The following Christian & Barton attorneys were included on the Virginia Business Legal Elite list for 2019: Christopher M. Gill, Michael C. Guanzon, W. David Harless, Jonathan M. Joseph, Craig T. Merritt, Robert D. Michaux, Michael W. Smith and Henry I Willett III.
Christian & Barton litigation partner Ford Stephens was elected to a three-year term as a National Director on the board of directors for DRI, an organization of civil litigation defense attorneys and in-house counsel. Stephens is a member of DRI’s Membership Committee, is vice chair of the Insurance Roundtable Steering committee, and a former chair of the DRI Life, Health and Disability Committee. His practice focuses on insurance law, appeals and commercial litigation.
In the News
An article by Virginia Grigg on the changing definition of the unauthorized practice of law, "The Practice of Law or Not the Practice of Law, That is the Question," was posted to the Wealth Strategies Journal, an online resource devoted to estate planning and administration topics.
Guanzon Joins the Firm's Corporate, Public Sector and Health Care Departments
Christian & Barton welcomes Michael C. Guanzon to the firm as a partner. Guanzon is an experienced business and commercial transaction attorney with a significant background in health law and regulatory matters. In his business practice he advises on general corporate, regulatory and securities matters; complex commercial transactions; and mergers and acquisitions. He currently serves as general counsel to a regional industrial facility authority, and has deep public sector experience. This includes advise on matters such as Freedom of Information requests and compliance; open meeting, public procurement and conflict-of-interest laws; and economic development and employment issues municipalities face. His health law experience includes medical practice acquisitions; employment issues; contract review and negotiations; medical staff credentialing; and anti-kickback and HIPAA matters. Guanzon has held various senior leadership positions with the Virginia State Bar, the Virginia Bar Association, and the Asian Pacific American Bar Association of Virginia. He holds degrees from the University of Richmond School of Law and the University of Virginia.
The following Christian & Barton attorneys were selected for The Best Lawyers in America© 2020 recognition: J. Edward Betts (antitrust law); Peter E. Broadbent Jr. (trademark law); Christopher M. Gill (real estate law); W. David Harless (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, employment law-management, litigation-labor & employment, personal injury litigation-defendants); R. Braxton Hill IV (commercial litigation, litigation-intellectual property); Paul W. Jacobs II (commercial litigation); Jonathan M. Joseph (health care); Craig T. Merritt (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, First Amendment law, litigation-First Amendment, litigation-patent, media law); Louis R. Monacell (communications law, energy law); Edward L. Petrini (energy law); Michael W. Smith (bet-the-company litigation, commercial litigation, litigation-banking & finance, litigation-construction, litigation-intellectual property); E. Ford Stephens (insurance law, litigation-insurance); and C. Daniel Stevens (trusts and estates). According to Best Lawyers, the lists are compiled based on a peer review evaluation process.
Three Christian & Barton attorneys have accepted leadership positions with the Bar Association of the City of Richmond for the upcoming bar year: R. Braxton Hill IV (secretary-treasurer); Shannan M. Fitzgerald (Young Lawyers Section Executive Committee); and Callaghan S. Guy (Real Estate Section Executive Committee).
Peter E. Broadbent Jr. was inducted into the Virginia Cable Telecommunications Association's Virginia Cable Hall of Fame April 29. The Hall of Fame was established in 2001 to honor individuals who have had distinguished careers in the cable telecommunications industry or who have ties to the Virginia cable industry. Broadbent has worked on cable legislation in Virginia, and he serves as legal counsel to the VCTA and its member cable companies. In addition to telecommunications law, Broadbent focuses his legal practice on intellectual property and business law, as well as governmental relations.
Matter of Note
Before joining Christian & Barton, Robert D. Michaux, a member of the firm’s intellectual property team, served as plaintiff’s counsel in a multi-jurisdictional copyright infringement action against the federal government and two of its defense contractors.
On April 2, 2019, the U.S. Court of Federal Claims (CFC) ruled a U.S. Department of Defense agency must face the $63 million infringement claim brought by Neil Zaccari, a former defense contractor employee. The government had asked the court to dismiss the case under 28 U.S.C. § 1500, a peculiar jurisdictional statute that bars bringing a case in the CFC if the allegations are based substantially on facts in a suit pending in a district court. The reported opinion was decided solely on the briefs submitted by Michaux and from the Department of Justice.
Zaccari alleges the Defense Contract Management Agency infringed his copyright for software that automates defense contract reviews by installing thousands of unauthorized copies on computers across the agency. Zaccari’s legal team filed separate lawsuits in two different district courts against defense contractors Apprio and Discover Technologies (DT) in addition to the suit in the CFC, which is the exclusive venue for copyright infringement claims against the government.
In her opinion, Judge Patricia E. Campbell-Smith wrote “It may be that a great host of facts would be exactly the same in all three suits, but the conduct necessary to prevail in the district courts would be markedly different from the conduct at issue in this suit. … [T]he copyright infringement claims in the Apprio suit and the DT suit are not ‘based on substantially the same operative facts’ as the copyright infringement claim brought in this suit.” Her order allows Zaccari’s infringement claim against the government to move forward regardless of the other pending suits.
Michaux is no longer serving as counsel of record in the litigation.
The following Christian & Barton attorneys were selected for inclusion on the 2019 Virginia Super Lawyers list: Peter E. Broadbent Jr. (intellectual property); Christopher M. Gill (real estate); W. David Harless (business litigation); R. Braxton Hill IV (business litigation); Belinda D. Jones (civil litigation defense); Jonathan M. Joseph (health care); David B. Lacy (general litigation); Roman Lifson (civil litigation defense); Craig T. Merritt (business litigation); Michael J. Quinan (business litigation); Cliona M. Robb (energy and natural resources); Michael W. Smith (business litigation); E. Ford Stephens (insurance coverage); and Henry I. Willett III(civil litigation defense). In addition, S. Perry Coburn and Robert D. Michaux were both named to the 2019 Virginia Rising Stars list in the business litigation category.
Attorneys Join Firm
Christian & Barton welcomes attorneys Steven W. Lippman and Robert D. Michaux to the firm. Lippman is an associate in the firm’s business law and health care practice groups. He received his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law and his undergraduate degree from James Madison University. Michaux is counsel in the intellectual property and litigation practice areas. He received his law degree from the University of Richmond School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Virginia Commonwealth University.
Pro Bono Service
Braxton Hill is providing ongoing pro bono legal services in connection with the Virginia Equality Bar Association’s Northern Virginia Name and Gender Marker Change Legal Clinic that was held at George Mason University Antonin Scalia Law School Feb. 16 and co-sponsored by the school’s Equality Alliance.
Christian & Barton has a 90-year strong commitment to public and community service, including the Greater Richmond Bar Foundation’s Firms In Service initiative and the Pro Bono Promise. Firms In Service is a collaborative effort of Richmond-area law firms and corporate legal departments to increase the availability of pro bono legal services for the underserved. The Pro Bono Promise emphasizes a set of best practices for pro bono activities and suggests a commitment of 2 percent of attorney or firm billable time be dedicated to pro bono services to close the justice gap.
In The News
Henry Willett penned the introduction to a series of health law articles in the February issue of Virginia Lawyer, a publication of the Virginia State Bar. The issue highlighted mental health specialty dockets, opioid regulations, the legality of marijuana derivatives, and autism and the law. Willett is a member of the Virginia State Bar’s Health Law Section Board of Governors, Bar Council, a past chair of the Bench-Bar Relations Committee, and chair of the firm's Associate Training and Evaluation Committee.
At the 2019 Annual Meeting of the Virginia Bar Association, Michael J. Quinan received the VBA Special Recognition Award, given in appreciation and acknowledgement of his significant support of the organization’s mission. Quinan has held VBA leadership positions since 1991, and most recently completed a three-year term as general counsel. He is only the third recipient to receive the honor in the last 15 years.
Roman Lifson was invited to present on legal topics of particular interest to racing facility owners at the annual meeting of the Road Racing Industry Council, an organization of the major road racing facilities in the U.S. and Canada. Lifson has an active motorsports law practice in which he addresses the needs of race track operators, track event organizers, race teams and individuals in areas including litigation, contract negotiation, and liability and risk management.
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.