or questions about how to help someone in your office join VADA, please reach out to Executive Director Sherma Mather at or Membership Chair Todd Anderson at for more information.

A warm welcome to our newest members:

Jordan Barnette
Hancock Daniel

John-David Coker
Cook Craig Francuzenko

Anissa Cottrell
Sinnott Nuckols

James English
Babcock Moore 

Michael Essig
Franklin Prokopic

Jonathan Hall
Parker Poe

Jeremy Huang
Kiernan Trebach

Troy Johnson
Kaufman Canoles

M. Javad Khan
Bancroft McGavin Horvath & Judkins

Sarah Knarzer
McCandlish Holton

Thea Paolini
Cook Craig Francuzenko

William Prince
Thomson McMullen

Daniel Robey
Midkiff Muncie

Imani Sowell
Gentry Locke

Hannah Supernor
Harman Claytor Corrigan & Wellman

Lindsey Sweetgall-Brock
Furniss, Davis, Rashkind, and Saunders

This month, we begin a new feature titled “Paying it Forward!”  Our goal with this feature is to celebrate and say thank you to a VADA member who is making a positive difference in his or her community.  If you know of a VADA member whom you would like to nominate for this feature, please let us know! You may email your nomination to our Executive Director Sherma Mather at

This month’s featured member is Ashley Dobbin Calkins of Hancock Daniel & Johnson, P.C.!  In practice since 2005, Ashley devotes her career to the defense of healthcare providers.  Outside of the office, she is the President of the Richmond Animal Care and Control Foundation (RACCF), a 501(c)(3) non-profit dedicated to supporting the success of Richmond Animal Care and Control (RACC). Richmond’s only open admission animal shelter, RACC services over 3,000 animals per year in need of immediate care.  In addition to her service as RACCF President Ashley is an accomplished photographer.  She recently has published a book titled Rescues in Richmond, featuring the stories of nearly 170 animal rescues in the Richmond area, most of them accomplished by RACC.  All sales from the book, which is now in its second run, benefit the mission of RACCF.

Thank you, Ashley, for giving of your time and your talents in support of such a worthy cause!  Thank you, too, for paying it forward and making such a positive, real world impact in our community!

DRI Golden Coat Competition
(11/2 – 12/31)

Get ready, get set, COLLECT! 

DRI has launched their third annual Golden Coat SLDO competition. We want to rally our members and collect coats to help the members of your community stay warm this winter. The donated coats can be given to shelters in your local area to be distributed for free to people in need.

VADA’s Regional Directors will act as our coat tally points of contact. Simply donate your gently used coats to a shelter in your local community and report your tally to the Regional Director in your region.

VADA’s Regional Directors are:

Blue Ridge – Lauren Darden

Tidewater – Jonathan Hyslop

Southwest – Christopher Dadak

Potomac – Madelaine Katz

Capitol – Taylor Brewer

Over the past two collections, over 5,000 coats have been collected and donated by individual statewide defense association members. Collections will take place between November 1-December 31 and the final coat tally will be reported by each local defense organization to DRI. 

Join our social media sites where we post current court updates, relevant legal developments, and much, much more!  

    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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