Litigation Section

The Litigator: A Litigation Section Publication

In This Issue
Joint Breakfast with the Real Estate Section
Save the Date for the Bench & Bar Reception
Work/Life Balance
An Update on the Fulton County Business Court
Are Corporations Ready To Be Transparent And Share Irrelevant Documents With Opposing Counsel
September 2012 Breakfast
October 2012 Breakfast
November 2012 Breakfast
December 2012 Breakfast
January 2013 Breakfast
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March 2013
Editors: Stephen P. Cummings and Jonathan E. Hawkins 
Litigation Section Board of Directors

: John "Jake" R. Bielema
Vice Chair/Chair-Elect: J. Matthew Maguire Jr.
Secretary: Leigh M. May
Treasurer: Kevin P. Weimer
Immediate Past ChairStephen T. LaBriola

Christina Baugh
Terrence L. Croft
Stephen P. Cummings
The Honorable Susan E. Edlein
Jonathan E. Hawkins
Robert S. Huestis
Edward C. Konieczny
Cindy S. Manning
Georgia Appellate Litigation from the Judges' Perspectives Section CLE Program
Tuesday, March 26, 2013
Registration: 8:30 am
Program: 9:00 am to 12:10 pm

3 CLE hours, including 3 Trial
Practice hours

Topics Include:
- Litigating Successfully Before the Georgia
  Court of Appeals: A Panel Discussion on
  Best (and Worst) Practices
- Nuts and Bolts of Appellate Practice
- Litigating Successfully Before the Georgia Supreme Court:
  A Panel Discussion on Best (and Worst) Practices

Register online and view more information
Joint Breakfast with the Real Estate Section 
Friday, April 19, 2013 - 7:30 am at the Colonnade

"Observations About the Court and Appellate Practice"

Speaker: The Hon. Keith R. Blackwell
Justice, Supreme Court of Georgia

Section Members - $20
Non-Section Members - $30
Add $5 for 1 CLE hour

Register online or return the detailed brochure
Save the Date!  Annual Bench & Bar Reception
Tuesday, May 21, 2013 - 6:00 pm to 9:00 pm

at Nelson Mullins Riley
& Scarborough
In Atlantic Station

201 17th St NW,  Suite 1700
Atlanta, GA

Logan Bleckley Award recipient, registration and more information to be posted soon.  Please check your emails and the Atlanta Bar website for updates. 

Work/Life Balance
by Anthony L. ("Tony") Cochran, Chilivis, Cochran, Larkins
& Bever, LLP
This is an excerpt from a webinar presented On March 13, 2013 by the Sole Practitioner/Small Firm and the Atlanta Council of Younger Lawyers Sections of the Atlanta Bar.

Let me begin by having each of you think about your typical day.  Do you check your e-mail before you get out of bed?  Often eat lunch at your desk?  Constantly multi-task, e.g., cell phone calls while driving?  Find it nearly impossible to keep up with the volume of e-mail you receive?  Leave work later than you'd like, and still feel compelled to check e-mail in the evenings?

Since I began practicing in 1976, things have speeded up exponentially with all of our technological advances with e-mails and texts and other types of electronic communication. We now use those often instead of face-to-face meetings or using the telephone.  All of this creates for me a feeling like the line from Alice in Wonderland where Alice said, "The hurrier I go, the behinder I get."  All of the technology speeds things up and inundates us with information which makes it difficult to maintain a work-life balance.

view the entire article
An Update on the Fulton County Business Court - Seven Years In
by Megan K. Johnson, Program Director and Staff Attorney, Fulton County Business Court
Seven years ago, Georgia was only the eleventh (11th) state to establish a dedicated complex commercial division for certain qualifying business cases.  In 2005, Fulton County Superior Court, in partnership with leaders of the State Bar of Georgia, launched the Business Case Division ("Business Court") as a pilot program to allow complex business litigation out of the usual stream of criminal, family and civil cases heard by active Superior Court Judges.  Since its inception, the Business Court has continued to evolve to better accommodate the needs of civil litigants and to meet the growing demand for its services. 

In 2007, the Business Court Rules were amended to make it easier for litigants to transfer cases to Business Court by eliminating the requirement of joint consent.  Cases may now be assigned to Business Court at the request of only one party or by the judge initially assigned to the case.

view the entire article
Are Corporations Ready To Be Transparent And Share Irrelevant Documents With Opposing Counsel To Obtain Substantial Cost Savings Through The Use Of Predictive Coding?
by Ronni D. Solomon, King & Spalding LLP
The discovery process does not require a producing party to produce irrelevant documents in response to a request for production under Fed. R. Civ. P. 34. To the contrary, the scope of discovery is expressly limited to discovery that is relevant to any party's claim or defense, or if good cause is shown, to the subject matter of the case. Fed. R. Civ. Pro. 26(b)(1).  The purpose of discovery is to provide a mechanism for making relevant information available to the litigants. See 1983 Advisory Committee Notes to Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(b)(1). This same principle clearly does not apply to irrelevant information.

Pursuant to Rule 26(b)(1), corporations that are producing parties have routinely objected and refused to produce irrelevant documents in response to discovery requests.

view the entire article
Mike McGlamry Speaks to the Section at the September 2012 Breakfast
by John "Jake" R. Bielema, Bryan Cave LLP
On September 14, 2012, at 7:30 a.m. at the Colonnade Restaurant, the Litigation Section held its first breakfast meeting of the year.  The speaker was Mike McGlamry of Pope McGlamry Kilpatrick and Morrison and the topic was "The NFL Concussion Litigation: Background, Key Issues, and the use of the MDL".  Mr. McGlamry discussed his representation of a large number of former NFL players in litigation against the NFL for alleged concussion related injury, which the lawsuits allege were avoidable and/or exacerbated by the League's failure to protect its players adequately.  The presentation also discussed some of the procedural challenges and complexities that the litigation presents, with hundreds of diverse plaintiffs, and the use of the MDL procedural mechanism.  Mr. McGlamry, a quarterback at Wake Forest in his college days, discussed that the goal of the litigation was not to put professional football out of business, but to secure compensation for very real injuries that former players have endured, and to make the game safer for those that continue to play the game, and those that will play in the future.
The Honorable Michael Boggs Speaks to the Section at the October 2012 Breakfast
by Kevin P. Weimer, Fellows LaBriola, LLP
At the October 12, 2012 Litigation Breakfast Program, Court of Appeals Judge Michael Boggs spoke on the topic of Criminal Justice Reform.  As the 2012 Co-Chair of the Criminal Justice Reform Council, having been so appointed by Governor Deal, and having served as a prosecutor and as a State Legislator, Judge Boggs was well qualified to discuss this important area.  In 2011, Judge Boggs served on an earlier iteration of this Council, which recommended reforms to the State's juvenile code.  The State Legislature took the recommendations of the Council and codified significant changes to the State's juvenile code.  The 2012-2013 Council identified several challenges to the State's growing inmate population and to policy decisions needing to be made to the length of sentences and to the effectiveness of sentencing on preventing recidivism.  In a question and answer session following the presentation, Judge Boggs answered questions frankly, including his view on the so-called "scared straight" programs, which he stated unambiguously had not worked.  Given that Judge Boggs haled from Waycross, Georgia, for many in attendance, his presentation afforded a first opportunity to observe and hear him speak in person.
Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens Speaks at the November 2012 Breakfast
by Kevin P. Weimer, Fellows LaBriola, LLP
On November 9, 2012, the Section was honored to have Georgia Attorney General Sam Olens as its speaker.  Attorney General Olens discussed the issues that have confronted his office in an array of different areas.  He promoted an overhaul of the Open Records Act, which includes a reduction in the cost to copy responsive documents and a requirement that documents be turned over within three days.  He encouraged requestors to call his office if the new rules are not being followed.  On water rights, the State won a recent ruling before the Eleventh Circuit, but the Attorney General cautions that any viable long-term solution will need to involve a management plan with the Army Corps of Engineers.  Other issues that the office is addressing include prescription drug abuse, the Savannah harbor expansion project, immigration, the Affordable Care Act, and cross-state air pollution rules.
Panelists discuss Litigation in the New Economy at the December 2012 Breakfast
by Edward C. Konieczny, Edward C. Konieczny, LLC
At the December 14, 2012 Litigation Section Breakfast Meeting, five in-house litigation counsel from large Atlanta-based companies discussed issues relating to "Litigation in the New Economy."  They told the sell-out crowd how their purchase of legal services has changed within the last few years, and how permanent they expected those changes to be.   In a lively discussion moderated by Litigation Section Board Member Ed Konieczny, the panelists took on topics such as Fees and Billing, Defining and Measuring Value, Budgets, Case Management, Selection of Outside Counsel, and Corporate Legal Departments. 

The panel included:  William P. Barnette
Counsel  - Commercial Litigation, The Home Depot

Neal S. Berinhout
Associate General Counsel, AT&T Services

John C. Childs
Assistant General Counsel - Litigation, Georgia-Pacific LLC

Jane Jordan
Deputy General Counsel and Chief Counsel for Health Affairs, Emory University

Michael  McQueeney
Associate General Counsel - Litigation & Employment, The Coca-Cola Company

For more information, please view the Daily Report article
Terrence Croft and Halsey Knapp Speak to the Section at the January 2013 Breakfast
by Kevin P. Weimer, Fellows LaBriola, LLP
On January 18, 2013, the Litigation Section presented its breakfast program on the topic of mediation.  Veteran mediator, Terrence Croft, and experienced litigator, Halsey Knapp, presented from their respective vantage points.  Mr. Croft discussed the need to present a detailed mediation statement prior to the mediation and emphasized that a good mediator does his or her homework by discussing ex parte with counsel for each side of the dispute before the mediation date.  Among other nuggets of good information shared, Mr. Croft discussed letting the mediator know of emotional points of contention so that a smart business decision is capable of being reached while avoiding explosive issues that could unravel the mediation.  Mr. Knapp spoke of the need to select mediators who honored confidences and noted the perils litigators face when mediators disclose more information than permitted.  He also spoke of the importance of having thought carefully through the negotiation moves he would advocate his client follow prior to the mediation, and he discussed when a litigator should break off discussions and walk away from the mediation.  Both presenters showed that the process of mediation is part art/part science.  Their comments were well received by an audience of attorneys and judges who filled the Colonnade to capacity.


The Litigator is Looking for Articles of Interest
typewriter newsThe Litigator is looking for articles of interest to Atlanta trial attorneys.  If you would like to submit an article for publication, please email the editors, Stephen P. Cummings.