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PWHD HISTORY

I. Leake Wornom, Jr.

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Neal J. Patten

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I. Leake Wornom, Jr.

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Alan A. Diamonstein

For nearly 70 years, the law firm of Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein has served the legal needs of the Virginia Peninsula, the Hampton Roads Region and clients throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia and beyond. In 1954, Neal J. Patten (1917-2009) and I. Leake Wornom, Jr. (1926-2008), formed the firm of Patten & Wornom. In 1981, Thomas R. Watkins (1925-1995) and others merged with Patten & Wornom to form Patten, Wornom and Watkins. In 1999, the firm merged with Diamonstein & Staley and also  H. Duncan Garnett, Jr. (1944-2023) to form the current Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C.

During the past 50 years, the firm has become nationally renowned for its success in representing thousands of asbestos victims in product liability litigation. This reputation was earned by PWHD Partners Robert R., Hatten, Donald N. Patten (retired 2022) and Hugh B. McCormick, III. For his pioneering work on behalf of injured victims of asbestos, the firm manager, Robert R. Hatten, received the first Courageous Advocacy Award from the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association in 1987. Numerous awards have followed. PWHD’s litigators also work on many other product liability cases including talc, Roundup, 3M Combat earplugs, vaginal mesh, hip implants and other matters. In addition, PWHD handles traditional tort and personal injury cases involving traumatic head injuries and other complex physical injuries, medical malpractice, whistleblower or “qui tam” litigation, sexual discrimination, and employment litigation.

 

With the merger of Diamonstein & Staley in 1999, the firm assimilated a robust and adept transactional law practice.  Our Business Law practice was led by Alan Diamonstein until his death in 2019.  For many years Diamonstein represented the City of Newport News in the House of Delegates of the General Assembly of Virginia where he was elected as the Leader of the Democratic party.  After retiring from politics, Alan became one of the most influential lobbyists in Virginia. 

 

From 1999 until his untimely death in 2023, H. Duncan Garnett, Jr. practiced personal injury, wrongful death, and medical malpractice litigation with the firm. Duncan served as President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and was widely regarded as one of the most effective trial lawyers in Virginia, and he was certainly one of the most liked lawyers by his clients, his colleagues, and the courts.

 

In 2023 the firm expanded the “qui tam” and whistleblower practice of the firm that had been previously established by Partner James H. Shoemaker, Jr.  Shoemaker is nationally respected for having recovered billions of dollars from companies that had defrauded businesses or the United States government.  Three more whistleblower and “qui tam” litigation attorneys have now joined the firm: Kenneth R. Yoffy, C. Thomas Turbeville, Jr., and Scott L. Reichle. Collectively, these partners of PWHD have recovered more than $7 billion from companies that had defrauded businesses or the United States government. This nationally respected aspect of the firm’s practice is expected to continue to grow in the future.

 

In 2023, Eleanor Brown rejoined the firm after an absence of 5 years during which she served on the City Council for the City of Hampton and as a Commissioner of Accounts for the City of Hampton. Eleanor is one of the most respected attorneys in Tidewater, Virginia, in the field of wills, trusts, and estate administration.  For many years, she was a professor at the Regent Law School in Virginia Beach where she taught these subjects to aspiring attorneys and was repeatedly recognized by her students as their most influential member of the faculty.

 

Most recently, PWHD has formed a strategic alliance with the firm of Motley Rice in South Carolina and Nate Finch, a partner in that firm, has been added to the trial team of PWHD.  Motley Rice has offices and co-counsel throughout the United States and is nationally recognized for it’s pioneering work in asbestos, tobacco, opioid, and many other types of toxic tort litigation.  In 1996, Motley Rice negotiated the national tobacco settlement for $365 billion and most recently this firm has negotiated multi-billion-dollar settlements in the opioid litigation for a large number of claimants against the drug industry.

 

PWHD enjoys the highest rating from Martindale-Hubbell Law Directory, a national rating service for attorneys. With 11 attorneys and a knowledgeable support staff, our law firm provides an extensive range of services to prosecute or defend your legal rights. PWHD is dedicated to fulfilling your legal needs.

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