The mission of Piedmont Liability Trust is to serve the professional liability legal needs of the University of Virginia Physicians Group clinicians and to be a trusted resource for all of their health law and medical/legal issues.


The Trust serves as legal counsel to University of Virginia Physicians Group clinicians for medical professional liability matters related to patient care and provides liability and indemnity coverage for claims against Trust Covered Persons.


Patient Care Support

  • Physician/Patient Responsibilities
  • Termination of Patient Care
  • Informed Consent
  • Issues with Minors
  • Patient Competency
  • Patient Complaints
  • Subpoenas for Patient Records
  • Subpoenas for Treating Physician Testimony


Claims and Litigation

  • Patient or Lawyer Threatening Suit
  • Service of Lawsuit Papers
  • Inquiry from Media re: Claim or Lawsuit

Financial Services

  • The Trust funds professional liability losses for UVA Physicians Group employees for services provided on behalf of UVA.


Administrative Documents Provided upon Request

  • Terms of Coverage
  • Proof of Coverage
  • Claims History

The Trust Team


Rebecca W. West, J.D.

Trustee and Chief Executive Officer

Rebecca is responsible for the overall day-to-day management of the Trust. She has been CEO since creating the Trust in 1989. Rebecca specializes in health care and corporate law and is available for advice and counsel on health care matters. Rebecca sets annual funding rates based on actuarial studies, manages cash flow on a month to month basis, oversees investments and the investment policy and assures that the Trust has a clean annual audit by an outside audit firm.

Bruce D. Gehle, J.D.

Chief Operating Officer and General Counsel

Bruce works with Rebecca to direct the Trust’s overall functions, including strategic planning, investment review, budgeting and funding requirements, premium assessments, cash flow, claims reserves and disposition, HIPAA compliance, supervision of Trust risk management, and oversight of legal service support to Trust Covered Persons.  Bruce directs Trust educational programming with an annual lecture series, and supports to the UVA School of Medicine’s Clinical Departments by providing focused medical/legal education to attendings and their house staff.

Skip White, J.D.

Associate General Counsel

Skip serves as Associate General Counsel for the Trust.  Skip is a member of the Trust’s management team and supports overall operational, financial, claims and legal operations of the Trust.  In addition to also regularly providing risk management and health law advice, Skip represents Covered Persons in Department of Health Professions investigations and regularly serves as legal counsel on behalf of providers in litigation matters.




Lance Frasier

Manager of Finance and Operations

Lance is responsible for managing the financial operations of the Trust, including accounting and reporting, audit, budget, and tax filings.   Lance is also in charge of the Trust’s Information Technology services.

Judy L. Fortineux, A.R.M.

Chief of Staff & Risk Manager

Judy oversees Trust administrative staff and ensures efficient and effective support services for all areas of Trust responsibility.  She also handles many of the Trust’s human resource responsibilities including payroll and benefits.  She manages all Trust Covered Person databases and underwriting processes.  In addition to her administrative responsibilities, Judy coordinates and provides risk management services to Trust Covered Persons.  She is certified as a risk manager by the American Association of Health Care Risk Managers. She works in conjunction with Trust attorneys to provide day-to-day advice and assistance to Trust clinicians in addition to maintaining risk management records and data. Judy also facilitates providing proof of coverage and claims history upon request.

Andrew G. H. Miller, J.D.

Trust Claims Counsel

Andrew oversees the Claims operations of the Trust. He represents Covered Persons in malpractice litigation as well as manages outside counsel who are defending Covered Persons.  Andrew also is involved in Trust risk management and educational activities.









Kirin Johnstone

Litigation Assistant

Kirin is responsible for assisting the Trust Claims attorneys with defense of malpractice claims and cases filed against Trust Covered Persons.


Tammy Tuthill

Educational Coordinator & Administrative Assistant

Tammy is responsible for matters related to Covered Person applications, rate classifications, and other Trust educational events and credits.  Tammy also provides administrative and technical support to the Trust.

Ron Hodges


The Ronald D. Hodges Award is presented annually to an individual who has made a significant and lasting contribution to the cooperative relationship between the sister professions of law and medicine.

Ron Hodges was an attorney who specialized in defending physicians, nurses and hospitals in medical malpractice litigation. He was a counselor, in every sense of the word, guiding the physicians and nurses who relied upon him through the personal and painful ordeal of litigation. Though Ron represented health professionals throughout the state, he had a special devotion to the University of Virginia Health System. He spent hours providing curbside consults, speaking to professional groups, and advising administrators, nurses and physicians without ever thinking about billing for his time. The legal and the medical professions lost a great friend and advocate when Ron unexpectedly passed away in 1998 at the age of fifty-three.

O. William Smith, Jr.

The Trust is pleased to announce that Mr. O. William “Bill” Smith, Jr. is the recipient of the 2020 Ron Hodges Award for Law & Medicine.  Mr. Smith retired in 2015 after providing 23 years of service to the Trust and to the clinicians of the University of Virginia.  Bill served as the Chief Financial Officer of the Trust throughout his tenure.  His efforts contributed to the Trust bottom line in many ways, but most notably by helping build Trust assets through taking personal responsibility for Trust investments through most of his tenure.  Bill also served as well as the primary office administrator, overseeing everything from office staff and human resources to IT and building and grounds matters. The Trust relied heavily on Bill and his character and integrity were well recognized.  Prior to coming to the Trust, Bill worked as a senior financial analyst for the University of Virginia Health Services Foundation (now UPG) for 10  years, where he also contributed to the clinical practice group.  When work demands allowed Bill was also very active in the local theater community and was well recognized and appreciated for his abilities as an actor.  Everyone who knows Bill respects him, and he was a tremendous asset and credit to the Trust. Bill Smith exemplifies the values and spirit of support we wish to recognize with the Hodges Award.  We congratulate him on this award and thank him once again for his many contributions to the Trust.


Trust Board of

Robert P. Boren, CPA (retired)
Megan Bray, M.D., Ex-Officio, Dean’s Office Representative
A. Bobby Chhabra, M.D., Ex-Officio, UPG President
Anita H.L. Clayton, M.D.
J. Corey Feist, J.D., M.B.A, Ex- Officio, UPG CEO
Peter T. Hallowell, M.D.
James Howell, J.D.
Karen Johnston, M.D., Vice Chair
Christopher A. Moskaluk, M.D.
Stephen S. Park, M.D.
Mitchell H. Rosner, M.D.
R. Carter Scott, III, J.D.
Mark E. Shaffrey, M.D
Scott A. Syverud, M.D., Chair, Ex-Officio, President Clinical Staff
Jonathan D. Truwit, M.D., Non-UPG Clinician Director
Rebecca W. West, J.D., Ex-Officio, PLT CEO

Executive Committee

Robert P. Boren, CPA (retired)
Megan Bray, M.D.
A. Bobby Chhabra, M.D.
James Howell, J.D.
Karen C. Johnston, M.D., Vice Chair
Christopher A. Moskaluk, M.D.
R. Carter Scott, III, J.D.
Mark E. Shaffrey, M.D.
Scott A. Syverud, M.D.
Rebecca W. West, J.D.

 Claims Committee

Megan J. Bray, M.D.
A. Bobby Chhabra, M.D.
Arun Krishnaraj M.D.
Ryan E. Lesh, M.D.
Pamela Mason, M.D.
Eugene D. McGahren, III, M.D., Vice-Chair
Mohan Nadkarni M.D.
Mark E. Shaffrey, M.D., Chair
Adam Shimer, M.D.
Andrew M. Southerland, M.D.
Scott A. Syverud, M.D.
Rebecca W. West, J.D.


Rebecca W. West, J.D.
Scott A. Syverud, M.D.

The Trustees are overseen by the Trust Board of Directors. Monthly oversight of Trust activities comes from the Trust Executive Committee. Oversight of claims handling comes from the Claims Committee.

Board Member


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