Christina Gulas was a speaker at the Atlanta Bar Associations' Annual Middle Income Divorce Series on November 17, 2010. She presented a Family Law case update with Sarah McCormack of Kessler, Schwarz & Solomiany, P.C. Speakers at the seminar included top-notch family law practitioners as well as local trial court judges.
Christina Gulas addresses the Atlanta Bar Association on Family Law Topics
Tim Burson successfully defendsProbate Decision upholding Surety Discharge
The Supreme Court affirmed a ruling obtained by Tim Burson for State Farm Fire Insurance Company that its obligation under its bond for a conservator was not subject to a claim against the conservator for fraud, mismanagement and breach of fiduciary duty asserted for the first time almost three years after entry of an order discharging the conservator from office and liability. Ray v. Stewart, 287 Ga. 789, 700 S.E.2d 367, 10 FCDR 3025 (2010). This decision was issued in mid-September and recently appeared in the case reporters.
On behalf of State Farm, Mr. Burson persuaded the Probate Court at trial and the Supreme Court on appeal that the notice by State Farm's bonded principle/conservator to a guardian ad litem appointed by the Court satisfied due process requirements of notice to a representative of known heirs and will beneficiaries of the estate of the proceedings by the conservator seeking discharge and triggered the time to assert any complaint about the conservator's 17 year management of the the ward's estate. While the written ruling was clearly tied to statutory construction and interpretation advanced by Mr. Burson, the decision beyond doubt was prompted at least in part by the evidence developed by Mr. Burson that the party asserting the non-discharge claim had known about and participated in the subject guardianship proceedings without formal notice in the past.
BKB Attorneys Serve as Highlighted Speakers at The Salvation Army Southern Territory 2010 Facilities Planning Conference
Scott Busby and Wes Skinner spoke at The Salvation Army's Southern Territory 2010 Facilities Planning Conference held at Stone Mountain, GA in September, 2010. Scott and Wes provided information and guidance regarding the negotiation of leases, the renewal and termination of leases, as well as collection and eviction issues. Scott also discussed special considerations regarding the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA) and the Fair Housing Act (FHA).
Adam Grafton serves as Speaker at Workers' Compensation Law Institute's Annual Seminar, October, 2010
Adam Grafton was a speaker at the Workers' Compensation Law Institute's Annual Seminar in St. Simons Island, Georgia, on October 2, 2010. As an experienced defense attorney representing a broad spectrum of employers, insurers and self-insurers, Adam spoke from that perspective regarding what is known in Workers' Compensation litigation as the "Maloney" issue. Georgia's Supreme Court ruling, Maloney v. Gordon County Farms, has long been held to establish and clarify the burden of proof elements for a claimant seeking income benefits based on a change in condition following a workers' compensation injury and/or alleged workers' compensation injury. Adam presented in conjunction with an Administrative Law Judge's perspective from the bench, along with another attorney representing a claimant's perspective. Maloney stands for the proposition that when a claimant is capable of performing light duty work and is terminated for reasons unrelated to their job injury, he or she must demonstrate a diligent but unsuccessful search for suitable employment in order to carry their burden of proving an economic disability and entitlement to indemnity benefits. Adam Grafton can be reached at 770-391-9100, ext. 3923, and is available to counsel you and your business (of any size) as it relates to Workers' Compensation issues in your workplace.
Greg Presmanes Provides Leadership Through Associations
Greg Presmanes, the Bovis, Kyle and Burch partner managing the Workers’ Compensation department, is serving as follows:
Atlanta Bar Association, Board of Directors (2010-2011); Atlanta Bar Association, Chair, Workers’ Compensation Section (2010-2011); member, Board of Directors (2006-2010); American Bar Association, Advisory Panel (2009-present); American Bar Association, Program Chair, 2011 Centennial Seminar & Conference, Boston, MA; American Bar Association, Defense Chair, Medicare Subcommittee (2008-present); GreenLaw, Chair, Board of Directors (2007-2010).
In addition, Greg was inducted into the College of Workers’ Compensation Lawyers, 2009.
Greg Presmanes is Honored by the Atlanta Bar Association
Gregory T. Presmanes was recently selected as the President of the Workers' Compensation Section of the Atlanta Bar Association for 2010-2011.
Georgia Trend Magazine Names Four Partners from Bovis, Kyle & Burch, LLC as 2009 Georgia's "Legal Elite"
Georgia Trend magazine's 2009 "Legal Elite" edition came out recently and we are proud to announce that four of our attorneys were named in various practices: Steven J. Kyle - General Practice & Trial Law; Charles M. Medlin - Family Law; Scott Busby - Labor & Employment Law; Ronald F. Negin - Personal Injury Law. Mr. Kyle was honored as one of the fifty seven trial lawyers chosen as the legal elite in the general practice area in the state of Georgia. Mr. Medlin was honored as one of the thirty three domestic relations lawyers identified as the legal elite in the famiy law area in the state of Georgia. Mr. Busby was selected as one of sixty five labor and employment attorneys state wide to receive the Legal Elite honor. Ron Negin was chosen as one of fifty five attorneys honored in the the practice of personal injury law in the state of Georgia.
Christina Craddock and David Harris featured in the Daily Report
BKB attorneys Christina Craddock and David Harris were featured on the cover of the July 9, 2009 issue of the Fulton County Daily Report as a result of the $129 Million verdict they obtained for Arch Insurance Company in the United Stated District Court for the Southern District of Georgia. BKB successfully represented Arch in an indemnification action against Douglas Asphalt Company, once one of the largest road building contractors in Georgia, and its individual owners for payments made under performance and payment bonds after Douglas Asphalt Company was declared in default on thirty-five (35) projects.
BKB has a significant surety practice, with several attorneys engaged primarily in representing companies writing surety bonds. Jack Burch, Greg Veal, Tim Burson, Christina Craddock, Bobbie Ann Henderson, Randy Bryant and David Harris handle every aspect of legal concern for sureties, including investigation of questionable claims, responding to claimants and obligees upon initial receipt of claim, negotiating and drafting completion, takeover, and tender agreements, working with owners, subcontractors and supplies to address claims in an effort to avoid suit, mediating, arbitrating, or litigating matters in dispute, pursuing and collecting indemnity, negotiating and drafting completion, takeover, and tender agreements, and generally advising sureties about their rights and duties. BKB also has the expertise to assist with matters involving the bankruptcy courts and state regulatory agencies.
David Smith Wins Appeal in Late-Notice Coverage Case
David Russell Smith, a partner in our insurance coverage section, recently won an appeal on a late-notice coverage case. In Advocate Networks, LLC v. Hartford Fire Insurance Company, Case No.: A08A2409, the Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed a summary judgment for a liability carrier in a case where the insured waited four months before sending a copy of a lawsuit to its carrier. The insured argued that a jury question existed on whether it had a reasonable excuse for the late notice. The complaint had not been served on the insured, and the insured argued that it reasonably thought it could convince the plaintiff to dismiss the suit before it was served and needed to be answered. The insured further argued that the policy's standard notice provisions were ambiguous in that, on the one hand, the policy required the insured to provide notice of a lawsuit "as soon as practicable," but on the other hand, copies of lawsuits were required to be "immediately" sent to the insurer.
The Court of Appeals rejected the insured's arguments, noting that the insured was essentially arguing that it was not liable, which was not an excuse for failing to provide proper notice of a lawsuit. The Court also held the policy's notice provisions were unambiguous. These provisions required different types of notice depending on what the insured knew.
Advocate Networks v. Hartford confirms that an insurance carrier need not prove prejudice in order to deny coverage for a breach of a policy's notice provisions. It also demonstrates that Georgia courts will apply clearly-written policy language even when it results in the insured losing coverage.
Gregory T. Presmanes Inducted as Fellow into The College of Workers Compensation Lawyers
Bovis, Kyle & Burch, LLC announced that Gregory T. Presmanes, partner, will be inducted as a fellow into The College of Workers' Compensation Lawyers at the Mid Winter American Bar Association Labor and Employment Law Conference, in March 2009, in New Orleans. Fellowship is extended by invitation only to workers' compensation attorneys who have demonstrated the highest professional qualifications, ethical standards, highest level of character, integrity, professional expertise and leadership, as well as sustained, exceptionally high-quality services and distinguished accomplishments in their field. At the American Bar Association's New Orleans Conference, he will be speaking on return to work issues in workers' compensation cases, and at the SEAK National Occupational Medicine and Workers' Compensation Seminar in Cape Cod, MA, in July 2009, on what employers can do to control their exposure and costs by offering light duty work. Additionally, Presmanes has once again been selected as a 2009 Georgia Super Lawyer by his peers, placing him in the top 5% of Georgia attorneys every year since 2004.