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From the Foundation

“ALL SYSTEMS GO!” For the DRI Foundation’s Inaugural International Day of Service

By Matthew P. Keris

The idea for the DRI Foundation’s International Day of Service arose almost as a lark. DRI President-Elect Lana Olson mentioned how it would be great to have our organization coordinate a nationwide charitable project on the National Day of Service in September. Her idea was met with great enthusiasm by the “new and improved” Foundation, and it sprouted wings and took off.

This October, the Foundation, participating state SLDOs, and our Canadian brethren will hold the first International Day of Service as a way to demonstrate the solidarity and goodwill of the North American civil defense bar. All that you need to do now is plan your activity! 

Our long-term goal is to have 100% of our SLDOs and Canadian members a hold a coordinated service project on one day. However, considering this is a totally new and ambitious endeavor, for this year, the Foundation simply asks our SLDOs to hold a service project of your choice, irrespective of size or scope, in the month of October and let us know about it. By late summer, our Regional Directors will begin asking our state leaders for information on the service projects being considered. It’s as simple as that—hold a service project in October and share it with us. 

Having difficulty deciding on a service project? No worries. The Foundation has several resources to assist with your planning, including some suggested charities to help. Please feel free to contact DRI Cares Chair Rebecca Nickelson (, Co-Chair James Craven (, Foundation Vice-President Jodi Terranova (, or myself ( if you need an idea or have a planning question. If we do not have the answer for you, we’ll direct you to who does. 

No good deed should go unrewarded! Please be sure to take pictures from your event and share them with us! The Foundation will share your photos and stories on multiple DRI media platforms. Email your pictures and a description of your event to The Foundation will make sure you get the credit you deserve for your efforts. Publicizing the event will raise the stature of your organization in the eyes of your clients, colleagues, and bench. 

The goal of the Foundation is to better support and bring awareness to the wellness, philanthropic and charitable efforts of defense lawyers across the country. The International Day of Service is one of the first steps the Foundation is taking to expand, better coordinate, and streamline the holistic betterment of the civil defense bar. We welcome you to be a part of this exciting first step, because our strength is our unity. I cannot wait to share your pictures and stories. Let’s show the world that the DRI community is a community for good. 

Matthew KerisMatthew P. Keris is a shareholder in Marshall Dennehey Warner Coleman & Goggin PC’s Health Care Department and chair of the firm’s Electronic Medical Record and Audit Trail Practice Group. He has defended doctors, health systems, long-term care providers, and medical device manufacturers for more than two decades. He currently serves as President of the DRI Foundation.

DRI Foundation International Day of Service

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Center’s Climate Group Reformed, Renamed

The Center for Law and Public Policy recently appointed new members and a new chair to its Climate Change and Sustainability Task Force, formerly the Climate Change Litigation Task Force. The task force resides with the Center’s Public Policy Committee, chaired by John Guttmann, who recommended the name change. “Many lawyers practicing in this area today, in law firms and in house, focus both on broader issues of sustainability and on the more specific issue of climate change,” said Guttmann. “They do so because the subjects are related and because businesses are now generally organized to treat them together inside their legal departments and their environmental departments.”

The new chair of the task force is Steven M. Siros of Jenner & Block in Chicago.  He is joined by task force members Carmen Toledo of King & Spalding in Atlanta, Roy Prather of Beveridge & Diamond in Baltimore, and Irving Jones of Balch & Bingham in Birmingham.  All are active members of the DRI Toxic Torts and Environmental Law Committee. 

To learn more about the Climate Change and Sustainability Task Force or how to get involved, please email Steve Siros at  

Steven SirosCarmen ToledoRoy PratherIrving Jones

Pictured, L to R: Siros, Toledo, Prather, Jones

MSP Task Force Update

More than 10 years after the implementation of the Medicare Secondary Payer Act, the Center’s MSP Task Force remains dedicated to serving DRI members and clients, including insurance carriers and self-insured entities, by providing up-to-date information on developments and best practices for complying with every legal requirement for reporting to CMS and protecting the Medicare fund in resolving cases involving Medicare beneficiaries. The task force looks forward to working with several DRI Committees on educational programs in 2022–23.

This year, the MSP Task Force, led by Chair John Morgenstern of O’Hagan Meyer in Philadelphia, together with Vice Chair Judith O’Grady of Troutman Pepper in Washington, D.C., continues to work closely with the Medicare Advocacy Recovery Coalition (MARC) on quarterly webinars dealing with the hottest topics of the day, including the implementation of civil money penalties and developments in private causes of action against liability insurers, including self-insureds.  The first of these joint quarterly webinars, Medicare Private Cause of Action: Is That Still a Thing?, will take place on August 4, 2022.  Registration is open here

Additionally, the MSP Task Force is producing through DRI a series of short webinars on basic Medicare Secondary Payer compliance and best practices, which will be posted to the DRI site.  The task force remains dedicated to posting recent court decisions and developments in MSP compliance on and in DRI publications.  Anyone with questions about Medicare Secondary Payer compliance or becoming involved with the task force should contact John Morgenstern at or (215) 461-3300. 

John MorgensternJudith O'Grady

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From the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence

Annual Judicial Symposium to be held July 15 & 16, 2022

The National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, an organization dedicated to providing timely and top-notch education to our state appellate judges from around the country, will be hosting its Annual Judicial Symposium on July 15 & 16, 2022 at the Loews Chicago Hotel.  Our Program Committee has put together a fabulous program this year, which includes a panel discussion by members of the federal rules committee on Rule 702 and evaluation of expert testimony and the gatekeeping role of the courts.  Please encourage your state appellate judges to attend.  More on the program and a registration link can be found at the NFJE website at


Trending Topics

Insurance Law Committee Comments on Recent Geico Case

At DRI, we are committed protecting the integrity of the civil defense bar. Recent developments indicate the pendulum is swinging in favor of the plaintiff’s bar, including in this case involving Geico and a woman who alleged she contracted a sexually transmitted disease in a car insured by the company. 

We asked DRI Insurance Law Committee Chair Kathleen J. Maus and Vice Chair Jonathan L. Schwartz for their thoughts on the developing story.

This article unfortunately got quite a bit wrong with respect to the insurance aspects of the recent Geico decision.

The underlying judgment from the Jackson County Circuit Court was simply a judgment in favor of the plaintiff based on her claim that the defendant had exposed her to the HPV virus.  Insurance was not an issue in that matter, and the judgment said nothing about insurance coverage, much less that “Geico may be on the hook for a $5.2 million legal settlement after a woman alleged she contracted a sexually transmitted disease in a car insured by the company.”

The article also failed to note that the Jackson County judgment was entered only after tort claimant, who is proceeding under the pseudonym “M.O.,” and the person she sued, Geico’s insured, had entered into an agreement under a Missouri statute (section 537.065) that typically shields the insured defendant from any personal exposure on a tort claim.  Tort claimants (like M.O. in the Jackson County case) often use that statute to enter agreements with the party they have sued (Geico’s insured in the Jackson County case), providing the insured protection from the tort claim in exchange for concessions that make the plaintiff’s claim much easier to win.  

M.O. and Geico’s insured did just that, agreeing to an arbitration after which she and the insured “will immediately seek to have the award confirmed . . . and reduced to judgment . . . and that neither party will seek judicial review of the award or attempt to have the award set aside, modified, amended or changed in any way unless by express written agreement of each party.”  M.O. v. Geico Gen. Ins. Co., 2022 WL 2032309 (W.D. Mo. June 7, 2022).

Geico only became involved in the Jackson County case because it tried to intervene at the time M.O. and Geico’s insured asked the Jackson County court to confirm the arbitration award.  Under a now-obsolete law, Missouri would permit an insurer to intervene but only with exceedingly limited rights to litigate the matter.  That is what happened here, and explains the recent decision from the Missouri state appellate court.

The sensational aspect of this article – the question as to whether Geico “may be on the hook” for the judgment – actually has yet to be addressed.  In fact, the coverage questions related to the Jackson County judgment are still being litigated in a separate, federal lawsuit now pending in the Western District of Missouri.  It is that federal case, not the recent state court appellate decision, in which coverage questions such as whether the insured’s automobile was merely the situs of the underlying tort will be decided.  

Though the article does refer to the pending federal coverage lawsuit, it only does so literally in its last sentence, and minimizes the fact that the question of insurance coverage – the topic the article uses as a “hook” in its opening – in truth was not the subject of the Jackson County judgment or the recent state court appeal.  

Readers who would like to know the actual coverage determinations associated with the Geico case should stay tuned for the decision in the federal coverage suit.

MausKathleenJ-20-c-webDRI Insurance Law Committee Chair Kathleen J. Maus 

Jonathan SchwartzDRI Insurance Law Committee Vice Chair Jonathan L. Schwartz 


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and the defense wins

DRI Members Share Their Victories

Cotten Schmidt Lawyers Defeat Adjacent Disc Disease Claims. 

Paul Lavelle ( and Chrissy Changho Bruneau (, partners in the New Orleans office of Cotten Schmidt LLP, defended against Plaintiffs’ claims of severe injuries arising out of a motor vehicle accident.  On June 3, 2022, a jury in the Western District of Louisiana, Alexandria Division, returned a unanimous verdict in favor of defendants.  

Plaintiffs, a husband and wife, both claimed multiple injuries. The facts underlying the suit involved defendant’s employee being accused of negligently running a red light. The jury rejected plaintiffs’ arguments for an award in excess of $8,000,000.00.  Although they found the defendants 100% at fault for the accident, they found that plaintiffs had not proved that they were injured in the accident and consequently did not award any damages.  

Among many medical procedures and surgeries, both plaintiffs had two-level anterior cervical disc fusions.  As part of their case for future damages, they presented life care plans and economic testimony both for the costs of the life care plans and future lost earnings. These claims were predicated on the testimony of a neurosurgeon who opined that based upon statistical studies, patients who have the type of cervical surgery performed on plaintiffs are more likely to develop adjacent segment disease, requiring additional cervical fusion surgery 17 to 20 years in the future.   

The defense started with a showing of past injury to each plaintiff, together with the explanation of pre-existing significant degenerative disc disease suffered by both plaintiffs. This was followed by a biomechanical engineer who, despite being limited in his testimony by a pretrial Daubert challenge, was able to testify about the minimal force transferred by the impact to the occupants of plaintiffs’ pickup truck.   

Next, an orthopedic surgeon testified for the defense that although adjacent segment disease may be a future potential there is no support for a finding that it was more probably than not that these plaintiffs would suffer from that disease or actually have surgery as a result. 

Lastly, the defense economist, in addressing the prediction of future medical expenses, discussed the statistical basis for the neurosurgeon’s claims of future surgery, and was able to show that the statistical study relied upon to predict adjacent disc disease was misinterpreted by the neurosurgeon.   

When the trial concluded, the jury found the plaintiffs had failed to prove that their medical conditions were caused by the accident and consequently, awarded no damages. 

Killian v Anderson CA NO.: 1:19cv01220-DDD-JPM USDC WDLA Alexandria Division

Paul Lavelle

Paul M. Lavelle is the Managing Partner of Cotten Schmidt’s New Orleans office.  He is a past officer of DRI.  He has served as a member of DRI’s Board of Directors and as the Chair of DRI’s Law Institute.

Christine Changho Bruneau

Christine Changho Bruneau is also a partner in Cotten Schmidt’s New Orleans office and a DRI member.  

R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District, et al., Case No. 1516-CV20874

In December 2021, DRI members Steven Coronado and Paul Gordon tried the first transgender student case in Missouri under Missouri’s Human Rights Act. The jury did not follow the court’s instructions based on a recent Missouri Supreme Court decision in the same case against a local school district and returned a verdict for $175,000 in actual damages and $4 million in punitive damages. However, based on arguments made in post-trial motions, the trial court took away the jury’s verdict and granted the school district judgment notwithstanding the verdict and provisionally a new trial. 

The matter of R.M.A. v. Blue Springs R-IV School District, et al. was tried in the Circuit Court of Jackson County, Missouri, in Independence. The case involved a female-to-male transgender student who was denied access to the boys’ bathrooms in middle and high school and instead was offered use of available gender-neutral bathrooms and the bathroom of the student’s birth sex. The district also accommodated the student in other ways including changing school records to reflect the student’s name change to a traditional male name and the change of his birth certificate from female to male. Although the student was allowed to participate in football and boys’ track, he was granted limited access to the boys’ locker room to allow time for other male students to change before he entered. An essential element of the plaintiff’s case was the need to prove that the student’s “male sex” was a contributing factor to the actions taken by the school district. As the court noted in reversing the verdict, the plaintiff failed to prove his “male sex” was a contributing factor and that the overwhelming evidence was that his female genitalia was the reason the school district prevented and otherwise restricted the transgender student’s use of the boys’ bathrooms and locker room. DRI member Mark Katz assisted with the briefing of the post-trial motions. The matter will almost certainly be appealed. 

Steven Coronado Paul Gordon Mark Katz
Pictured, L to R: Coronado, Gordon, Katz

On April 6, 2022, Monterey County Superior Court Judge Thomas Wills issued his Statement of Decision in favor of the defense, following a 5-week personal injury trial in Monterey, California. Plaintiff Daniel Kim sustained serious injuries including a broken femur, hip and traumatic brain injury following a motorcycle crash during a track day event at the Laguna Seca Raceway in 2015. His negligence claims against the Sports Car Racing Association of Monterey County (SCRAMP) and the County of Monterey were dismissed on summary judgement based on the written liability waivers, and the case proceeded to trial on a gross negligence theory. The outcome of the case was closely watched due to its implications in sporting and recreational activities, and the favorable defense decision resounded throughout the racing community. An adverse outcome would have threatened the existence of racetracks in California since liability waivers are effective against ordinary negligence claims but are not effective against gross negligence. DRI member Will Kronenberg represented SCRAMP and the County of Monterey. 

On June 22, 2022, a unanimous Superior Court jury in San Luis Obispo, California returned a defense verdict in favor of the Glenn Martin Company in a personal injury action brought by Plaintiff Paul Richard. Plaintiff, a truck driver for a local freight company claimed to have fallen in the parking lot of an industrial property managed by the Glenn Martin Company. As a result of the fall, Plaintiff sustained serious injuries including a spiral fracture of his right ankle, which ultimately resulted in a below the knee amputation of his right leg. DRI member Will Kronenberg represented the Glenn Martin Company, a property management firm based in Arroyo Grande, California. Following a half day of deliberations, the jury rejected all of the claims against the Glenn Martin Company and returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the defense. 

Will KronenbergWill Kronenberg is the managing member of Kronenberg Law, PC, an Oakland based litigation firm specializing in the defense of lawsuits involving catastrophic injury, wrongful death, sexual abuse, and products liability claims. He has tried cases to verdict throughout the Federal and State courts of California, as well as in Montana, Texas, North Carolina, Arizona, and South Carolina. He is often brought into cases to serve as lead trial counsel shortly before trial. 

Wheeler Trigg O’Donnell partner John (“Fitz”) Fitzpatrick recently obtained a defense verdict for an oil company in Dallas, Texas. The plaintiff, an employee of one of the defendant oil company’s contractors, decided to climb a barbed-wire fence while bringing water to the site. He slipped, fell, and suffered a traumatic brain injury and intractable back pain, making him fully disabled at the age of 56. Needless to say, he was quite sympathetic at trial. The plaintiff claimed that the fence should have been designed with a gate that would only have cost $552 (the cost of 5 barrels of oil) and that it was clear the defendant was more concerned about profit than safety. The plaintiff also got concessions from both of the defendant’s corporate witnesses that the proposed gate (eventually installed) was a safer design. The defense countered that a temporary fence without a gate was industry standard and that the plaintiff’s employer was an independent contractor who had signed a contract providing that the defendant company had no control over anything contractors’ employees might do on site. Moreover, the plaintiff’s supervisors both testified that they routinely climbed the fence and expected the plaintiff to do the same. Finally, the defense argued that since the plaintiff was aware of the fence and that it was open and obvious, he knew about the risk and made an error in judgment when he attempted to climb it—so he alone was responsible for the consequences of his actions. As much as the plaintiff tried to make this into a product liability case, the defense repeatedly stressed that the cost of the gate was irrelevant for a premise case. The plaintiff asked the jury to award $20 million in closing. After a week of trial and a few hours of deliberation, the jury brought back a defense verdict. 

John Fitzpatrick

Porter Hedges Secures Trade Secrets Trial Victory

A Porter Hedges trial team representing Tech Con Trenching, CTS Manufacturing, and owner David Conlon secured victory after a six-day jury trial before the Honorable Reed O'Connor in the U.S. District Court in Fort Worth. The Plaintiff alleged misappropriation of trade secrets, breach of fiduciary duty, conspiracy, and tortious interference.

The trial was the culmination of a three-year legal battle that began in March of 2019. After deliberating for a little over two hours, the jury returned a verdict that the Plaintiff did not have trade secrets in the materials at issue. The jury also concluded there was no tortious interference with a contract. All claims were dismissed.

The trial team was led by partners Jonathan Pierce and Stephanie Holcombe, and included associate Jamie Godsey. Support was provided by additional associates at the firm.

Jonathan PierceStephanie HolcombeJamie Godsey

 Pictured, L to R: Pierce, Holcombe, Godsey

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 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 member news

Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

Douglas BurrellDRI President and member Douglas K. Burrell has joined Chartwell Law as a Partner. Douglas has been a DRI member since 2006 and has been involved with various committees. He has also served on the Board of Directors since 2015.  Douglas’s practice areas include Commercial Transportation Litigation, Construction Litigation and Construction Defect, General Liability and Casualty Defense, and Rideshare Litigation.

Also joining Chartwell Law, are DRI members Anelise Codrington, Kendra Talley, Tyrra Walker, and 
J.C. Roper

Anelise CodringtonAnelise joined DRI in 1990, and her practice areas include General Liability and Casualty Defense, Trucking and Transportation Liability, Rideshare Negligence, and Premises Liability. 

Kendra TalleyKendra has been a DRI member since 2021, and her practice areas include General Liability and Casualty Defense, Product Liability, and Medical Malpractice.

Tyrra WalkerTyrra’s practice areas are General Liability and Casualty Defense, Trucking and Transportation Litigation, and Rideshare Liabiity.  Tyrra joined DRI in 2021.

J.C. RoperJ.C. is a member since 2006. and is an accomplished workers’ compensation defense attorney with tremendous experience throughout the litigation process, representing insurance carriers, employers, large, self-insured corporations, and third-party administrators.

Goldberg Segalla Welcomes Danielle N. Malaty

Goldberg Segalla added Danielle N. Malaty to the firm’s Employment and Labor group in Chicago. Malaty was previously with Kopka Pinkus Dolin in Chicago. 

Malaty is an accomplished trial and appellate attorney who focuses her practice on counseling and defending a broad range of businesses, public entities, insurers, and professionals in all aspects of employment and labor matters, including claims alleging discrimination, harassment, retaliation, and other workplace misconduct. She also defends both governmental and private businesses in matters involving premises liability, product liability, professional liability, and subrogation. Malaty has defended clients in both state and federal courts as well as the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. She is an active member of DRI, and has published articles through DRI, Bloomberg BNA, ABA, and NRRDA. 

Goldberg Segalla has always stood out to me as having an impactful presence in the industry and influence that commands respect in our profession,” said Danielle on joining Goldberg Segalla. “I am beyond elated to head Goldberg Segalla’s Employment and Labor practice expansion into Chicago. Given the amazing talent on my team and across the firm, I am confident about the future success of this growing practice.”  

Malaty received her bachelor’s degree from the University of Southern California and her J.D. from The Catholic University of America, Columbus School of Law. 

Danielle Malaty

About Goldberg Segalla  

Goldberg Segalla is a national civil litigation firm with more than 20 offices in 10 states spanning major metro markets across the U.S., providing strategic coverage wherever our clients do business. As a firm of experienced litigators and trial attorneys, Goldberg Segalla's capabilities span business and commercial disputes, employment and labor, insurance coverage, product liability, and more. Today, our more than 400 attorneys are trusted counselors to public and private clients in key sectors and industries including construction and energy, transportation, manufacturing, retail and hospitality, and insurance. 

Lewis Thomason Expands Knoxville Health Care Practice Group 

Rodney FieldsKnoxville, TN – Lewis Thomason has expanded its statewide Health Care Practice Group with the addition of six attorneys to its Knoxville office, announced Rodney A. Fields, Managing Shareholder of the Knoxville office and Chairman of the firm's Board of Directors. 

“This is exciting for our firm and for the city of Knoxville,” Fields said. “Health care law is a growing practice in the Knoxville area, so we are pleased for the possibilities in adding these six accomplished and capable attorneys to our team. These attorneys will complement and enhance our statewide health care practice.” 

Heidi BarcusFor over 25 years, Heidi Barcus has represented hospitals, physicians, nurses, and other health care professionals in healthcare liability matters. She is licensed in Tennessee and Kentucky and has successfully defended regional and local health care facilities, medical practices, long-term care facilities, and insurance companies in state and federal court. Barcus is certified as a specialist in Medical Professional Liability by the American Board of Professional Liability Attorneys. Barcus has tried numerous matters to verdict at all trial levels of Tennessee and Kentucky courts. She practices in the federal and state courts of both Tennessee and Kentucky, as well as all appellate courts of each state.  

Barcus previously served as staff attorney and assistant general counsel at the University of Tennessee Medical Center where she directed the day-to-day legal services of the hospital and advised the hospital administration on health care liability, HIPAA, and employment law.  Barcus is chair of the American Bar Association's Law Practice Division, and she authors a bimonthly practice management column for Law Practice Magazine.  She has served as an adjunct professor at the University of Tennessee College of Law and is a past president of the Knoxville Bar Association. She currently sits on the Tennessee Bar Association's Board of Governors. She is a graduate of Baylor University with a B.A.; holds an M.A. from Ohio University and graduated cum laude from University of Tennessee College of Law. 

Jeff ThompsonJeff Thompson has tried over 70 jury trials to verdict in state and federal courts. His practice focuses on the defense of physicians and hospitals in healthcare liability cases and the defense of public officials and governmental entities. He is admitted to practice in all Federal and State courts in Tennessee, the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, and the United States Supreme Court. He is a member of the American Bar Association, Tennessee Bar Association, Knoxville Bar Association, and Defense Research Institute. He is the Knoxville representative of the Association of Defense Trial Attorneys. He holds an “AV” rating with Martindale Hubbell and has been named a Mid-South Super Lawyer. Thompson earned a B.S. at University of Tennessee and his J.D. at University of Tennessee College of Law.   

Gina VogelGina Vogel practices in the areas of healthcare liability, civil rights litigation, defense of public officials and governmental entities, and general civil litigation. Vogel is a member of the Hamilton Burnett Inns of Court and the Defense Research Institute.  She is actively involved in the Tennessee Bar Association and Knoxville Bar Association.  Vogel graduated summa cum laude from University of Tennessee and earned her J.D. at University of Tennessee College of Law. 

Jason LongJason Long has a practice primarily dedicated to the defense of healthcare liability matters and professional board representation. He represents individual physicians, physicians’ groups, nurses, nursing facilities and other care providers in complex legal matters in Tennessee and Kentucky. He also handles matters involving business litigation, civil trial defense, nursing home and long-term care defense as well as legal malpractice defense. Long has served as president of the Tennessee Bar Association and as president of the Tennessee Bar Association Young Lawyers Division. He currently serves as president of the Knoxville Bar Association (KBA) and past president of its young lawyer division, the Barristers. Long is a regular contributor to DICTA, the KBA's legal newsletter and he taught legal writing at the University of Tennessee College of Law for 15 years.  He is a member of the Knoxville, Tennessee, and American Bar Foundations. He holds a B.A. from Emory University and his J.D. from University of Tennessee College of Law. 

Meagan CollverMeagan Davis Collver focuses her practice on the defense of healthcare liability matters, including individual physicians, group medical practices, nursing home, and long-term care defense. She often defends board-certified practitioners and also handles civil rights defense. Collver is currently serving as president of the Knoxville Bar Association’s Barristers Division. She is an active member of the Tennessee Bar Association, American Bar Association, and Hamilton Burnett American Inn of Court. Collver began her career as a criminal law clerk and was an intern to the Hon. Deborah C. Stevens of the Knox County, Tennessee, Circuit Court. She is a summa cum laude graduate of the University of Tennessee and graduated cum laude from University of Tennessee College of Law. 

 About Lewis Thomason 

Lewis Thomason has offices in Knoxville, Nashville, and Memphis. Lewis Thomason lawyers cover the entire state of Tennessee and serve regional and national clients. We have attorneys licensed in Alabama, Arkansas, California, Georgia, Florida, Kentucky, Missouri, Mississippi, South Carolina, and Texas.  For more information: 

Ashley BrathwaiteCongratulations to Ellis & Winters partner and DRI member, Ashley Brathwaite, who was installed as the President of the North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys (NCADA). Ashley has been a member since 2005.

Susan GunterSusan Gunter, a DRI member since 1996, was honored by the Ontario Bar Association with the organization's Joel Kuchar Award for Professionalism and Civility, during its annual Awards Gala in Toronto. As the organization stated: Susan is one of the "outstanding members of the profession who has made exceptional contributions to the practice of law in Ontario and to the Ontario Bar Association."

Jason HendrenDRI member Jason Hendren (since 2006), of Hall Booth Smith PC, was honored with the Presidential Award of Excellence for his valued contributions as chair of the Membership Task Force with the Arkansas Bar Association. Jason represents hospitals, physician groups, clinics, doctors, nurses, insurers, and other health care professionals in a wide range of complex medical malpractice litigation.

Shelley NapolitanoNational law firm Foley & Mansfield announced the addition of DRI member Shelley Napolitano as a litigation partner in its New Orleans office. Her practice is focused in the areas of asbestos and talc litigation, and she will be a member of the firm’s Toxic Tort, Environmental, and Product Liability Practice Groups. Shelley has been a DRI member since 2014.

Charles ReynoldsCharles Reynolds, a DRI member since 1996, has joined Tyson & Mendes LLP as Partner.  Charles has more than three decades of experience in the premises liability, construction, medical malpractice, toxic tort, and other insurance defense-related fields, joined Tyson & Mendes LLP as partner in its Tampa, Florida office.

Dennis WallDennis J. Wall, who joined DRI in 1980, has been invited by Thomson Reuters West to be a co-editor and also to write the chapters on claims handling, exclusions, and Social Security Insurance, Medicare, Medicaid, and the judicial status of the Affordable Care Act for the book, "Catastrophe Claims:  Insurance Coverage for Natural and Man-Made Disasters" (May 2022).

If you have a recent achievement or recognition, you would like featured, email your news to 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. 

Seminar Spotlight

What We're Looking Forward To 

2022 DRI Drug and Medical Device Seminar

September 7–9, 2022 - Nashville, Tennessee 

Join us in Nashville for the 2022 Drug and Medical Device Seminar! The seminar will provide countless opportunities to network with clients, potential referral sources, and colleagues from across the country who are in the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. You will hear from a panel of judges about their approaches to key MDL and mass-tort litigation issues, and you do not want to miss presentations about better company witnesses and juror perceptions of drug and medical device companies. Gain insight from in-house lawyers, outside counsel, and judges about diversity and inclusion in the legal industry. This seminar continues to be the "go-to" event year after year for in-house and outside counsel to the pharmaceutical and medical device industry. 
In anticipation of the gathering, here’s what our members are most looking forward to:  

Best-In-Class Education  
Program Chair Jennifer Snyder Heis of Ulmer & Berne LLP said the committee views its seminar as “the premier CLE and networking event for DMD lawyers.” She also expressed her excitement about being back in-person for the first time in three years! 


Past Chair Gail Rodgers of DLA Piper LLP noted that beyond the renowned CLE, networking is a huge pull for attendees. “In-person networking is key,” she remarked. 


Seminar Spotlight  

2022 Young Lawyers Seminar 

June 22-24, 2022
Atlanta, Georgia

Young Lawyers

Pictured: Attendees building their cross-examination skills at the Young Lawyers Seminar. 

2022 Retail and Hospitality Litigation Seminar

June 22-24, 2022
Atlanta, Georgia

Young Lawyers-Retail
Pictured: Attendees building relationships at the joint Young Lawyers-Retail and Hospitality Litigation networking session. 

Braves Game
Pictured: Attendees from both seminars networking at an Atlanta Braves game.  

lawyerguard extra long

DRI Cares

DRI Supports Denver Casa  

By Catherine C. Dugan

In May, Five SLDO Regions (South, Southeast, Central, Mid-Atlantic, and Canada) all gathered in Denver for our Regional Meeting in conjunction with the Diversity & Inclusion Committee's Seminar.  While in Denver, we partnered with Denver CASA for a service project to support the CASA Volunteers.

Members of the SLDOs from all Regions and D&I Seminar attendees raised funds to build 100 “first visit bags” for CASA Volunteers to use when meeting with children for the first time.  Bags for the older children included wireless headphones, a wireless phone charger, Starbucks gift cards, fidgets and snacks, while the younger children's bags included coloring and sticker activity books, crayons, stuffed animals, fidgets and snacks.

CASA is an organization that supports and promotes court-appointed volunteer advocacy so that every child who has experienced abuse or neglect can be safe, have a permanent home, and the opportunity to thrive.  A CASA Volunteer works directly with the professionals in court cases to make sure that the best interests of the children and youth they serve are always front-and-center.  We were honored to have the opportunity to give to support their mission!

DRI Cares collage


DRI New Members and Advocates

DRI welcomes the following members and advocates:

New Members 

Nicole Mantini, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                  
Natasha Roth, Nanaimo, BC, Canada                                                                    
Elizabeth Harris, Kamloops, BC, Canada                                                               
Janet M.R. Clark, Charlottetown, PE, Canada                                                          
Travis Sippel, Nanaimo, BC, Canada                                                                   
Mary-Helen Wright, Vancouver, BC, Canada                                                             
Chris McKibbin, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                  
Gabrielle Nigro, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                 
Pearl Rombis, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                    
Julia Vizzaccaro, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                                
Arpal Dosanjh, Vancouver, BC, Canada                                                                 
Kristen Soucy, Columbia, SC                                                                          
Michael P. Arthur, Glen Allen, VA                                                                    
Mandi Moroz, Atlanta, GA                                                                             
Olivia M. Mejido, Tampa, FL                                                                          
Thomas Michael Haswell, Atlanta, GA                                                                  
Reed W. Mulbry, Charleston, SC                                                                       
Thomas Glassman, Cincinnati, OH                                                                      
Greg Heinen, Milwaukee, WI                                                                           
Virginia Leigh Schell, Louisville, KY                                                                
Ruth A. Levy, Columbia, SC                                                                           
J. Ben Shepard, Huntington, WV                                                                       
Lucia Zhan, Houston, TX                                                                              
Michael D. Colvin, Dallas, TX                                                                        
Diondra Korlis Hicks, Atlanta, GA                                                                    
Cindy S. Foster, Richmond, VA                                                                        
Michael E. Tuttle, New York, NY                                                                      
Jenna Adams, North Little Rock, AR                                                                   
Victoria Torrilhon, Phoenix, AZ                                                                      
Brandon Szymula, Tampa, FL                                                                           
Eileen Geller, Richmond, VA                                                                          
Jay Milby Ridings, London, KY                                                                        
Linda E. Gonzales, New Orleans, LA                                                                   
Ellen Black, Lexington, KY                                                                           
Carolyn L. Northrop, Sacramento, CA                                                                  
Gregory Weathers Virden, Jr., Ridgeland, MS                                                          
J. Brent Allen, Jacksonville, FL                                                                     
Gregory Paul Miller, Albuquerque, NM                                                                 
Sunny J. Thompson, Washington, DC                                                                    
Keisha Murray, Charlotte, NC                                                                         
Adam Miles Crain, Columbia, SC                                                                       
Christine Changho Bruneau, New Orleans, LA                                                           
Lillie A. Hobson, Montgomery, AL                                                                     
Mark R. Simonton, Huntington, WV                                                                     
Lindsey Sweetgall-Brock, Norfolk, VA                                                                 
Kjrsten Tendall Hersey, Rockville, MD                                                                
Danielle McKenzie, Seattle, WA                                                                       
Lauren Gresh, Mount Pleasant, SC                                                                     
Rebecca M. Harris, Tampa, FL                                                                         
Austin Drake Nichols, Columbia, SC                                                                   
Amber Pritchard, Portland, OR                                                                        
David John Hieb, Sioux Falls, SD                                                                     
John A. Little, Jr., Birmingham, AL                                                                  
Brian D. Payne, Cape Girardeau, MO                                                                   
Til J. Dallavalle, Wayne, NJ                                                                         
Joshua M. Crownover, Mobile, AL                                                                      
Jay Michael Green, Philadelphia, PA                                                                  
Shad M. Brown, Henderson, KY                                                                         
Rachel Goodman, Montgomery, AL                                                                       
Andrew F. Staub, Providence, RI                                                                      
Daniel Q. Atkinson, Columbia, SC                                                                     
Amanda LaFever, North Little Rock, AR                                                                
Christopher T. Lang, Southfield, MI                                                                  
Kevin William Weigand, Vienna, VA                                                                    
Michael Rhodes, Seattle, WA                                                                          
Douglas Walker MacKelcan, Charleston, SC                                                             
Steven Johnson, Columbia, SC                                                                         
Michon Spinelli, San Francisco, CA                                                                   
Amanda Wager, Columbus, OH                                                                           
Matthew Kurnat, Joliet, IL                                                                           
Jodie Steinberg, Redwood City, CA                                                                    
Britaney Garrett, Seattle, WA                                                                        
Aubrey B. Gulledge, Memphis, TN                                                                      
Erin Benler-Ward, Ladera Ranch, CA                                                                   
Catherine S. Spann, Mobile, AL                                                                       
Ashley Fromm, Jacksonville, FL                                                                       
C Steven Stack, Jr., Jackson, MS



Brandon R. Gottschall, Columbia, SC                                                                  
James John Maskowitz, Tampa, FL                                                                      
Joseph D. Hampton, Seattle, WA                                                                       
Mark T. Reynolds, Providence, RI                                                                     
Richard T. Boyette, Raleigh, NC                                                                      
Robert A. Biggs III, Jackson, MS                                                                     
Alexandra Lilly, Atlanta, GA                                                                         
Grant Worden, Toronto, ON                                                                            
Ada B. Priest, Albuquerque, NM                                                                       
Edward P. Gonzales, Omaha, NE                                                                        
Benjamin C. Wilson, Montgomery, AL                                                                   
Catherine Ava Leatherwood, Columbia, SC                                                              
Charles A. Stewart III, Montgomery, AL                                                               
E. Wayne Satterfield, Atlanta, GA                                                                    
Jennifer L. Strange, Indianapolis, IN                                                                
Jill M. Steinberg, Memphis, TN                                                                       
Kellie L. Howard-Goudy, Southfield, MI                                                               
Pamela W. Carter, New Orleans, LA                                                                    
Stanley P. Wellman, Richmond, VA                                                                     
Mark V. Gende, Columbia, SC                                                                          
Ricardo A. Woods, Mobile, AL                                                                         
Steven Gerber, Wayne, NJ                                                                             
Karen Stillwell, Phoenix, AZ                                                                         
Louis A. Bove, Philadelphia, PA                                                                      
Michael D. Carter, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                 
Michael D. Murphy, Cape Girardeau, MO                                                                
Paul M. Lavelle, New Orleans, LA                                                                     
Shelley K. Napolitano, New Orleans, LA

quote of the month

“Summer afternoon—summer afternoon; to me those have always been the two most beautiful words in the English language.” 

― Henry James