News & Announcements

ADTA Members Did The ADTA Proud at DRI’s Annual Meeting

Several ADTA members did the ADTA Proud at Last Week’s DRI annual meeting in San Antonio. 

ADTA member Jill Cranston Rice, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Morgantown, WV has been elected to the Second Vice President Position.

ADTA Past President Evelyn Davis, Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP, Atlanta, GA and the Presidents of the FDCC and IADC were awarded the John R. Kouris President’s award by DRI’s outgoing DRI President Lana Olson for fostering increased cooperation and collaboration between all four Defense sisters this past year. 

ADTA member Amy L. Miletich, Miletich PC, Denver, CO was awarded the Louis B. Potter Lifetime Professional Service Award for her professional service for DRI and its Foundation for over 30 years! 

ADTA member Rachel Tallon Reynolds, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith LLP, Seattle, WA was recognized as serving as the Northwest Regional Director.

Finally, ADTA members Tom Hurney, Jackson Kelly PLLC, Charleston, WV and Susan Gunter, Dutton Brock, LLP, Toronto, Canada received the  G. Duffield Smith Outstanding Publication Award along with Marta-Ann Schnabel.  (Recognizing the authors of the previous year’s outstanding feature article in For The Defense or In-House Defense Quarterly) “Non-Lawyer Investment in the Legal Economy”

What great achievements! Congratulations to everyone! 

2023 ADTA Officers and Class of 2026 Announced

ADTA Members,

The ADTA Charleston, SC Annual Meeting is another one for the history books.  If you have not attended one of our meetings, then you just don't know what you are missing.  It's what ADTA is all about----friends, good times, EXCELLENT CLE and the opportunity to experience the best of the city's activities wherever the meeting is held. This year was particularly memorable as The Hood family offered up their beautiful family retreat at The Bluff.  Nothing can compare.  Thank you Jamie and Katy.

Evelyn Fletcher Davis, the now Immediate Past President led the meeting.  Past President James "Jamie" B. Hood, Chair of the Nomination Committee, led the Business Meeting during which time the new slate of officers and Executive Council were presented and voted upon.  James "Jim" P. Craig of Lederer Weston Craig, PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA was elected the 2023-2024 ADTA President.  Following is the complete list of new officers and the Class of 2026

President:  James P. Craig, Lederer, Weston Craig, PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA
President-Elect:  Dyan Ebert, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A., St. Cloud, MN
Vice President:  Amanda Cialkowski, Nilan Johnson., Minneapolis, MN
Treasurer:  Ronald L. Austin, Jr., Grant Law, LLC, Chicago, IL
Secretary:  Monté L. Williams, Steptoe & Johnston, PLLC, The Woodlands, TX
Immediate Past President: Evelyn Davis, Hawkins Parnell & Young, LLP, Atlanta, GA

Class of 2026


Irwin Fritchie Urquhart & Moore LLC400 Poydras Street, Suite 2700
New Orleans, LA 70130
[email protected]

Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, P.C.
500 W. Illinois, Suite 300, P.O. Box 2776
Midland, TX 79702-2776

[email protected]

Hepler Broom
701 Market Street
St. Louis, MO  63101

[email protected]

Congratulations to Jay Casini for be the recipient of the 2023 "Strubinger" Award.  Read more here....

Thank you to our sponosrs:  SEA, DeeGee Rehabilitation, JS Held and R&D Strategic Solutions.

Upcoming Annual Meetings

2024 Annual Meeting

April 24-28, 2024
LaFonda On The Plaza
Santa Fe, New Mexico

2025 Annual Meeting
April 23 - 27, 2025
Lexington Griffin Gate Marriott Resort and Spa
Lexington, Kentucky

ADTA 2022-2023 Officers Announced

During the 81st Annual Business Meeting in Napa, CA the following slate of new officers and Executive Council members for the 2022-2023 year was presented, voted upon and approved.  Congratulations to everyone!


President: Evelyn Fletcher Davis, Hawkins Parnell & Young, Atlanta, GA
President Elect:  James P. Craig, Lederer Weston Craig, PLC, Cedar Rapids, IA
Vice President:  Dyan Ebert, Quinlivan & Hughes, P.A., St. Cloud, MN
Treasurer:  Jennifer O. Mitchell, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Cincinnati, OH
Secretary:  Monté L. Williams, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC, Woodlands, TX

Class of 2025

David HollerSmith Robinson Holler Dubose & Morgan, LLC, Sumter, SC
Heather Mills, Skane Mills, Los Angeles, CA
Edwin Wallis, IIIGlassman, Wyatt, Tuttle, Cox, PC, Memphis, TN

Edward L. Birk, ADTA Foundation President, Marks Gray P.A., Jacksonville, FL

Steven H. Gurnee Receives 2021 “Strubinger Award”

For the second time Steven Gurnee, Gurnee Mason Rushford Bonotto & Forestiers, LLP, Roseville, CA has received "The Strubinger Award"!  The award was announced at the 2021 ADTA Annual Meeting in Asheville, N.C. on August 14 during the Business Meeting.  He was nominated by George Walker, Hand Arendall Harrison Sale LLC.  Steve represents what ADTA is all about------referrals.  

The other Finalists for the award were:

Allison Barber, Hitt Hiller Monfils Williams LLPPortland OR---Nominated by Bharat Varadachari
Todd Roberts, Ropers Majeski Kohn & Bentley PCSan Jose, CA --- Nominated by Mike Kronlund
Todd Lowther, Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLCBirmingham, AL---Nominated by Matt Bailey
Kasey Townsend, Murchison & Cumming, LLP, Walnut Creek, CA---Nominated by Denise Anderson

Thanks to all who participated over the past year.  IF you get a referral, please submit a  nomination through the link on our home page.

Congratulations Steve and to each of the Finalists!

The Strubinger Award History:

At the 2009 Annual Meeting in Scottsdale Arizona, the Marketing Committee of ADTA introduced a new client referral network initiative, "We Prefer to Refer." As part of this program, the Marketing Committee created an award that will be given annually to the ADTA member who has best exemplified our commitment to refer business to other ADTA members. The first "We Prefer to Refer" Award was presented to Bobby Hood of Charleston, S.C. at the 2010 Annual Meeting in Boston, Massachusetts.

The participation of the members in the nominating process is vital and ensures that all of those who deserve recognition will have the opportunity to be duly considered for this prestigious award.

Ian Russell Elected ISBA Vice President

The Iowa State Bar Association (ISBA) elected ADTA member Ian Russell, Partner, Lane & Waterman  as its Vice President. Traditionally, the Vice President then serves a year as President Elect, and then a year as President.

The ISBA is made up of 7,000 members and is governed by the Board of Governors, which is made up of 43 members elected from each of the state’s 14 judicial election districts. It is the oldest voluntary state bar association in the United States, with its formation in 1874.

Since 2005, Ian has practiced law at Lane & Waterman in the litigation practice group. He has previously served as President of the ISBA Young Lawyers Division in 2013-14, and has served on the Board of Governors since then.

Congratulations Ian!

ADTA Election Results

I am writing on behalf of the ADTA Nominating Committee to extend our sincere gratitude and appreciation to those who have served on the Executive Council for the past three years for their outstanding leadership.  Those completing their service on the ADTA EC as the Class of 2021 are:
Clayton U. Hall, Hall, Hieatt & Connely, LLP, San Luis Obispo, California
Judd R. Uhl, Lewis Brisbois Bisgaard & Smith, LLP, Ft. Wright, Kentucky
Monté L. Williams, Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC, Morgantown, West Virginia
Thank you, Clayton, Judd and Monté for your important leadership and service to the ADTA!  A special note of thanks goes to Immediate Past President, Edward L. Birk with the Marks Gray firm in Jacksonville, FL, who has expertly guided the ADTA during the past year. He, along with our wonderful Executive Director Peggy Schultz, have navigated our organization well through the obstacles caused by the current pandemic.  Thank you, Ed and Peggy!
The Nominating Committee is excited to announce the ADTA’s new Officers and Executive Council members who were elected over the weekend.  Because our actual meeting was postponed until August, our Constitution required us to hold an electronic vote.  The members who were eligible to vote were those who attended the meeting in Scotland and those who attended the virtual meeting that took place last September.  I want to thank all of those members who took the time to vote.
Our new Officers for 2021-2022 are:
              James B. Hood
              Hood Law Firm     
              Charleston, South Carolina
President Elect  
              Evelyn Fletcher Davis
              Hawkins Parnell & Young
              Atlanta, Georgia
             James P. Craig
             Lederer Weston Craig PLC
             Cedar Rapids, Iowa
             Dyan J. Ebert 
             Quinlivan and Hughes, P.C.
             St. Cloud, Minnesota
             Monté L. Williams
             Steptoe & Johnson, PLLC
             Morgantown, West Virginia
Elected to a three-year term on the Executive Council as the Class of 2024 are:
R. Bruce Barze, Jr., Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC, Birmingham, Alabama
A. Johnston Cox, Gallivan White Boyd, Columbia, South Carolina
Chelsey Golightly, Jones, Skelton Hochuli, Phoenix, Arizona
Those continuing on the Executive Council of the ADTA for the remainder of their three-year terms include the following:
Executive Council Members, Class of 2022
Jennifer O. Mitchell, Dinsmore & Shohl, LLP, Cincinnati, Ohio
Douglas Dooley, Leitner, Williams, Dooley, & Napolitan, PLLC, Chattanooga, Tennessee
David C. Holler, Smith Robinson Holler Dubose & Morgan, LLC, Sumter, South Carolina
Executive Council Members, Class of 2023
Ronald Austin, Grant Law, LLC, Chicago, Illinois
Troy Bozarth, Hepler Broom, Edwardsville, Illinois
Amanda M. Cialkowski, Nilan Johnson Lewis, PA, Minneapolis, Minnesota  
Please remember to register for our Annual Meeting which will take place in Asheville on August 11 – August 15 at the Grove Park Inn.  Thank you for your membership and continued support of the ADTA during these very challenging times.  I look forward to seeing all of my ADTA friends in Asheville!
Lori V. Berke, Past President, for the Nominating Committee
Sunday, April 25, 2021

Supreme Court Personal Jurisdiction ruling in Ford v. Montana

ADTA member Evelyn-Fletcher DavisHawkins Parnell Young, LLP in Atlanta reported this monumental change in specific jurisdiction. Late last month the Supreme Court, in a 8-0 decision issued a decision in Ford Motor Company v. Montana Eighth Judicial District Court, Case Nos. 19-368, 19-369, 592 U.S. ____ (2021), 2021 U.S. LEXIS 1610 (Mar. 25, 2021), ruling that defendant Ford Motor Company (“Ford”) was subject to personal jurisdiction in Montana and Minnesota in two separate cases involving alleged defects with Ford vehicles where the accidents were alleged to occur within the subject forum states but where the vehicles were shown to have been sold outside the state.

Read more here

Chances are if you are reading this article, you may have made similar arguments and might be concerned.  This case will undoubtably make waves in the personal jurisdiction world, especially in plaintiff friendly jurisdictions where Plaintiffs and their attorneys are chomping at the bit to venue their cases.  

Miles Dewhirst Wins in a Grinder Case

Plaintiff Sought $6million in Damages-----Jury Awarded $0

After an eight-day trial Miles DewhirstDewhirst & Dolven, LLC, Denver wins in a tough battle in a personal Injury case involving an auto/truck and trail-er collision. Vicarious liability against Split Shot Hauling. On May 25, 2016, plaintiff  Mark Dunlap was driving an SUV southbound on I-25 near the Owl Canyon entrance ramp (Exit 281).  Plaintiff claimed he was traveling in the left fast lane and attempted to pass defendant.

Jeffrey S. “Jeff” Ward Elected as…....

Jeffrey S. "Jeff" Ward, Drew Eckl & Farnham, Brunswick, GA has been elected as the President of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA).GDLA’s mission is to provide communication, training and networking opportunities for its members, to elevate the standards of trial practice, and to support and work for improvements in the justice system.

Congratulations Jeff!

ADTA Member Johnston Cox Has Been Elected…

ADTA member Johnston Cox, Gallivan White Boyd, Columbia, SC has been elected President of the South Carolina Defense Trial Attorneys' Association.  The purpose of the S.C. Defense Trial Attorneys' Association is to promote justice, professionalism and integrity in the civil justice system.

Johnston is also the ADTA National Membership Chair.

Congratulations Johnston!

Michael Aylward Has Been Elected…..

Michael Aylward, a senior partner in the Boston office of Morrison Mahoney LLP, has been elected to a one year term as President of the American College of Coverage Counsel (ACCC).  The ACCC is a peer-reviewed association of the 300 best American and Canadian insurance coverage and bad faith lawyers.

Stephen Carter Inducted Into Legal 500 Hall of Fame

ADTA member Stephen Carter, Carter Perry, Bailey LLP, London, has been inducted the "Legal 500 Hall of Fame" for insurance and reinsurance disputes work – see .

As you probably know, the Legal 500 Hall of Fame is one of the two leading legal directories (the other being Chambers Guide). 

Congratulations Stephen!

ADTA Member Dan Kohane Elected to Board

ADTA member Dan D. Kohane, senior member at Hurwitz & Fine, P.C., was elected vice president of the National Foundation for Judicial Excellence. Kohane is a nationally recognized insurance coverage counselor and also serves as an adjunct professor of insurance law at the University at Buffalo Law School.

ADTA Member Steve Pennell Receives Summary Judgment in Slip & Fall

ADTA Member Steve PennellStuart & Branigin, Lafayette, IN  - Court Grants Summary Judgment in Slip & Fall.

The plaintiff brought suit against Menard seeking to recover damages for injuries to the plaintiff when she slipped and fell in a puddle of water on the store floor. The district court granted summary judgment in favor of Menard because the undisputed facts showed that Menard did not have actual or constructive knowledge of the spill prior to the accident. None of the Menard employees had seen the spill, and there was no evidence how the spill occurred. Menard showed it regularly inspected the store for any spills or hazards and the spill probably had occurred less than ten minutes before the plaintiff slipped and fell.
Read more

ADTA President Presents Message to the DRI Meeting Attendees

Matt  Bailey, ADTA President presents message to the DRI Annual Meeting attendees.

Image of Matt Bailey, ADTA President presents message to the DRI Annual Meeting attendees

Texas Supreme Court Issued a Unanimous Opinion that Reverses Forty Years of Precedent

On Friday, February 13, the Texas Supreme Court issued a unanimous opinion that reverses forty years of precedent and dramatically affects the defense of vehicular personal injury lawsuits.  Specifically, the Court adopted the “seat belt” defense – seat belt evidence is now admissible to the same extent as any other evidence in Texas courts.  Further, failure to buckle up is not limited to negligence per se under the seat belt laws but also may count as ordinary negligence, for children as well as adults. 

David Lauritzen, Cotton, Bledsoe, Tighe & Dawson, P.C.,  and partner (Bruce Williams – not ADTA) tried this case to a jury several years ago and have continued to work on it all the way through to the Supreme Court. 

Click here to read.

10th Circuit Court of Appeals Lets Summary Judgment Stand On Broadcasting Exclusion In Patent Infringement Case

Dish Network was sued for patent infringement in California multidistrict litigation. It tendered its defense to Travelers and several other primary and excess liability carriers. All carriers denied coverage and declined to defend. Dish sued, asserting breach of contract and bad faith. The carriers’ initial summary judgment motions on the duty to defend (no “advertising injury” alleged) were granted, but reversed by the 10th Circuit and remanded. Dish Network v. Arch Specialty et al., 659 F.3d 1010 (2011). Insurers again moved for summary judgment, this time asserting the “broadcasting or telecasting” business exclusion in the CGL policy. The trial court granted summary judgment, and this time the 10th Circuit Affirmed. Dish Network v. Arrowood, et al., 659 F.3d 856 (Nov. 29, 2014). Kevin Amatuzio of Montgomery | Amatuzio | Dusbabek | Chase LLP represented one of the two primary carriers for Dish, Travelers, and argued the case on behalf of all the insurers in the 10th Circuit Court of Appeals. Rehearing and rehearing en banc were denied. The decision precluded the primary carriers’ liability for over $7 million in ongoing defense costs claimed by Dish Network and negated any potential indemnity obligation in favor of Dish in the underlying infringement suit.

Kevin Amatuzio
Direct: 303.592.6614
E-mail: [email protected]

Montgomery | Amatuzio | Dusbabek | Chase LLP
Mountain Towers
4100 East Mississippi Avenue, 16th Floor
Denver, Colorado 80246
Main: 303.592.6600
Fax: 303.592.6666

Troy Bozarth obtains verdict for Zimmer Holdings Inc.

HeplerBroom partner Troy Bozarth and his trial team obtained a defense verdict for Zimmer Holdings Inc. in a Durom Cup hip prosthesis injury trial. The plaintiff was implanted with a Durom hip in 2008. The plaintiff claimed the implant failed, which required him to undergo correctional surgery.

The trial team successfully argued on behalf of Zimmer Holdings Inc. On November 26, 2014 the 12-member jury unanimously found in favor of the defendant.

Troy Bozarth
HeplerBroom LLC
130 N. Main St.
PO Box 510
Edwardsville, IL 62025
Tel: 618-307-1124
Fax: 618-656-1364

Donald Furrow v. BNSF

Donald Furrow v. BNSF was an FELA trial tried to an August 29, 2014 defense verdict in state court in Galesburg, Knox County, Illinois before Judge Scott Shipplett. BNSF was represented by member and Past President Steve Heine of Heyl, Royster in Peoria, Illinois and his partner, Tom Dluski.

Mr. Furrow was working as a machine operator with a welder, tasked with moving 20 to 30 pieces of rail from one side of the tracks to the other so that a contractor could pick up the rail. Furrow claims that while he was looking backwards and moving over the tracks, he felt his neck "pop". He had a two level discectomy and fusion.

Plaintiff alleged he should have had another employee to help unhook the chain from the rail, he was rushed because of track time, a different machine should have been used such as an on-track crane or on track machine with a flat car, and that he should have been instructed to "step" the rail rather than drag it.

Furrow also claimed BNSF was on notice that his work activity was dangerous because in 2003 another former BNSF employee sustained a two level herniation of the C5-6 and C6-7 when he was using a speed swing to drag rail parallel to the tracks. He argued that BNSF did not change any of its operating procedures or instruct Furrow not to drag rail with the end loader after the earlier event.

BNSF's defense demonstrated to the jury that the work Furrow was doing using this equipment was safe and did not cause his injury.

BNSF called as part of its defense a Caterpillar employee to testify about the equipment and refute Plaintiff's claims that using this piece of equipment for the assigned task was unsafe. A retired BNSF employee expert testified that the work Furrow was doing was safe and that the front end loader was appropriate for the work conditions. BNSF called Dr. Elaine Serina, a biomechanical engineer, to dispel the mechanism of claimed injury. BNSF called a former Director of Maintenance for another railroad to testify that the machine choices were in accordance with the practice in the industry.

Shannon Brown v BNSF, was decided by the United States Circuit Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit August 29, 2014. The Seventh Circuit affirmed the grant of Summary Judgment to BNSF on all claims. The Court affirmed the exclusion of the testimony of the plaintiff's expert, Dr. David Fletcher pursuant to FRE 702 and 703, finding that the methods employed were unreliable. The Court affirmed the exclusion of Dr. Fletcher's testimony regarding differential etiology because he failed, pursuant to Daubert and Kuhmo Tire, to follow any reliable methodology in making a determination regarding causation.

Since his proposed expert testimony was excluded, summary judgment on all claims for BNSF was appropriate. Member and Past President Steve Heine, represented BNSF along with his firm colleagues Shari Berry at trial and Craig Unrath on the appeal.

Stephen J. Heine
Heyl, Royster, Voelker & Allen
Peoria, Illinois
[email protected]

Gordon Broom’s Hole-In-One

Jan. 10, 2014 – Del Ray Beach, FL. – ADTA member Gordon Broom, HeplerBroom LLC, made a hole-in-one on a 168 yard par three (into the wind) at the Quail Ridge Country Club Golf Course in Boynton Beach, FL. The feat was appropriately witnessed and was Gordon’s fourth hole- in- one of his career. Congratulations Gordy.

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An ADTA prime membership is, in essence, a statement of the high regard in which defense trial attorneys are held by his or her peers in the defense trial bar of their city and state or province.

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We Prefer to Refer Award Nomination