William W. Watts, III and Jeffery Hartley Win Reversal of Trial Court Judgment on Subrogation Claim

In March of 2021, firm members William W. Watts, III and Jeffery J. Hartley, representing the Chapter 13 Trustee for the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Alabama, obtained an order from the Court of Civil Appeals reversing a trial court’s judgment awarding reimbursement to the employer of workman’s compensation benefits paid to the debtor out of proceeds collected by the debtor in satisfaction of a judgment against an underinsured motorist insurer.  The Court held that employers are not entitled to be reimbursed their payment of worker’s compensation benefits out of the proceeds collected by the employee on a claim for underinsured motorist benefits arising out of an automobile accident which occurred in the course and scope of the employee’s employment.  The Court rejected the argument that the employer should be entitled to be reimbursed UM proceeds if they are collected under a policy of uninsured motorist benefits that the employer itself obtained for the benefit of its employees while driving in the course and scope of their employment.

Helmsing Leach Recognized as a Tier 1 Law Firm

U.S. News – Best Lawyers has recognized Helmsing Leach as a Tier 1 law firm in its 2022 edition of Best Lawyers in America.  This recognition is reserved for those firms that score in the top percentile during the annual review process.

Samantha Gunnoe Joins Helmsing Leach

Helmsing Leach is pleased to announce that Samantha Gunnoe has joined the firm as a litigation associate.  Prior to joining Helmsing Leach, Samantha practiced at a civil defense firm in the Mobile area and clerked for the Honorable Robert H. Smith and the Honorable S. Wesley Pipes of the 13th Judicial Circuit of Alabama.  Samantha’s background includes general insurance defense, motor vehicle litigation, and premises liability litigation.  Samantha obtained her law degree from Loyola University New Orleans and earned her Bachelor of Arts from the University of Mississippi.

Casey Pipes and Warren Herlong recover $3,694,118.00 Judgment for Homeowners in Condemnation Action

Warren and Casey finished a jury trial in October of 2021 in which their clients’ home was being condemned for a new highway.  Their clients had assembled over 250 acres of land in Gulf Shores, Alabama, and they had improved it with a home that was over 7,000 SF in size.  The home was located inside a 5/8 mile race-horse practice track.  A new State highway project took about 22 acres of land, the home, the racetrack, and a pond, and it left their property divided by the new highway.  The State Department of Transportation put on evidence that it owed around $1.3 million.   The jury returned a verdict for over $2.9 million, and after adding prejudgment interest, the final judgment amount was $3,694,118.  This final judgment amount was nearly three times more than the State’s position of what it owed, and it was the just compensation that the homeowners were entitled to.

A. Edwin Stuardi, III Inducted as Fellow of American College of Trial Lawyers

Helmsing Leach is pleased to announce that A. Edwin Stuardi, III has been inducted as a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers (ACTL) at their Annual Meeting in Chicago, Illinois on October 3, 2021.

Founded in 1950, the ACTL is composed of the best of the trial bar for the United States and Canada. Fellowship in the ACTL is extended by invitation only after careful investigation. Fellows must be experienced trial lawyers who have mastered the art of advocacy and whose professional careers have been marked by high standards of ethical conduct, professionalism, civility and collegiality. A lawyer must have a minimum of fifteen years trial experience before they can be considered for Fellowship. Membership in the ACTL cannot exceed 1% of the total lawyer population of any state or province.

Stuardi has represented clients in hundreds of cases during his 25-plus years of practice in Alabama. His active trial practice includes all types of complex litigation, although he focuses mainly on representing hospitals, physicians and long-term care facilities across Alabama in medical negligence lawsuits and other healthcare-related litigation. Stuardi has been recognized by Best Lawyers of America and Super Lawyers every year since 2009 and he has an AV-preeminent rating from Martindale-Hubble.

Firm Members Bill Watts and Ryan Luna obtain reversal of trial court’s order by Alabama Supreme Court on mandamus petition

In September of 2021, firm members Bill Watts and Ryan Luna, representing a local hospital, successfully obtained an order from the Alabama Supreme Court, granting the hospital’s petition for writ of mandamus, and reversing the trial court’s order denying the hospital’s motion to dismiss the action on the grounds that the action was barred by the statute of limitations.

Stuardi and Mattei Successfully Defend Nursing Home in Alleged Choking Death

Helmsing Leach partners Win Stuardi and Kirk Mattei recently secured a defense award for their nursing home client in a wrongful death case following a 4-day arbitration hearing.  Plaintiff alleged that the nursing staff breached the standard of care in failing to monitor a resident who allegedly choked while eating dinner.  Through the testimony of the nursing staff and expert witnesses (a registered nurse and pulmonologist), the nursing home put on evidence that the standard of care was met, the resident had finished eating and the probable cause of the resident’s death was a pulmonary embolus.  After hearing all the evidence, the arbitrator ruled in favor of the nursing home.

Firm Has 6 Recognized by Best Lawyers as a Lawyer of the Year

Best Lawyers has identified six of the Firm’s lawyers as being “Lawyer of the Year” in the Mobile, Alabama market for 2022 in their respective areas of practice.  Included in this years recognition by Best Lawyers are:

  • Joseph P.H. Babington – Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants
  • Jeffery J. Hartley – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law
  • James B. Newman – Litigation – Banking and Finance
  • J. Casey Pipes – Land Use and Zoning Law
  • Robert H. Rouse – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships)
  • William W. Watts III – Appellate Practice

Casey Pipes Speaks at Meeting of American College of Real Estate Lawyers

Firm member Casey Pipes will present on the Top Ten Issues Affecting Real Estate in 2021 at a meeting of the American College of Real Estate Lawyers (ACREL).  ARCEL is the premier organization of U.S. real estate lawyers. Admission is by invitation only after a rigorous screening process. ACREL’s distinguished, nationally-known lawyers have been elected to fellowship for their outstanding legal ability, experience and high standards of professional and ethical conduct in the practice of real estate law.