BEN PERKINS, LAUREN MEADOWS, AND PAT O’CONNOR OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR THE SAME CLIENT IN TWO CASES ON THE SAME DAY
On November 18, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client Nick Roundtree, a former Darien Police Department officer, in two separate cases. In the first, Jordan v. City of Darien, et al., CAFN: 2:15-CV-0049-LGW-RSB, Plaintiff Dwight Jordan, a former member of the McIntosh County Board of Education, brought claims pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging that Mr. Roundtree violated his First and Fourth Amendment rights. Plaintiff’s Complaint arose out of his 2013 arrest for the offense of disorderly conduct based upon his conduct during a recess of an April 18, 2013 Board of Education meeting. Plaintiff alleged that he was wrongfully arrested, that his right to free speech had been violated, and that, as a result of the arrest, he lost his seat on the Board in a subsequent election. After a lengthy discovery period which included fifteen depositions and the production of thousands of pages of documents, the Honorable Lisa Godbey Wood found that Mr. Roundtree was entitled to the defense of qualified immunity which barred Plaintiff’s Section 1983 claims. Plaintiff also alleged that Mr. Roundtree conspired with fellow officers and the Board of Education chairperson to arrest him in violation of 42 U.S.C. 1985, and Judge Wood found that claim failed as a matter of law as well.
In the second case, Smith v. City of Darien , et al., CAFN: 2:15-CV-0004-LGW-RSB, the Plaintiffs brought a claim pursuant to 42 U.S.C. 1983 alleging an unlawful seizure in violation of the Fourth Amendment. Judge Wood granted summary judgment in Mr. Roundtree’s favor, finding that the Plaintiffs lacked standing to assert their claims and that Mr. Roundtree was entitled to the defense of qualified immunity.
In both cases, Judge Wood’s Orders resulted in a complete victory on all claims asserted against Mr. Roundtree.
PAUL H. THRELKELD, DAVID BOBO MULLENS, AND PATRICK T. O'CONNOR OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The Superior Court of Bulloch County granted summary judgment to Bulloch County in the case of Dyches v. Bulloch County, Civil Action No. 15-CV-245. The Plaintiffs in the case asserted claims of inverse condemnation and nuisance against the County. Judge John R. Turner found that Plaintiffs’ claims failed for lack of causation, failure to satisfy the applicable ante-litem requirements, the fact that Georgia follows the Janowski line of federal precedent as to property owners’ voluntary dealings with the federal government, and due to the Defendant’s status as a county. As a result, all claims asserted against Defendant were dismissed. The County was represented by Paul H. Threlkeld, David Bobo Mullens, and Patrick T. O’Connor.
BEN PERKINS, LAUREN MEADOWS, AND PAT O'CONNOR OBTAIN FAVORABLE SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING FROM THE COURT OF APPEALS
On July 15, 2016, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the State Court of Bulloch County’s decision to grant summary judgment to Oliver Maner clients Sheriff McDuffie, Officer William Blake Gibson, Officer John Reinhart, and Officer Merlin Ward (the "Effingham County Defendants"). The Plaintiffs' claims arose out of the incarceration of their wife and mother, an inmate who died while in custody at the Effingham County Jail. Finding no evidence that a constitutional violation had occurred, the Court of Appeals affirmed the State Court of Bulloch County’s ruling that Plaintiffs’ claims against the Effingham County Defendants failed as a matter of law, resulting in a complete victory for each of the Firm’s clients. The case is McKuhen v. Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, et al., A16A0176 (Ga. Ct. App. July 15, 2016).
PAUL THRELKELD, ZACHARY HOWARD, AND PAT O’CONNOR OBTAIN ELEVENTH CIRCUIT OPINION AFFIRMING SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR MONTGOMERY COUNTY SHERIFF AND DEPUTY
On Tuesday, May 3, 2016, The United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit issued an opinion affirming the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Georgia’s grant of summary judgment to former Montgomery County Sheriff Clarence Sanders and Deputy Richard Taylor in the case of Taylor v. Taylor, et al., Case Number 15-13694. The appellant alleged violations of her constitutional rights for (1) malicious prosecution; (2) excessive use of force; (3) denial of due process; and (4) supervisory liability against Sheriff Sanders as well as state law claims of false arrest, assault, and battery against Deputy Taylor. Sheriff Sanders and Deputy Taylor were represented by Oliver Maner attorneys Paul Threlkeld, Zachary Howard, and Pat O’Connor, who successfully obtained summary judgment for their clients and defended the appeal. The Court’s opinion is available via the Eleventh Circuit’s website, here, or on Westlaw at 2016 WL 1743965.
LARRY EVANS OBTAINS JUDGMENT FOR CLIENT IN COMMERCIAL LANDLORD-TENANT DISPUTE
Larry Evans obtained judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client Rx, Inc. and against defendant Urgent Care 24/7 Southside, LLC at a bench trial before Judge Louisa Abbot of the Chatham County Superior Court on April 26, 2016. Urgent Care had leased commercial space from Rx, Inc. When Urgent Care began operating its business in a portion of the leased space without landlord approval four months prior to the actual commencement date in the written lease, it argued that it was not obligated to pay rent prior to the lease commencement date. The Court ruled against Urgent Care and awarded rent to Rx, Inc. at the full lease rental rate for the entire time period during which Urgent Care conducted business operations prior to commencement of the lease. The Court also dismissed all counterclaims asserted by Urgent Care against Rx, Inc.
BEN PERKINS, LAUREN MEADOWS, AND PAT O’CONNOR OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR THE CITY OF PORT WENTWORTH
On April 11, 2016, the Superior Court of Chatham County entered an Order granting summary judgment to Oliver Maner clients the City of Port Wentworth, Chief Matthew Libby, Major Bradwick Lee Sherrod, and former Investigator Steven Holmes as to the claims raised by John Galletta in Galletta v. City of Port Wentworth, et al. (Case No. CV14-1259-MO). Mr. Galletta’s Complaint asserted claims for false arrest, negligent hiring and retention, libel, slander, and punitive damages. Judge John E. Morse, Jr. found that each claim alleged failed as a matter of law, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted against the City Defendants.
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O’CONNOR OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR THE CITY OF TYBEE ISLAND
In an Order dated March 28, 2016, the Superior Court of Chatham County granted summary judgment to Oliver Maner clients the City of Tybee Island, Mayor Jason Buelterman, and Councilmembers Charlie R. Brewer, Barry Brown, Wanda Doyle, Dick Smith, Eddie Crone, and Paul Wolff in Live Oak Group, LLC v. City of Tybee Island, et al. (Case No. 09-0860-FR). Live Oak Group, LLC’s Complaint alleged that the City had wrongfully taken its property in violation of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution by denying its PUD amendment application. Judge Penny Haas Freesemann found that no federal taking had occurred and thus the City Defendants were entitled to summary judgment in their favor.
PAUL H. THRELKELD AND OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR OLIVER MANER CLIENTS, KEN O. BELL, ROBIN R. BELL AND BUURMA PROPERTIES, LLC
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment in favor of Oliver Maner clients Ken O. Bell and Robin R. Bell on all of the Plaintiff's claims. On the same date, the District Court also entered an order in a similar case granting summary judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client Buurma Properties, LLC on all of the Plaintiff's claims. The Plaintiff, the same in both cases, brought an action against the Bells and an action against Buurma. In both actions the Plaintiff sought possession of, and the right to remove from each Defendant's real property, certain irrigation systems as well as money judgment in the amount of the fair rental value of the irrigation systems for the time that said systems have been in their possession. The Plaintiff also sought damages for the alleged conversion of the irrigation systems. Judge B. Avant Edenfield granted summary judgment to Ken O. Bell, Robin R. Bell and Buurma Properties, LLC, holding that the Plaintiff's claims are barred on the basis of res judicata after the Court concluded that a previous state court decision already adjudicated the rights to the irrigation systems at issue. The cases are Blocker Farms of Florida, Inc. v. Ken O. Bell and Robin R. Bell, Case No. 6:13-cv-00067, and Blocker Farms of Florida, Inc. v. Buurma Properties, LLC, Case No. 6:13-cv-00068.
PAUL H. THRELKELD, D. BOBO MULLENS, AND PATRICK T. O'CONNOR SECURE SUMMARY JUDGMENT
The Superior Court of Montgomery County granted summary judgment to Montgomery County and Montgomery County Sherriff's Deputy David Williamson in the case of Steptoe v. Montgomery County, Civil Action No. 14-CV-043. The Plaintiff in the case, Susan Steptoe, asserted claims of negligence against Deputy Williamson, personally, and also negligence claim against the County, pursuant to the theory of respondeat superior. Judge Michael Johnson found that Plaintiff's claims failed for lack of causation and because the County was entitled to sovereign immunity, resulting in a complete dismissal of all claims asserted against Defendants. The ruling was not appealed. The County and Deputy Williamson were represented by Paul H. Threlkeld, D. Bobo Mullens, and Patrick T. O'Connor.
BEN PERKINS, LAUREN MEADOWS, AND PAT O'CONNOR SECURE SUMMARY JUDGMENT
On September 21, 2015, the Superior Court of McIntosh County entered an order granting summary judgment to Oliver Maner client William Jennings as to the counterclaims raised by Robert Kicklighter in Jennings v. Kicklighter (Case No. 2014V-90). In his counterclaim, Mr. Kicklighter asserted claims of First Amendment violations, intentional infliction of emotional distress, tortious interference with business relations, and defamation. Judge Jay Stewart found that each claim alleged in Mr. Kicklighter's counterclaim failed as a matter of law, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted against Mr. Jennings. The ruling was not appealed.
DEFENSE VERDICT OBTAINED FOR OB/GYN
Bill Franklin and George Major successfully obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a local physician following a medical malpractice trial. The case was brought by the mother of a child who suffered a brachial plexus injury and Erb's palsy after a shoulder dystocia was encountered during delivery. The plaintiff alleged she did not receive proper informed consent regarding the risks of delivery or given an option for a C-section delivery. The plaintiff further alleged that once the shoulder dystocia was encountered, improper pressure was applied in an effort to relieve the dystocia and caused further injury to the child. After a two and a half day trial, the jury deliberated for approximately fifteen minutes before concluding that the physician provided appropriate medical care and that the child's injuries were not the result of inadequate medical care. Prior to trial, the plaintiff made a settlement demand of $960,000. No settlement offer was made by the physician.
TAYLOR V. TAYLOR
Paul Threlkeld, and Zachary Howard, and Pat O’Connor Obtain Summary Judgment for Montgomery County Sheriff and Deputy
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment to Montgomery County Sheriff Clarence Sanders and Deputy Richard Taylor in the case of Taylor v. Taylor, et al., Civil Action No. 3:13-CV-69. Sheriff Sanders and Deputy Taylor were represented by Oliver Maner attorneys Paul Threlkeld, Zachary Howard, and Pat O’Connor. The Plaintiff in the case, Sherilynn Taylor, was arrested by Deputy Taylor on September 21, 2011, after a Montgomery County resident complained of receiving threatening and harassing phone calls Ms. Taylor. During the course of the arrest, which occurred in the parking lot of a convenience store and was videotaped on the dashboard camera of a Georgia State Patrol trooper who was on the scene as back-up for Deputy Taylor, Plaintiff and the companions she was with became argumentative. Deputy Taylor, who was aware that Plaintiff had a reputation for fighting, took hold of her and pushed her against the side of a patrol car in order to arrest her. She was transported to jail without any further incident.
After being arrested, the State Board of Pardons and Paroles issued a warrant for Plaintiff for parole violation, stating in the warrant that she was not bondable under any circumstances. As such, a bond was not set for Plaintiff until September 30, 2011, at which time a Superior Court judge was able to view the warrants and make a determination that bond was appropriate. On October 12, 2011, Plaintiff was released on bond. She later sued Sheriff Sanders and Deputy Taylor for alleged violations of her constitutional rights for (1) malicious prosecution; (2) excessive use of force; (3) denial of due process; and (4) supervisory liability against Sheriff Sanders. She also alleged state law claims of false arrest, assault, and battery against Deputy Taylor.
Judge Dudley H. Bowen granted the motion for summary judgment filed by Oliver Maner in favor of Sheriff Sanders and Deputy Taylor with respect to all of Plaintiff's claims. The Court held that (1) Deputy Taylor had probable cause for the arrest based on his investigation of threatening phone calls by the Plaintiff; (2) no excessive force was used in light of the circumstances and non-compliance by Plaintiff at the time of her arrest; (3) Plaintiff was not denied due process by being held without a bond hearing since her status as a parolee limited her right to such a hearing; and (4) Sheriff Sanders could not be liable in his supervisory capacity given that there were no underlying constitutional violations. The Court also ruled that Plaintiff had failed to show that she could prevail on any of her state law claims. As such, the Court dismissed Plaintiff's suit against Sheriff Sanders and Deputy Taylor in its entirety. The decision is available on Westlaw, 2015 WL 4601166.
BEN PERKINS, PAT O'CONNOR, AND LAUREN MEADOWS OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT
In an order entered on April 29, 2015, the State Court of Bulloch County granted summary judgment to Oliver Maner clients Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, Corporal Lorie Provost, Officer William Blake Gibson, Officer John Reinhart, and Officer Merlin Ward (the "Effingham County Defendants"). The Plaintiffs' claims arose out of the incarceration of their wife and mother, a former inmate who died while in custody at the Effingham County Jail. The Effingham County Defendants moved for summary judgment as to all of Plaintiffs' claims against them, which were premised upon the allegation that the decedent's constitutional rights had been violated. Finding no evidence that a constitutional violation had occurred, Judge Gary Mikell granted the Effingham County Defendants' motion, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted by the Plaintiffs against them. The case is McKuhen v. Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, et al. (Bulloch County State Court Case No. ST14CV017). 05/05/2015
GREG HODGES AND BILL HUNTER SECURE SETTLEMENT FOR INDIVIDUAL INJURED BY TEXTING DRIVER
Greg Hodges and Bill Hunter recently secured a settlement on behalf of an individual injured in a motor vehicle collision on Interstate 16. Oliver Maner's lawyers proved the at fault driver caused the collision while texting and driving. Due to the confidential nature of the settlement agreement, the defendant(s) and amount of settlement cannot be disclosed.
PAT O'CONNOR AND BILL HUNTER SECURE SETTLEMENT IN CHILD ABUSE CASE
Pat O'Connor and Bill Hunter recently secured a settlement on behalf of an infant who was attacked while sleeping in her crib. The assailant was a fellow foster child with a history of violence. Due to the confidential nature of the settlement agreement, the defendant(s) and amount of settlement cannot be disclosed.
PAT O'CONNOR, BEN PERKINS AND DAVID DICKEY SECURE $3,281,178.58 JUDGMENT FOR SOUTHCOAST MEDICAL GROUP, LLC
The Superior Court of Cobb County recently issued a Judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client SouthCoast Medical Group, LLC and against Odyssey Healthcare, Operating B, LP. SouthCoast and Odyssey operated a joint venture. Odyssey filed an arbitration action against SouthCoast, alleging it violated the joint venture's non-competition covenant. SouthCoast asserted counterclaims, including a cause of action for breach of fiduciary duty. Following an evidentiary hearing, the arbitrator ruled that SouthCoast did not breach the non-competition covenant, and then entered a Final Award to SouthCoast in the amount of $3,164,650.09. Dissatisfied with the result of the arbitration it initiated, Odyssey filed an Application to Modify Final Award or, in the Alternative, to Vacate Final Award in the Superior Court of Cobb County. SouthCoast filed an answer and counterclaim in which it requested confirmation of the Final Award as well as post-arbitral award prejudgment interest. On the same day, SouthCoast filed a motion to confirm the Final Award, and for summary judgment on its claim for prejudgment interest. Following a hearing, Judge Robert Leonard of the Cobb County Superior Court entered an order granting SouthCoast's motion to confirm the Final Award, and granting SouthCoast's motion for summary judgment. The court then entered a judgment in favor of SouthCoast in the amount of $3,281,178.58. The judgment has been satisfied. The case is styled Odyssey Healthcare, Operating B, LP v. SouthCoast Medical Group, LLC (Cobb County Superior Court Case No. 14-1-3302-53).
BRYAN SCHIVERA SECURES SUMMARY DETERMINATION RULING FOR BUSINESS CLIENT IN UNEMPLOYMENT TAX MATTER
The Georgia Office of State Administrative Hearings granted summary determination to a business represented by Oliver Maner. In what is believed a matter of first impression, Administrative Law Judge Ana Kennedy reversed a Department of Labor ruling that the client was not entitled to the lower, "new employer" unemployment tax rate, but rather was required to inherit the higher rate of its predecessor entity. The client is a second generation family run successor business. This ruling will significantly lessen the company's tax burden and serve as a limit on the Georgia Department of Labor's ability to burden successor businesses with high unemployment tax rates. The Decision may be viewed at:
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O'CONNOR SECURE SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING IN CASE INVOLVING FALL FROM STAGE
The Superior Court of Chatham County granted summary judgment to Oliver Maner client Hyatt Corporation. The Plaintiff was attending a conference at a hotel when she and others volunteered to come onto a stage which was two feet above ground to participate in a performance. At the end of the performance, the other volunteers began to exit the stage, but the Plaintiff did not. In order to allow a volunteer to pass her, the Plaintiff stepped back without looking, fell off the stage, and claims to have been injured. The Hyatt moved for summary judgment, arguing that the Plaintiff was on notice that the stage ended behind her since she traversed the stage prior to her fall. Chief Judge Michael Karpf granted the Hyatt's motion, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted by the Plaintiff. The case is Fitzpatrick v. Hyatt Corporation (Chatham County Superior Court Case No. CV13-0106-KA).
BEN PERKINS, PAT O'CONNOR, AND JIM GERARD OBTAIN FAVORABLE RULING FROM COURT OF APPEALS
The Georgia Court of Appeals recently issued a favorable decision to Oliver Maner client the City of Garden City. The Plaintiff was injured in a motor vehicle collision with a truck driven by a Garden City police officer who at the time was working on assignment for a multijurisdictional drug task force. The City moved for summary judgment, arguing it was not liable for the alleged negligence of its officer pursuant to the borrowed servant doctrine. The trial court denied the motion, and the City's application for interlocutory appeal was granted. The Court of Appeals reversed, holding the borrowed servant doctrine absolved the City of liability on all of the Plaintiff's claims because the officer was under the "exclusive directive supervision and authority" of the commander of the task force at the time of the accident, and the task force had the unilateral right to discharge the officer from the specific task he was performing. The case is Garden City v. Herrera, No. A14A1397, 2014 WL 6433518 (Ga. Ct. App. Nov. 18, 2014).
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O'CONNOR OBTAIN FAVORABLE RULINGS FROM COURT OF APPEALS
The Georgia Court of Appeals recently issued favorable decisions in two related cases to Oliver Maner client the City of Rincon. In the first case, the Plaintiff, Mr. Woods, alleged that the City inversely condemned his property by constructing a portion of a well house on a small part of his property. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of Rincon, and Mr. Woods appealed. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal on the basis that it was not timely filed. In the second case, the City initiated condemnation proceedings against Mr. Woods' property, and Mr. Woods raised counterclaims against the City in his answer. The trial court granted Rincon's motion for summary judgment on the counterclaims, and entered the special master's condemnation award as its final judgment. Woods appealed from both rulings. The Court of Appeals dismissed the appeal from the grant of Rincon's motion for summary judgment on the counterclaims, and affirmed the trial court's judgment on the condemnation award. The cases are Woods v. City of Rincon et al., A14A1262 (Ga. Ct. App. Oct. 22, 2014) and Woods v. City of Rincon, A14A1261 (Ga. Ct. App. April 22, 2014). 10/23/2014
BEN PERKINS, PAT O'CONNOR, AND LAUREN MEADOWS SECURE FAVORABLE SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING FROM COURT OF APPEALS
The Plaintiff, a former City Councilmember, sued Oliver Maner clients the City of Port Wentworth, its Mayor, its Administrator, its former Police Chief, and one of its former police officers, alleging causes of action for joint venture in an unlawful enterprise, civil conspiracy, civil RICO, negligence, intentional infliction of emotional distress, negligence and tortious misconduct, negligent retention, false imprisonment, and invasion of privacy. The Plaintiff also sought to recover attorneys' fees and punitive damages. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the Superior Court of Chatham County's ruling that all of the Plaintiff's claims failed as a matter of law, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted against the Firm's clients. The case is Hogan v. City of Port Wentworth et al., A14A1855 (Ga. Ct. App. Oct. 16, 2014). 10/16/2014
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O'CONNOR OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR OLIVER MANER CLIENT THE EFFINGHAM COUNTY BOARD OF COMMISSIONERS
In an order entered on July 14, 2014, the Superior Court of Effingham County granted summary judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client the Effingham County Board of Commissioners on all of the Plaintiff's claims. The Plaintiff alleged the Board improperly required the Plaintiff to provide a letter of credit in exchange for the County's extension of water and sewer infrastructure to the Plaintiff's subdivision, and asserted an inverse condemnation claim, a claim for damages under 42 U.S.C. § 1983, premised upon an alleged violation of the "Takings" clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution, and a claim for reimbursement of the fees the Plaintiff paid its lender for the letter of credit. Chief Judge William Woodrum granted summary judgment to the Board of Commissioners, holding that the Plaintiff's claims failed as a matter of law. The case is Park West Effingham, L.P. v. Effingham County Board of Commissioners et. al (Effingham County Superior Court Case No. SU 09CV305W). 10/16/2014
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O'CONNOR SECURE FAVORABLE SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING FROM COURT OF APPEALS
The Plaintiffs, real estate developers, sued Oliver Maner client the City of Tybee Island, alleging the City made a fraudulent or negligent misrepresentation about the existence of trash and debris on a parcel of land which the City neither sold to them, nor to their predecessors in title. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the State Court of Chatham County's ruling that the claims failed as a matter of law, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted against the City. The case is Adams et al. v. City of Tybee Island, A14A0883 (Ga. Ct. App. Sept. 15, 2014). 10/16/2014
Patrick T. O'Connor, Paul H. Threlkeld, and Zachary S. Howard Obtain Summary Judgment for Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Officers
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment on September 29, 2014 to three Savannah Chatham Metropolitan Police Department police officers in the case of Hambrick v. City of Savannah, et al., Civil Action No. 4:14-CV-12. The officers were represented by Oliver Maner attorneys Pat O'Connor, Paul Threlkeld, and Zack Howard. On December 18, 2011, the officers responded to a call from a resident of a neighborhood who stated he had seen a suspicious amount of traffic in an undeveloped portion of the neighborhood. A responding officer witnessed a truck leaving the area in question and occupied by one of the Plaintiffs, but was unable to perform a traffic stop on the vehicle before losing sight of it. The officers quickly located the vehicle at the Plaintiffs' residence and knocked on the door of the residence to investigate. The mother of the adult occupant of the truck opened the door and both she and the occupant, who admitted he had been in the truck, briefly spoke with the officers before refusing to cooperate any further. The officers eventually arrested both the driver and his mother for obstruction. Both the occupant and his mother brought suit against the City of Savannah, Chatham County, and the officers, alleging among other things that the Officers violated their civil rights by arresting them without probable cause and entering their home without a warrant to arrest them. The officers, through their attorneys at Oliver Maner, moved for summary judgment, and Judge B. Avant Edenfield granted their motion. Judge Edenfield held that the officers possessed at least arguable probable cause to make the arrests and that the officers did not violate either Plaintiff's clearly established reasonable expectation of privacy by stepping over the threshold of Plaintiffs' residence in order to affect lawful arrests after Plaintiffs voluntarily opened the door to the officers. Judge Edenfield also held that the officers' use of force in wrestling one Plaintiff to the ground after he resisted arrest, placing the Plaintiffs' arms behind their backs, handcuffing, and placing the Plaintiffs in patrol cars did not constitute excessive use of force. The Court's decision is available on Westlaw, 2014 WL 4829457.
DOUGLAS E. HERMAN AND LARRY EVANS OBTAINED RELIEF FOR THEIR INVESTOR CLIENT FROM AN EMERGENCY INJUNCTION, TO ALLOW FOR A COMMERCIAL FORECLOSURE, AND AN AWARD OF ATTORNEYS' FEES.
Douglas E. Herman and Larry Evans obtained relief for their investor client from an emergency injunction that had prohibited the client from foreclosing commercial real property collateral; they also obtained an award of attorneys' fees for the client. Although our client had validly purchased a note and security deed from the corporate plaintiff's original lender, Plaintiff sought and obtained an emergency injunction which enjoined our client from foreclosing the commercial collateral. The plaintiff alleged that our client did not purchase the debt and the security deed, but that it had satisfied the corporate plaintiff's debt to the original lender in exchange for our client's option to purchase other land from the Plaintiff at a deep discount. After a non-jury evidentiary hearing, it was established that our client had, in fact, purchased the note and security deed, which authorized the foreclosure intended by our client. The Court voided the injunction and entered an attorneys' fee award in favor of our client, as a result of the Plaintiff's bad faith litigation and tactics. The case was styled as DHH Investments, Inc. v. Jennings, Capital City Bank, et al. (Laurens County Superior Court Case No. 2013-CG-0888).
DOUGLAS E. HERMAN, PATRICK T O'CONNOR AND LARRY EVANS OBTAINED A JUDGMENT, FOLLOWING TRIAL IN FAVOR OF THEIR DEVELOPER CLIENT AGAINST AN INVESTOR GROUP THAT ASSERTED $24 MILLION CLAIM ON COMMERCIAL A REAL ESTATE DEAL.
In August of 2014, Douglas Herman, Pat O'Connor and Larry Evans obtained an order from the United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia that affirmed an order issued by the Bankruptcy Court, dismissing a development group's $24 million claim against our client, a real property developer. Doug and Pat tried the case initially in the Bankruptcy Court in April of 2013. The claimant development group argued that it did not receive clear and marketable title to nine building sites, which were to be developed and submitted to a condominium regime established by our client. The Bankruptcy Court conducted a three day trial, after which it ruled that the claims of the developer had been released by virtue of a Consent Order agreed to by the claimant, our client and several other parties in 2006. On appeal, The District Court affirmed, concluding that, if the claimant-development group did not obtain clear and marketable title, it was not the fault of our client, and therefore, the claimant-development group had no viable claim against our client. The case is styled as Wilmington Plantation, LLC v. Foster (S.D. Ga. Case No. CV 3:13-00090-DHB-BKE).
DOUGLAS E. HERMAN, PATRICK T. O'CONNOR AND LARRY EVANS OBTAINED SUMMARY JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF THEIR CLIENT, A GEORGIA BANK, ON CLAIMS OF FRAUD, MISREPRESENTATION, BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY AND BREACH OF CONTRACT CLAIMS ALLEGING $4 MILLION IN DAMAGES.
Douglas E. Herman, Patrick T. O'Connor, and Larry Evans obtained judgment in favor of their client, a Georgia bank, against claims of fraud, breach of contract, misrepresentation and negligence asserted by several commercial clients of the bank. The case was decided on summary judgment in the State Court of Ware County after several years of hard fought litigation in both Pierce and Ware counties. The plaintiffs asserted that: (a) the bank was responsible for alleged misrepresentations made to one of the plaintiffs, which resulted in purported financial losses to him and his corporate entities; (b) the bank should have known that another bank customer - who had business relationships with the plaintiffs -- was involved in a purported check-kiting scheme, and that the bank had a duty to advise the plaintiffs of the alleged scheme so that plaintiffs would not have engaged in business with the other customer; and (c) the bank made promises to one of the plaintiffs to release him from certain financial obligations but did not do so, instead "adding" collateral to his loan without his permission. In granting our firm's Motion for Summary Judgment on behalf of the bank, the Court concluded that the plaintiffs had no right to rely on the alleged misrepresentations, as a matter of law, that the bank had no legal duty to disclose to plaintiffs information about other customers' account activity, and that the bank had not improperly changed any of the terms of the plaintiffs' collateral incident to their loan obligations. The case was styled as James, et al. v. The Heritage Bank, et al., and it was docketed in the State Court of Ware County, Georgia, at Case No. S10V-059.
DOUGLAS E. HERMAN AND LARRY EVANS OBTAINED JUDGMENT IN FAVOR OF THIER CLIENTS, A LAW FIRM AND ITS MANAGING PARTNER, ON CLAIMS ALLEGING LEGAL MALPRACTICE, BREACH OF FIDUCIARY DUTY, BREACH OF CONTRACT AND OTHER CLAIMS.
An attorney and his law firm -- in a case filed by the law firm's former client which contained allegations of legal malpractice, intentional breach of contract/fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty. The Superior Court of Chatham County granted our clients' Motion to Dismiss the plaintiff's claims, and the subsequent appeal was ultimately dismissed as well. The Court agreed with the arguments advanced by Doug and Larry that the plaintiff had failed to assert a legally viable claim for legal malpractice against the attorney and his firm, and that the plaintiff's additional claims were "mere duplications" of the flawed professional negligence claim and did not give rise to any independent legal theories by which the lawyer or his law firm could be held liable. The case was styled as McKay v. Galloway, et al, and it was docketed in the Superior Court of Chatham County, Georgia, at Case No. CV 13-0576 WA.
BEN PERKINS AND PAT O'CONNOR SECURE FAVORABLE SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING FROM COURT OF APPEALS.
The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the State Court of Effingham County's ruling, resulting in a complete summary judgment victory on all claims asserted against Oliver Maner clients the Effingham County Board of Commissioners, Sheriff Jimmy McDuffie, and Deputy Provost. The Plaintiffs alleged the firm's clients were liable for personal injuries and property damage allegedly sustained as a result of striking a pothole on a county-maintained road. Both the trial court and Court of Appeals rejected the argument, holding the County Defendants were entitled to judgment as a matter of law. The case is Davis et al. v. Effingham County Board of Commissioners et al., A14A0292 (Ga. Ct. App. July 1, 2014)
PAUL H. THRELKELD, ZACK S. HOWARD, AND PATRICK T. O'CONNOR OBTAINED SUMMARY JUDGMENT FOR OLIVER MANER CLIENTS THE CITY OF BLOOMINGDALE AND CITY OFFICIALS WAYNE TIPTON, BILLY STROZIER AND ERNIE GRIZZARD
Summary Judgment was granted in the case of Mary K. Mitchell v. City of Bloomingdale, et al. (Chatham County State Court Case No. STCV-1200651-CO). The plaintiff claimed that the City and its officials violated her Constitutional rights by taking her campaign signs without appropriate authority. Plaintiff also claimed that the defendants' actions were negligent and were undertaken with malice and in an arbitrary and capricious manner. Judge Hermann Coolidge granted summary judgment in favor of the City and the individual officials, thereby dismissing all claims against them.
PAT O'CONNOR AND ZACH HOWARD OBTAIN SUMMARY JUDGMENT RULING IN FAVOR OF CITY OF SAVANNAH.
Summary judgment was granted to Oliver Maner client The City of Savannah in Lafayette Wright v Savannah Chatham Metro Police, Det. Steve Madina and Investors Lending Group, LLC, Chatham Superior Court case no. CV13-0009-KA. The Plaintiff claimed false arrest and false imprisonment arising out of an incident which occurred on November 13, 2012 at 625 E. Waldburg Street in Savannah. By Order dated June 18, 2014, Judge Michael Karpf granted the City's Motion for Summary Judgment, thereby dismissing all claims filed by Wright against the City.
GREG HODGES, BILL HUNTER, AND GEORGE MAJOR REACH SETTLEMENT FOR INDIVIDUAL INJURED BY LOG TRUCK
Greg Hodges, Bill Hunter, and George Major worked to secure a settlement for a client that was severely injured by a log truck that ran a red light and struck the driver's side door of the client's vehicle. The client spent weeks in the intensive care unit followed by months of physical rehabilitation. The log truck driver and his co-workers traveling near him all denied that the log truck ran the red light. The case was settled after the lawsuit was filed and the depositions of the truck drivers revealed inconsistencies in their stories. 05/27/2014
GREG HODGES, BILL HUNTER, AND GEORGE MAJOR REACH SETTLEMENT FOR FARMER WITH TRAUMATIC BRAIN INJURY
Greg Hodges, Bill Hunter, and George Major recently secured a settlement for a farmer injured by a defectively designed piece of farming equipment. The young farmer sustained a traumatic brain injury as a result of the farming incident. Oliver Maner's attorneys were able to secure a settlement in the products liability action less than one year from the date of injury. 05/27/2014
GREG HODGES, DREW WILKES, BILL HUNTER, AND OTHERS SECURE SETTLEMENT ON BEHALF OF OGEECHEE RIVER LANDOWNERS.
Greg Hodges, Drew Wilkes, Bill Hunter, and a team of Oliver Maner lawyers secured a monetary settlement for landowners along the Ogeechee River following the fish-kill of May, 2011. The firm represented more than 30 individuals and/or entities that own riverfront land along the Ogeechee River. As a result of these and other cases, the Ogeechee River is now closely monitored to prevent any future similar occurrences. 05/27/2014
SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED
Patrick T. O'Connor and Benjamin M. Perkins obtained summary judgment for clients Sergeant Jeb Cowart, Tattnall County Board of Commissioners, and the Tattnall County Sheriff's Office. The Plaintiff contended that Sergeant Cowart assaulted, battered and inflicted personal injury upon him during an arrest. In an order entered on January 8, 2014, Judge Hugh J. McCullough of the State Court of Tattnall County decided the case in favor of the Defendants on immunity grounds. (Civil Action Number 2012V89HM State Court of Tattnall County.)
SUMMARY JUDGMENT GRANTED
Summary Judgment was granted to Oliver Maner client Deputy Sheriff John Phillips in a suit filed by Stephen and Davis Brownlee on claims of assault, false imprisonment, conspiracy, battery, malicious prosecution, and intentional infliction of emotional distress. Plaintiffs sued Deputy Phillips and fellow Chatham County Deputy Sheriff Anthony Davis after the two stopped Davis Brownlee and a companion at the Southbridge Golf Course to inquire as to why they were on the course. Stephen Brownlee arrived on the scene and a physical altercation ensued. Patrick T. O'Connor represented Deputy Phillips. (Civil Action Number STCV1102435CO State Court of Chatham County.)
DEFENSE VERDICT FOR GREG HODGES AND DREW WILKES
Greg Hodges and Drew Wilkes successfully obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a surgeon following a hard fought medical malpractice trial. The case was brought by a patient involved in a car accident who experienced a leg length discrepancy following the surgical repair of a comminuted femur fracture. The patient alleged that the surgical repair was negligent and the leg shortening was avoidable. The jury concluded that the surgeon provided appropriate surgical treatment and the limb shortening was not the result of inadequate medical care.
BEN PERKINS, PAT O'CONNOR AND MELISSA BAILEY OBTAIN FAVORABLE GEORGIA COURT OF APPEALS RULING
The Georgia Court of Appeals partially reversed a Superior Court of Chatham County ruling, resulting in a summary judgment victory on all claims at issue for Oliver Maner client the City of Tybee Island. The plaintiff property owner sued the City following a zoning decision, asserting state and federal constitutional claims and a claim for inverse condemnation. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the property owner on its inverse condemnation claim and granted summary judgment to the City on the remaining claims at issue. The Court of Appeals reversed the trial court on the inverse condemnation claim, holding that it failed as a matter of law, and affirmed the grant of summary judgment to the City on the remaining claims. Ben Perkins and Pat O'Connor represented the City. The case is City of Tybee Island v. Live Oak Group, LLC., 2013 Ga. App. LEXIS 870 (Ga. Ct. App. Nov. 5, 2013).
BEN PERKINS, PAT O'CONNOR AND MELISSA BAILEY OBTAIN GRANT OF SUMMARY JUDGMENT FROM THE UNITED STATES DISTRICT COURT FOR THE SOUTHERN DISTRICT OF GEORGIA
The United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia granted summary judgment in favor of Oliver Maner client Leon Gaff, and the order was not appealed within the time required, resulting in a complete and final victory for Mr. Gaff. The case arose from the death of an inmate at the Coffee County Jail who escaped from custody while she was being held pre-trial on a drug-related offense. The plaintiff asserted a claim for damages pursuant to 42 U.S.C. § 1983, premised upon an alleged violations of the decedent's Fourteenth Amendment rights, as well as numerous state law claims including claims for wrongful death, assault, battery, sexual misconduct, sexual battery, custodial sexual misconduct, false imprisonment, and kidnapping. The case is Davis v. Pope, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 106652 (S.D. Ga. July 30, 2013)
SETTLEMENTS OVER DEAD FISH DON'T STOP LITIGATION FLOW
To read more, click on the below link to the Daily Report, October 16, 2013 article, http://www.dailyreportonline.com/PubArticleDRO.jsp?id=1202623704924&slreturn=20131011084843#
DEFENSE VERDICT FOR ATTORNEYS GREG HODGES AND DREW WILKES
Greg Hodges and Drew Wilkes successfully obtained a defense verdict from a Chatham County State jury following a hard fought medical malpractice trial. The case was brought against a surgeon by a patient who experienced post-operative wound healing complications following breast reduction surgery. The jury concluded that the surgeon provided appropriate treatment and that the complications experienced by the patient were not caused by inadequate medical care.