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Firm News

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).

Joe Babington Discusses His Success Arguing Before The US Supreme Court In The Seminal Expert Evidence Case, Kumho Tire

Firm partner Joe Babington recently gave a presentation to the Mobile Bar Association titled, “Kumho Tire v. Carmichael:  how two Mobile lawyers argued a landmark case in the United States Supreme Court – 19 years later.”  In 1998, Mr. Babington successfully argued the Kumho Tire case before the Supreme Court, and the Court’s opinion resulted in the 2000 amendments to Rule 702 of the Federal Rules of Evidence, which established additional requirements for admissibility of expert testimony in federal courts.  Since 1999, the decision has been cited more than 11,000 times, including over 900 citations by federal appellate courts and 120 by Alabama federal district courts.  Mr. Babington’s practice continues to focus on products liability defense, defense of catastrophic injury and wrongful death cases, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage.  As his victory in Kumho Tire suggests, he has deep experience in working with expert witnesses and in challenging expert testimony offered against his clients.

Casey Pipes To Speak At Eminent Domain Conference In Las Vegas

Firm member Casey Pipes will speak at the Eminent Domain Institute’s Annual National Conference which will take place December 11-12, 2017 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, Nevada.  Mr. Pipes will participate in a roundtable discussion titled, Practice Pitfalls for Eminent Domain Practitioners, on December 11th at 4:15 pm.

Alan Alexander Invited To Join The American Board of Trial Advocates

Firm member Alan Alexander was recently invited to join the American Board of Trial Advocates (“ABOTA”) after a vote of the organization’s National Board of Directors formally approved his membership. ABOTA has chapters in every state, and its members constitute a “who’s who” of trial lawyers, nationwide. An invitation to join this prestigious organization is a highlight of any legal career.

 

Best Lawyers Recognizes Alan Alexander As Malpractice Defense Lawyer Of The Year

Best Lawyers has named firm member Alan Alexander as its 2018 Lawyer of the Year in the practice category “Mobile Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants.” Only one lawyer in each practice area in each legal community is honored as “Lawyer of the Year.” Mr. Alexander was also selected by his peers for inclusion in the 2018 Edition of The Best Lawyers in America for his work in Health Care Law, Legal Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants.