Casey Pipes leads team in Counselors of Real Estate Consulting Corps assignment in Knoxville, Tenn.

Helmsing Leach partner Casey Pipes led a Counselors of Real Estate (CRE®) Consulting Corps team the week of April 17, 2023, in Knoxville, Tenn. for the benefit of the City of Knoxville and the Knoxville Area Association of Realtors. The assignment was to assist in creating a strategy to redevelop and revitalize Knoxville’s South waterfront area. The CRE® Consulting Corps is a public service program of The Counselors of Real Estate that provides real estate analysis and action plans for municipalities, not-for-profit organizations, government entities, educational institutions, and other owners of real property. Each Consulting Corps assignment is conducted by a team of members of the Counselors of Real Estate with expertise specific to the needs of the client, and all team members volunteer their time. The team delivers unbiased, market-driven action steps to address a real estate challenge, often enhancing the performance of a property or portfolio and improving the financial well-being of the client. This assignment called for Casey and his team to be in Knoxville from Sunday through Friday. The final report is available here.

For more information about Helmsing Leach’s robust real estate practice, visit our real estate practice area or call our office at 251.432.5521.

Ryan Luna, Karen Tucker and Win Stuardi obtain defense verdict for Mobile County hospital

The Helmsing Leach trial team of Ryan Luna, Karen Tucker, and Win Stuardi recently obtained a defense verdict in Mobile County for a local hospital involving a psychiatric patient attempting to leave the ER who collided with a visitor in the ER lobby. The collision resulted in the visitor sustaining multiple fractures, including a hip fracture. The lawsuit was filed by the visitor and only named the hospital as a defendant. In the lawsuit, the plaintiff alleged that a hospital security guard was negligent in his actions in de-escalating the situation with the patient. The plaintiff was hospitalized for 30 days and was in physical therapy for 60 days after her discharge from the hospital. The lawsuit initially asserted personal injury claims of negligence, wantonness, and battery, with the plaintiff seeking damages for pain, suffering, and mental anguish as well as punitive damages. At trial, the hospital established, through well-developed testimony, that the security guard’s actions were reasonable and appropriate. A total of 16 witnesses testified at trial. At the conclusion of the plaintiff’s case, the plaintiff dismissed her wantonness and battery claims. The plaintiff requested $3-5 million in damages related to the negligence claim; however, the jury was not influenced by the request and a defense verdict was rendered after less than 45 minutes of deliberation.

Joe Babington leads “Don’t Say Daubert, Say Rule 702” panel at Federation of Defense and Corporate Counsel (FDCC) meeting in Nashville, Tenn.

Helmsing Leach partner Joe Babington participated and led the discussion on a panel entitled “Don’t Say Daubert, Say Rule 702” on February 21, 2023, at the FDCC’s winter meeting in Nashville, Tenn. The Bar’s reference to the “Daubert standard” may have caused federal trial and appellate courts to misapply Federal Rule of Evidence 702, as amended in 2000, following the Supreme Court’s opinions in Daubert, Joiner and Kumho Tire. Data indicates courts have often applied outdated case law, “cherry-picked” Supreme Court dicta, and generally failed to follow the requirements of Rule 702 when assessing the admissibility of expert testimony. The courts have often undermined the true purpose of Daubert (and Rule 702)—the trial court’s proper exercise of its gatekeeping role to ensure the reliability of admitted expert testimony. In response to these trends, the FRE Advisory Committee has approved amendments to Rule 702 to emphasize that the trial court must find the expert evidence “more likely than not” satisfies Rule 702’s requirements, including that the expert’s opinion “reflects a reliable application of the principles and methods to the facts of the case.”

The FDCC panel in which Mr. Babington participated discussed the history of Rule 702, the purpose of the proposed amendments—on course to become effective in December 2023—and why the defense bar should say “Rule 702” is the standard for admissibility of expert evidence and should lead efforts to amend state evidence rules by adopting the new federal language.

Mr. Babington has been a member of the FDCC, a leading national defense lawyer organization, since 2011 and regularly participates in its meetings and presentations. His practice focuses on products liability defense, mass torts, general commercial litigation, and insurance coverage. In 1998, Mr. Babington successfully argued before the United States Supreme Court in the Kumho Tire case, one of the three Supreme Court decisions that led to the 2000 amendments to Rule 702.

Tom Gaillard obtains summary judgment in favor of a municipality and its police chief in Escambia County

Helmsing Leach partner Tom Gaillard obtained a summary judgment in favor of a municipality and its police chief in the circuit court of Escambia County, Alabama, on a false imprisonment claim. The plaintiff contested her arrest on drug charges, but the circuit court agreed that the defendants were entitled to summary judgment on those claims and entered an order to that effect in favor of the defendants.

Tom Gaillard obtains dismissal of claims against municipality in federal court

Helmsing Leach partner Tom Gaillard recently secured an order dismissing claims in federal court against a local municipality. The federal lawsuit filed by the plaintiff asserted claims related to a dispute regarding a municipal cemetery. The lawsuit alleged claims of violations of the United States Constitution. After the defendant filed a motion to dismiss, the court held a hearing and granted the motion to dismiss in favor of the defendant on all claims.

Tom Gaillard and Bill Watts obtain summary judgment in federal court for a municipality and several police officers

Helmsing Leach partners Tom Gaillard and Bill Watts obtained summary judgment in the Mobile, Ala. federal court for a municipality and several police officers accused of violation of civil rights. Police arrested the plaintiff for trespass on lands he claimed to own along with his siblings. The court found that the officers had qualified immunity for their actions as a matter of law and found that no basis existed for the municipality to be liable.

Joe Babington and Philip Mahoney obtain dismissal for products liability client

A Helmsing Leach team, led by partners Joe Babington and Philip Mahoney, recently obtained a dismissal, with prejudice, of the firm’s client from a products liability wrongful death and personal injury case arising out of injuries allegedly caused by lengthy exposure to asbestos contained in a talcum powder product made by the firm’s client. The case was pending in Jefferson County Circuit Court in Birmingham, Ala. The dismissal occurred after cross-examination of several of the plaintiff’s liability experts during the expert discovery phase of the case.


Helmsing Leach has a robust products liability defense practice—for more information, contact our office at 251.432.4421.

Helmsing Leach provides Christmas gifts and food for Daphne Elementary School students in need

Each year, Helmsing Leach raises money from lawyers and staff for local families in need over the holidays. This holiday season, the firm is pleased to partner with Daphne Elementary School to provide Christmas presents for students who may not have them otherwise. Gifts include “wants” and “needs” such as toys, clothing, slippers, books, and art supplies. Additionally, nonperishable food donations by the firm and others across Mobile & Baldwin counties will ensure that Daphne Elementary families in need will not go hungry over the holiday break. The firm believes that this season is a time for giving, and we are thankful to everyone in our office who donated.

Casey Pipes to speak at the ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation conference in 2023

Helmsing Leach partner Casey Pipes will speak at the ALI-CLE Eminent Domain and Land Valuation Litigation conference on February 2, 2023, in Austin, Texas. He will be co-presenting a paper with Bill Blake from Nebraska on the topic of the valuation of easements in eminent domain cases (as opposed to fee takings). For more information on how to attend the conference live or virtually, please visit

Joe Babington and Ryan Luna secure dismissal of insurance company client in federal court action

Helmsing Leach partners Joe Babington and Ryan Luna recently secured an order dismissing one of the firm’s insurance company clients from a federal court action. The federal lawsuit alleged that the insurance company had committed negligence and wantonness in handling settlement of claims arising out of a serious automobile accident and sought recovery of compensatory and punitive damages. The federal court action included allegations that the insurance company had failed to honor rights under Alabama Code 34-3–61 (the attorney’s lien statute). The federal court rejected all claims against the firm’s client and granted the insurance company’s motion to dismiss. The court found that the plaintiff—the first law firm purportedly representing the party injured in the automobile accident—was not owed any duty by the insurance company, including under the attorney’s lien statute, because there was no action or settlement at the time the injured party dismissed the plaintiff law firm and employed a second attorney who settled the claims arising out of the automobile accident.


Helmsing Leach has an active practice group representing insurers in coverage, bad faith, and extra-contractual insurance litigation. For more information, contact Ryan Luna, Joe Babington, or Casey Pipes.