Be Kind to a Lawyer Day Spotlight

Choosing to Be Kind

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By Courtney B. Schulnick

Have you ever noticed just how hard you can be on yourself? It goes without saying that our clients, bosses, and even our family members can sometimes give us a hard time. But at the end of the day, it’s often ourselves who are the hardest on us. Imagine if your inner dialogue was transcribed into a booklet for you or perhaps others to read. 

If the thought of that mortifies you, rest assured – you are not alone.

From an evolutionary standpoint, we can partly attribute our tendency to be our own worst critic on the “hardwiring,” so-to-speak, of our brain. Neuropsychologist Rick Hanson, Ph.D., explains that our brains have a built-in negativity bias. So, if there are fifty things that went right on any given day, we’re more likely to focus on the one thing that went wrong.

For example, one day you could have donated money to a worthy cause, helped an elderly woman carry groceries to her car, successfully argued a legal issue in discovery court, but during deposition, forgot to ask a witness a key question that the case hinged upon. Chances are that before falling asleep that evening, you’re not thinking of all the pleasant events of your day. Instead, the more likely scenario is that you’re lying in bed beating yourself up over that one question you feel you should have asked the witness during deposition. As renowned mindfulness meditation teacher Aleeze Moss, Ph.D., says, so often we “should on” ourselves -- berating ourselves for something we should have done, should not have done, or maybe feel we should have done better.

At the beginning of a recent guided mindfulness meditation practice, Diane Reibel, Ph.D., cofounder of the Stress Reduction Program at the Marcus Institute of Integrative Health at Jefferson University Hospital in Philadelphia, began with the following quote: “Be exquisitely kind and gentle with yourself.” When was the last time you were kind and gentle with yourself, let alone exquisitely so? Given how busy our lives have become, we often fail to notice how habitually critical we are of ourselves, and how little we treat ourselves with kindness and compassion. When we don’t allow ourselves to slow down and notice this, that pesky little voice inside our heads gains more and more momentum, becoming louder and louder, leaving us feeling incompetent and closed-off from others.

The good news is that with mindfulness we can become aware of our tendency to be highly judgmental of ourselves, as well as others, and that awareness is what enables us to choose to be kinder. For many of us, we wouldn’t think twice about being kind and gentle towards a loved one, such as a grandparent, a young child or perhaps a pet. But, it can feel a bit stilted or artificial to be kind to ourselves. This may hold especially true given the widely-held misconception that kindness doesn’t “fit the mold” of what it means to be a successful attorney, or that being kind may make us soft, passive or a pushover.

To the contrary, nourishing the power of kindness actually strengthens our innate capacity to be kind, as well as other inherent qualities, such as resilience, equanimity and joy, which can greatly benefit us in our personal lives, as well as the work that we do as lawyers. As meditation teacher Sharon Salzberg says, “When we fan even the smallest ember of kindness, we begin to overcome our judgments, fears and doubts and tap into an endless source of gentle strength within.” Surely, in an environment that can be as contentious and hostile as that of the legal profession, let alone the current state of our world, it could not be any clearer that what is so desperately needed, perhaps now more than ever, is more compassion.

You may be asking yourself, “How do I cultivate greater kindness towards myself?” The answer is practice. With practice, we strengthen our fundamental ability to be kind and compassionate towards ourselves, as well as those around us. As our practice deepens, we can increasingly recognize that we are not alone in our suffering and that like us, others feel fearful, anxious and sad at times. This awareness can promote a feeling of interconnectedness with others, including the difficult people in our lives.

The practice of Loving Kindness involves repeating a set of phrases. With this practice we send well-wishes inwards to ourselves, as well as outwards to others. At first, it may feel forced to send well-wishes to ourselves. But what grows is what we water. And with this practice, rather than watering seeds of that which we may be so conditioned to watering, such as stress and anxiety, we instead water our intrinsic qualities of kindness, & compassion. If any part of the phrases in the guided practice below doesn’t appeal to you, you can always adapt them in any way you care to so that they feel more appealing to you.

Remember, this practice is not about forcing yourself to feel any particular way. You may not be feeling particularly kind or compassionate towards yourself or others at any given moment. Despite what you may be feeling, you can simply hold an intention to cultivate loving kindness, while still being with whatever is present in the senses, thoughts, emotions, without judgment. Over time, you may notice that there exists the possibility of cutting ourselves some slack and simply allowing ourselves to be just as we are, which in and of itself, is the most radical act of kindness. 

For more guided mindfulness practices and resources, please visit http://www.courtneyschulnickmindfulness.com. In addition, each Thursday at 4 p.m. (EST) Courtney offers a free 15-minute guided mindfulness practice via Zoom. If interested, please email Courtney at cbschulnick@mdwcg.com.

Schulnick_CourtneyCourtney B. Schulnick serves as Special Counsel in Marshall Dennehey's Casualty Department and litigates cases in both the local state and federal courts. Courtney handles lawsuits involving premises liability for homeowners and businesses, personal injury matters and automobile accidents.

Membership Campaign Spotlight

Why the Young Lawyers Steering Committee Does DRI: Community, Opportunities, and Genuine Career Growth

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By Brett Tarver

In early February, the Young Lawyers Committee had its annual Steering Committee Fly-In Meeting. The Steering Committee is the leadership committee for the larger Young Lawyers Committee. Every year, following the Young Lawyers Seminar, there is an application process for any young lawyer who would like to join the Steering Committee. We do our best to find a spot for all who wish to join - we have all been first-time attendees and applicants at some point, and strive to make sure everyone who attends feels welcomed and included! 

Although we had our Fly-In Meeting virtually in 2021, it was fantastic for us all to be together again. As the current Vice Chair of the Young Lawyers Committee, this year was my 7th Fly-In Meeting. I say this every year, but the Fly-In Meeting is one of my favorite DRI events. The Young Lawyers who make up the steering committee in DRI are some of the most motivated, engaged, and talented young lawyers. 

This year, we started off our Fly-In with small group discussions about why we individually had chosen to become deeply involved with DRI and volunteered time outside of our billable hour demands to serve on the steering committee. Many young lawyers have young children, and all of us are striving to make partner at our firms, so the decision to give additional time to DRI is not one any of us take lightly. And the summary answer of why we chose to dedicate time to DRI boiled down to this: We value the benefits we get from our membership in the organization.

These benefits include:

Community. Over and over, steering committee members expressed they had made genuine connections with other DRI members. These other members had become close friends, other lawyers who understood the demands of profession and who could provide support through life’s challenges and cheers in it’s triumphs. Other members had become mentors, serving as sounding boards on everything from how to have a difficult conversation with the leadership at your firm to the best ways to prepare for an expert deposition. By joining and engaging in DRI, the steering committee members found likeminded rockstar young lawyers like themselves, and were inspired and buoyed to push on through the difficult things in the career we’ve chosen. It is this sense of community that keeps us coming back, year after year. 

Opportunities. The next thing we discussed over and over were the abundant opportunities each of us had found in DRI. Speaking opportunities, publishing opportunities, leadership opportunities. The organization has a plethora of things that young lawyers can do to build their reputations as experts in their fields. These opportunities help our young lawyers stand out within their firms. 

Genuine career growth. Several steering committee members commented that the content DRI provides, whether through in-person seminars, webinars, or published articles, has helped them grow and improve as litigators in their practice areas. Especially in this age, where trials continue to dwindle and skill-sharpening opportunities are decreasing, the members expressed that the DRI programming gives them a chance to improve their skills and knowledge. 

We’d love to have so many more young lawyers join us. For many of the steering members, they feel joining DRI and getting involved has been immensely important not only to their career growth but also to their enjoyment of their work and being lawyers. The Young Lawyers’ Seminar is June 22-24, 2022, in Atlanta, Georgia (my hometown). Please send your associates, and we will welcome them! Give them the chance to learn what our steering committee members have said - that joining DRI has been one of the best decisions they’ve made in their careers.

Brett TarverBrett Tarver defends primarily pharmaceutical and medical device companies in litigation involving mass tort, personal injury and wrongful death claims in state and federal courts across the United States. She has experience in all aspects of discovery, trial preparation, and trial practice including taking and defending depositions, motions practice, witness preparation, trial strategy development, and witness examinations at trial.

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Free On-Demand Sessions + CLE Credit? Heck Yes!

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When you register for a DRI seminar, you'll receive four free on-demand programs with up to four additional hours of CLE credit!

How Can I Access the On-Demand Sessions?

1. Log into your DRI account here with the email address you used to register for the seminar.
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Required: From your account, select the, "Edit Profile" (image A) option. From here, enter your state of licensure and bar number (Image B). This will make reporting CLE credit easier.

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Both username and password can be reset from the login page.

Please note: For states that have elimination of bias, substance abuse/wellness, ethics and law practice management credits, those have been requested for applicable programs. If that credit is not available in any jurisdiction, general CLE credit has been sought.



The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy (the Center) is pleased to announce its ADR Diversity, Equity, and & Inclusion Initiative, with a goal of increasing diversity and inclusion among neutrals in underrepresented categories. Despite the longstanding discussion about how to increase diversity among neutrals appointed to resolve insurance-related disputes, there is an absence of quantifiable data on the demographic profiles of mediators and arbitrators chosen by insurers and lawyers. As the initiative’s first stage, the Center has developed and launched a Diversity Survey to address this data void and to create a benchmark that will enable insurers, self-insureds, managing general agents, and outside law firms to identify the national averages for appointments of underrepresented neutrals and how they are performing against those national averages.

Email DRILawPubPolicy@dri.org for more information or to join the initiative.


Longtime DRI Editor-in-Chief Joseph J. “Jay” Ludlam recently accepted a new position within the organization and now serves as director of the DRI Center for Law and Public Policy. Having previously held positions in the Education Department, Jay most recently led the Publishing Services Department, which was responsible for editorial, design, and production work related to all DRI publications, including projects and white papers of the Center. From 2009 to 2021, Jay was responsible for the administration of DRI’s amicus program—now housed within the Center—overseeing the Amicus Committee’s assessment of requests, author selection, filing, decision monitoring, and post-decision reactions for nearly 140 amicus briefs.

“While I value the experience of working with so many great publications chairs and authors over the years, I must admit that the Center has been an area of the organization that has intrigued me since its inception,” said Jay. “I am grateful to Dean Martinez and Sean Dolan for the opportunity to work with the Center’s leadership and volunteers and to help the Center reach its potential. This incredibly bright group of legal experts are poised to raise the Center’s profile to the point that it is recognized as a critical part of why members join and support DRI.”

Jay holds a B.A. from the University of Michigan, and a J.D. from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.  He lives with his wife and two young daughters in the Pullman National Monument neighborhood on Chicago’s far South Side.

For more information about the Center, including how to get involved, email DRICenterPubPolicy@dri.org.


DRI North Central Regional Meeting

North Central Region leadership, including Regional Director Jim Hehner and DRI First Vice President Pat Sweeney, convened in person on March 23-25 in Houston, Texas, for their Regional Meeting for time since February 2020.

The meeting included representatives from SLDOs in Illinois, Indiana, Minnesota, North Dakota and Wisconsin.

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Seminar Spotlight

What We're Looking Forward To

2022 DRI Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar 

June 22-24 – Atlanta, Georgia

The retail, restaurant, and hospitality industries have proven to be the backbone of our country and shown remarkable resilience in the face of unparalleled challenges. Litigation Lawyers will hear from industry experts on how to adapt to the needs as they have shifted over the past two years. This seminar will focus on the crucial perspective of those experiencing the day-to-day in the industry – keeping premises safe and secure, dealing with third parties, managing employees and their needs and more. We look forward to welcoming everyone back!

In anticipation of the gathering, here’s what our members are most looking forward to.


Program Marketing Chair Jason T. Vuchinich of Weinberg Wheeler Hudgins Gunn & Dial LLC expressed his excitement over Atlanta as a location for the seminar - especially given its role as a retail, restaurant, and hospitality industry hub.

DRI Member News

Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

DRI member David M. Davis has been recognized by The Championship Hearts Foundation with the 2022 Hero Award which will be presented at the Heartbeats & Heroes Annual Gala. CHF provides free heart screening of teens to prevent the tragedy of sudden cardiac death.  The award recognizes his legal assistance and financial support on the Board of Directors and Advisory Board from virtually the inception of Championship Hearts Foundation. Mr. Davis has been a member of DRI since 1988.

DRI member Janet Stellpflug shared that Stellpflug Law PLLC received national certification as a Women’s Business Enterprise (WBE) by the Women's Business Development Center-Midwest, a regional certifying partner of the Women’s Business Enterprise National Council (WBENC).  “As a certified woman-owned business, we are resolute in our obligation to enhance opportunities for women in our industry and in those we serve,” says partner and DRI member Janet Stellpflug. “We look forward to working with this innovative group to serve companies who share this commitment and expect an unsurpassed legal defense.” Ms. Stellpflug has been a member of DRI since 2021Porzio, Bromberg & Newman, P.C., is announced the opening of the firm's new office in Philadelphia, its first office in Pennsylvania. DRI Member Diane Fleming Averell, will help lead the Philadelphia office. "I am thrilled to lead Porzio's expansion in Philadelphia," said Averell, who grew up in Delaware County, PA, and attended Villanova University for both her undergraduate and law school education. "Opening this office completes the firm's tri-state footprint in the Delaware Valley and serves the business needs of many of our clients. It's truly a win-win situation." Ms. Averell has been a member of DRI since 2003.

If you have a recent achievement or recognition, you would like featured, email your news to membership@dri.org. Please note that DRI reserves the right to review all accomplishments to ensure they are adequate for publishing. All submissions will be reviewed for relevance and compliance with DRI’s mission. Submissions may be edited to conform with our standards, and space limitations.

And The Defense Wins

DRI Members Share Their Victories 

December 2021, Hardin County, KY: Gore v. Blazer’s Fun Zone, et al.

Melissa Richardson
and Ryan Glass obtained a defense verdict on liability for their clients. Plaintiff was a patron at an amusement venue for her grandson’s birthday. To enter the business, everyone was required to sign a waiver.  Blazer’s had an electronically signed waiver; however, Plaintiff disputed that she had ever signed one. The Judge instructed the Jury that the terms of the waiver did not preclude the lawsuit but could be used in its consideration as to the actions or inactions of Plaintiff while she was at the premises.

During the course of the birthday party, members of the party decided to play laser tag, including Plaintiff.  Plaintiff proceeded up a significant set of stairs to enter the arena.  Plaintiff was told by the “Game Master” that there was one door in the center of the arena that was marked with the words “Emergency Exit” in neon letters, and told not to go out the emergency exit door unless there was an actual emergency.  The instruction did not include specific guidance that the other side of the door led to a landing and a set of 20 concrete stairs; Plaintiff contended that she should have been explicitly warned about the stairs even though she had obviously walked up a significant flight of stairs.  While Plaintiff initially denied being told about the presence of the emergency exit and the directive not to use it, she later admitted that some instruction was given before the game began but said she had not really heard it because the children in the group were “too loud.”  She did not ask for the instructions to be repeated or clarified.

The emergency exit stairwell was not an enclosed space.  The walls on either side did not go all the way to the ceiling of the building. The overhead lights, which, during game play were black lights, cast light into the stairwell as it effectively had no immediate ceiling.  At the bottom of the stairwell, there was a common fluorescent light that Blazer’s indicated was always on when the business was open to the public.    Further, on both of the walls that ran parallel to the landing, there were windows that allowed light into the stairwell.  In fact, Plaintiff spoke with her son through those windows just before she fell.  Specifically, she had told him that the children were “up there” and that she was “going to go up there and get them.” However, she admitted that even though she intended to go “up,” she was not really looking for a set of stairs or a ramp that would take her up to where the children were.

Instead, she indicated that she went through a door that had no signs on it – it was totally black.  While no mention of this claim was noted in her written discovery, she testified in her discovery deposition that the stairwell was “pitch black.”  When she opened the door, she admitted that she could tell that the stairwell was totally black, and she chose to enter it anyway as she believed the area to be “part of the game” based on the fact that the door was decorated to match the general theme of the arena.  Notably though, she allegedly did not see the “Emergency Exit” sign and explicitly testified that it was just a black door.  Photos from before the fall show it was not.  It is unclear how the decoration on the door which reportedly made her think the door was part of the game could have lured her into the stairwell when she claims the door she saw was just a plain black door.  Further, it was argued that the door needed more signage, but, as she allegedly did not see the sign on the door or the lit exit sign above it, it is unclear how additional signage would have made a difference.

Upon entering the allegedly pitch-black stairwell, Plaintiff indicated that she immediately fell down the stairs.  Among other claims, she contended that the light at the bottom of the stairwell was off.  However, her code expert claimed that even if the light at the bottom was on, the area did not meet the illumination requirements of the Kentucky Building Code (KBC).  This was based on the recollection of the witnesses who were there with Plaintiff and one photograph taken by a party attendee at the request of Plaintiff’s daughter-in-law that showed the light was out.  With the light at the bottom of the stairs out, Plaintiff’s code expert indicated that the illumination level was a 0.0 foot-candle.  She contended it was required to be 1.0 foot-candle.

Blazer’s contended the light at the bottom of the stairs was on as the owner saw it on during the time the EMS crew were examining Plaintiff, and that, even if it was not on, the area where Plaintiff was when she fell was certainly within the illumination levels required by the KBC.  Plaintiff’s expert and Defense expert both measured illumination levels of more than 0.02 foot-candle at the landing and the first stair.  Defense expert argued that this was the proper level of illumination that applied to this business when the laser tag game was being played.  Notably, Blazer’s expert had also measured the light in the arena, which was the same level of light that existed at the top of the stairwell to show that Plaintiff could see as she had admitted that she could see to move around the arena.  Moreover, Blazer’s relied on the fact that the stairwell had been approved by the City of Radcliff and had been inspected numerous times by the Fire Marshall without issue.

As a result of the fall, Plaintiff suffered four fractured ribs and a concussion, along with extensive bruising. Her main complaints currently are continuing issues with dizziness that prevented her from participating in many activities that she enjoyed, and, in particular, that made it impossible for her to drive.  She claims to have only driven once in the years since the fall.  Two years after the fall, Dr. David Changaris, a neurosurgeon, opined Plaintiff sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the fall.  Plaintiff’s treating neurologist had not made such a diagnosis.  When questioned about this, Dr. Changaris indicated that a neurologist would not be capable of making such a diagnosis.  Dr. Changaris also indicated that because of her injury she would develop Alzheimer’s disease 10 years earlier than she otherwise would have.  Blazer’s expert, Dr. Richard Edelson, a neuropsychologist, testified that Plaintiff did not have a brain injury and based on his neuro-cognitive testing, she did not have a profile that was consistent with someone who had a pre-Alzheimer’s profile.  He also indicated he believed she had a pain disorder that was exacerbated by the fall and PTSD that was caused by this fall.  While he also testified that her complaints were likely real, they were also treatable; however, she had not sought any meaningful treatment options to address her ongoing symptoms. Further, Plaintiff had a host of long-term health issues that were playing a role in her ongoing complaints, most notably an extensive history of anxiety, depression, and panic attacks that, per her medical provider 10 months before the fall, impacted her life in a significant way on a daily basis.  Additionally, other medical records called into question Plaintiff’s mobility before this as she had significant complaints of pain documented one month before this fall in her back (she had surgery about 10 months before but did not get it checked by her surgeon after this fall), both hips, and her ankles/feet.

At the conclusion of the trial, eleven of the twelve jurors found for Blazer’s on liability.

Meagher + Geer attorneys Tracy Kolb and Timothy Schupp obtain defense verdict in medical malpractice case - Bismarck, North Dakota

Meagher + Geer attorneys Tracy Kolb and Timothy Schupp obtained a defense verdict in a medical negligence case that arose out of a surgery performed by a general surgeon, in which an unexpected complication arose. There are risks and possible undesirable consequences associated with any surgery. The surgeon handled the complication skillfully and with the utmost due care. Further complications arose post-operatively, but were appropriately managed. The patient’s surgical and post-operative course were not as a result of any failure to meet the standard of care by the surgeon during the surgery.

The jury agreed, after deliberating less than three hours.

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(Pictured, L to R: Kolb, Schupp)

Hand Arendall Harrison Sale employment lawyers continued to see success in 2021. In the last few months of 2021, courts in all three of Alabama’s federal districts awarded summary judgment in favor of firm clients in employment discrimination cases. DRI member Mark Waggoner and Firm employment lawyers Christine Harding Hart and Emily Van Haneghan teamed up to successfully defend the cases for Postsecondary Public Education Institutions in the Southern District of Alabama and the Middle District of Alabama, and for a private business in the Northern District of Alabama.

DRI member Stephen Wood of Chuhak & Tecson, P.C. obtained a defense verdict on behalf of Sun Chemical Corporation in the case of Martin G. Ford v. Acuity, et al., No. 2015 L 7584 pending in the Circuit Court Cook County, Illinois on March 21, 2022 after a 4-week jury trial. The Plaintiff, a pressman with a 28-year work history, contracted acute myelogenous leukemia that he alleged was caused by exposure to benzene in Sun Chemical’s products.  In the original complaint, plaintiff named 22 defendants in addition to Sun Chemical.  By the time of trial, all other defendants had been dismissed, several pursuant to settlement with the plaintiff.  In closing argument, the plaintiff’s counsel asked the jury for a total of $16.3 million in compensatory damages.  The jury took approximately 2 hours to return a unanimous verdict in Sun Chemical’s favor indicating that the liability determination was not a close call.  In discussions after the verdict, several jurors indicated that Sun Chemical’s exposing the flaws in plaintiff’s experts’ exposure and causation opinions on cross-examination was central to their decision.  

Steve Wood

Bauer v. HYUNDAI 

Hyundai Motor America and Hyundai Motor Company, Ltd. obtained a unanimous jury verdict in their favor on March 24, 2022, after a nine-day product liability trial in state court in Prestonsburg, Kentucky.  It took the jury only 75 minutes of deliberations to reject Plaintiffs’ claimed damages of $17,882,484.

The case, styled Daniel Bauer, et al v Hyundai, involved a tragic set of facts.  Five members of the Bauer family were traveling to grandmother’s house for Christmas on December 24, 2015.  Their vehicle, a 2013 Hyundai Tucson, was struck by an oncoming Chevrolet Cruze that crossed over into the Tucson’s lane of travel on KY 114 in Floyd County, Kentucky.  The vehicles collided head-on, right front to right-front, at combined closing speeds of nearly 120 mph.  Three occupants of the Tucson were killed, and one occupant sustained serious injuries.  A post-collision fire developed in the engine compartment, which ultimately spread to the passenger compartment and engulfed the entire vehicle.  The bodies of two of the vehicle occupants, including a four year-old girl, were recovered after the fire was extinguished.  The lead plaintiff lost his wife, a daughter, and a grand-daughter.

Plaintiffs claimed that the injuries sustained by the occupants of the Tucson were caused or enhanced by manufacturing defects in the Tucson’s driver side front bumper welds.  Plaintiffs’ defect expert noted that the crash forces to the right front of the vehicle caused the front bumper welds to separate from the frame rail connector on the driver side.  The expert opined that the separation of the welds caused excessive deformation to the passenger side of the Tucson, compromised the vehicle’s structural integrity, and increased the severity of the crash as experienced by the occupants.  The expert claimed that the welds were shorter than permitted by Hyundai specifications and were of poor quality.

Hyundai defended the case by demonstrating that the welds were fully compliant with design requirements and separated only because they experienced massive crash forces.  Even if the welds were “too short” by fractions of an inch, as claimed by the expert, the welds still would have separated, and the crash forces experienced by the occupants would have been unchanged.  This was an exceptionally severe crash, with a delta V (change in velocity) calculated by defense experts to be in the mid-50s.  Hyundai’s experts conducted a vehicle-to-vehicle crash test to demonstrate the massive forces in this crash.  The injuries and fatalities in the Tucson were caused solely by the actions of the other driver, who had elevated levels of drugs, including opioids, in his bloodstream.  Hyundai’s experts also demonstrated that an adult female and the four-year-old female in the rear seat were unrestrained.  The unrestrained adult in the left rear seat loaded the back of the driver’s seat and contributed to the driver’s fatal injuries.  The only rear seat occupant who was properly restrained, a six year-old boy restrained in a booster seat, sustained virtually no injuries.

Representing Hyundai at trial were Robert Maxwell of Bernard, Cassisa, Elliot & Davis of Covington, Louisiana, David Schaefer of Dinsmore & Shohl in Louisville, Kentucky, and Thomas Vanderford, Associate General Counsel and Executive Director of Litigation at Hyundai Motor America.

Robert W. MaxwellTom VanderfordDavid Schaefer
(Pictured, L to R: Maxwell, Vanderford, Schaefer)

Keep The Defense Wins Coming!

Please send 250–500 word summaries of your “wins,” including the case name, your firm name, your firm position, city of practice, and email address, in Word format, along with a recent color photo as an attachment (.jpg or .tiff), highest resolution file possible, to DefenseWins@dri.org. Please note that DRI membership is a prerequisite to be listed in “And the Defense Wins,” and it may take several weeks for The Voice to publish your win.

DRI Cares

2022 Business Litigation/IP Litigation Super Conference Spotlight

By Liam E. Felsen

For the DRI Cares portion of the 2022 Business Litigation/IP Litigation Super Conference held in Houston, TX on March 21-23, 2022, we spotlighted two separate organizations benefited by fundraisers, in honor of our two Keynote Speakers.  One of our Keynote Speakers was C.E. Rhodes, Vice President and General Counsel of Frost Bank; during his keynote speech, C.E. discussed the impact that the National Kidney Foundation had on his own family. His father received a kidney transplant and was able to have an extra 10 years with his family because of it.  

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The National Kidney Foundation, Inc. (NKF)—which is headquartered in New York City with over 30 local offices across the country—is the largest, most comprehensive, and longstanding patient-centric organization dedicated to the awareness, prevention, and treatment of kidney disease in the U.S.  NKF is dedicated to preventing kidney disease, improving the health and well-being of individuals and families affected by kidney disease, and increasing the availability of kidneys for transplantation. As pioneers of scientific research and innovation, NKF focuses on the whole patient through the lens of kidney health. NKF’s vision is to “enhance the lives of everyone with, at risk of, or affected by kidney disease,” and it provides relentless work to “enhance lives through action, education and accelerating change.”

NKF began in 1950 when Ada and Harry DeBold were desperately attempting to save the life of their child (who eventually passed away at the age of 4) who was stricken by nephrosis, a kidney disease.  The DeBolds started the National Nephrosis Foundation, which in 1964 became NKF.  In the 1960s, advances in medicine led to the invention of a Teflon shunt which allowed kidney failure to be treated with dialysis; at the same time, the first kidney transplants became available.  In 1972, federal legislation provided government financing for nearly all Americans with kidney failure, as well as establishing Medicare benefits for End State Renal Disease (ESRD).  Throughout the 1970s and 1980s, a stronger emphasis on organ donation—led by NKF, which developed a large library of published material—continued to influence government policy, including the National Transplant Act of 1984 which prohibited the sale of organs.  In the 1990s, NKF developed the first broadly accepted clinical practice guidelines in nephrology, leading to the 2002 Chronic Kidney Disease clinical practice guidelines that changed the way kidney disease was identified and treated, allowing millions of patients to live longer lives.  Today, NKF is a leading participant in research on kidney disease and advocacy, not only the U.S. but globally as well.  
Today, 1 in 3 Americans over age 20 (73 million people) is at risk for kidney disease because of diabetes, high blood pressure, or family history.  The NKF’s goal is to reach those at risk before kidney disease occurs, impacting those in the earliest stages so that progression to late-stage disease is no longer inevitable.  NKF provides educational tools and research programs which empower those who are at risk to seek and receive early testing and treatment.  NKF also works directly with physicians to provide cutting edge tools to treat kidney disease and prevent its progression.  NKF also continues its lobbying work with legislators so that access to treatment for kidney disease remains available for all Americans.

Our other Keynote Speaker, DJ Healey, is a well-known patent trial attorney and Senior Principal at Fish & Richardson. DJ shared her extraordinary journey of coming out as a trans woman at 57 years old and how that has changed her legal practice and her life.  DJ discussed the many challenges facing gender diverse individuals, including the unique challenges facing trans children and their families in Texas.


At the suggestion of DJ, our DRI Cares spotlight is also focused on the Transgender Education Network of Texas (TENT).  TENT is currently the only transgender-led, statewide organization dedicated to furthering gender diverse equality in Texas through policy change. TENT works to accomplish its mission through a racial justice lens via education, advocacy, and empowerment of trans voices throughout Texas.  
TENT has worked tirelessly alongside community partners, children and their family members, advocates, and activists who have made thousands of phone calls and visits to the Capitol to oppose the numerous legislative efforts to discriminate against the transgender community.  TENT supports trans youth and their families as they face unprecedented attacks on their families’ abilities to provide life-saving, gender-affirming health care.  TENT also strongly supports the rights of transgender children in K-12 schools to participate in sports.  TENT supports individuals and groups "on the ground" to tell their stories as individuals that will change hearts and minds through authenticity.

felsenLiam E. Felsen is an Associate in Frost Brown Todd LLC's Louisville office, focusing his practice on Commercial Litigation and Product Liability Litigation.


DRI New Members and Advocates

DRI welcomes the following members and advocates:


  • Elizabeth F. Martini, Cincinnati, OH
  • Gena L. Sluga, Phoenix, Arizona
  • Harvey B. Cooper, Omaha, NE
  • Ben Selman, Waco, TX
  • James H. Hunter, Jr., Brownsville, TX
  • Ebony S. Morris, New Orleans, LA
  • Jessica E. Schwie, Minneapolis, MN
  • Adam R. Bialek, New York, NY
  • Jill Cranston Rice, Morgantown, WV
  • Joseph Borchelt, Cincinnati, OH
  • Lauren Kedge, Albuquerque, NM
  • Lew R. C. Bricker, Deerfield, IL
  • Anne M. Talcott, Portland, OR
  • Danielle M. Waltz, Charleston, WV
  • Alice Ricketts, Ridgeland, MS
  • Allison Averbuch, Atlanta, GA
  • Christopher Fusco, East Hanover, NJ
  • Crystal Stevens McElrath, Atlanta, GA
  • David M. Wilson, Birmingham, AL
  • Drew Andrew Graham, New York, NY
  • Franz Hardy, Denver, CO
  • Kevin Joseph O'Connor, River Edge, NJ
  • Taylor Poncz, Atlanta, GA
  • Theodore M. Schaer, Philadelphia, PA
  • Heather M. Howard, Atlanta, GA
  • Jake T. MacKay, Birmingham, AL
  • James M. Anderson, Ridgeland, MS
  • Jason Phillip Camillo, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Jeffrey A. Curran, Oklahoma City, OK
  • John G. Browning, Plano, TX
  • Justin R. Rodriguez, San Antonio, TX
  • Laura A. Foggan, Washington, DC
  • Mark R. Antonelli, Coral Gables, FL
  • Logan C. Hughes, Indianapolis, IN
  • Robert J. Kuczynski, Christiansted, VI
  • Sarah B. Miller, Nashville, TN
  • Sarah N. Turner, Seattle, WA
  • Thomas J. Griffin, Los Angeles, CA
  • Elizabeth Wieters, Mount Pleasant, SC
  • Helen R. Holden, Phoenix, AZ
  • James I. Myers, Buffalo, NY
  • Justin Ukadike Ijei, Kansas City, MO
  • Kathleen J. Maus, Tallahassee, FL
  • Michael G. Martin, Glendale, CA
  • Michael A. McCaskey, Chicago, IL
  • Michael S. Kalt, San Diego, CA
  • Patrick D. DeRouen, New Orleans, LA
  • Richard N. Watts, Little Rock, AR
  • Steven C. Stern, Carle Place, NY
  • Stuart P. Miller, Rogers, AR

New Members

  • Ashley Benoist, Saint Louis, MO
  • Thomas Cabush, Milwaukee, WI
  • William T. Polaski, Cranberry Twp, PA
  • Julianna Coppage, Baltimore, MD
  • Joseph Joyce, Cranberry Twp, PA
  • Jamie Combee Novaes, Tampa, FL
  • Roshan D. Shah, Shrewsbury, NJ
  • Nichole Novosel, Atlanta, GA
  • Donia Royster, Ontario, CA
  • Christina Gasparian, Los Angeles, CA
  • April Connally, Denver, CO
  • Mitch Thoreson, Waco, TX
  • James Patrick Scheidler, Indianapolis, IN
  • Kevin Foltmer, River Edge, NJ
  • Christopher Jude Seemann, New Orleans, LA
  • Jason Fulk, Carmel, IN
  • John M. Rowan, Fairfield, CT
  • Daniel Mullins, Raleigh, NC
  • Miranda A. Ramedia, Tampa, FL
  • Kyle Beighle, Christiansted, VI
  • Rachael D. Longhofer, Overland Park, KS
  • Austin Atkinson, Atlanta, GA
  • Peyton Hildebrand, Rogers, AR
  • Jana S. Farmer, White Plains, NY
  • Kevin Mosher, Saint Paul, MN
  • Donald L. Carmelite, Camp Hill, PA
  • Catherine Naltsas, Los Angeles, CA
  • Anne Margaret Fishbeck, Chicago, IL
  • Jonathan David Goins, Atlanta, GA
  • Alex D. Ivan, Minneapolis, MN
  • Andrew Schock, Akron, OH
  • E. Stratton Horres, Jr., Dallas, TX
  • DeAndrea C. Washington, Houston, TX
  • Elizabeth R. O'Connor, Omaha, NE
  • Taylor J. Freeman Peshehonoff, Oklahoma City, OK
  • Mackenzie Ellis, Ridgeland, MS
  • Frederic T. Tanner, Los Angeles, CA
  • James A. Crumlin, Jr., Nashville, TN
  • Jeremy J. Zacharias, Mount Laurel, NJ
  • Jennifer Leigh Pridgeon, Atlanta, GA
  • Michelle Pacis, San Diego, CA
  • Ross J. DiBono, Philadelphia, PA
  • Michael Stephenson, Pittsburgh, PA
  • Stacey Garrett Koju, Nashville, TN
  • Ryan Heller, Roseland, NJ
  • Bao Vu, San Francisco, CA
  • Megan McGee Stacy, Charlotte, NC
  • Esha Sharma Simon, Morgantown, WV
  • Lisa Jane Walton, Walterville, OR
  • Gregory S. Metzger, Louisville, KY
  • Daniel J. Newton, Vestavia, AL
  • Stu Milch, New York, NY
  • Dylan J. Goodwin, Troy, MI
  • Natasha Taylor, Houston, TX
  • Joi Allanis Siler, Atlanta, GA
  • Lawrence R. Ramsey, Los Angeles, CA
  • Faryar Barzin, Los Angeles, CA
  • Michael Taylor, New Orleans, LA
  • Alice Ricketts, Ridgeland, MS
  • Benjamin A. Torres, Atlanta, GA
  • Sarah Smith, Houston, TX
  • James David Henderson, Dallas, TX
  • Peyton Watts, Fayetteville, AR
  • Moses Winston, Albuquerque, NM
  • MacKenzie Brockmyre, Boston, MA
  • Mark Craun, San Antonio, TX
  • Evyn H. Perry, Omaha, NE
  • Sarena Kustic, San Diego, CA
  • Caleb D. Hunt, Saint Louis, MO
  • Justin Vanderveer, Phoenix, AZ
  • Dillon Williams, Kansas City, MO
  • Lindsay Wagenman, San Francisco, CA
  • Chandler Curtis Agee, New Orleans, LA
  • Szu Pei Lu, Glendale, CA
  • E. Samuel Crecelius, III, Dallas, TX
  • Miranda Turner, Washington, DC
  • Charles Harold West, Jr., Columbia, SC
  • William Daniel Ortiz, Atlanta, GA
  • Kevin J. Plagens, Farmington Hills, MI
  • Melissa McDonald, Irvine, CA
  • Susan Hess, Dubuque, IA
  • Shannon O'Leary, New York, NY
  • Kassandra Soto Campos, Coral Gables, FL
  • Leo Dorfman, Carle Place, NY
  • Joseph R. Bonfig, Philadelphia, PA
  • Philip Snyder, San Antonio, TX
  • David Sethi, Chicago, IL
  • Andrew Potak, New York, NY
  • Caitlin Marie Barry, Chicago, IL
  • Francisco Valenzuela, Dallas, TX
  • Jeremy Gunn, Nashville, TN
  • Elizabeth Kimundi, New York, NY
  • Jason Ritchie, Billings, MT
  • Steven W. Martyn, Colorado Springs, CO
  • Meredith Borschow Gerber, Dallas, TX
  • Grace Ann Azar, Birmingham, AL
  • Alee Soleimanpour, Portland, OR
  • Daniel Herrington, Little Rock, AR
  • Nicole E. Demmon, Seattle, WA
  • Andrew Mast, Troy, MI
  • Meghan Wynkoop, Philadelphia, PA
  • Nicole Singh, Toronto, ON, Canada

Quote of the Month

“If you set your goals ridiculously high and it's a failure, you will fail above everyone else's success.”
—James Cameron