DRI Faculty List

2021 Senior Living and Long Term Care Litigation Seminar

Encore at Wynn Las Vegas | Las Vegas | September 23 - 24, 2021

John M. Atkinson

John M. Atkinson serves as Managing Director and Chair of Marsh Chicago. John is a recognized leader in the insurance and human capital space. John has spent his career building companies and teams focused on helping clients navigate complex business problems in the areas of risk, finance, and human capital. In his current role, John is responsible for co-leading Marsh's Senior Living and Aging Services Industry Group for the United States and Canada. John also serves as Chairman of Marsh's Chicago office where he helps lead civic and community engagement for the firm and supports the leadership team in growing Marsh's business in the Midwest. Until joining Marsh in 2021, John was an Executive Vice President with Willis Towers Watson where he helped lead growth in Chicago and where he oversaw one of the firm's fastest growing businesses in North America. Prior to the merger of Willis and Towers Watson in 2016, John was a Managing Partner of Willis Group and was a partner of closely held Thilman Filippini, one of the nation's largest privately held insurance brokers. In 2006, John and his partners sold their firm into what is now Willis Towers Watson.

Tammera E. Banasek
HeplerBroom LLC

Tammera E. Banasek is a partner at HeplerBroom LLC. She focuses her practice on complex medical, dental, and nursing home issues, as well as professional liability matters. She is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent-Rated Attorney and has been awarded a Trial Lawyer Excellence Award by Jury Verdict Reporter. She regularly speaks and publishes in the areas of professional and general liability.

Caroline J. Berdzik
Goldberg Segalla LLP

Caroline J. Berdzikis the chair of the Goldberg Segalla LLP health care and employment and labor practice groups. Her intimate knowledge of the long-term and post-acute care industry is frequently called upon by clients and industry insiders. Caroline often defends skilled nursing facilities and related entities in professional liability, employment and related claims and provides risk management solutions to help avoid or mitigate future claims. Prior to joining Goldberg Segalla, Caroline was the assistant general counsel for New Jersey's largest privately held long-term-care company. Ms. Berdzik earned her B.A degree from Drew University and her J.D. degree from Rutgers School of Law. She is a member of the American Health Lawyers Association, Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel, DRI, the Professional Liability Underwriting Society and Women Presidents' Organization. Ms. Berdzik is admitted to practice in New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania.

Joseph L. Bianculli
Health Care Lawyers PLC

Joseph L. Bianculli has practiced health care law for forty years. Mr. Bianculli represents providers in regulatory, development and related matters throughout the United States. He has litigated numerous enforcement, certificate of need, reimbursement, commercial and other cases in courts and administrative agencies throughout the U.S., including several hundred enforcement appeals before the Departmental Appeals Board. Mr. Bianculli graduated magna cum laude from Georgetown University in 1975, and cum laude from Georgetown University Law Center in 1978.

Jay C. Carle
Seyfarth Shaw

Jay C. Carle is a litigation partner at the Chicago office of Seyfarth Shaw LLP and serves as deputy chair of the eDiscovery & Information Governance practice group. Jay partners with clients to manage their information, balance the risk it creates, and leverage it strategically in litigation to build a winning narrative and keep the case focused on the merits. Jay combines hands-on technical skill, and business and litigation experience to craft innovative, practical solutions that balance the competing business demands, realities, and legal risks of creating, maintaining, and using information. Jay's technical background includes more than 10 years of experience consulting in the private industry in technology systems administration and security, knowledge management, and technical project management. As a litigator, Jay regularly leverages the latest in AI and continuous active learning technology to increase speed to key evidence and reduce discovery spend. He has successfully defeated spoliation and related allegations, as well as aggressively exposed discovery-related weaknesses of the opponent. In counseling engagements, Jay has developed repeatable and efficient eDiscovery processes for in-house programs, as well as for handling discovery in a portfolio of litigation matters. In addition, he has developed in-house eDiscovery and information governance programs and guidelines for outside counsel, and designed and executed defensible data destruction projects involving petabytes of information.

Jennifer L. Disner
Western Litigation

Jennifer L. Disner graduated from the University of Colorado, magna cum laude, attended Boston College Law School and received her Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Colorado School of Law. During her years in private practice, Jennifer represented health care entities and companies in the defense of professional liability, employment, and product liability claims. She defended hospitals, physicians, and nurses, and was successful with defense verdicts and summary judgment rulings. Jennifer specialized in defending long term care entities. She has a specific interest in working with her clients to proactively develop risk mitigation strategies, based on both the clients' case history and emerging trends and laws. She has consulted on health care risk management strategies and practices, policies to reflect changes in the law, and delivering education presentations. Jennifer focuses on using loss history and specific matters as lessons learned and education opportunities. Jennifer focuses her practice on defending long term care facilities. Jennifer is licensed to practice in the State of Colorado, the United Stated District Court for the District of Colorado and the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals.

Paul A. Dzenitis
Dzenitis Newman PLLC

Paul A. Dzenitis is a founding member of Dzenitis Newman PLLC, a law firm focused on nursing home defense. He has tried over one hundred (100) cases in his 27 years of practice. He is admitted to practice in Kentucky and Ohio.

Aaliyah K. Eaves
Dinsmore & Shohl LLP

Aaliyah K. Eaves is a life sciences attorney and bioethicist. Her FDA regulatory consulting practice provides strategic guidance to pharmaceutical, medical device, and biotechnology companies developing, improving, and manufacturing pioneering products to meet the challenges of 21st century health care. She is also an experienced health care mediator and legal adviser for institutional, group practice, and individual health care providers. She brings more than a decade of experience as a policy adviser and health care mediator for the U.S. Food and Drug Administration, U.S. Veterans Health Administration, and U.S. Department of Defense medical treatment facilities in Europe. She has focused on both the U.S. and international regulation of clinical trials, medical innovation, and adverse event reporting. Drawing upon her federal regulatory experience, she works with health care innovators to successfully traverse the ever-evolving health care regulatory environment from the research phase through post-market surveillance of their product.

Mary Foote
Woundcare on Wheels Inc

Mary Foote RN MSN ANP CWCN,has been actively involved in wound care since 1994. As a WOCN and WOCN – AP, she has served in the capacity of a wound consultant to home health agencies, long term care facilities, hospitals and Long term care acute facilities. She is the owner and CEO of Woundcare On Wheels, Inc. since 1997. She has published regarding wound care, presented nationally, and conducted product research. She remains actively involved in patient consultation via tele-management, education via webinars regarding wound classification, management, severity stratification, and skin failure. In addition, she serves as a legal consult regarding wounds and standard of practice throughout the United States.

Thomas G. Goodwin
Brookdale Senior Living

Thomas G. Goodwin serves as the VP, Legal Litigation Affairs for Brookdale. In this role Tom and the litigation team oversee incidents, claims, and lawsuits for Brookdale and its nearly 700 communities located in 41 states. Tom also works closely with cross-functional teams to implement practices to mitigate risks. Prior to joining Brookdale, Tom was in-house with Atria Senior Living where he managed litigation, ensured regulatory compliance, oversaw privacy and security measures, and licensing.

Drew Graham
Hall Booth Smith PC

Drew Graham started his practice with Hall Booth Smith, P.C. in 1992, developing expertise in traditional medical and professional negligence. In 1996, Mr. Graham created the firm's Long Term Care Practice Group in response to industry demand for specialist attorneys in the evolving area of long term care litigation. As chair of the LTC Practice Group, Mr. Graham is committed to making it the go-to resource for healthcare providers facing the challenges of a complex and highly regulated specialty. The group has grown to include over 20 attorneys, each with an in-depth appreciation of the industry. Mr. Graham specializes in the management of high exposure professional liability claims including complex regulatory and reimbursement actions, class actions, and batch claims. He has tried more than 40 cases to resolution and has resolved hundreds professional liability of cases through the use of alternative dispute resolution strategies including arbitration and mediation. Mr. Graham is frequently called to assist local counsel with the management of complex batch claims, complex discovery, and trial. Mr. Graham is actively involved in numerous professional organizations and is frequent speaker at industry and legal meetings. He is peer rated AV by Martindale Hubbell. He lives in Atlanta with his wife and daughters.

Ashley S. Heslop
Hall Booth Smith PC

Ashley S. Heslop is a partner in the Hall Booth Smith Charleston office. She has been practicing in the area of professional liability defense for over 17 years. Ms. Heslop enjoys getting to know her clients on a personal level and helping them navigate the litigation process. She believes that a thorough investigation of a claim is the best way to serve her clients so they understand the issues and can evaluate how to move forward based on the most complete information possible. Since 2014, Ms. Heslop has been named as one of Super Lawyers Rising Stars in Medical Malpractice Defense.

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D.
Courtroom Sciences

Bill Kanasky, Jr., Ph.D. is recognized as a national expert, author and speaker in the areas of advanced witness training and jury psychology. Dr. Kanasky has distinct expertise in health litigation matters, as he consults on more than 175 cases annually in the areas of defendant witness training, jury decision-making research, and jury selection strategy. Importantly, his empirically-based consulting methods are specially designed to defeat plaintiff "Reptile" strategies, which have resulted in billions of dollars of damage awards across the nation. He earned his B.A. in Psychology from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, and his Ph.D. in Clinical and Health Psychology from the University of Florida.

Olga Kats-Chalfant
MedPro Group

Olga Kats-Chalfant is a divisional claims manager at MedPro Group and is currently responsible for leading MedPro's national defense strategy and administration of all COVID-19 related claims brought against MedPro's insureds across all business lines: professional liability claims and general liability claims against senior care insureds and hospitals and malpractice claims against individual healthcare professionals. Olga has over 20 years of diverse business and legal experience, ranging from working for large multi-national firms and corporate clients to representing individuals in Court. However, for the past 13 years she dedicated all of her efforts to defense of healthcare providers and healthcare facilities, both as a practicing attorney and as a claims professional. Olga is proud to continue protecting healthcare professionals and facilities from litigation during the time when they are on the frontlines of fighting the invisible enemy that is COVID-19.

Steven Littlehale, MS, GCNS-BC
Zimmet Healthcare Services Group

Steven Littlehale, MS, GCNS-BC is the Chief Innovation Officer at Zimmet Healthcare Service Group, LLC. An internationally known author and speaker on a broad range of health care and post-acute care topics, Steven's ability to synthesize complex information to inspire strategic and tactical excellence has been the hallmark of his career and has established his renowned reputation as a highly effective and motivating lecturer. He has had the honor of presenting widely popular keynote programs with dozens of national and state healthcare associations, along with NIC, DRI, AHLA, HCCA, LTC 100, Senior Care 360 and REITs HUD and commercial lenders. His numerous publications include various professional journal articles as well as a popular monthly blog in McKnight's Long-Term Care News. Steven brings a career spanning more than 30 years ranging from direct nursing care to education, research and analytics, quality assurance/improvement, and consulting. He has a BS in nursing from the University of Vermont and an MS in nursing from Georgetown University. For two decades as Chief Clinical Officer and Executive Vice President at PointRight, Inc., he grew the company from a small start-up with a unique mission to become the industry's top data-analytics leader. Littlehale is a Board certified gerontological clinical specialist, whose greatest professional joy is to celebrate those who share his passion for quality care for our nation's elders.

Claire N. Luna
Jury Impact

Claire N. Luna is the senior vice president and a partner at Jury Impact, based in Orange County, CA. She has been with the company for more than 10 years. Claire heads the company's daily operations and client communications and is consistently the lead in providing messaging and strategy assistance to attorneys. Claire has interviewed jurors in nearly every state and led jury selection in dozens of trials covering the civil litigation spectrum. She is responsible for case research, message development and case analysis on a wide range of cases, including medical malpractice, breach of contract, employment, toxic tort and pharmaceutical-related litigation.

Ted J. McDonald III
McDonald Veon PA

Ted J. McDonald III is a founding partner of McDonald Veon PA in Overland Park, Kansas. He practices in a variety of areas of civil litigation with a primary emphasis on defending and consulting long term care and assisted living facilities. McDonald serves as counsel for some of the largest providers of long term care services in the country. McDonald's background includes experience in products liability, medical malpractice and personal injury litigation. He is a member of both the Missouri and Kansas Bars and is admitted to practice in the United States District Courts in Missouri and Kansas. McDonald is a member of the International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) and holds numerous positions of leadership with DRI (current member, DRI Law Institute; past Chair, DRI Medical Liability and Healthcare Law Committee; past Chair, DRI Nursing Home-ALF Subcommittee; past member, DRI Governance Committee; past Chair, DRI Young Lawyers' Committee; past faculty, DRI Nursing Home and Medical Liability Seminars). McDonald is the Law Institute liaison for this seminar.

Emily W. Newman
Dzenitis Newman PLLC

Emily W. Newman is a founding member and the managing partner of Dzenitis Newman PLLC. She is the Best Lawyers 2022 Lawyer of the Year in Kentucky in Health Care. She is admitted to practice in Kentucky, Ohio, and Michigan.

John "Jack" L. Oliver, III
Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer

John "Jack" L. Oliver, III is an associate in the Dallas office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Mr. Oliver focuses his practice on medical malpractice defense, general liability, workers' compensation defense, and trucking and transportation. Prior to joining QPWB, Mr. Oliver practiced in the areas of civil litigation as an associate with a regional civil litigation law firm where he managed first and third party insurance matters, prepared coverage opinions and advised clients on issues of fraud, wind and hail damage, fire, theft, mechanical breakdowns, and in complex fraud-based claims involving RICO allegations. He also conducted depositions and Examinations Under Oath. Mr. Oliver is licensed to practice law in Texas. He is a member of the State Bar of Texas and is admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.

Michael Redhair
Ensign Services/Cornet

Michael Redhair was born and raised in Tucson, Arizona. He began his legal career doing insurance defense work at Chandler, Tullar, Udall & Redhair. His primary focus was defending medical malpractice cases. After learning the nuances of insurance defense work, Mike went to work for Kinerk, Beal, Schmidt & Dyer focusing on representing clients who were injured by the negligence of healthcare providers. In 2003, Mike started his own civil litigation firm representing plaintiffs and defendants. Currently, Mike is Associate General Counsel responsible for litigating, defending and risk management of skilled nursing facilities affiliated with The Ensign Group. Mike is licensed to practice in Arizona State and Federal District Courts.

Kathleen M. Reilly
Ensign Services Inc

Kathleen M. Reilly is Deputy General Counsel handling regulatory, risk management and litigation oversight for facilities affiliated with The Ensign Group. Before going in-house in 2015, she was a partner in private practice where she focused on defending healthcare providers in medical malpractice and post-acute care litigation. Her background also includes successful defense verdicts in medical malpractice, products liability, motor vehicle, construction and personal injury trials. As an Adjunct Professor at University of Buffalo Law School, she teaches Trial Technique and Advanced Trial Advocacy. She is a member of the New York, Massachusetts and Pennsylvania Bars.

Mandi Ross
Insight Optix

Mandi Ross is the co-founder and Managing Member of Insight Optix, a legal technology company. She is also the founder and CEO of Prism Litigation Technology, an eDiscovery advisory firm. During her 32-year career, she has served as both a strategic advisor and a court-appointed expert for some of the largest, most complex lawsuits and investigations. Mandi is also a nationally recognized speaker on eDiscovery-related topics, providing varying levels of continuing legal education. Her passion around leveraging skilled professionals and innovative technologies that drive efficiency and maximize cost savings has always been a key part of her business model. This experience led to the creation of Evidence Optix®, a newly patented SaaS-based technology solution that addresses a gap in the legal technology landscape. Not only has Mandi led the product development and go-to-market strategy for this cost-saving discovery scoping and proportionality workflow, she has also spearheaded initiatives that advance industry-wide acceptance for this groundbreaking approach.

Lisa T. Ruggiero
Locke Lord LLP

Lisa T. Ruggiero is partner at Locke Lord LLP and has almost 30 years of experience defending clients against litigation involving catastrophic injury and death arising from allegations of negligence, product liability, and toxic exposures. Also, in defending first responder litigation and cases involving public emergencies, she addresses issues of state and federal immunities, the relevant standard of care under emergent conditions, causation, and the sensitivities and negative press associated with defending claims during a public crisis. Lisa routinely serves as national counsel for her clients, including those who are facing high stakes litigation in parallel cases across the country and multi-district litigation involving both class and individual claims. She collaborates with primary and excess insurers, company executives, risk managers, and compliance officers in anticipating risk, formulating defenses against a variety of liability claims, and executing successful dispute resolution. Lisa currently serves as National Coordinating Counsel for a nation-wide Professional Liability and General Liability carrier in connection with the management and defense of personal injury and general liability claims arising from the COVID-19 pandemic, working to manage and control risk arising from multi-jurisdictional claims and providing direction and oversight to defense attorneys across the country.

Christine L. Stanley
Quintairos Prieto Wood & Boyer PA

Christine L. Stanley is a partner in the Lexington, Kentucky office of Quintairos, Prieto, Wood & Boyer, P.A. Ms. Stanley focuses her practice in the areas of medical malpractice defense and the representation of nursing homes, assisted living facilities and hospitals, and includes general liability and appeals. In addition, her practice encompasses the areas of regulatory and corporate compliance, fraud and abuse, state regulatory matters including certificate of need and licensing. Ms. Stanley's achievements have been recognized by her peers. She is distinguished as one of the top-rated Health Care attorneys in the nation, selected to Kentucky Rising Stars by Thomson's Reuters Super Lawyers® 2019-2020, received the 2020 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Fayette County Bar Association and received the 2021 Outstanding Young Lawyer Award from the Kentucky Bar Association. She is licensed to practice law in the Commonwealth of Kentucky and is admitted in the U.S. District Court for the Eastern and Western Districts of Kentucky, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, and the United States Supreme Court.

Mark J. Stenner

Mark J. Stenner currently manages the Programs claim team and related aspects of allied healthcare provider matters for Ironshore/Liberty. He has extensive claim handling and management experience in Long Term Care, Miscellaneous Medical Facilities, Life Sciences, Hospitals and Physicians for the last 28 years. In addition to Ironshore/Liberty, this experience was at CNA, St. Paul Travelers/MMI and Illinois State Medical Insurance Services (ISMIE). Masters degree in Public Health from Benedictine University and B.A. in Journalism from Creighton University.

Jennifer L. Strange
Drewry Simmons Vornehm LLP

Jennifer L. Strange concentrates her practice in the area of health care law. Jennifer assists her clients in long-term health care representation and medical malpractice defense. She also has experience representing licensed health care providers, including health facility administrators nurses, and physicians, before Indiana's licensing boards. Jennifer has been recognized as an Indiana Super Lawyer Rising Star in the practice areas of Health Care for 2017 and Personal Injury—Medical Malpractice Defense from 2018 to 2020. She was also the recipient of the Indiana Bar Association Young Lawyer of the Year award in 2015.

Bree Williams

Bree Williams is the Director of Corporate Risk at Ventas, Inc., a real estate investment trust specializing in the ownership and management of a diverse portfolio including senior housing communities, health care facilities and research and innovation centers. Bree and her team have a wide array of responsibilities including insurance procurement, contractual risk transfer, claims management and loss prevention initiatives. Bree began her career as an attorney in private practice and litigated cases on behalf of senior living communities and nursing homes. Bree also counseled international and domestic medical professional liability insurers with respect to their North American risk exposure. Bree has a Bachelor's of Arts from the University of Washington and a Juris Doctor from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.