Rushton Stakely Named as Finalist in 2019 River Region Ethics in Business & Public Service Awards

Rushton Stakely has been named as a finalist for the 2019 River Region Ethics in Business & Public Service Awards, Large Business Category. The Samaritan Counseling Center, Inc. sponsors the Ethics in Business awards program to help foster ethical professional conduct of businesses in the community. Each year, The Samaritan Counseling Center partners with Auburn University Montgomery to select organizations that help fulfill this mission. Businesses are nominated by a third party based on their long-standing reputation for professionalism through volunteerism, community service, employee health and safety, and diversity. Once nominations are received, AUM faculty and students conduct in depth interviews of all nominees, and they select three finalists for each business category.  Rushton Stakely is thrilled to have been selected as a finalist for this award. To even have been nominated is an extraordinary honor.

Rushton Stakely was established in 1890, and since that time, the firm has placed high emphasis on ethics and professionalism. Through hard work, devotion to detail, and forceful advocacy, we’ve earned the respect of our peers nationwide, and a reputation for service, quality, and achieving results for our clients.  We aren’t just dedicated to our clients. We are also committed to our community. As such, we find it very humbling to have been nominated for the Ethics in Business Award.

Keene Appointed as Chairman of UA President’s Cabinet

Thomas H. Keene, our President, currently serves as Chairman of the President’s Cabinet at the University of Alabama. He previously has served as Chairman of the Selection Committee and as a member of the Executive Committee of the Cabinet.

The President’s Cabinet is by invitation only and is limited to three hundred members. Their mission includes not only advising the President of the university as needed, but also the funding and administration of scholarships to worthy students as well as the recruitment of academically gifted students.  This very proud organization has existed for forty-five years and continues to support primarily academic activities of the University of Alabama.

Alabama Supreme Court Affirms Dismissal of Patronage Capital Suit Against Electric Cooperative

In a decision that affects at least 13 other putative class action cases pending in Alabama circuit courts, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the dismissal of a putative class action claiming that Alabama cooperatives could not utilize patronage capital credits under Alabama law. Recherche, LLC v. Baldwin County Electric Membership Corporation, No. 1171144. The Recherche decision affirms the long-standing and widely accepted practice of allocating patronage capital credits to members of electric cooperatives. The Court relied heavily on the case of Caver v. Central Alabama Electric Cooperative, 845 F.3d 1135 (11th Cir. 2017) which was defended by Rushton Stakely attorneys Dennis Bailey, Evans Bailey and Mac Freeman with the assistance of Ted Jackson and Chris Simmons. The Rushton Stakely team of Dennis Bailey, Chris Simmons and Evans Bailey also submitted a friend of the court brief on behalf of the Alabama Rural Electric Association of Cooperatives in Recherche.


Freeman Wins Defense Verdict – Upshaw v. Washington

Mac Freeman obtained a defense verdict in the Circuit Court of Russell County, Alabama on behalf of his client in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Phenix City, Alabama. The plaintiff claimed that Mr. Freeman’s client struck the side of the plaintiff’s vehicle. The T-bone collision rendered both vehicles a total loss. Plaintiff asserted various personal injuries as a direct result of the collision.

Plaintiff sued Mr. Freeman’s client alleging that she negligently and wantonly caused the accident.  In addition, the plaintiff sued the parents of the minor driver involved in the accident, alleging that they negligently entrusted the vehicle to their teenage daughter.  Mr. Freeman successfully argued that the negligent entrustment claim should be dismissed, which it was during the course of the trial.  As it related to the remaining claims directly against the driver, the plaintiff asserted that the defendant was the only party at fault for the accident.  The plaintiff claimed various bodily injuries, including head injuries, neck and shoulder injuries, and injuries to her upper back.  During the course of trial, plaintiff introduced testimony of medical providers who offered their opinions that plaintiff’s injuries were the direct result of the subject accident.  In defense of these claims, Mr. Freeman asserted that the teenage driver was not at fault for the accident and instead, the plaintiff was traveling at an excessive speed and was not paying attention to her surroundings.  Or, in the very least, Mr. Freeman contended that the plaintiff’s own conduct constituted contributory negligence and as such, her claims should be barred.  The case was submitted to the jury and after deliberation, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defendant driver (Mr. Freeman’s client) on all claims.

The case was tried before the Honorable David Johnson in the Circuit Court of Russell County, Alabama (57-CV-2017-900307).

Royal Dumas & Morgan Chappell Join Rushton Stakely Law Firm

Rushton Stakely is pleased to announce that Royal Dumas and Morgan Chappell have joined the firm. Prior to joining Rushton Stakely, Mr. Dumas practiced in a Montgomery firm primarily focused on corporate representation. He has litigated a wide range of civil cases with an emphasis in defending complex commercial, funded and unfunded pension plans, aviation, and professional malpractice claims. His experience in this area includes litigation of individual cases, multi-district and class action litigation, both at the local and national level.  Mr. Dumas graduated from Hartt School of Music with a Bachelor of Music degree in Classical Guitar Performance; from Southern Methodist University with a Master of Music in Classical Guitar; and from the University of Alabama School of Law, where he served on the Alabama Law Review and as the Co-Chair of the Campbell Moot Court Board.

Mrs. Chappell practices civil litigation with an emphasis on corporate and business litigation and labor and employment law. After graduating from law school, Mrs. Chappell clerked for a Circuit Court Judge in South Carolina and later practiced in another Montgomery firm. Mrs. Chappell received her Bachelor of Arts degree, magna cum laude, from Clemson University and her Juris Doctorate, cum laude, from The University of Mississippi School of Law, where she served as an Executive Editor of the Mississippi Law Journal.

Garrett Wins Defense Verdict – Moore v. Shaul

R. Brett Garrett obtained a defense verdict in the Circuit Court of Chilton County, Alabama on behalf of his client in a motor vehicle accident that occurred in Clanton, Alabama. The case involved a motor vehicle collision that occurred on 7th Street North near the intersection of 1st and 2nd Streets North. Mr. Garrett’s client struck the rear of Plaintiff’s vehicle. Mr. Garrett’s client acknowledged that his attention was diverted from the roadway immediately prior to impact.

Plaintiff sued Mr. Garrett’s client alleging that he acted negligently and wantonly in causing the accident. Mr. Garrett obtained dismissal of the wantonness claim via dispositive motion prior to trial. Mr. Garrett defended Plaintiff’s claims without affirmative defense arguing that his client’s actions prior to the accident were reasonable under the circumstances and did not amount to negligence. Plaintiff claimed bodily injury including concussion, neck/shoulder injury and back injury. Plaintiff introduced testimony of her treating physical medicine/rehabilitation specialist who offered his medical opinion that Plaintiff’s injuries were directly caused by the subject accident.

The jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Garrett’s client. The case was tried before the Hon. Ben A. Fuller. (Circuit Court of Chilton County, Alabama — CV-2018-900003)

Seventeen Rushton Stakely Attorneys Recognized in Best Lawyers for 2020

Rushton Stakely is pleased to announce that seventeen of our attorneys were chosen for the 2020 edition of The Best Lawyers in America©.  The selected lawyers are: Dennis R. Bailey, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Communications Law, Litigation – Banking & Finance, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Labor & Employment, Litigation – Real Estate, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants; Jeffrey W. Blitz, Real Estate Law; L. Peyton Chapman III, Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; William I. Eskridge, Real Estate Law; Alan T. Hargrove, Jr., Insurance Law, and Litigation – Insurance; William S. Haynes, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; R. Austin Huffaker, Jr., Appellate Practice; J. Theodore Jackson, Jr., Litigation and Controversy – Tax, Tax Law,  Trusts and Estates; Paul M. James, Jr., Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Thomas H. Keene, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Daniel L. Lindsey, Jr., Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates; Patrick M. Shegon, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Christopher S. Simmons, Litigation & Controversy – Tax, Employee Benefits (ERISA) Law, Public Finance Law, Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates; Frank J. Stakely, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Fred W. Tyson, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants, and Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants; Helen Crump Wells, Tax Law, and Trusts and Estates; Benjamin C. Wilson, Litigation – Healthcare, and Litigation – Labor & Employment.

For over 30 years, Best Lawyers® has been regarded as the definitive guide to legal excellence in the United States.  Inclusion in the Best Lawyers® list is based on a rigorous national survey of leading U. S. attorneys, and Corporate Counsel® magazine has called Best Lawyers® “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”  We are proud that seventeen of our attorneys were recognized with this distinguished honor.

Bailey Wins Two Appeals Before the Alabama Supreme Court

Evans Bailey recently won two appeals before the Alabama Supreme Court.

In the first case, the appellate court reversed the lower court’s judgment that Mr. Bailey’s client owed over $100,000 in post-judgment interest in an attorney’s fee dispute. The Court found that the underlying judgment did not support an award of post-judgment interest because it was not a “money judgment” against Mr. Bailey’s client.

In the second case, the appellate court affirmed a summary judgment in favor of Mr. Bailey’s client (an automobile manufacturer) on claims that the defendant owed the client for relocation reimbursement expenses. The defendant argued below and on appeal that his failure to pay the expenses back was excused for a number of reasons, but the Court rejected these arguments in turn. The Court also reversed the lower court’s failure to award attorney’s fees, expenses, and interest, and increased the judgment against the defendant by approximately $30,000. Katie Davis assisted in briefing the Arnold matter.

The cases are Pope, McGlamry, Kilpatrick, Morrison & Norwood, P.C. v. DuBois (#1171178) and Arnold v. Hyundai Motor Manufacturing Alabama, LLC, (#1170974 & #1171026).

Trump Announces Nomination of Huffaker to Serve as Federal Judge

Rushton Stakely is proud to announce the nomination of R. Austin Huffaker, Jr. to the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

On July 1, 2019, President Donald J. Trump announced his intent to nominate R. Austin Huffaker, Jr., of Alabama, to serve as Judge on the U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama.

Austin Huffaker is a Shareholder at Rushton, Stakely, Johnston & Garrett, P.A, where his practice focuses on complex commercial, product and lender liability, and professional malpractice litigation. Mr. Huffaker serves as a Commissioner of the Alabama Securities Commission and a Member of the Alabama Civil Jury Charge Committee. Mr. Huffaker earned his B.Eng., cum laude, from Vanderbilt University and his J.D, magna cum laude, from the University of Alabama, where he was a member of the Alabama Law Review and a Hugo Black Scholar.

For the complete article:

Garrett Obtains Defense Verdict in Multi-Vehicle Collision with Injury

R. Brett Garrett obtained a defense verdict in the Circuit Court of Lee County Alabama on behalf of his client in a complicated, multi-vehicle/motorcycle accident that occurred in Auburn, Alabama. The case involved a collision that occurred near the intersection of roadways within Logan Square Apartments. Mr. Garrett’s client collided with a motorcycle driven by Plaintiff as they proceeded through an intersection and around a commercial vehicle which obstructed visibility.

Plaintiff sued Mr. Garrett’s client alleging that she acted negligently and wantonly in causing the accident. Plaintiff also alleged that Mr. Garrett’s client and the owner of the commercial vehicle were liable under a theory of combining and concurring negligence. Mr. Garrett defended Plaintiff’s claims alleging contributory negligence. Plaintiff incurred substantial bodily injury in the accident including tibial and fibular fractures requiring multiple corrective surgeries. Plaintiff introduced testimony of his treating orthopedic surgeon who offered his medical opinion that Plaintiff’s injuries were directly caused by the subject accident and further, that multiple surgeries were necessary for treatment of his related injuries.

The case tried before Hon. Christopher J. Hughes. After a three day trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Garrett’s client.