Last year, Kirk Willis was awarded $550,000 by a Georgia jury, minus a $105,000 counterclaim, in litigation against his former law firm. But earlier this month, the onetime chief of the Dallas office of Atlanta-based Helms & Greene had a reversal of fortune.Willis, who was also awarded attorney’s fees in the legal dispute with his former firm, had additionally sought some $250,000 in reimbursement of his legal costs. However, a Georgia appeals court has determined the trial court’s jury instructions were in error. Now, under the terms of a post-trial settlement, Willis will not only lose the $550,000 and the $250,000 reimbursement, but must also pay $200,000 to Helms & Greene, partner Steven Greene told the Daily Report (sub. req.).However, a lawyer for Willis filed a motion for reconsideration (PDF) on Monday with the Georgia Court of Appeals and says he hopes the Fulton County Superior Court case ultimately will be resolved in Willis’ favor.At issue is … [Read more...] about Ex-partner awarded $550K in law firm dispute loses appeal; firm says he now owes $200K
Appeals law group
Addressing whether the federal district court had jurisdiction over state legal malpractice claims relating in part to the prosecution of patent applications, the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit held that the district court did not, and remanded the case to state court. NeuroRepair, Inc. v. Nath Law Group, Case No. 13-1073 (Fed. Cir., Jan. 15, 2015) (Wallach, J.).In 2009, NeuroRepair filed its state legal malpractice suit in San Diego Superior Court against its patent law firm and an individual attorney in the firm. According to NeuroRepair, it was harmed by the defendants, including by being hindered in timely obtaining patents of the same scope it would otherwise have obtained.The defendants removed the case to federal district court relying on 28 U.S.C. § 1338(a), which gives federal courts original jurisdiction over “any civil action arising under any Act of Congress relating to patents.” After the district court entered judgment in … [Read more...] about Legal Malpractice Claims Against Prosecuting Attorneys Belong in State Court: NeuroRepair, Inc. v. Nath Law Group
We invite you to review our newly-posted November 2014 California Employment Law Notes, a comprehensive review of the latest and most significant developments in California employment law. The highlights include:Google Required To Produce Emails In Response To Former Employer's SubpoenaNegro v. Superior Court, 2014 WL 5341926 (Cal. Ct. App. 2014)Navalimpianti USA, Inc. subpoenaed Google, Inc. to produce copies of email messages it had relating to one of Navalimpianti's former employees, Matteo Negro. Prior to initiating this action against Google in state court in California, Navalimpianti sued Negro and other former employees in state court in Florida for various breaches of duty pursuant to a conspiracy that culminated in their entry into competition with Navalimpianti. After the Florida court issued an order directing Negro to send an email to Google consenting to disclosure of his emails, the California Court of Appeal in this opinion determined that the consent Negro … [Read more...] about California Employment Law Notes: November 2014
The Georgia Supreme Court is giving a law firm another chance to contest a nursing home’s bid to stop it from publishing an ad that criticizes the facility.In a decision on Monday, the court said the Mississippi-based McHugh Fuller Law Group did not have sufficient notice before a judge issued a permanent injunction that banned the ad, according to the Daily Report (sub. req.). The judge also erred by refusing to allow filings submitted after the injunction as part of the record on appeal, the court said (PDF).The full-page ad, published in April 2014 in a Georgia newspaper, said the government had cited Heritage Healthcare of Toccoa, Georgia, for deficiencies in resident care. The ad invited those who suspected a loved one had been abused or neglected at the facility to call the law firm.The nursing home said the ad referred to a 2012 inspection report rather than the most recent one, and deficiencies cited in the older report had been immediately corrected. The facility alleged … [Read more...] about Permanent ban on law firm’s nursing home ad is overturned
Partners leaving big firms to go out on their own isn’t new, but it seems to be picking up. A growing reason is that clients have become more careful about spending. And lawyers can lower their rates after leaving BigLaw.Clients have clamored in recent years for reduced rates, fewer associates assigned to cases and alternative billing arrangements.“Some make a point of objecting to junior associates on the bill,” Joshua Stein, a former real estate partner at Latham & Watkins, who left last month to start his own practice, told Slate for a story headlined “Leaving big law behind.”“In the context of [my practice], those issues won’t exist and, so far, what I’ve seen is that it’s appealing to clients.”And in a recent Crain’s New York Business story along the same lines, headlined “Partners flee big law firms to go their own way,” there was this: “Clients no longer feel their day-to-day needs justify … [Read more...] about Are Clients Squeezing BigLaw into Small Law?
A Mississippi-based law firm is asking the Georgia Supreme Court to overturn an injunction banning an ad that sought clients who suspected their loved ones were neglected or abused at a Moultrie, Georgia, nursing home.The McHugh Fuller Law Group argues the injunction was overbroad and violated its First Amendment rights, according to a summary (PDF) of the case by the Georgia Supreme Court’s public information office. The appeal was scheduled for oral argument on Wednesday, report the Daily Report (sub. req.) and McKnight’s Long Term Care News.The nursing home operator, PruittHealth Inc., had obtained an injunction under a Georgia law that allows judges to block use of trademarks or trade names if there is a likelihood the use will injure the business reputation of the owner or dilute the owner’s trademark or trade name.In addition to the constitutional argument, the law firm contends the trial judge should have allowed the law firm to conduct discovery before issuing … [Read more...] about Law firm claims its First Amendment rights were violated when judge banned its nursing home ad
AFAs: WHAT’S THE BIG DEAL?We all know there are dramatic changes occurring in the legal profession. Some changes are the result of economic pressures; others are urged upon lawyers and law firms by the clients they serve. These days, being a lawyer is less about the practice of law and, out of necessity, more about the business of law.At the heart of these changes is a question plaguing managing partners, practice group chairs, CMOs and marketing staff, and every service provider in the law firm – “How do we define and market our value?”Many believe the answer lies in the philosophy and application of alternative fee arrangements (“AFAs”), a topic of much discussion, criticism, and confusion as more corporate counsel seek to hasten the elimination of the billable hour. A comprehensive overview of the most common AFA models is included in the Appendix.AFAs can be a bitter pill for many firms to swallow. Prospectively, firms will have to alter the ways … [Read more...] about Marketing Law Firm Value: Alternative Fee Arrangements
In a recent decision, the Commercial Court held that a clause requiring the parties to seek to resolve any disputes by engaging in ‘friendly discussions’ before commencing arbitration proceedings was enforceable: it prevented anyone from commencing formal proceedings unless and until they had, in effect, had a sufficiently friendly discussion with the other side. These kinds of provisions, requiring discussions or negotiations or attempts to reach an ‘amicable’ settlement, are sometimes found in tiered dispute resolution clauses as the first step in the contractual mechanism. Until fairly recently, the received wisdom was that English law tended to be against treating such clauses as imposing binding conditions precedent - though, as ever in the law of contract, everything depends on the wording of the clause in question. However, in Emirates Trading Agency Llc v Prime Mineral Exports Private Ltd  EWHC 2104, Teare J upheld such a clause, … [Read more...] about Hugs All Round: Have You Been Sufficiently Friendly to the Other Side in English Law?
EXECUTIVE SUMMARY President Obama’s signature of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act on March 23, 2010, together with his expected signature of its companion reconciliation bill approved by Congress yesterday, will effect comprehensive changes to the country’s regulation of health insurance and the delivery of health care generally. The Act is intended, over a multiyear implementation period, to substantially expand the number of Americans having access to health insurance. The Act is financed in part by an increase in the level of federal insurance contribution taxes (known as FICA taxes), an expansion of such taxes to investment income, codification of the economic substance doctrine and other tax increases. Key provisions of the Act:Restrict coverage limitations and require various coverage terms in group health plans and individual policies issued after the enactment date, including through the definition of an“essential health benefits … [Read more...] about President Signs into Law the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Effecting Comprehensive Changes to the U.S. Health Care System
United States of America v. NorCal Tea Party Patriots, et al, went before the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals, who ruled against the government on Tuesday.The court’s decision raked the IRS over the coals for their actions, as well as the Department of Justice for how they’ve represented the IRS. The decision opened with a lengthy description of the actions the IRS took in targeting certain organizations seeking tax exemptions as non-profit organizations. Here are some highlights: 1. The IRS picked out groups by using politically-related search termsThey used search terms to identify applications from groups with the phrase “Tea Party” in their name. They later looked for other words, as well as policy positions such as “government spending,” or criticism on “how the country is being run.” The organizations that popped up from these searches were placed on a “Be On the Lookout” or BOLO list. 2. A special team … [Read more...] about Court Absolutely Rips Apart IRS for Putting Conservative Groups Through Hell