Archive for September, 2012


Defense Verdict In Legal Malpractice Trial

The Fulton County Daily Report recently wrote about a legal malpractice trial that resulted in a defense verdict (subscription required) for Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young, LLP‘s client.  The case was tried by partners Kim M. Jackson and E. Tyron Brown

Kim M. Jackson tried the legal malpractice issues and gave the closing argument

The trial began August 13, 2012 and lasted 9 days.  The jury was charged on the ninth day and returned a verdict about an hour after getting the evidence and verdict form. 

Plaintiff’s primarily claim was the alleged failure to timely file a lawsuit against the architect and the developer within the statute of limitations.  The liability defense was based on the fact that the attorney was told by the President of the Association that the Association would not file a lawsuit. 

This was the classic case-within-the-case trial.  The recent Supreme Court holding of Johnson v. Leibel affected the evidence that was admitted at trial.  The length of trial was dictated primarily by the expert witnesses for the construction defect issues.  Plaintiff requested over $3,000,000 in damages in closing.

 The jury was given a verdict form with a number of special interrogatories.  The first question asked the jury whether the attorney defendants breached any standard of care owed to the Association.  The jury answered that question “NO.”  Thus, the verdict was a finding that HPTY’s clients had done nothing wrong and had not acted negligently.  The verdict was a complete exoneration of the Defendants and their legal work on behalf of the Association.

Ty Brown focused on construction issues

The Defendants were presented by Kim M. Jackson and E. Tyron Brown.  Mr. Jackson, whose practice consists primarily of representing attorneys, focused on the witnesses and facts that most directly affected the standard of care issues.  Mr. Brown, who is experienced in construction law and litigation, focused on the underlying alleged construction and design defect claims.  The Defense team included Martha J. Boyd, a Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP technology specialist, and Kimberly Harris, a paralegal.


Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice

Kim M. Jackson, moderator

Kim M. Jackson is moderating a great all day CLE seminar in Atlanta, Georgia on September 26, 2012 at the Atlanta Marriott Buckhead Hotel.

The program is called “Civil Court Judicial Forum:  Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice” and is hosted by NBI.  NBI puts on a number of solid CLE programs in Georgia. 

You can register here.  The panel includes nine different judges from the state courts of counties in the Atlanta area.  The panel includes the Honorable Susan B. Forsling (State Court Fulton County), Irma B. Glover (State Court Cobb County), Stacey K. Hydrick (State Court DeKalb County), Aaron B. Mason (State Court Clayton County), John R. Mather (State Court Fulton County), John C. Carbo (Chief Judge, State Court Clayton County), Melodie H. Clayton (State Court Cobb County), Susan E. Edlein (State Court Fulton County) and Eleanor L. Ross (State Court DeKalb County).

The program should be interesting.  Hope to see you there.


Plaintiff’s Attorneys No Longer the Most likely defendant

Real estate is #1 in lawyer liability claims.

For the first time since such surveys were conducted of legal malpractice claims (beginning in 1985), plaintiff’s  attorneys were not the highest generator of lawyer liability claims.  The ABA reported that the most recent survey showed that real estate matters generated the most lawyer liability claims.  The top three:  (1)  real estate matters; (2) personal injury plaintiff’s claims; and (3) divorce actions.

The most likely types of activity to give rise to a claim:  (1) “preparation, filing, and transmittal of documents,” and (2) “advice.”

These results continued a trend reflected in the last survey.

Kim Jackson Cleans Up The Mess

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