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 clinicians 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 was responsible for the startup of the Trust in 1989. Since that time, she has served as the Chief Executive Officer, as well as one of two Trustees for the Trust. She is responsible for all aspects of the Trust mission. Rebecca has specialized in health care and corporate law since graduating from law school. She continues to provide advice and counsel to insureds. Her priorities are appropriate Trust funding, sound investment of the Trust portfolio and wise stewardship of Trust claims.

Bruce D. Gehle, J.D.

Chief Operating Officer

Bruce came to the Trust in 2007 after eleven years of private practice defending physicians in Kentucky and Virginia. His expertise in defending medical malpractice claims was well recognized in private practice and is the backbone of the Trust’s management. As Chief Operating Officer, Bruce is responsible for overseeing the day-to-day operations of the Trust, including claims and risk management, as well as financial and underwriting management. Bruce continues to provide advice and counsel to Trust insureds and directs Trust educational programming for insureds.

Skip White, J.D.

General Counsel

Skip joined the Trust in 2020. Prior to assuming his role as Associate General Counsel and then General Counsel of the Trust, Skip served as Assistant and Associate General Counsel to the physician practice plan for UVA Health where he was recognized as being a central support to the clinical departments and their clinicians. As a member of the Trust’s management team, Skip supports overall operational, financial, claims, educational and legal operations of the Trust. He is integrally involved in providing advice and counsel to insureds to manage risks. Skip also represents Trust insureds in Department of Health Professions investigations and regularly serves as legal counsel on behalf of providers in litigation matters.



Lance Frasier

Chief of Financial Operations

Lance came to the Trust in 2005 as an IT specialist, initially working part-time as he attended college, receiving his Bachelor of Science in Business in 2011. Over the years, Lance has expanded his responsibilities with the Trust; in 2022, he became the Chief of Financial Operations. His financial responsibilities include accounting, financial reporting, budgeting and overseeing the Trust’s outside financial audit and tax filings. Lance is also in charge of the Trust’s Information Technology services. He is currently working on completing his CPA.

Judy L. Fortineux, A.R.M.

Chief of Staff & Risk Manager

Judy has been the Risk Manager for the Trust since 1989, assisting insureds in managing risks, providing day-to-day advice and counsel. She also is responsible for maintaining risk management data, providing insight and recommendations for change in medical practice. Judy also serves as Chief of Staff, overseeing Trust administrative staff and overseeing human resources and benefits. In addition, she oversees the underwriting process for Trust insureds and risk exposures.

Andrew G. H. Miller, J.D.

Trust Claims Counsel

Andrew came to the Trust in 2015 and has been part of the Trust management of claims since that time. His responsibilities have grown over time such that he is now responsible for the day-to-day oversight of claims, most of which are assigned to one of four outside law firms approved as defense counsel. He works with the Trust Claims Committee, a subcommittee of the Trust Board of Directors and comprised of insureds, to resolve claims, protecting the best interests of the insureds and the Trust. Andrew also participates in Trust educational activities for insureds.



Kirin Johnstone

Legal and Operations Coordinator

Kirin came to the Trust in 2020 as a part-time Litigation Assistant while she was finishing her Bachelor’s degree at the University of Virginia. When she graduated, she began full-time expanded responsibilities with the Trust and has continued to grow in her responsibilities. She came with prior paralegal experience, which provided a good base for her to expand upon. She is presently responsible for the initial investigation of all claims and presents these findings to the Claims Committee. In preparation, she works with insureds and outside medical experts to access the Trust’s exposure. Kirin is responsible for ongoing monitoring of all claims, as well as maintenance of the supporting database.


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.


Byron J. Mitchell, JD

Outside General Counsel

Byron is the founding partner of the Mitchell Law Group in Alexandria, Virginia. Since 1994, he has devoted his practice of law to defending physicians in medical malpractice claims, including physicians at the University of Virginia covered by Piedmont Liability Trust. In 2022, Byron was designated Outside General Counsel to the Trust, serving as lead defense counsel for insureds in Trust claims. H also provides legal guidance to Trust management, the Claims Committee as well as the Trust Board of Directors, in addition to acting as defense counsel on Trust claims, along with attorneys from his law firm, as well as four other law firms.

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.

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Robert (Bob) P. Boren, CPA

The Trust is proud to announce Robert (Bob) P. Boren, CPA, retired, as the 2021 recipient of the Ronald D. Hodges Award.  Bob graduated from Georgetown College in 1967 and received his CPA in 1970. He worked for Arthur Andersen from 1967 to 1981.  For the next 30 years Bob worked for State Volunteer Mutual Insurance Company, retiring in 2011 after serving as the EVP & CFO for the previous 10 years.  In 2011 the Physician Insurance Association of America (now Medical Professional Liability Association) awarded Bob the Peter Sweetland Award of Excellence recognizing his many contributions to the provision of medical professional liability insurance to physicians.  Bob has served as a Director on Piedmont Liability Trust’s Board of Directors since 2011.

Bob has regularly contributed his financial and insurance expertise to discussions in Board and Executive Committee meetings, and he has also regularly provided his insights to management on a wide range of issues from investments to human resources.  In his work Bob has embodied the spirit of the man in whose name this award is bestowed. Ron Hodges was an attorney whose practice was primarily the defense of health care providers in medical malpractice claims.  In all of Bob’s endeavors, personal and professional, he seeks to guide and support others. The guidance and support Bob has given the Trust has contributed greatly to our support of the Trust’s Covered Persons, as was the case with Ron Hodges.



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.

Trust Board of

Robert P. Boren, CPA (retired)
Megan Bray, M.D., Ex-Officio, Dean’s Office Representative
Arturo P. Saavedra, M.D., Ph.D., Ex-Officio, UPG President
Anita H.L. Clayton, M.D.
Vacant, 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.
Arturo P. Saavedra, M.D., Ph.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. Chair
Rebecca W. West, J.D.

 Claims Committee

Megan J. Bray, M.D.
Anne Bachmann, J.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.
Arturo P. Saavedra, M.D., Ph.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

Board Member


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