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Firm News

Bill Watts and Tom Gaillard successfully defend City of Mobile Police Officer

On September 27, 2018, the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the action filed in federal district court against the City of Mobile and one of its police officers sued for alleged violation of the plaintiff’s constitutional rights arising from the officer’s investigation of a traffic accident.  Tom Gaillard and Bill Watts represented the police officer before the district court and the court of appeals.

Casey Pipes Joins Faculty for Eminent Domain Seminar

J. Casey Pipes has been added to the faculty for the 2019 American Law Institute Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Seminar on January 24 – 29, 2019, in Palm Springs, California.  This annual event is the preeminent eminent domain seminar and attracts the best condemnation lawyers from all over the country.

 

Appellate Court Upholds Defense Verdict

In August of 2016 firm members Win Stuardi and Russell Buffkin, representing a local hospital, successfully obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death action filed against the hospital in Baldwin County Circuit Court.  In February of 2018, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the verdict.  Firm member Bill Watts handled the appeal on behalf of Thomas Hospital.

Firm Member Jeff Hartley Selected As Best Bankruptcy Litigator In The Mobile Region

Helmsing Leach is proud to announce that Jeff Hartley, who heads up the firm’s Creditor’s Rights Department, has been selected by his peers as the Mobile region’s Lawyer of the Year in the area of bankruptcy litigation for the 2019 Edition of The Best Lawyers in AmericaBest Lawyers was first published in 1983.  Since its inception, its mission has been to use a rigorous peer review process to identify the top legal talent in America.

Trial Attorneys Of America President Joe Babington Gives Presentation At 2018 Annual Meeting in Chicago

Firm member Joe Babington attended the annual meeting of the Trial Attorneys of America (TAA) from June 6-8, 2018, in Chicago Illinois.  Mr. Babington organized and participated in the “short-circuit” portion of the program in which members presented brief updates on each Federal Circuit.  Mr. Babington is the TAA president for 2017 through 2019.  The TAA, which celebrates its 50th anniversary in 2019, is an invitation-only group of 200 leading product liability defense, insurance, and commercial litigation trial attorneys and corporate counsel from across United States.

 

Casey Pipes to Speak at MAAR Luncheon

Case Pipes will be the guest speaker at the May 24th meeting of the Mobile Area Association of Realtors.  He will be giving an updated review of the Map for Mobile, the City of Mobile’s comprehensive plan for long-term preservation, revitalization and growth.

The luncheon is open to MAAR members and will be at the Country Club of Mobile on May 24, 2018, from 11:30-1:00.

Joe Babington Helps Janssen Pharmaceuticals Win Summary Judgment in Risperdal Case

Helmsing Leach partner Joe Babington, along with Gregg Mackuse and Heather Giordanella of the Drinker Biddle & Reath law firm in Philadelphia, recently secured summary judgment for Janssen Pharmaceuticals, Inc. in a case pending in the Northern District of Alabama that involved Janssen’s anti-psychotic medication, Risperdal.  In Drake v. Ortho-McNeil-Janssen Pharms., 2018 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 47164 (N.D. Ala. Mar. 22, 2018), the plaintiff, an obese 36-year-old man diagnosed with schizophrenia, claimed that his prescribed use of Risperdal resulted in him developing gynecomastia, the benign enlargement of glandular breast tissue in males. The defendant moved for summary judgment, arguing that the plaintiff could not meet his burden of establishing causation.  The judge stressed that the plaintiff was required to prove both general and specific causation and that expert testimony was required for both.  The plaintiff’s expert had testified that the risk of gynecomastia in children and adolescents is higher than Risperdal’s labeling represented.  As the court noted, however, while the expert’s “report and deposition testimony from other cases might be sufficient to raise a question of fact regarding general causation, . . . his report and testimony contain[ed] no evidence regarding the cause of [the plaintiff’s] alleged injuries. Id. at *13.  Moreover, the plaintiff had no other causation expert.  As a result, the court found ”the plaintiff’s evidence concerning specific causation [was] threadbare.”  Id.  In fact, there was no evidence that the plaintiff had even been diagnosed with gynecomastia.  In granting summary judgment to Janssen, the court noted that, “[i]n the absence of medical or expert evidence, a fact finder must speculate about the cause of [the plaintiff’s] enlarged breasts, and a verdict may not rest on speculation.”  Id.

Casey Pipes Elected to ACREL

Casey Pipes was elected a Fellow of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL). The College was founded in 1978 and Fellows are elected to membership based on their legal ability, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law. For more information about ACREL, please visit their website at www.ACREL.org.

Alan Alexander Inducted Into American Board of Trial Advocates

Helmsing Leach is proud to announce that firm member Alan Alexander was recently inducted into the Alabama Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”).  Membership in the organization is by invitation only, following a rigorous nomination and voting process.  ABOTA is a national association of experienced trial lawyers and judges dedicated to the preservation and promotion of the right to a civil jury trial provided under the Seventh Amendment to the U.S. Constitution.  There are approximately 7,300 ABOTA members in the United States, only 122 of whom are located in Alabama.  To be considered for membership in the Alabama Chapter, a candidate must have tried at least 10 civil jury trials to a verdict, be nominated by an existing Chapter member and be approved by 75 percent of the members voting on the candidate’s nomination for admission.  Criteria evaluated in determining whether to admit a candidate include the candidate’s jury trial skills, civility, professionalism and integrity.

Benchmark Recognizes Helmsing Lawyers As 2018 Alabama Litigation Stars

Once again, Helmsing Leach lawyers appear on the annual list of Alabama Litigation Stars compiled by Benchmark Litigation, a reference guide that is widely used by law firms and corporate counsel to identify and select leading litigators throughout the United States.  The Helmsing lawyers honored with inclusion in Benchmark’s 2018 edition are firm members Joe Babington (product liability, labor/employment), John Leach (product liability and general commercial litigation) and Jim Newman (product liability, medical malpractice defense).