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Soundscapes Golf Tournament 2021

Soundscapes 2021 Golf Classic
presented by PWHD

PWHD is proud to report that it recently presented the Soundscapes 2021 Golf Classic Tournament. PWHD Asbestos and Products Liability Lead Litigation Attorney, Bobby Hatten, played in the tournament along with other friends of the firm.

Soundscapes is a local nonprofit organization that teaches critical life skills to students through music education. All proceeds from the Soundscapes Golf Classic support the student musicians, and the heart of Soundscape’s mission, which is the strong belief in the power of music to change lives and the understanding that all children have valuable contributions to make both musically and to our community.

PWHD has been a supporter of Soundscapes since its inception. Bobby Hatten is a founding member of the Board of Directors of Soundscapes and has served as its Chairman of the Board since its inception in 2010. The Honorable Alan A. Diamonstein, former PWHD Partner, was also passionate about Soundscapes’ mission and served as a founding member of the Board of Directors of Soundscapes until he passed away in 2019.

PWHD is dedicated and committed to supporting organizations like Soundscapes which positively impact the lives of children on the Peninsula. Learn more about Soundscapes, Bobby Hatten and PWHD here:

  PWHD in the Community

  Robert R. Hatten

  Products Liability


  General Litigation

16th Annual Food Frenzy to Benefit the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank

16th Annual Food Frenzy

For many years, PWHD has sought to help those in need and provide help for those who find themselves in difficult circumstances. PWHD is pleased to announce our participation in the 16th Annual Food Frenzy to benefit the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. 

PWHD is a longtime supporter of the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank. Since 1986, the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank has served those struggling with hunger throughout the Peninsula The Virginia Peninsula Foodbank also provides programs for children, seniors and others in our community facing food insecurity.. PWHD has also participated in the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank’s Legal Food Frenzy since its inception and is continuing its support by participating in the 2021 Legal Food Frenzy.

Contributions to the Foodbank can be made directly here:

Patten Wornom Hatten Diamonstein L C is fundraising for Virginia Peninsula Foodbank (


In 2021, PWHD attorneys and staff again volunteered at the Virginia Peninsula Foodbank in Hampton as part of the firm’s participation in the Legal Food Frenzy. At the event, volunteers packed boxes for the Foodbank’s community food pantry partners, which totaled in excess of 3,500 pounds of food.

In addition, as a result of the firm’s fundraising efforts and contributions of non-perishable food in 2021 for the Legal Food Frenzy, the Foodbank will be able to provide 11,930 meals to those in need in our community.

At PWHD, we are committed to ensuring a better day for our neighbors and friends. Read more about PWHD’s community involvement here:

If you need legal representation, give us a call today at 757-223-4500 or fill out our online contact form. Our attorneys handle a variety of legal matters and are available by phone, videoconference, or in-person meetings to discuss your legal needs.

Rector of CNU Robert Hatten
2020 Super Lawyers

Rector Robert R. Hatten, Esq.
Statement on Black Lives Matter and Social Justice
CNU Board of Visitors, June 4, 2020

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Good afternoon.  I am Bobby Hatten. 

I am a trial lawyer and I have the great honor  to serve as the Rector of the Board of Visitors of Christopher Newport University, and I welcome all of you to this public meeting of that board.

Before starting the business meeting I would like  to take a moment of personal privilege to speak to everyone in the Commonwealth of Virginia  who is listening:

We have a crisis of structural and intractable racism in America.   

It is obvious and blatant to everyone who has eyes to see and a heart to understand.  

So obvious that the entire country has just seen a policeman murder a Black man in broad daylight, slowly killing him with his knee on his neck, while three other policemen stood by and did nothing to stop it. 

That crime, as well as other atrocities by police, has ignited the justifiable rage and anger of millions of Americans—Black, Brown and White—who are still marching through our cities and towns.

Chanting, crying, shouting, and pleading “BLACK LIVES MATTER”—and indeed they do.

One thing is certain: White people, like me, DO NOT KNOW what it is like to be Black in America,

But IF this week has taught us anything, it has taught us that it is time—long past time—that White men and women in America need to start listening to Black people and standing  up with them.

Listen when they say:

America  has a crisis of impunity, immunity, and accountability  for police brutality toward Black people.

Listen when they say:

America  has a crisis of inequality in income, health care, opportunity, and education for Black people.

Listen when they say:

America  has a crisis of justice in our courts and of leadership in our government.

All over America, these cries of Black people for justice and fairness have not been answered. 

BUT today the whole world is listening.

We—White people—should have been listening sooner – but this is not new.    

Systemic racism against Black people has been ingrained in American culture for hundreds of years.

From slavery, to Jim Crow laws, to the Ku Klux Klan, to segregated schools, restaurants, and hotels, to the red lining of real estate, and the killing of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., this part of our American history is an ugly story.

Only three years ago, as a country we shamed a Black football player who harmlessly put his knee on the ground to protest police brutality during the singing of our national anthem.

He rightly believed that  our national pledge of allegiance is to “one nation, under God, with liberty and justice for all.”

But the police killings of Black men and women  has continued.

Enough is enough.

White people can no longer look away and refuse to confront these issues.

It is long past  time for broad-reaching structural and institutional changes to our laws and our culture to root out and destroy racism against Black and Brown people in America.

As leaders of this great University, we have heard the voices of the  Black Community and we support you.

Your voices, thoughts, and feelings matter to the University– but we want you to know that we have not been waiting for this national tragedy to respond.

Under the progressive leadership of President Paul Trible,

Last year we instituted the Community Captains program to directly change the lives of economically disadvantaged children in Newport News, most of whom are Black.

This program will ultimately provide 100 students with a totally free college education at CNU.    

This progressive program is unmatched by any other college or university in the state of Virginia. 

Last week the University Council on Diversity and Inclusion, led by our colleagues Sheriff Gabe Morgan and Brad Hunter, and including students, faculty, staff, alumni, and leaders from the community—submitted Christopher Newport’s Strategic Plan for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion to the Commonwealth of Virginia.

In thoughtful detail, this 25-page document outlines a bold plan of action for the University to overcome the remaining burdens of historical racism in higher education.

Today, twenty-one percent (21%) of CNU’s 5,000 students are non-White, and 300 are Black.  I am pleased to report that our focus on attracting more students of color has increased the number of Black students we expect to welcome to our Freshman class based on deposits received.  This year we expect to welcome 91 Black students versus 78 last year—an increase of 16%.  The Community Captains Program that I have just described will swell those numbers of Black students in future years.

Paul Trible’s mantra and CNU’s mission is to change hearts and minds so that we can provide leadership to our community, our state, and our country.

Happily, the hearts and minds of our nation are changing—yesterday thousands of Black, Brown, and White people gathered in front of the White House and their voices were lifted up in unison as they sang  - Lean on ME –  

Lean on me when you’re not strong, I’ll be your friend, I’ll help you carry on.

CNU’s message to our students and to this community is simple:

Lean on Us because Black Lives Do Matter at CNU, and we intend to play a leadership role in changing the hearts and minds of our students, our community, and our country so that we can end the crisis of racism that is so destructive to our national ideals of equality, fairness, and justice.

Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD) is Excited to Announce Our Attorneys have been Named to the
2020 Super Lawyers List.

About Super Lawyers

Only the top 5% of attorneys in each state are selected to the Super Lawyers List, which evaluates lawyers from more than 70 practice areas who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement.  The objective is to create a credible, comprehensive and diverse listing of outstanding attorneys.  Each candidate is evaluated on 12 indicators of peer recognition and professional achievement.  Virginia Super Lawyers can be found by searching the directory online at


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Donald N. Patten

15th time selected as a Super Lawyer

Donald Patten, a Newport News attorney, has represented individuals and businesses in product liability and negligence actions, commercial contract disputes and real estate business matters for over 50 years.  Patten, who represents firm clients in multi-jurisdictional asbestos related bankruptcy proceedings, has been named in Best Lawyers in America every year since 2001 and has been chosen as a Virginia Super Lawyer every year since 2006.  He is a former President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association and has been awarded the highest AV ranking by the Martindale-Hubbell® lawyer rating service.  Approximately 10% of all attorneys hold an AV Preeminent Rating, a designation trusted worldwide by buyers and referrers of legal services.

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Robert R. Hatten

15th time selected as a Super Lawyer

For over 40 years Bobby Hatten has been a pioneer and national leader in asbestos litigation, prosecuting cases across Virginia and the nation for shipyard workers, Navy veterans, industrial workers, and their families.  His work has established landmark decisions relating to maritime jurisdiction, statutes of limitations, conflicts of law, monetary damages, and product liability.  For 25 years he has been listed in The Best Lawyers in America and chosen by Best Lawyers as Lawyer of the Year for 2019.  In 2010 he was chosen to be a fellow of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers.  VTLA, ATLA, and Lawyers Weekly have each conferred special advocacy awards for his many contributions to the law.  Jury verdict in the Top 10 Verdicts in Virginia for 8 consecutive years (2006-2013) and 2016.

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James H. Shoemaker, Jr.

14th time selected as a Super Lawyer

James H. Shoemaker, Jr. is an attorney providing legal services covering Employment & Labor: Employee and Personal Injury - General: Plaintiff.  James Shoemaker, Jr., who practices law in Newport News, Virginia, was selected to Super Lawyers for 2007 - 2020.  Being chosen for multiple years is high recognition of peer and professional respect and achievement in legal practice, and other cogent factors.

20th Annual Legal Elite

Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein (PWHD) is Excited to Announce Our Attorney Named the 20th Annual Virginia Legal Elite!

About Virginia Business Legal Elite

The Virginia Business Legal Elite recognizes the top Virginia lawyers across 20 specialties as selected by their peers.

The voting is open to all lawyers licensed to practice in Virginia.

Virginia Business Legal Elite Lawyers can be found online at

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Lung Cancer Month

November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month

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About every two and a half minutes, someone in the U.S. is diagnosed with lung cancer. Lung cancer is the leading cause of death in both men and women, and asbestos exposure can cause or contribute to cause lung cancer. November is Lung Cancer Awareness Month.

Individuals who worked in the shipbuilding industry, construction, railroads, and power plants and veterans often had occupational exposure to asbestos decades ago. As asbestos-containing products are cut, removed, or abraded, microscopic asbestos fibers are released.  Workers inhale these fibers and they become lodged in their lung tissue. Over time, these fibers can cause cellular damage and mutations, suppress the body’s ability to fight off these mutations, and result in lung cancer.

If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with lung cancer, and worked in the shipbuilding industry, construction, railroads, and power plants or served in the Navy, you may be entitled to compensation. Call us at 757-223-4500​ for a free consultation. You can also fill out our contact form​ for a free case evaluation. 

Patten Honorary Degree

Donald N. Patten Receives Honorary Degree

Patten, Wornom, Hatten & Diamonstein, L.C., congratulates PWHD Partner, Donald N. Patten, on recently receiving the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from William & Mary Law School. Mr. Patten joined the school’s Board of Visitors in 1999 and served as Rector of William & Mary from 2001 to 2003. He also became an honorary alumnus of the Law School Class of 2018 and is an Emeritus member of William & Mary’s Business School Foundation. Mr. Patten is also an avid supporter of William & Mary Law School’s trial team.  

View the video of Mr. Patten here:


Mr. Patten’s legal career has spanned over fifty years. Since 1976, Mr. Patten has represented shipyard workers, veterans, and other workers and their families who were suffering from asbestos-related diseases. He currently serves on the C.E. Thurston & Sons Asbestos Trust Advisory Committee.

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Mr. Patten is a past President of the Virginia Trial Lawyers Association, received the highest rating awarded by Martindale-Hubbell Legal Directory for legal competence, and was selected by his peers to be included in the 2001-2002 edition of the “The Best Lawyers in America.”

Mr. Patten was also very involved in his community. He served as a member of the Newport News City Council, was vice mayor, served as chair of the Newport News Planning Commission, served as the chair of the Peninsula Airport Commission, and he served on the Executive Committee of the State Council For Higher Education for Virginia. In addition, Mr. Patten served on the board of the Peninsula Alliance for Economic Development and the board for the Mariner’s Museum in Newport News, Virginia.


Read more about Patten here: Donald N. Patten and the firm’s history here: PWHD History

Read William & Mary’s full post about Patten’s Honorary Degree of Doctor of Laws here:

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