ATLANTA, April 16, 2014 — Arnall Golden Gregory’s Insurance Coverage Practice has been named Insurance Litigation Department of the Year by the Fulton County Daily Report, a newspaper that covers the legal industry in metro Atlanta and Georgia.
AGG’s team was selected in a competition among Georgia’s most respected law firms. Henry R. Chalmers and Ashley Steiner Kelly, co-chairs of the firm’s Litigation Practice, will accept the Daily Report award at a dinner on April 23 at The Ritz Carlton Buckhead in Atlanta. The newspaper will publish a special section on April 21 recognizing the award winners and finalists in seven litigation categories.
The Daily Report cited AGG’s success in several insurance matters:
- Defense of Zurich Services Corporation, an affiliate of Zurich Insurance Group, in wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits arising out of the Imperial Sugar Refinery explosion in Savannah, Ga., in February 2008, which caused 14 deaths. Zurich was a defendant in 47 separate actions before multiple judges on claims of negligent inspection, with claims approaching approximately $500 million. AGG won summary judgment from two judges; in one of those cases plaintiff’s medical expenses were approximately $23 million. The ruling was recently affirmed by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. Jeffrey Y. Lewis and David L. Hobson, who handle litigation matters in a variety of industries, represented Zurich.
- Defense of the Weinstock & Scavo, P.C. law firm, which faced a legal malpractice claim brought by a former client, OTS, Inc., alleging 10 separate errors in the defense of a sexual harassment claim. AGG attorney Theresa Y. Kananen obtained dismissal of nine of the ten allegations on motion and successfully tried the remaining allegation in a five-day jury trial in which OTS sought more than $2 million in damages. The jury found for Weinstock & Scavo.
- Representation of American Guarantee and Liability Insurance Company, a professional liability insurance carrier, in a declaratory judgment action seeking a determination of its obligation to defend and indemnify an insured law firm, The Abram Law Group. The Abram Law Group was sued for various alleged failures in connection with an $11 million real estate closing. AGG attorneys Scott F. Bertschi and Scott A. Wandstrat filed a motion for judgment on the pleadings, seeking a declaration that the claim was excluded because it was related to a prior closing the attorney undertook while at another law firm. The District Court granted American Guarantee’s motion and found that it had no obligation to defend or indemnify The Abram Law Group. The judgment was recently upheld by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.
- Defense of Facility Investments, a long-term care facility operator, against a claim by its professional liability insurance carrier, OneBeacon, for recoupment of settlement proceeds. Following allegations that Facility altered medical records, Facility’s insurance carrier settled a wrongful death claim on Facility’s behalf for $800,000, subject to a purported reservation of rights to recoup from Facility any uncovered portion of the claim. After Facility refused to accede to the purported reservation of rights or contribute any money to the settlement, OneBeacon sued Facility for recoupment. AGG attorneys Scott F. Bertschi and Jennifer L. Shelfer filed a motion to dismiss based on the argument that Georgia law did not permit an insurance company to settle subject to a unilateral reservation of rights. While the trial court denied the motion, AGG persuaded the Court of Appeals to accept an interlocutory appeal to resolve this open question of Georgia law. Following briefing, the Court of Appeals reversed the trial court’s order, dismissed the claim against Facility, and held that OneBeacon’s unilateral reservation of rights was ineffective under Georgia law.
About Arnall Golden Gregory LLP
Arnall Golden Gregory, with more than 150 attorneys in Atlanta and Washington, DC, employs a “business sensibility” approach, developing a deep understanding of each client’s situation in order to find a customized, cost-sensitive solution. Selected for The National Law Journal’s prestigious 2013 Midsize Hot List, the firm advises on corporate, litigation and regulatory matters for numerous industries, including business services, healthcare, life sciences, logistics and transportation, real estate, franchising, information services, energy, and manufacturing. AGG is a solutions partner that subscribes to the belief “not if, but how.”