In 2013, YCRLAW attorneys Steve Brown, Russ Hines, and Perry Buckner successfully obtained a dismissal of a class action filed against their client. That ruling was appealed shortly thereafter, and last week, the South Carolina Court of Appeals affirmed the dismissal of the class action by the trial court.
Joe Tierney and Christine Toporek recently obtained a defense verdict in a medical negligence case tried in Charleston County, South Carolina. In the case, the Plaintiff’s estate alleged the hospital’s emergency department failed to diagnose a C5 cervical fracture. The case was litigated for two weeks with a defense verdict being rendered on September 9, 2016.
YCRLAW is pleased to announce that the following YCRLAW attorneys have been chosen for inclusion in the 23rd Edition of The Best Lawyers in America:
- Mike Branham for Trusts and Estate;
- Stephen Brown for Litigation – Insurance;
- Jay Davis for Commercial Litigation;
- Carol Ervin for Employment Law – Management and Litigation – Labor and Employment;
- Duke Highfield for Litigation – Insurance;
- Wallace "Buster" Holland for Workers' Compensation Law – Employers ;
- Wilbur Johnson for Employment Law – Management, Labor Law – Management, and Litigation – Labor and Employment;
- Michael Molony for Administrative / Regulatory Law and Insurance Law; and
- Drake Rogers for Workers' Compensation Law – Employers
Selection to Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive and rigorous peer-review survey comprising more than three million confidential evaluations by top attorneys.
YCRLAW is pleased to announce that Wallace “Buster” Holland has been named Lawyer of the Year for Workers Compensation Law – Employers for 2017 by Best Lawyers in America.
In his role as Immediate Past President for the South Carolina Chapter of the Federal Bar Association, Brian Quisenberry is hosting the Federal Bar Associations’ annual Introduction to Federal Practice Seminar on Wednesday, July 20, 2016 in The Honorable Sol Blatt, Jr. Courtroom at the Federal Courthouse in Charleston. The Honorable Mary Gordon Baker will speak regarding practice in the Federal Court. In addition, the seminar will include a variety of speakers on such topics as the United States District and Magistrate Courts, Admission to the District Court, Clerking in the District Court, Alternative Dispute Resolution in Federal Court, Federal Criminal Practice and Federal Civil Practice. The FBA is anticipating over 35 summer associates from firms in the Charleston area to attend the event.
Michael Molony recently attended the Bermuda Monetary Authority Captive Insurance Conference. The conference covered numerous current topics in risk management ranging from health insurance coverage to cyber security. A current review of Insurance Linked Securities (ILS) and Captive Tax issues were also presented. The conference was attended by more than 800 attendees where some of the largest multinational corporations in the world discussed their risk management profiles and continued evolution of new ideas for captives. The conference enables the YCRLAW Captive Insurance group to stay abreast of current developments as the South Carolina domicile continues to distinguish itself as one of the premier on shore jurisdictions.
D. Jay Davis, Jr. has been appointed to a three year term on the Board of Directors for Roper Hospital, Inc. Jay is the chair of the firms Medical and Professional Liability Practice group and regularly represents medical and other professionals in both state and federal courts in South Carolina.
In the case of Hoffman v. Seneca Insurance Company, et. al., the South Carolina Court of Appeals recently upheld a trial court’s grant of summary judgment in favor of our client, Seneca Insurance Company. The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court’s finding that Mr. Hoffman’s claim for extensive property damage caused by raccoons, mice and one or more snakes within the ductwork in his law office was not covered by his insurance policy, which contained an “animal exclusion.” Mr. Hoffman is an attorney who practices law in a mostly rural part of Beaufort County known as St. Helena Island. An undeveloped wooded tract adjoins Mr. Hoffman’s property. His ductwork became infested with these various animals, all of which apparently preferred the living conditions in his ductwork over life in the wild.
Mr. Hoffman reported animal feces dropping from his overhead HVAC vents into his work space. A snake skin was photographed hanging from an overhead vent. He even described an incident where a raccoon growled at him through a vent grate. After investigating his claim, Seneca denied coverage, citing an “animal exclusion” in his policy. Within weeks of the denial, Mr. Hoffman sued Seneca, his local insurance broker and the independent adjusting company. Mr. Hoffman engaged in an amazing array of verbal and linguistic gymnastics in an effort to avoid the inescapable impact of his policy’s exclusion. When it became apparent that Seneca would be able to prove conclusively that MICE, RACCOONS AND SNAKES WERE, IN FACT, “ANIMALS,” he shifted his focus to his insurance broker, contending that the broker failed to procure for him identical or superior coverage which he had enjoyed through his prior carrier. He vehemently argued that his claim would have been covered under his prior policy. Discovery revealed that his prior policy contained the exact same exclusion.
Mr. Hoffman convinced two trial judges to recuse themselves from his case, and he appealed the grant of summary judgment in favor of the adjuster the morning his trial against Seneca was to begin. The trial courts would not proceed to trial, and would not hear our summary judgment motion, because Mr. Hoffman demanded that both available judges recuse themselves. Weeks later, a visiting judge heard our motion and ruled that Mr. Hoffman’s property damage resulted from infestation by mice, raccoons and perhaps other critters, all of which the judge found to be ANIMALS!
Mr. Hoffman appealed, and the case percolated through the appellate system. The Court of Appeals decided the case without oral argument in an unpublished opinion 2016-UP-248. Although the opinion cannot be cited as precedential authority in other unrelated litigation, it addresses many familiar legal principles, including non-appealability of an order denying summary judgment, issue preservation at trial as a prerequisite to appellate review, and construction of unambiguous contractual terms. The opinion can be viewed by clicking here.
We do not know whether the animal infestation continues to this day, including the infamous growling raccoon.
On June 9, 2016, Jay Davis presented to the American Law Firm Association (ALFA) at its bi-annual conference on Professional Liability in New York, New York. Jay presented a mock trial on how to “win the difficult case.” The conference was attended by attorneys, corporate counsel. and insurance carriers from across the country.
ALFA International is a global legal network. With 145 member firms across the globe (80 in the United States). ALFA is the premier global network of independent law firms whose success is driven by broad, deep, local relationships all over the world.
YCRLAW is pleased to announce that attorney Raymond W. Burroughs has returned to YCRLAW as special counsel in the Banking and Business Litigation, Commercial Transactions and Real Estate, and Tax, Estate Planning and Probate practice groups. Raymond, who had already earned an L.L.M. in Tax Law, departed the firm in 2013 to pursue a Masters in Accounting degree. Having obtained that degree, and having subsequently served in positions with corporate entities, Raymond returns to YCRLAW. We look forward to Raymond’s contributions to our firm as he resumes his duties here.
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