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Join Us in San Antonio for DRI's Annual Meeting!

Watch this short video from Andre J. Major on DRI’s 2023 Annual Meeting and some of the many reasons to join us this October 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas!  

“Some of the most indelible and strongest experiences I’ve had at DRI have been at Annual [Meeting],” says Andre J. Major. In this short video, Andre discusses why you should attend DRI’s 2023 Annual Meeting this October 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas. 

A long-time committee member and the 2023 Annual Meeting Chair for the DRI Young Lawyers Committee, Andre wants young lawyers to know that while attending your first Annual Meeting may feel intimidating, it has “consistently been my favorite part of DRI every year.”   

By attending DRI’s Annual Meeting, you’ll hear from top-notch speakers on relevant legal issues, connect with DRI leaders at first-class networking events, and increase your knowledge on a variety of hot topics—all while exploring historic San Antonio with your colleagues. Save your spot for DRI’s 2023 Annual Meeting and start planning your trip. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio this October 25-27! 

Register by September 25 and save! 


SCOTUS Agrees with Center in FAA/Litigation Stay Case 

Supreme Court

The U.S. Supreme Court decided Coinbase v. Bielski on June 23, 2023, holding that the Federal Arbitration Act (FAA) mandates an automatic stay of federal district court litigation where a party appeals the denial of a motion to compel arbitration. This case resolves a longstanding circuit split on the meaning of the FAA. The Court ruled in favor of cryptocurrency exchange Coinbase, backing Coinbase’s request to stay consumer class-action proceedings during Coinbase’s appeal of the district court’s denial of arbitration. The decision, reached by a 5–4 majority, overturned the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals, which had allowed the district court to proceed with litigation.  

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy submitted an amicus brief in support of the outcome reached by the Court. Mandatory arbitration is preferred by many businesses and industries because of its cost-effectiveness and efficiency as compared to litigation. Staying litigation pending appeal on the issue of arbitrability protects the contractual right to arbitration from the permanent, irreversible impact of broad discovery and pretrial rulings that occur in federal court civil litigation. This outcome is a huge victory for the defense bar, whose members commonly seek to enforce mandatory arbitration agreements in federal court.  

Center Joins ALF Supreme Court Amicus Brief in Internet "Informational Injury" Case 

Personal injury “failure-to-warn” suits long have been a well-accepted component of state tort law. Even failure-to-warn claims for intangible injuries such as emotional distress and reputational harm are allowed under certain circumstances. But what about the new frontier of internet-based “informational injuries” allegedly sustained as a result of visiting business websites that allegedly fail to provide the general public with information required by federal law? And what if a website visitor who alleges that she sustained such an informational injury had no intention of ever using the omitted information? Does she have Article III judicial standing to pursue an informational injury suit against the business owner? 

This is the cutting-edge question that the Supreme Court has agreed to address in Acheson Hotels, LLC v. Laufer. According to petitioner Acheson Hotels, the plaintiff is a self-appointed serial “tester” who trolls the internet for small hotel/motel websites that allegedly fail to comply with an Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) regulation requiring a place of accommodation to provide, as part of its online reservation system, accessibility information in sufficient detail to permit individuals with disabilities to assess whether the lodging meets their accessibility needs.  

The plaintiff, who is disabled and has filed more than 600 such suits (the vast majority of which are settled rather than litigated), admits that she had no intention of ever physically visiting the small Maine inn whose website she alleges violated the ADA regulation at issue. The First Circuit nonetheless held in Laufer v. Acheson Hotels, LLC, 50 F.4th 259 (1st Cir. 2022), that she has standing to sue.  

The DRI Center for Law and Public Policy has joined the merits-stage brief of the Atlantic Legal Foundation, which argues that conferring standing upon a “tester” plaintiff who has suffered no actual harm from the omission of online information required by federal law would establish a dangerous precedent leading to many types of internet-based informational injury suits fueled by the plaintiffs’ contingency-fee bar. The amicus brief was authored by Sarah Spencer of Christensen & Jensen and Center Chair and ALF Executive Vice President & General Counsel Larry Ebner. The Center previously filed a brief in support of the successful certiorari petition. 

The amicus brief argues that a “tester” plaintiff who suffers no actual harm by visiting an allegedly noncompliant website fails to satisfy the “case or controversy” requirement imposed by Article III of the Constitution, and the criteria established by Supreme Court precedent, for standing to file a suit. The brief explains that to establish standing, a plaintiff must have suffered “concrete” and “particularized” harm. The tester plaintiff in the Acheson suit suffered neither. Her allegation that she felt stigmatized by the allegedly inadequate accessibility information on the inn’s website is not enough for her to have standing to sue.  

The amicus brief also discusses the potential implications for instigating other types of “informational injury” litigation if the Acheson Hotels plaintiff is found to have standing. The brief identifies some of the numerous federal statutes, in addition to the ADA, that require, either directly or through regulations, informational disclosures and authorize certain limited private rights of action. 

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Senior Living

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From the DRI Foundation

Be a Part of the DRI Foundation’s Next Chapter 

By Matthew Keris

Summer is here and the fall season is probably as far away from anyone’s minds, but that is when leadership succession is announced at DRI. Obviously, changes do not occur in a vacuum and the time to start thinking about DRI in 2024 is now. In writing my last Voice article as Foundation President, I ask you to diversify your DRI experience and become more involved with DRI Cares and/or DRI For Life and the Foundation over the remainder of 2023 and into next year.  

My time as Foundation President will end this October, and then Jodi Terranova, current vice-president, is poised to captain the ship. You should all know that there is no one more capable on taking the Foundation to the next level than Jodi. Jodi is as sincere, hard-working and caring a person you will find in DRI. I have known and worked with her prior to our time with the Foundation on our SLC and as a DRI board member and considered her a “co-president” with me. Without hesitation, her leadership will grow the Foundation to new levels of success from the seeds we started two years ago. Our members-at-large, Gary Howard and Ashley Braithwaite, will continue providing their excellent guidance to leadership. Cate Dugan’s success as DRI Cares chair will continue. Among other accomplishments, Cate has been instrumental in better organizing our events at DRI meetings. We will be looking for big shoes to fill as DRI for Life chair, as Lori O’Tool steps down when I do at the conclusion of the 2023 Annual Meeting. Lori has been such a strong advocate for wellness and betterment for DRI. I am certain Lori will continue to be a leader in this regard beyond her term as chair.   

Most of the work by the Foundation leadership over the past two years has been internal, like preparing by-laws and other governance policies. But the establishment of the International Day of Service is an example of something new at DRI that did not exist prior to the establishment of the new Foundation. My hope is that this event will be one of the pillars of the organization for years to come. The Foundation and now DRI is also funding the Diversity and Inclusion Committee’s Law School Student Scholarship. The plan is to offer even more scholarships in this regard in the future and potentially provide additional scholarships to veterans and non-traditional students. Increased focus on attorney wellness at DRI for Life will also be a paramount concern. We will be increasing our wellness speaker database for use by our organization as well as the SLDOs. Consideration of partnering with national charities will continue as a way to make a greater impact for those in need and bring greater awareness to the Foundation. Providing greater funding to the National Foundation of Judicial Excellence (NFJE) is also an important goal, so we can counter the tactics of the trial bar with respect to appellate judges. This list of what the Foundation does needs to become bigger and more diverse. With your support and consideration of the Foundation, it will help DRI become a better respected organization by our peers and businesses who will want to be a part of it. 

So, between sunning yourself, taking a hike or relaxing outdoors in the next few weeks, take a few moments and consider your involvement with the Foundation, DRI Cares, and DRI for Life moving forward. Can you support it more? Will involvement enhance your DRI experience? Will you feel better about yourself? The answer to all three questions will be a resounding “Yes!” So do not wait—please reach out to me to discuss where you can be with the Foundation. You will not regret it. 

Matthew KerisMatthew Keris is a Shareholder at Marshall Dennehey. He is President of the DRI Foundation. 

FROM THE CENTER Legislation and Rules Committee 

Witness Exclusion: FRE 615 Clarified to Prohibit Disclosure of Trial Testimony 

By Jim McCrystal

Disclosure of trial testimony to witnesses excluded from the courtroom can be prohibited on motion of a party or on the court’s own order, according to an amendment to Federal Rule of Evidence 615 that will—unless both Houses of Congress vote to reject the amendment—become effective December 1, 2023. The exclusion order can also prohibit excluded witnesses from accessing trial testimony. 
The amended rule, however, makes it clear that the exclusion from the courtroom of a) one officer or employee of a party who is not a natural person, designated as the party's representative, or b) any person shown to be essential to presenting a party's claim or defense, is not permitted. The Committee Note states that the "rule does not prohibit the court from exercising discretion to allow an entity-party to swap one representative for another as trial progresses." 
As for natural persons, the amendment makes it clear that no party who is a natural person may be excluded from the courtroom. 

If these amendments take effect this December, preparing nonparty witnesses for trial in federal court will require counsel to take measures to prevent those witnesses from learning how other witnesses have testified.  

A copy of the amendments to the Federal Appellate, Bankruptcy, Civil, Criminal, and Evidence Rules submitted to Congress can be found here: Congressional Rules Package - April 2023.

Jim McCrystalJim McCrystal, Chair of the Center’s Legislation and Rules Committee, is of counsel with Sutter O’Connell in Cleveland, Ohio. He has spent four decades handling product liability cases and now has a national practice in that field. Jim has represented the manufacturers of tires, automobiles, trucks, farm equipment, industrial products, and power systems as well as handling construction litigation and commercial disputes. In addition to his work with clients, Jim has been an active DRI member including service on the Board of Directors and as Ohio State Representative. He is also a past member of the Board of Directors of the Product Liability Advisory Council and is a past president of the Ohio Association of Civil Trial Attorneys and the Cleveland Association of Civil Trial Attorneys. 

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FROM The Foundation

Join the SLC Challenge for NFJE

Who is ready for a little friendly competition? The SLC Challenge for NFJE kicks off this month and we need your help. The National Foundation for Judicial Excellence (NFJE) supports a strong, independent, responsive judiciary by providing officers of the courts with educational programs and other tools to enable them to perform at their highest level. As one judge described, "NFJE is leading the discussion of subjects being confronted by the judiciary."  
We are asking each SLC to help raise funds to support NFJE. As we did last year, each SLC will be placed into one of three groups (organized by size) who will compete against each other to see who can raise the most funds. The winning SLC from each group will be recognized at the Leadership Conference, receive a congratulatory ad in the For The Defense publication, get one additional speaker registration for their next conference, and get a committee surprise valued at $1,000. 

Last year’s winners were Insurance Law, Construction Law, and Life, Health and Disability. When asked why the Construction Committee supports the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence, Danielle Waltz (Jackson Kelly PLLC), the chair of the DRI Construction Committee, stated, “it’s to provide education, meaningful education, and to provide a fair and impartial civil justice system.”  

To participate in this friendly SLC competition, committees can use the QR code below or click this donation link. Participants should follow the prompts to complete making their contribution to the DRI Foundation on behalf of their committee. Each committee will have a SLC Challenge option in the dropdown menu. Donate by July 31 to help your committee win the SLC Challenge! 

QR Code

Group 1  

Commercial Litigation 

Employment and Labor Law 

Insurance Law 

Litigation Skills 

Medical Liability and Health Care Law 

Product Liability 

Trucking Law 

Women in the Law 

Young Lawyers 

Group 2 

Appellate Advocacy 

Construction Law 

Corporate Counsel 

Cybersecurity and Data Privacy 

Diversity and Inclusion 

Drug and Medical Device 

Governmental Liability 

Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics 

Professional Liability 

Toxic Torts and Environmental Law .

Group 3 

Alternative Dispute Resolution 

Aviation Law 

DRI International™ 

Fidelity and Surety 

Intellectual Property Litigation 

Internal Investigations, Regulatory, and Enforcement Litigation 

Law Practice Management 

Life, Health, and Disability 

Retail and Hospitality 

Workers’ Compensation 

International Day of Service



New Appointments 

The Center is pleased to announce several recent appointments. 

The newly formed Appellate Litigation Issues & Trends Subcommittee within the Center’s Amicus Committee is now comprised of current Amicus Committee members Chad Pekron (Walmart Inc., Bentonville, Arkansas) and David Axelrad (Horvitz & Levy, Burbank, California), past DRI President Henry Sneath (Houston Harbaugh, Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania), and DRI member Jeff Doss (Lightfoot Franklin & White, Birmingham, Alabama).   

Pictured, L to R: Pekron, Axelrad, Sneath, Doss

The subcommittee, which is chaired by current Amicus Committee member and past DRI President Mary Massaron (Plunkett Cooney), is charged with proactively monitoring litigation trends and unresolved legal questions that are of interest to the Center and identifying vehicles that may create circuit splits and drive specific issues to the U.S. Supreme Court.  


Newly appointed to The Center’s Data Privacy and Protection Working Group is DRI member Josh Devaney. Josh is an associate with Kennedy & Graven in Minneapolis, where his practice focuses on general municipal law, eminent domain, land-use litigation, and environmental law. 


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Follow The Center on Social Media!

Civil justice and the rule of law have been under persistent and increasing pressure that tilts the judicial playing field to the benefit of the plaintiffs’ bar and its litigation funders and to the detriment of the civil defense bar and society at large. This tilt has made justice less equitable, products and services more expensive, and prosperity elusive. DRI—through education and the work of its Center for Law and Public Policy—is determined to counter the negative impacts of a well-organized and well-funded plaintiffs’ bar.  

The Center provides the most effective voice for the defense bar in the discussion of substantive law, judicial process, constitutional issues, and the integrity of the civil justice system at both the national and state levels.  

Stay up to date with The Center’s projects and initiatives for the benefit of DRI members, their clients, the business community, consumers, and principles of judicial economy by following us on LinkedIn and Twitter

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The DRI Blog

Read Our Newest Blog Post — A Lawyer’s Summer Reading List 

Looking for books to add to your summer reading list?  Check out these recommendations from DRI members. 

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Whether you are looking for a beach read for your vacation or an audiobook to listen to on your commute to the office, DRI has you covered with this summer reading list curated by our members.  

Check out our new post on Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog to learn more!

Court & Counsel: The DRI Blog – Your premier resource for civil defense content.


SLC Corner | Appellate Advocacy Committee & Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee 

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Appellate Advocacy

Appellate Advocacy Committee
Sarah Elizabeth Spencer, Chair 

What are the biggest issues your members are facing right now? How does the Appellate Advocacy Committee help address these issues? 

Stare decisis is taught in school but in the real world, the law is in flux. This term the U.S. Supreme Court issued groundbreaking decisions affecting many substantive areas of law—and overturning longstanding prior decisions. Appellate lawyers are fortunate in their ability to transcend specific, somewhat limiting, notions of practice specialty. Every case litigated to finality, no matter the kind of claims and defenses adjudicated, can give rise to an appeal. The breadth of appellate practice means that these practitioners need to stay current on a wide-range of legal issues—such foundational knowledge is the bedrock of an appellate lawyer’s ability to spot issues, formulate arguments, and participate as appellate advisors on trial teams. 

In this connection, the Appellate Advocacy Committee strives to provide high-quality seminar programming to its members. We do this in several ways. Every 18 months we host a committee seminar which is typically two days and is often scheduled to coincide with a seminar of another DRI substantive committee occurring at the same location. The planning effort that leads to the final seminar presentation is extensive. Participating in seminar planning is one of the easiest and quickest ways for members to get involved in the Appellate Advocacy Committee meeting. We welcome ideas for topics, speakers, formats, and sponsors. The committee hosts planning calls during which members work to plan the presentations and marketing effort. And in the year following our seminar planning effort and seminar, we typically host panel presentations and speakers at the annual meeting as well as committee webinars on informative topics.  

We also recognize that there are many attorneys who are not yet full-fledged appellate advocates but who want to become one. We try to gear our programming to not only advanced appellate practitioners but also young lawyers and those who are new or transitioning to an appellate practice by offering topics that are relevant to everyone. 

Are there committee projects that current and prospective members should look for in 2023?  

This year we rolled out a new moot court subcommittee and increased our collaboration with the DRI Young Lawyers Committee by appointing two YLC substantive liaisons to our steering committee. We are working to grow our presence with other substantive committees including exploring the possibility of appointing appellate substantive liaisons to serve on steering committees of sister DRI committees. We are working on planning a joint CLE with the privacy committee to be hosted at the annual meeting surrounding Article III standing and data privacy issues.  Toward the end of the year we will begin our seminar planning effort for our 2024 AAC seminar by scheduling monthly calls during which topic and speaker ideas will be discussed. 

What is the best way to get involved with your committee? What opportunities are available? 

We have many opportunities to get involved. Our steering committee and its subcommittees welcome new members. We are looking for people interested in coordinating the new moot court subcommittee geared toward helping new and younger AAC members to prepare for upcoming oral arguments. We always need help with publications including authoring content and managing the solicitation and editing of content from others. We are working on webinar planning (including planning joint content with other committees) and have existing topic ideas needing eager planners and moderators.  And finally, we always need fresh ideas for speakers and topics for our committee seminars which, for 2024, will start very soon.   

-Join the Appellate Advocacy Committee and become an active member.  
-Join the Appellate Advocacy Committee at the DRI Annual Meeting in San Antonio. Registration is open!

Is there anything else you would like the DRI community to know about the Appellate Advocacy Committee? 

Please consider ways in which you can involve the AAC in joint efforts with your committee. Our members welcome the opportunity to speak about appellate issues at your seminars and webinars. We are eager to explore opportunities for placement of appellate liaisons to your committees if you see a benefit to your members from such a position. We also encourage you to reach out to AAC members for referrals of appeals and complex/high-exposure trial matters which merit embedded trial counsel. AAC members practice in all federal circuits and U.S. states.  

Lawyers’ Professionalism and EthicsLawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee 
Jennifer Naber, Chair 

The practice of law is continually changing, and with these changes come new and challenging ethical issues that need to be addressed. Our committee provides programming and publications that explore these issues and offers an online community to ask questions and share information. We examine the biggest ethics issues currently facing lawyers, including the unauthorized practice of law, remote work, as well as how to use AI ethically in your practice.  

Our committee is looking for active volunteers to help us address these and other ethics issues. Our goals for the year include consistently writing ethics-related articles for For The Defense (FTD) and providing programming several times a year, including webinars and on-demand programs. We also welcome collaboration with other SLCs on seminar programming. If you are a member of another DRI committee and would like help with your ethics programming, please reach out to us. Our committee’s focus touches every practice area and we want to create more value for the SLCs and DRI as whole by providing the latest information on legal ethics. 

Want to get involved? 

-Join the Lawyers’ Professionalism and Ethics Committee and become an active member. There are leadership positions available on our steering committee so you can be as involved as you want to be. 

-Please contact Committee Chair Jennifer Naber at or Vice Chair Alyssa Johnson at for more information. 

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DRI Members Share Their Victories

Dana Hoffman and Christy Dunn Earn Dismissal of Wrongful Death Claim Against Nursing Home Based on COVID-19 Immunity Defenses

The administrator of a decedent’s estate filed a wrongful death lawsuit against a nursing home in North Carolina after the decedent moved into the facility in March 2020 and died of COVID-19 in April 2020. The complaint alleged that the facility failed to manage the infectious disease, and asserted causes of action for negligence, gross negligence, wrongful death, res ipsa loquitur, and a direct action under the state constitution. The defendants moved to dismiss the complaint under Rules 9(j), 41(b), 12(b)(1), 12(b)(2), and 12(b)(6) of the North Carolina Rules of Civil Procedure, arguing that they are entitled to immunity from civil liability provided by four state statutes and one federal statute. The superior court judge entered an order in February 2023 dismissing all five claims for relief with prejudice. The order dismissed the negligence and wrongful death claims based on Rule 9(j) and three state statutes granting immunity from civil liability during COVID-19, and dismissed the gross negligence, res ipsa loquitur, and direct state constitutional claims under Rule 12(b)(6) for failure to state claims upon which relief may be granted. The plaintiff elected not to appeal the order. The defendants were represented by Dana H. Hoffman and Christy C. Dunn of Young Moore and Henderson, P.A., in Raleigh, North Carolina.

Dana HoffmanChristy Dunn
Pictured, L to R: Hoffman, Dunn

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.


Congratulations to DRI Members for Their Achievements

RumbergerKirk partner and DRI member Rob Blank (DRI member since 1996) has been selected to join the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a national organization of experienced trial lawyers and judges. The organization and its members are dedicated to protecting and promoting the right to a civil jury trial as provided by the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and preserving the independence of the judiciary. Blank joins fellow RumbergerKirk partners Dan Gerber (DRI member since 1999) and Scott Sarason (DRI member since 1998) as members of this distinguished, invitation-only organization. Members must have a minimum of five years of active experience as a trial lawyer, tried at least 10 civil jury trials to conclusion and practice with civility, integrity, and professionalism. 

John Kuppens, DRI member since 1992 and President of the DRI Board (2017-2018) was recently named President of Lawyers for Civil Justice (LCJ) at the organization’s meeting last week in Washington, D.C. Kuppens, a partner at Nelson Mullins, serves as Co-Chair of the firm’s Consumer & Mechanical Product Liability Industry Group and has over 30 years’ experience representing clients in product liability and commercial litigation in state and federal courts across the country, including as national and regional counsel. He also counsels clients on CPSC, FTC, and FDA regulatory matters and on risk prevention issues.  

Hawkins Parnell & Young has appointed senior partner and DRI member Mark Love as partner-in-charge of the San Francisco office. An accomplished litigator and distinguished member of the legal community, Mark has established an impressive track record representing contractors, retailers, and manufacturers in toxic tort and product liability litigation. He also represents entities in intellectual property disputes that involve complex trade secrets, copyright, and trademark claims. Mark has been a DRI member since 2022. 

Lightfoot, Franklin & White LLC recently announced that the firm has received Diversity Lab’s Midsize Mansfield Certification, as well as Certification Plus status as part of the second midsized law firm cohort. Diversity Lab is an incubator for innovative ideas and solutions that boost diversity and inclusion in law, and the process for certification measures whether midsize firms have considered at least 30% women lawyers, underrepresented racial and ethnic lawyers, LGBTQ+ lawyers, and lawyers with disabilities for leadership and governance roles, equity partner promotions, formal client pitches, and lateral lawyer hiring. Lightfoot has also achieved Certification Plus status, which recognizes that, in addition to the consideration and transparency requirements, the firm has already achieved 30% diverse representation in current leadership roles and pipeline. Nearly one-half of the firms in this year’s cohort have achieved Plus status. Lightfoot attorneys are actively engaged in DRI, with 42 current members. 

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. 


State, Local, and National Defense Organizations Host Annual Meetings

During the month of June 2023, 18 different State, Local, and National Defense Organizations hosted their Annual Meetings. Thirty-four DRI members assumed new officer roles at the conclusion of the following business meetings.  

Alabama Defense Lawyers Association selected Jonathan Hooks (DRI member since 2013) as President and W.M. Bains Fleming, III (DRI member since 2007) as Treasurer. 

Canadian Defence Lawyers selected Heather Sanderson (DRI member since 2014) as President and Lisa Pool (DRI Member since 2022) as First Vice President.

Connecticut Defense Lawyers Association elected Jennifer S. Das (DRI member since 2022) as First Vice President, Glenn Coffin (DRI member since 2015) as Second Vice President and Kelly E. Petter (DRI member since 2021) as Secretary. 

Georgia Defense Lawyers Association elected Pamela Lee (DRI member since 2012) as President, William T. Casey, Jr. (DRI member since 2023) as President-Elect and Ashley Rice (DRI member since 2017) as Treasurer. 

Illinois Defense Counsel announced Tracy E. Stevenson (DRI member since 2022) as President, Denise Baker-Seal (DRI member since 2015) as President-Elect, Renato Mark Cosimini (DRI member since 2008) as First Vice President, John F. Watson (DRI member since 2022) as Second Vice President and Donald Patrick Eckler (DRI member since 2022) as Secretary/Treasurer. 

Maryland Defense Counsel, Inc. declared Sheryl A. Tirocchi (DRI member since 2020) as President and Amy E. Askew (DRI member since 2002) as President-Elect. 

Massachusetts Defense Lawyers Association declared John Brosnan (DRI member since 2014) as President, Kyle E. Bjornlund (DRI member since 2014) as President-Elect and Jennifer Creedon (DRI member since 2011) as Secretary. 

Missouri Organization of Defense Lawyers appointed Amanda Allen Miller (DRI member since 2022) as President-Elect and Ryan C. Turnage (DRI member since 2014) as Treasurer. 

Nebraska Defense Counsel Association appointed Betsy Seeba-Walters (DRI member since 2022) as President. 

New Jersey Defense Association selected C. Robert Luthman (DRI member since 2022) as President and Amy L. Hansell (DRI member since 2022) as Vice President - Southern Region.  

North Carolina Association of Defense Attorneys elected Christopher R. Kiger (DRI member since 2021) as President, J.D. Keister (DRI member since 2002) as President-Elect, Daniel Nunn (DRI member since 2022) as Treasurer and Erin McNeil Young (DRI member since 2002) as Secretary. 

Defense Counsel of Rhode Island declared Paul Kessimian (DRI member since 2011) as President.
Defense Trial Counsel of West Virginia announced Monté Lee Williams (DRI member since 2006) as President, Mychal Schulz (DRI member since 2013), Bernard S. Vallejos (DRI member since 2006) as Treasurer and Jeff Van Volkenburg (DRI member since 2012) as Secretary. 

DRI Cares

Employment and Labor Law Committee Teams Up with Blessings in a Backpack 

By D. Michael Henthorne 

On Wednesday, May 3, just before the start of its annual Employment and Labor Law seminar, members of DRI’s Employment and Labor Law Committee traveled to Columbia Parc's Clubroom on St. Denis St. in New Orleans, There, the ELL committee members packed 500 bags of nutritious food and encouraging notes and messages for a local community of children in New Orleans through the Blessings in a Backpack program for the Bayou District Foundation. Blessings in a Backpack mobilizes communities, individuals, and resources to provide food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry on the weekends.
The Bayou District Foundation's holistic community revitalization model is to help break the cycle of poverty, in New Orleans and other cities, by providing quality education - "from cradle to college" - and access to affordable housing, healthcare, fresh groceries, and community programming for underserved children and families. The ELL seminar attendees will help the Bayou District Foundation by preparing bags for the Blessings in a Backpack program. Blessings in a Backpack provides food on the weekends for school-aged children across America who might otherwise go hungry.
Both laughter and food were in abundance. In the end, the Employment and Labor Law team were blessed beyond measure for the opportunity to serve these two great organizations.

Blessings in a Backpack


DRI Welcomes the Following Members and Advocates:

New members
John P. Lavelle, Jr., Philadelphia, PA                                                              
Russell F. Conn, Boston, MA                                                                         
Michael W. Homer, Salt Lake City, UT                                                                
Paul D. Link, Springfield, MO                                                                       
Elizabeth A. Martineau, Charlotte, NC                                                               
Edward A. Smallwood, Philadelphia, PA                                                               
Kenneth E. Sharperson, Bedminster, NJ                                                               
Rebecca Adelman, Memphis, TN                                                                        
Wayne L. Gladstone, New York, NY                                                                    
Katherine R. Parsons, Springfield, MA                                                               
John Parham Murrill, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                
Jeffrey H. Bergman, Chicago, IL                                                                     
Collie W. Lehn, Jr., Greenville, SC                                                                 
Michael R. Walker, Mineola, NY                                                                      
David D. Mackenzie, Atlanta, GA                                                                     
Kathleen Chetta, Morristown, NJ                                                                     
Gregory Michael Stokes, Philadelphia, PA                                                            
Sang Woo Lee, Philadelphia, PA                                                                     
Oscar Lara, El Paso, TX                                                                             
Matthew E. Bown, Boston, MA                                                                         
Kenneth D. Veit, Brentwood, TN                                                                      
Paul Huebner, Livonia, MI                                                                           
Joseph W. Fulton, Charlotte, NC                                                                     
Michael J. Rossi, Boston, MA                                                                        
David A. Riepenhoff, New Albany, OH                                                                 
Andrew Cassady, Mason, OH                                                                           
Clayton J. Callen, Austin, TX                                                                       
Eric David Salyers, Huntington, WV                                                                  
Corey J. Dunn, Louisville, KY                                                                       
Sampada Kapoor, Jackson, MS                                                                         
Kathleen R. O'Toole, Boston, MA                                                                     
Alexandra Lilly Milios, Atlanta, GA                                                                 
Jason Gunther, Fort Lauderdale, FL                                                                  
Miranda Robinson Carter, Louisville, KY                                                             
Christopher Earl Rhodes, Jr., Raleigh, NC                                                           
Emmaline Young, Spokane, WA                                                                         
Kevin Foltmer, River Edge, NJ                                                                       
Christopher Burrichter, Chicago, IL                                                                
Michelle M. Garzon, Tacoma, WA                                                                      
Jody Winter, Fresno, CA                                                                             
Dorie Ortiz, Deerfield, FL                                                                          
Kassandra Shortt, Toronto, ON, Canada                                                               
Russell Beck, Boston, MA                                                                            
Lacy B. Pulliam, Tulsa, OK                                                                          
Charles Gregory Ragsdale, Atlanta, GA                                                               
James Maxwell Williams, Cincinnati, OH                                                              
Corinne E. Stevens, Atlanta, GA                                                                     
Mario Delegato, Portland, OR                                                                        
Daniel G. Sawall, Mequon, WI                                                                        
Besty Stibler, Talbott, TN                                                                          
Test79 Somchith, Chicago, IL                                                                        
Lindsay N. Wikle, Charlotte, NC                                                                     
Thomas Joseph Flynn, Carmel, IN                                                                     
Evin S. Bell, Glastonbury, CT                                                                       
Daniel Garrett Anderson, Atlanta, GA                                                                
Taylor Sims Pecci, Mobile, AL                                                                       
Tyler L. Jones, Carmel, IN                                                                          
Kaitlin Preston, San Diego, CA                                                                      
Rachel A. Ford, Saint Louis, MO                                                                     
Stephanie Strycharz, Southfield, MI                                                                 
Nicolas Vincent Dolce, Chicago, IL                                                                  
Patrik R. Salzmann, Zürich, Switzerland                                
Marc Middleton, Kansas City, MO                                                                     
Jonathan M. Redgrave, Chantilly, VA                                                                 
Carson S. Phillips, Greenville, SC                                                                  
Nicholas Pohl, Houston, TX                                                                          
Essie Ndem, Columbus, GA                                                                            
John W. Sechler, Southfield, MI                                                                     
Sawyer Nicole Thorp, Southfield, MI                                                                 
Taylor Hanks, Atlanta, GA                                                                           
Noor Maarfi, New York, NY                                                                           
Miguel De Ayala Hillman, San Juan, PR                                                               
Jessica L. Wood, Carmel, IN                                                                         
Robert Brennan, Salt Lake City, UT                                                                  
Kelly Grigsby Jones, Columbus, OH                                                                   
Daniel Kadar, Paris, France                                                                       
James Wilson, Little Rock, AR                                                                       
Joe Ackerman, Grinnell, IA                                                                          
Fred Hunker, Columbus, OH                                                                           
Steven Lehwald, Topeka, KS                                                                          
Mark Byron Shutt, Houston, TX                                                                       
Timothy Mulligan, Troy, MI                                                                          
Patty Thammalaiviroj, Los Angeles, CA                                                               
Kyle Westbrook, Saint Louis, MO                                                                     
Kaylin Jolivette, Lafayette, LA                                                                     
Shawn Stowell, Livingston, NJ                                                                       
Alexa Lester, Chesterfield, MO                                                                      
Chanel Noblin, New York, NY                                                                         
Andrew Wolf, Minneapolis, MN                                                                        
Katie Embry, Bowling Green, KY                                                                      
Joseph Dronet, Baton Rouge, LA                                                                      
Corey E. Krueger, Costa Mesa, CA                                                                    
Heather Roth, Burbank, CA                                                                           
Scott E. Burroughs, Louisville, KY                                                                  
Daniel Lucas Boyd, Overland Park, KS                                                                
David S. Mepham, Portland, OR                                                                       
Clinon Turley, Saint Louis, MO                                                                      
Meredith Short, Kansas City, MO                                                                     
Kenneth N. Thayer, Boston, MA                                                                       
Emily J. Slaman, Boston, MA                                                                         
Julie Martin, Boston, MA                                                                            
Sarah M. Nyren, Boston, MA                                                                          
Shane F. Rice, Boston, MA                                                                           
Ryan O. Forgione, Boston, MA                                                                        
Michael Edward Bub, Saint Louis, MO                                                                 
Blake Martin Tims, Jackson, TN                                                                      
Brittney Lewis, Grand Forks, ND                                                                    
Nada Paisant, Atlanta, GA                                                                           
Christopher G. Forester, SHREVEPORT, LA                                                             
Ryan Schneider, Los Angeles, CA                                                                     
Marisa E. Cullotta, Milwaukee, WI                                                                   
Gerald DeVega, Saint Petersburg, FL                                                                 
Amy Pennington, Winnetka, CA                                                                        
Timothy D. Fisher, Annapolis, MD     


Anne M. Talcott, Portland, OR                                                                       
Brett A. Tarver, Atlanta, GA                                                                        
C. Douglas Dooley, Chattanooga, TN                                                                  
Chalankis Brown, Montgomery, AL                                                                     
David J. Rosenberg, Pittsburgh, PA                                                                  
Donna J. Fudge, St. Petersburg, FL                                                                  
Melisa G. Thompson, Chicago, IL                                                                     
Anthony J. Sbarra, Jr., Boston, MA                                                                  
Patrick E. Foppe, Saint Louis, MO                                                                   
Glenn B. Coffin, Jr., Glastonbury, CT                                                               
Jennifer R. Annis, Tulsa, OK                                                                        
Jessica J. Burgasser, Buffalo, NY                                                                   
Cary E. Hiltgen, Oklahoma City, OK                                                                  
Daniel T. Downey, New Albany, OH                                                                    
Erik W. Snapp, Chicago, IL                                                                          
Frank Carson, Columbus, OH                                                                          
Kevin Joseph O'Connor, River Edge, NJ                                                               
Matthew G. Moffett, Atlanta, GA                                                                     
Robert A. Shields, San Diego, CA                                                                    
Steven R. Stocker, Spokane, WA                                                                      
Ted J. McDonald III, Overland Park, KS                                                              
Albert Barclay Wong, Carmel, IN                                                                     
Alex J. Hagan, Raleigh, NC                                                                          
Alie P. Van Deman, Houston, TX                                                                      
Christopher T. Sheean, Chicago, IL                                                                  
Emily W. Newman, Louisville, KY                                                                     
Michael W. Homer, Salt Lake City, UT                                                                
R. Jeffrey Lowe, New Albany, IN                                                                     
Rinaldo J. Cartaya III, Orlando, FL                                                                 
Warford B. Johnson III, Springfield, MO                   


Seminar Spotlight

Leading Companies to Hold Panel Counsel Meetings at Senior Living and Long-Term Care Litigation Seminar

DRI is proud to announce that a number of industry-leading companies will be attending the 2023 DRI Senior Living and Long-Term Care Litigation Seminar, August 16–18, 2023, in Washington, D.C., including:
- Brookdale Senior Living Inc.
- PCH Mutual Insurance
- Sunrise Senior Living
- West Bend Mutual Insurance Company

Don’t miss what will surely be an unforgettable event! Register and book your room by July 17 to save up to $500.


Upcoming Seminars and Webinars

2023 Senior Living and Long-Term Care Litigation Seminar
August 16-18, 2023 | Washington, D.C.
Join us in our nation’s capital for the 2023 Senior Living and Long-Term Care Litigation Seminar, taking place on August 16–18 at the Washington Hilton in the heart of the Dupont Circle neighborhood of Washington, D.C. Our annual seminar will include panel counsel meetings, enhanced networking opportunities, and, as always, timely education sessions from leading industry experts on the latest topics impacting the senior living industry. In addition to exceptional speakers, the new seminar schedule offers more time for networking and collaboration, including a new attendee meetup, small group networking opportunities including a tour of the US Supreme Court, the DRI Cares Blessings in a Backpack project, and an on-site lunch and premier networking reception (both included in the registration fee)! Register now to secure your spot for these special events.

Register by July 17, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Strictly Automotive Seminar
August 16-18, 2023 | Washington, D.C.
Join us for a timely seminar focused on current issues affecting those who practice in the automotive space. Stay up to date on emerging technologies, electric vehicles (EV), Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG), and supply chain developments. Gain perspective from in-house counsel regarding their business and legal concerns. Additionally, attain deeper knowledge from experienced trial counsel and experts about key litigation trends and best practices for defending various types of automotive claims.

Register by July 17, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Fire Science and Litigation Seminar
August 16-18, 2023 | Washington, D.C.
DRI’s Fire Science and Litigation Seminar is returning to Washington, D.C.! The seminar will provide cutting-edge education, including a live burn demonstration, which provides a rare opportunity for participants to go off-site to a facility where experts—with the assistance of the great folks at D.C. Fire and Emergency Medical Services (EMS)—will have multiple live burn stations. After observing actual fire suppressions and inspections, attendees will be walked through what they observed and how to best use this evidence in the courtroom. With a number of other excellent speaker sessions and premier networking events, this is a seminar you won’t want to miss!

Register by July 17, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 Talc Litigation Seminar
August 16-18, 2023 | Washington, D.C.
Join us in our nation’s capital for the 2023 DRI Talc Litigation Seminar, taking place on August 16-18 at the Washington Hilton in the beautiful Georgetown neighborhood of Washington, D.C. This seminar will include panel counsel meetings, a Premier Networking Reception, and timely education sessions from industry experts from across the nation. If you are interested in the strategies of plaintiffs’ firms in trying talc cases, the scientific issues of cosmetic talc litigation, and new and evolving challenges to plaintiffs’ experts and their theories, this is a seminar you will not want to miss!

Register by July 17, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. If your membership recently lapsed, please renew your membership prior to registering to ensure you receive your discounted member rate.

2023 DRI Annual Meeting
October 25-27, 2023 |San Antonio, Texas
Don’t miss the flagship event of the year for the civil defense community. Join us in San Antonio and explore new ways to learn, connect, and engage with your DRI community! Make meaningful connections through first-class networking opportunities, expand your expertise in your practice area with cutting-edge education, develop your book of business, and so much more. Save your spot and start planning your trip. We look forward to seeing you in San Antonio this October!

Register by September 25, 2023, to receive the early registration rate: $1,195 for DRI members and $1,395 for non-members. Click here.

Upcoming Amendments to Federal Rule of Evidence 702 – What Changes Are Coming and How You Can Use the Rule Now
July 20 | 1 p.m. CDT
Join us for a discussion on the background and reasons for the changes to FRE 702 to occur December 1, 2023, how to use the changes to the rule now, and suggestions about how to use these changes in your state.

The registration is free for DRI members and $75 for non-members.

Tips for Winning Discovery Disputes Involving ESi
July 25 | 11 a.m. CDT
Increasingly, Courts are turning to informal discovery conferences to resolve discovery disputes as a way to avoid the costly and time-consuming motion practice that can arise from motions to compel and corresponding motions for protective orders. In this program, attendees will learn how to prepare to present arguments in this type of conference and tips for effectively presenting their position. After an introductory lecture, attendees will split into small groups, led by experienced attorneys, to analyze sample discovery requests, discuss how to respond and defend against unreasonably broad discovery requests, along with exploring how to approach compelling production of digital information from an uncooperative plaintiff.

Quote of the Month

"Life is trying things to see if they work." —Ray Bradbury