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Litigation Successes

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.

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.

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.

Alabama Supreme Court Success For Jim Newman & Bill Watts

Firm members Jim Newman and Bill Watts obtained the reversal of a summary judgment on an appeal to the Alabama Supreme Court in Rochester-Mobile, LLC v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., 2017 WL 2610508 (Ala. June 16, 2017).  In this case of first impression, the Court adopted the Helmsing attorneys’ argument that the term “lease”, as used in the statute (Section 35-4-6, Code of Ala.) requiring the recording of leases with terms longer than 20 years, did not include a sublease.  This ruling will serve to preserve as valid any sublease for a term longer than 20 years that was not recorded within one year of its execution, as required under the statute.

Alexander & Mahoney Score Appellate Win

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals issued an order on June 12, 2015, affirming, without opinion, a dismissal with prejudice entered by the Circuit Court of Mobile County in a case alleging wrongful/false arrest against Providence Hospital.  Firm members Alan Alexander and Philip Mahoney represented the hospital in the case, both in the trial court and on appeal.

Newman & Luna Win Defense Verdict In Jury Trial

Jim Newman and Ryan Luna won a defense verdict for their client in an automobile accident case tried to a jury earlier this month in the Circuit Court of Mobile County. Plaintiff’s claim was based on a “zone of danger” theory, and the evidence introduced included GPS data superimposed on Google maps. The jury returned a defense verdict on May 7, 2015 after a four-day trial.  Paralegal Kathy Mallette assisted the defense team at trial.


Helmsing Leach Secures Victory For Client In Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals

Helmsing Leach recently scored a win for the Sirote & Permutt law firm in a case before the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit.  The appeal arose from Fair Debt Collection Practices Act claims against Sirote that were filed in the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama.  On appeal, the Eleventh Circuit affirmed the district court’s grant of summary judgment for Sirote on the claims.  Helmsing Leach attorneys Jeffery Hartley and Samuel Rosten represented Sirote in the trial court and on appeal.

Alabama Supreme Court Victory For Jim Newman Client

On December 30, 2013, the Alabama Supreme Court ruled in favor of defendant BASF Construction Chemicals, LLC in a personal injury lawsuit in which Jim Newman represented the company.  The case turned on whether BASF had assumed the duty to inspect certain construction work performed using a BASF product.  After a lengthy and thorough analysis, the Supreme Court held that the question of duty was, in this particular case, one for the trial court and that the trial court had correctly ruled in favor of BASF.

Mr. Newman represented BASF in the case from its inception in the Circuit Court of Mobile County, which granted summary judgment to the company.  After plaintiff appealed, the Supreme Court transferred the action to the Court of Civil Appeals, which reversed the trial court.  BASF then petitioned for certiorari to the Alabama Supreme Court which granted the petition and reversed the Court of Civil Appeals.

Ex parte BASF Construction Chemical, LLC (In re:  Jeannie West Crabtree and Edward Wayne Crabtree vs. BASF Building Systems, LLC), Alabama Supreme Court 1101204 (December 30, 2013).

Jim Newman Wins Defense Verdict At Jury Trial

Jim Newman represented defendants State Farm Fire and Casualty Company and Jeff Stauter in a case tried to a jury in Baldwin County, Alabama, this month.  Plaintiff’s claims included breach of contract, insurance bad faith, concealment and misrepresentation.  The jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendants on November 15th.  Paralegal Lindsay Dunn assisted Mr. Newman at the trial.

Alan Alexander Secures Victory At Trial For Defendant Hospital

Earlier this month, Alan Alexander won a defense verdict for Providence Hospital in a trial involving the death of a two year-old child resulting from an allegedly undiagnosed arterial-venous malformation in his brain. The plaintiffs sued a physician who treated the child in the Providence emergency room, alleging that he was negligent for failing to order a CT scan or other tests that might have helped uncover the child’s brain condition. The case against Providence was based solely on an agency theory. After hearing seven days of testimony, the jury deliberated for a day and a half before rendering defense verdicts for all defendants.