Peter N. Swisher

Professor of Law

Profile

Professor Peter Swisher teaches and writes in the areas of family law, torts, and insurance law. He has authored or co-authored over a dozen casebooks and treatises, and over two dozen articles and book chapters, on these subjects. He has published in venues including the Ohio State Law Journal, the Tulane Law Review and the Connecticut Insurance Law Journal. Professor Swisher has held a number of positions with the Association of American Law Schools (AALS), including chair of its insurance law section and chair of its family and juvenile law section. He has also served as editor of the AALS Family Law Section Newsletter, editor of the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law News, and a member of the Board of Governors of the Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar. Professor Swisher has been an expert witness in over a dozen insurance law cases, and since 1992, has served as a lecturer to Virginia judges on domestic relations law. Professor Swisher received the University of Richmond’s Distinguished Educator Award in 1994 and again in 2002.  In 2009, he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Virginia State Bar’s Family Law Section. 

Presentations

Author and Lecturer, Recent Developments in Domestic Relations Law, presented to the Judicial Institute, Charlottesville, Va. (1992 and 1996)

Lecturer at the Judicial Institute Pre-Bench Orientation Program, Charlottesville, Va. in Domestic Relations Law (1992-present)

Expert Witness in Insurance Cases (selected)

Stellute v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Ins. Co. (E.D. VA. 1999)
Expert witness for defendant insurance company in a homeowner/workers compensation insurance coverage dispute. Case dismissed in favor of insurer.

Brown v. Security Conn. Life Ins. Co. (W.D. VA. 2001)
Expert witness for plaintiff insured in a conditional receipt life insurance coverage dispute. Case settled prior to trial in favor of insured.

SR Int'l Bus. Co. v. World Trade Center Properties (S.D.N.Y 2002)
Expert witness (deposed) for St. Paul Fire & Marine Insurance Co., one of 22 insurance companies involved in the World Trade Center property insurance coverage dispute. Summary judgment awarded to St. Paul. (See: World Trade Center Properties v. Hartford Fire Ins. Co., 345 F.3d 154 (2d Cir. 2003).

Pishky v. State Farm Fire & Casualty Ins. Co. (E.D. VA 2003)
Expert witness for defendant insurance company in a homeowners property insurance coverage dispute. Case settled prior to trial for nominal damages.

Martirosov v. Shenandoah Flight Services Inc. (Cir. Ct. Rockingham Co., VA 2004)
Expert witness for plaintiff insured in a wrongful death aviation insurance lawsuit. Summary judgment awarded to plaintiff insured.

Lee v. American Memorial Life Ins. Co. (Cir. Ct. Jefferson Co., KY 2005)
Expert witness for defendant insurer in pre-need funeral insurance case involving bad-faith coverage issues. This case went to trial and was settled prior to insurer's motion for a directed verdict and prior to a jury verdict.

Cantu v. Household Life Ins. Co. (Dist. Ct., AZ. 2005), Expert witness for defendant insurer in a group life credit insurance coverage dispute with bad faith allegations. This case was settled prior to trial.

Hanby v. Hanania (Cir. Ct., Montgomery County, MD. 2007), Expert witness for law firm in a legal malpractice/property insurance coverage dispute. Summary judgment awarded to law firm.

Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. v. Aon Corp ( Cir. Ct., City of Chesapeake, VA 2007) Expert witness for broker Aon in a worker's compensation coverage dispute. Summary judgment was awarded to Aon.

Molina v. Household Life Ins. Co., (Superior Ct., Pima Co. AZ 2009) Expert witness for defendant insurer in a group life credit insurance coverage dispute with bad faith allegations. I was deposed in this case and testified at trial. Jury verdict was for the defendant insurer.

Lambert Leasing v. QBE Insurance Co. (Australia Ltd.) et al. (Supreme Court of New South Wales, Australia, 2012)
Expert witness for plaintiff insured in a wrongful death aviation insurance lawsuit.

Memberships

Chair, AALS Insurance Law Section (1997-98)

Chair-Elect, AALS Insurance Law Section (1996-97)

Secretary-Treasurer, AALS Insurance Law Section (1994-95)

Chair, AALS Family and Juvenile Law Section (1994-95)

Chair-Elect and Program Chair, AALS Family and Juvenile Law Section (1993-94)

Editor, AALS Family Law Section Newsletter, a publication of the Family Law Section, American Association of Law Schools (1992-93)

Secretary-Treasurer, AALS, Family and Juvenile Law Section (1992-93)

Editor, Family Law News,a quarterly publication of the Virginia State Bar (1982-1990)

Member, Board of Governors, Family Law Section of the Virginia State Bar (1982 1990, 1993-1997)

A.B.A. Trained Mediator and Arbitrator (1984-present); Volunteer Mediator and Arbitrator, Dispute Resolution Center (1988-present), Richmond, Va

Domestic Relations Lecturer, BAR/BRI Bar Review Course (Washington, D.C. and Charlottesville, Williamsburg, and Richmond, Va.) (1984-2003)

Former Chair and Member, University Committee on Committees

Former Chair, University Planning and Priorities Committee, Program Improvements Subcommittee

Former Chair and Member, Honorary Degree Committee

Bar Admissions

Virginia, California

Professional Experience

Professor of Law (1982-present)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Associate Professor of Law (1977-82)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Assistant Professor of Law (1974-77)
University of Richmond School of Law, Richmond, Va.

Publications

Books

Insurance Law and Tort Law

Virginia Practice Series: Tort and Personal Injury Law (West rev. ed. 2014) (with Robert Draim and David Hudgins).

Virginia Practice Series: Tort and Personal Injury Law (West rev. ed. 2013) (with Robert Draim and David Hudgins).

Principles of Insurance Law (LexisNexis 4th ed., 2011) (with Jeffrey Stempel and Erik Knutsen).

Virginia Practice Series: Tort and Personal Injury Law (West 2011 revised ed.) (with Robert Draim and David Hudgins).

Co-author, Virginia Tort and Personal Injury Law (Thomson-West, 2008-present).

Co-Author, Principles Of Insurance Law, Third Revised Edition (Lexis/Nexis, 2006).

Co-Author, Principles Of Insurance Law, Second Edition (Matthew Bender, 1994).

Co-Author, Principles Of Insurance Law (Matthew Bender, 1986).

Family Law/Domestic Relations

Virginia Practice Series: Family Law: Theory, Practice, and Forms (West rev. ed. 2014) (with Lawrence Diehl and James Cottrell).

Understanding Family Law (LexisNexis 4th ed. 2013) (with John DeWitt Gregory and Robin Wilson).

Virginia Practice Series: Family Law: Theory, Practice, and Forms (West rev. ed. 2013) (with Lawrence Diehl and James Cottrell).

Family Law: Cases, Materials, and Problems (LexisNexis 3d ed., 2012).

Virginia Practice Series: Family Law: Theory, Practice, and Forms (West 2011 revised ed.) (with Lawrence Diehl and James Cottrell).

Co-author, Understanding Family Law (LexisNexis, 3rd ed. 2005).

Co-Author, Understanding Family Law, Third Edition (Lexis-Nexis, 2005).

Co-Author, Virginia Practice: Family Law (Thomson-West, 2004-present).

Co-Author, Virginia Family Law: Theory And Practice, Third Edition (Harrison Company, 2002).

Co-Author, Understanding Family Law, Second Edition (Matthew Bender, 2001).

Co-Author, Family Law: Cases, Materials, And Problems, Second Edition (Matthew Bender, 1998).

Co-Author, Virginia Family Law: Theory And Practice, Second Edition (Harrison Company, 1997).

Co-Author, Understanding Family Law (Matthew Bender, 1993).

Co-Author, Virginia Family Law: Theory And Practice (Harrison Company, 1991).

Co-Author, Family Law: Cases, Materials, And Problems (Matthew Bender, 1990).

Articles

Insurance Law and Tort Law

“Why Won’t Homeowners Insurance Cover My Loss?”: Reassessing Property Insurance Concurrent Causation Coverage Disputes, 88 Tulane L. Rev. 515 (2014). [L] [W] [HEIN]

Liability Insurance Coverage for Clergy Sexual Abuse Claims, 17 Conn. Ins. L.J. 355 (2011) (with Richard Mason). [Journal] [L] [W] [HEIN]

Virginia Should Abolish the Archaic Tort Defense of Contributory Negligence and Adopt a Comparative Negligence Defense in its Place, 46 U. Rich. L. Rev. 359 (2011). [Journal] [L] [W] [HEIN]

Proposed Legislation: A (Second) Modest Proposal to Protect Virginia Consumers Against Defective Products, 43 U. Rich. L. Rev. 19 (2008). [Journal] [L] [W] [HEIN]

Causation Requirements in Tort and Insurance Law Practice: Demystifying Some Legal Causation Riddles, 43 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 1 (2007). [W] [HEIN]

The Insurable Interest Requirement For Life Insurance: A Critical Reassessment, 53 Drake L. Rev. 477 (2005), reprinted in 55 Defense L.J. 527 (2006), reprinted in 5 ICFAI J. of Insurance L. 41 (2007) [Institute of Chartered Financial Analysts of India]. [L] [W] [HEIN]

Insurance Binders Revisited, 39 Tort Trial & Ins. Prac. L.J. 1011 (2004). [W] [HEIN]

Insurance Causation Issues: The Legacy of Bird v. St. Paul Fire & Marine Ins. Co., 2 Nev L. J. 351 (2002) (Insurance Symposium issue). [L] [W] [HEIN]

A Realistic Consensus Approach to the Insurance Law Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations, 35 Tort & Ins. L.J. 729 (2000). [W] [HEIN]

Symposium Introduction: The Insurance Law Doctrine of Reasonable Expectations After Three Decades, 5 Conn. Ins. L.J. 1 (1998-99). [L] [W] [HEIN]

Judicial Interpretations of Insurance Contract Disputes: Toward a Realistic Middle Ground Approach, 57 Ohio St. L.J. 543 (1996). [L] [W] [HEIN]

Products Liability Tort Reform: Why Virginia Should Adopt the Henderson Twerski Proposed Revision of Section 402A, Restatement (Second) of Torts, 27 U. Rich. L. Rev. 857 (1993). [W] [HEIN]

Judicial Rationales in Insurance Law: Dusting Off the Formal for the Function, 52 Ohio St. L.J. 1037 (1991). [L] [W] [HEIN]

Family Law/Domestic Relations

Marriage and Some Troubling Issues With No-Fault Divorce, 17 Regent U. L. Rev. 243 (2005) (symposium issue). [Journal] [L] [W] [HEIN]

The ALI Principles: A Farewell to Fault--But What Remedy for the Egregious Marital Misconduct of An Abusive Spouse, 8 Duke J. Gender L. & Pol'y 213 (2001). [L] [W] [HEIN]

Reassessing Fault Factors In No-Fault Divorce, 31 Fam. L. Q. 269 (1997). [W] [HEIN]

Co-Author, Bottoms v. Bottoms: In Whose Best Interest? Analysis of a Lesbian Mother Child Custody Dispute, 34 U. Louisville J. Fam. L. 843 (1996). [W] [HEIN]

Co-Author, The Last-in-Time Marriage Presumption, 29 Fam. L.Q. 409 (1995). [W] [HEIN]

Foreign Migratory Divorces: A Reappraisal, 21 J. Fam. L. 9 (1982). [HEIN]

Divorce Planning in Antenuptial Agreements: Toward a New Objectivity, 13 U. Rich. L. Rev. 175 (1979). [HEIN]

Proving the Validity of Marriage, 43 Va Lawyer 29 (December, 1994).

Legal Writing

Techniques of Legal Drafting: A Survival Manual, 15 U. Rich. L. Rev. 873 (1981), reprinted in 31 Law Review Digest 4 (1982). [HEIN]

Teaching Legal Reasoning in Law School, 74 L. Lib. J. 534 (1981). [HEIN]

Chapters

Co-Author, Chapter 62, Nondivorce Support and Property Rights, in Family Law And Practice (Matthew Bender, revised ed., 1994).

Additional Publications

A Vietnam Diary (1975)

Education

B.A., Amherst College 1966

M.A., Stanford University 1967

J.D., University of California, Hastings College of Law 1973

Contact Information

(804) 289-8206
(Mobile)
(804) 289-8683 (Fax)

Areas of Expertise

Family Law
Insurance Law
Tort Law