Conroy Simberg Expands Southeast Regional Footprint with New Office in Georgia

By November 13, 2017 Newsletters - 2017

THOMASVILLE, Georgia – Conroy Simberg, one of the Southeast’s leading insurance defense firms, has expanded its Georgia presence with the opening of a new office in Thomasville, Georgia. Joshua C. Canton has been named Managing Partner of the office, from which he will oversee business development and client relations throughout the State of Georgia. Canton, an AV-rated trial attorney, has practiced civil liability defense for almost two decades and has served as a Partner in the firm’s Tallahassee office since 2011. 

“While we have been representing clients across the State of Georgia for many years, and have established a proven track record of obtaining outstanding results, we feel that our clients’ needs will be best served by our local presence in Thomasville,” said Canton. “Our strategic growth is driven by the interests of our clients and supported by our nationally recognized reputation as a premier insurance defense and commercial litigation firm.” 

Overall, the well-established rapidly-growing firm has approximately 150 attorneys providing a diverse range of legal services to insurance companies, self-insured organizations, businesses, and professionals. The firm’s major practice groups include general liability and casualty, workers’ compensation, claims defense, commercial litigation, and appellate law.  The firm represents clients across numerous industries, including insurance, healthcare, manufacturing, transportation, construction, professional services, retail, automotive, and transportation industries – to name a few.  

For over a decade, this expertise has been extended to Georgia, where, in addition to Canton, Conroy Simberg’s diverse group of Georgia attorneys represent clients in general civil liability, workers’ compensation, and appellate matters.  The team includes Sarah Finney Kjellin, a Georgia native who practices general liability, commercial litigation, and appellate law; Christopher A. Tice, who primarily defends businesses and other entities in workers’ compensation matters; Michael J. Bonfanti, a first party property and general defense litigator; and Lara J. Edelstein, whose practice centers on representing clients in appellate matters. 

“We are confident that the team we have assembled will provide the utmost legal focus in the most efficient and cost-effective manner,” said Conroy Simberg founder and Managing Partner Bruce Simberg. “For over 38 years, our approach has been to provide our clients with our signature level of high service and to utilize our legal expertise to ensure that clients can make timely and well-informed decisions. We are thrilled to combine the benefits of a hometown presence in South Georgia and with our solution-oriented service to clients throughout the state.” 

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A Closer Look with Stuart Cohen

By October 19, 2017 Newsletters - 2017

Accomplished trial lawyer Stu Cohen, a partner in Hollywood, is the head of Conroy Simberg’s subrogation and recovery division. We take a closer look at Stu’s notable experience and the firm’s regional capabilities. 

Q: Why did you choose to focus your practice on subrogation and recovery?

A: I gained the majority of my jury trial and litigation experience as a plaintiff attorney. Working primarily on a contingency fee arrangement during that period helped shape my ability to quickly and cost-effectively move subrogation/recovery actions for my current insurance clients towards mediation or trial as quickly as possible.

Q: What distinguishes your practice from others?

A: In our experience, the most important factors for a successful recovery action are: (1) how cost-effective was the recovery obtained; and (2) how quickly the recovery was obtained. Many firms that handle subrogation/recovery claims for insurers do so with attorneys who have migrated over from insurance defense backgrounds. These attorneys are used to “reacting” in claims, rather than “acting” in them. They are simply not equipped, nor trained, to move actions forward in a rapid or cost-effective fashion and often fail to do so. Our recovery department is staffed solely with experienced litigation attorneys, like myself, who understand how to expediently and efficiently evaluate recovery claims and move them towards resolution. Our firm is one of the largest in the state and possess the manpower, resources and knowledge base to handle even the most complex recovery matters. Through my experience, often in claims with exposures that are well into the 7-figure range, I have become familiar with the issues that are often unique to these high exposure commercial property and general liability claims. 

Q: What are the firm’s unique capabilities that allows it to handle cases efficiently?

A: We have ten regional offices in Florida, strategically located to enable us to handle a client’s needs throughout the entire state. At the same time, all recovery claims, no matter where domiciled, are managed by me here in our Hollywood office. These two factors allow us to handle claims at a lower cost, but at the same time with consistency from the client’s standpoint. Our recovery clients appreciate knowing that they only need to contact one attorney who will discuss the merits of a claim, its status, and important strategic decisions, rather than several different lawyers across many offices.

Additionally, our office has a unique case management system in place to ensure that we timely and comprehensively comply with our clients’ reporting requirements. We maintain staff at our firm who are dedicated solely to ensuring that we are aware of, and comply with, our clients’ claims handling
guidelines. 

Q: Why is it important for insurance companies and other claimants to engage with subrogation counsel early on in the claim process?

A: The most important aspect of any recovery claim is the investigation phase. Yet often with recovery actions, a file will not be sent to recovery, or examined for subrogation potential, until months or even years into the claim. Often by this time witnesses have disappeared or their memories have faded and damaged property or equipment has been repaired, discarded, or is no longer available for examination. 

Involving a seasoned recovery attorney in the claims process early on often yields potential recovery where none might have otherwise been thought to exist. The attorney can assist with identifying theories of recovery that even prudent liability claims handlers might not have envisioned. Involving the recovery attorney early on also eliminates the possibility that a good theory of recovery might be made impossible to pursue because it wasn’t properly preserved from the outset.  

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Reversal of the denial of a motion for summary judgment based upon the Fireman’s Rule

By October 5, 2017 Newsletters - 2017

Atlanta, GA – Court of Appeals - Joshua C Canton, a partner in the firm's Tallahassee office who is also licensed in Georgia, recently obtained a reversal of the denial of a motion for summary judgment based upon the Fireman’s Rule.  In this case, Joshua represented a property owner who was sued in negligence, and for punitive damages, for leaving grass trimmings on a public roadway after mowing his lawn. The plaintiff, a deputy sheriff, claimed that he was responding to a crash caused by the grass trimmings when he himself lost control of his vehicle and crashed after driving over the same grass trimmings. At the conclusion of discovery, Joshua filed a motion for summary judgment based upon the Fireman’s Rule, which states that if a negligently created risk resulting in injury to an officer was the very reason for the officer’s presence in his professional capacity, then recovery is barred. The trial court denied the motion for summary judgment.  Joshua then filed an interlocutory appeal.  The Court of Appeals reversed the judgment of the trial court, finding that the trial court erred in refusing to apply the Fireman’s Rule to Plaintiff’s claims. 

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Conroy Simberg Launches Florida Cannabis Law Division

By September 27, 2017 Newsletters - 2017

Attorneys Will Help Healthcare Professionals and Business Leaders Navigate Uncertainty and Avoid Regulatory Violations and Unnecessary Litigation

HOLLYWOOD, Fla. – September 27, 2017 – Conroy Simberg, a leading insurance defense firm, has launched a cannabis law division that bolsters the firm’s Florida reach and deep experience providing legal services to business owners, insurance companies, and healthcare professionals. 

Economists believe the legal cannabis markets in the United States will grow 700 percent during the next five years with a national market potential of $10.2 billion. Florida Governor Rick Scott recently signed the bill into law that implements and expands the state’s medical marijuana constitutional amendment passed by voters last year for qualified patients with specific debilitating medical conditions. According to the Florida Department of Health, the number of licensed growers has increased to 12 with 7 more to be approved in October. Officials also stated that there are now more than 950 doctors qualified to recommend medical marijuana to their patients who meet the criteria. 

Conroy Simberg Managing Partner Bruce Simberg stated that the insurance defense needs for the cannabis industry and the associated businesses could be tremendous. 

“For example, insurance coverage requirements for a dispensary could include general commercial liability, workers’ compensation, premises liability, crop insurance, advertising injuries, business interruption, products liability, business owner’s policy (BOP) coverage, automobile and trucking, security and cyber liability (hacking confidential patient information),” he said. 

Conroy Simberg’s firm-wide capabilities for the cannabis marketplace also include:

  • Commercial and business litigation of all varieties
  • Professional liability and medical malpractice
  • Products liability and packaging standards
  • Appellate strategies and strategic advocacy
  • Licensing applications and due diligence
  • Trademark and copyright registration and litigation
  • Real estate litigation and transactional services
  • Negotiation and drafting of leases, vendor contracts, loans, licensing/distribution agreements, non-compete and confidentiality agreements
  • Municipal and governmental litigation and administrative processes
  • Trade practices and consumer protection matters
  • Business formation, corporate governance and compliance
  • Employment litigation and consultation
  • Mediation, arbitration, and other forms of alternative dispute resolution Subrogation and Recovery 

About Conroy Simberg Conroy Simberg is a leading insurance defense firm with 150 skilled attorneys providing a diverse range of legal services to insurance companies, self-insured organizations, businesses and professionals operating across the region and throughout the nation. For more information, please visit: www.conroysimberg.com.

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Federal Jury Renders Defense Verdict for Conroy Simberg Clients and Awards $16.4 Million Against Co-Defendants in Legal Malpractice Action

By September 7, 2017 Newsletters - 2017

Jeffrey A. Blaker, a partner in the firm’s West Palm Beach office recently obtained a huge win for his New York law firm and attorney clients in a legal malpractice case following a two-week federal jury trial in West Palm Beach.  The Personal Representative of the Estate of Oliver Wilson Bivins, Sr., a deceased Texas oil executive, filed suit against several lawyers and their law firms, and alleged that they had breached their fiduciary duties and committed legal malpractice. The lawyers and firms were retained by Mr. Bivins’ court appointed guardians to represent the interests of Mr. Bivins in securing his interests in multiple assets and real estate in Texas, New York, London, and Florida.  The Personal Representative claimed that the lawyers ran up excessive and unnecessary legal fees, and that their work resulted in the waste of assets and property of Mr. Bivins, including his claimed equitable interests in a $20 million mansion in New York City.

The jury entered a verdict of $16.4 million in favor of the Plaintiff against the Co-Defendants but completely exonerated Mr. Blaker’s clients.  Mr. Blaker convinced the jury that his clients performed their services in a professional and ethical manner and within the generally accepted standards of care.   Additionally, Mr. Blaker secured a ruling from the court during trial striking the Personal Representative’s legal malpractice expert based on the Daubert standard.  

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