2017 Notables

Roman Lifson was the subject of “Driving Ambition,” an article that appeared in UVA Lawyer. The feature profiled both his road racing experience and his motorsports law practice.

Speaking Engagements

Chris Gill, Brack Hill, and Jon Joseph participated in presentations and panel discussions at the Virginia Bar Association’s 127th Annual Meeting.

Henry Willett presented a webinar focused on the Financial Industry Regulatory Authority’s tougher penalties and sanctions against brokerages and individuals involved in fraud violations.

Ford Stephens will co-present sessions on accidental death and dismemberment insurance at the Eastern Claims Conference and at the DRI Life, Health, Disability and ERISA Seminar.

Bar Service and Leadership

Ford Stephens was appointed to the Steering Committee for the DRI Insurance Roundtable. The Roundtable is comprised of select outside counsel and insurance leaders who gather annually to discuss industry issues.


W. David Harless and Hugh M. Fain III, a director and shareholder at Spotts Fain, jointly received the Virginia Bar Association’s Walker Award of Merit in appreciation of exceptional leadership within the bar. This year the recognition honored an organizational cooperation and personal friendship that strengthened during overlapping bar presidencies in 2012. At the time, Harless was president of the Virginia State Bar and Fain led the Virginia Bar Association. During their terms the two Richmond attorneys regularly traveled the Commonwealth together to promote their associations’ initiatives. When accepting the honor, Harless referenced the longevity of his friendship with Fain and noted such fellowship is a critical part of the legal profession. The Walker Award of Merit was presented at the VBA’s Annual Meeting in January.

Legal Community’s Efforts Restock Local Food Banks

The 11th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy, a friendly competition among Virginia’s legal community to restock local food bank shelves, raised more than 775,000 meals for those in need in Central Virginia. Christian & Barton attorneys, staff, and client Goya Foods combined efforts to help. “Goya’s generous donation of high-quality foods and fruit juices directly to the Central Virginia Food Bank was a tremendous outreach to families in need of food assistance,” said Christopher M. Gill, a Christian & Barton lawyer who has served as a statewide co-chair since the project began. Goya has been a Legal Food Frenzy partner for the past 10 years. The Legal Food Frenzy is a collaboration of the Office of the Attorney General and the Young Lawyers Division of the Virginia Bar Association to raise donations and food for the seven regional food banks across the state that make up the Federation of Virginia Food Banks. Over the past ten years, participants have raised the equivalent of more than 14.2 million pounds of food. The 11th Annual Statewide Legal Food Frenzy ran April 3-14 and was open to all members of Virginia’s legal community, including law firms, courts, public sector and corporate legal departments, and law schools. The Attorney General presents awards based on food donations in relation to specific categories such as firm size.

Changes to Confidentiality Rules for Substance Use Disorder Patient Records

Recent federal changes to 42 C.F.R. Part 2 impact the confidentiality regulations regarding substance use disorder patient records. Substance use disorder treatment programs need to immediately ensure compliance with the Final Rule, which was issued Jan. 18, 2017 by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) and became effective March 21, 2017. These particular regulations have not been substantively updated in 30 years. The Final Rule can be found here; a redline, or comparison that highlights added and deleted text between the previous and current version of 42 C.F.R. Part 2, can be found here; and a C&B informational newsletter on the topic can be found here.

Bar Service and Leadership

J. Edward Betts has once again been named to the John Marshall Foundation board of directors. He previously served on the board from 2006-2008, and was president in 2007. Ed is the senior member of Christian & Barton’s antitrust practice, and was the firm’s managing partner for 23 years. He is also a former president of the Virginia Bar Association.

Additional Offenses Considered Barrier Crimes for Home Care Providers

Virginia law requires home care organizations and licensed hospices to acquire a criminal record clearance on all compensated employees within 30 days of employment. During the 2017 legislative session, the Virginia General Assembly expanded the list of “barrier crimes” and these additions become effective July 1, 2017. Therefore, a conviction of any listed crime (exceptions are noted) will be considered a barrier to employment by a licensed or unlicensed home care organization or a licensed hospice. Substantially similar offenses committed in jurisdictions outside of Virginia are also considered barrier crimes for home care providers.

Health Care Legislative Update

Each year Virginia’s General Assembly makes legislative changes that impact health care services in the Commonwealth, and the most recent session was no different. Here is an overview of some notable health care bills from the 2017 session.

Bar Service and Leadership

Elizabeth S. Olcott is chair-elect of the Pro Bono Hotlines, which is a signature program of the Virginia Bar Association’s Young Lawyers Division.

Virginia H. Grigg participated in Hanover Senior Law Day sponsored by the Hanover County Council on Aging and Senior Connections. The event provides essential documents such as wills, powers of attorney and advance medical directives to seniors free of charge.

Speaking Engagement

Jonathan M. Joseph spoke at the Virginia Association of Personal Care Providers’ Annual Education Conference Oct. 12 on buying and selling a personal care agency.

Copyright Infringement Liability: Website Owners and Bloggers Should Review Federal Registration Requirements

Websites, blogs and other internet entities that allow the public to post comments, pictures, articles, videos, music, poetry or other user-generated content must meet new federal registration requirements to maintain or establish a safe harbor from copyright infringement liability.

Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act (DMCA), online service providers such as websites, blogs, discussion forums and chat rooms that allow third-party content are afforded a safe harbor from copyright lawsuits where a copyright owner alleges a third party has posted infringing content if certain requirements are met. One such requirement for online providers is providing the Copyright Office with a designated agent contact to receive notice of claimed infringement.

Previously, designations were filed through a paper-based system. However effective Jan. 1, 2018, internet entities must electronically register the contact information of a designated agent to receive take-down notices for claimed infringing content. The new online registration process makes it easier for small websites and individual bloggers to take advantage of the DMCA safe harbor as the Copyright Office has simplified the required contact information on the electronic form.

The filing fee is $6, and the designated agent information must be reviewed and renewed every three years. Designations previously submitted through the former paper-based system must be refiled electronically as they will be considered invalid as of Jan. 1, 2018. For more information or to register, visit https://www.copyright.gov/dmca-directory/.

Online service providers must meet other requirements to claim DMCA safe harbor, including publicly posting a procedure for reporting claims of copyright infringement, which must comply with DMCA-specified requirements. For more information on designated agents, take-down notices, copyright policies, website terms and conditions or privacy policies, or other intellectual property issues, please contact Peter Broadbent or Belinda Jones.

Litigation Associates Join the Firm

Shannan M. Fitzgerald and Gordon M. Phillips have joined the firm’s litigation practice group as associates. They will assist clients with contract and business disputes, and other general litigation matters.

Fitzgerald received degrees from the University of Richmond School of Law and the University of Virginia. Before joining the firm she served as a law clerk for the Hon. Beverly W. Snukals, presiding judge for the Circuit Court of the City of Richmond. Phillips graduated from the University of Richmond School of Law and Christopher Newport University. He previously served as a law clerk for the Hon. William L. Osteen Jr., U.S. District Court chief judge for the Middle District of North Carolina.

Bar Service and Leadership

Roman Lifson has been appointed to DRI’s Law Institute, the committee that oversees all of the organization’s educational conferences. Lifson has chaired several DRI conferences and served in various leadership roles in DRI’s Product Liability Committee.

Peyton M. Stroud is a member of the Faison Center’s Junior Board. The Faison Center is a non-profit educational and treatment center serving individuals and families impacted by autism spectrum disorder and other developmental disabilities.

These items have been provided as an informational service and do not constitute legal counsel or advice, which can only be rendered in the context of specific factual situations. If a legal issue should arise, please contact an attorney listed or retain the assistance of other competent legal counsel. Case results depend on a variety of factors unique to each case and results do not guarantee or predict a similar result in any future case undertaken.