Litigation: General Commercial: West Virginia
THE FIRM Boasting the largest litigation group in the state, the team provides representation to clients across a variety of disputes. Specialist areas include medical malpractice, mass tort and product liability claims. The firm also has a strong healthcare practice that provides clients with advice on kickback and Stark issues, and privacy and certificate of need issues. Clients can call on appellate and disposition experience gained before a number of state and federal courts.
Sources say: "The team at Flaherty offers good courtroom lawyers that are highly specialized across a large number of areas."
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, Thomas Flaherty offers an excellent understanding of disputes arising in the coal mining industry. As well as delivering a "balanced, common-sense" approach to litigation, he is familiar to clients as "a personable attorney" who can "pull together the most effective team to work on a case." He also has mediation experience.
Don Sensabaugh concentrates on the healthcare sector, defending major hospitals against medical malpractice claims.
In addition to general commercial litigation, Michael Bonasso concentrates on product liability, with a particular emphasis on defending car and machinery manufacturers. He also represents industrial equipment manufacturers in product defect cases.
Richard Jones also specializes in product liability claims, having forged an impressive track record in the medical device sector. His other areas of practice include defending hospitals and physicians in medical malpractice matters. Joining him as a healthcare expert is Edward Martin, who represents hospitals in both litigation and professional liability risk management.
Jeffrey Wakefield provides assistance to clients across a wide spectrum of disputes, from personal injury and mass tort litigation to product liability and insurance coverage cases.
THE FIRM The team at Jackson Kelly consolidates its leading position in the market, offering clients the skills to handle jury trials, appeals and administrative proceedings. Sources indicate that they remain impressed with the team's preparation and ability to put together a strong defense. Clients are drawn from the construction, healthcare, mining and financial services sectors.
Sources say: "The firm is head and shoulders above everyone else when it comes to its network of contacts in the state." "Attentive to our cases."
KEY INDIVIDUALS "A superstar of the West Virginia Bar," Al Emch is "a bright and innovative lawyer who develops a great rapport with the jury." His practice centres on personal injury, mass tort and product liability cases. Thomas Hurney is a well-respected malpractice attorney with experience of defending actions brought under West Virginia's Medical Professional Liability Act. He also advises clients on mass tort and product liability litigation. Both Emch and Hurney are fellows of the American College of Trial Lawyers.
Stephen LaCagnin impresses peers with his tenacity, a characteristic that has earned him a reputation as "one of the finest witness examiners around." He assists clients on a broad range of matters from personal injury and product liability to aviation accident claims.
According to feedback, "versatile" Daniel Stickler is "one of the foremost coal lawyers in West Virginia." He represents mining companies in commercial arbitration hearings and state and federal litigation.
THE FIRM This firm houses a robust litigation practice that represents clients on a variety of matters, from product liability and labor and employment suits to insurance and healthcare claims. It also offers expertise in defending large coal miners in class action suits. Clients include Liberty Mutual Insurance Group, Dominion Transmission and Patriot Coal.
Sources say: "Very business-aware, with extensive knowledge of the energy field." "Deep resources."
KEY INDIVIDUALS William Galeota is described as a leading litigator with "superb judgment and a terrific courtroom manner." His experience extends from medical liability claims to general commercial litigation.
Susan Brewer meanwhile, brings 30 years of professional liability experience to the table, lending her skills to healthcare clients over malpractice claims and risk management issues.
Coal expert Jeffrey Phillips divides his time between the firm's offices in West Virginia and Kentucky.
"Shrewd and smart" Joanna Tabit represents clients in construction and mining accident litigation, discrimination and product liability claims. "She is very easy to work with, making you feel like your case is the only one she is handling," clients say.
THE FIRM Offering an exclusive focus on litigation, this compact, widely admired firm is applauded by sources. It represents both plaintiffs and defendants across a wide sweep of areas including mass torts and class actions, insolvency, healthcare and energy-related claims. The firm can also deploy expertise in environmental litigation where required.
Sources say: "It's a superb boutique law firm."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Sources emphasize that Benjamin Bailey is "an excellent trial attorney" and "one of the state's preeminent white-collar defense lawyers." He also deals with environmental and natural resources litigation.
Brian Glasser is described as "a genius on coal-related claims." In the past year he successfully defended International Industries over a $127 million breach of contract claim.
THE FIRM Bowles Rice offers litigation expertise in a varied cross-section of practice areas and is particularly accomplished in handling energy disputes. In the past year it represented Frito-Lay against a deliberate intent damages claim and acted for U-Haul in a class action suit alleging misleading advertising and breach of contract. Other clients include Monsanto, State Farm Insurance and Black Crow Oil.
Sources say: "They are very knowledgeable, friendly and responsive to requests."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Charles Love is "a good communicator" and is considered an expert in mass tort litigation. He is also experienced in mediating business, financial and personal claims.
Interviewees identify Gerard Stowers as "a hard-nosed courtroom litigator" who focuses on legal malpractice and insurance coverage matters. He recently represented oil and gas companies in large class action suits.
Charles Printz earns a place in the rankings in recognition of being "a great fighter for his clients' interests."
THE FIRM With four offices in West Virginia, this practice is well placed to act on claims arising throughout the state. It provides assistance at all levels of litigation including alternative dispute resolution, offering the requisite expertise in class actions, mass and toxic tort, product liability and workers' compensation claims.
Sources say: "A diverse practice staffed by good attorneys."
KEY INDIVIDUALS According to sources, Henry Jernigan is "a good person to have on your side: a wise practitioner, extremely helpful and respected, with a good sense of humor." He focuses on product liability claims.
THE FIRM This fine boutique practice is identified as an effective operator for pharmaceutical, medical malpractice and healthcare litigation. The team also represents clients in workplace injury and product liability cases, and it continues to advise on claims arising from the Sago Mine disaster.
Sources say: "The team has advanced knowledge of federal policy and regulation as well as an unusually good understanding of medical law. Highly approachable and available 24/7." "Timely, thorough and aggressive - all the things we want."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Michael Farrell is deemed by sources to be "a savvy and intelligent lawyer, judicious and strategic in his thinking." He has extensive experience advising chemical and pharmaceutical companies at all levels of litigation. Tammy White is described as "fearsome in the courtroom" and "meticulous in her preparation" by enthusiastic clients. She is commended for her excellent understanding of healthcare regulations. Erik Legg meanwhile "has everything going for him: a nice demeanor, wonderful listening skills and a terrific delivery." He defends pharmaceutical companies against product liability claims.
THE FIRM This team provides an extensive range of litigation services, including in such niche areas as black lung, asbestos and e-discovery claims. Its client roster includes Fortune 500 and privately held businesses, mainly in the coal mining, insurance and financial services sectors. Highlights include defending a challenge to Northeast Natural Energy's fracking and drilling operations on the Marcellus Shale natural gas reservoir.
Sources say: "They act with the client's best interests in mind. A high level of business acumen."
KEY INDIVIDUALS Niall Paul is familiar to sources as "well prepared, personable and highly skilled." He specializes in high-risk litigation, complex toxic tort and class actions.
James Walls, meanwhile, is "articulate, able to think on his feet and honest with clients about the strengths and weaknesses of the case." He represents Mid Vol Coal Sales and Central West Virginia Energy.
Neva Lusk is "a top-notch litigator" who attracts praise from sources for her good courtroom skills. Her focus lies in toxic tort, product liability and class action suits.
THE FIRM This Charleston-based firm has reestablished its position in the market with the return of its eponymous founding partners. Its litigation offering includes product liability, commercial and employment litigation as well as insurance claims. Mediation expertise is also on offer to clients.
KEY INDIVIDUALS David Hendrickson represents corporations and employers in premises and deliberate intent claims as well as defense of chemical exposure suits.
Scott Long has experience of handling product liability, personal injury, medical malpractice and toxic tort cases. He also lends his skills to asbestos defense matters.
THE FIRM This team is particularly well known for its insurance and medical malpractice experience. Other areas of practice include product liability and toxic tort defense, and attorneys are able to advise clients on alternative dispute resolution methods.
KEY INDIVIDUALS Thomas Scarr is singled out in feedback as "tenacious, effective and capable of getting good results." His experience encompasses commercial and construction disputes, product liability and toxic tort cases as well as medical malpractice matters.
Lee Murray Hall is felt to have a rock-solid understanding of the insurance sector. Clients can tap into her knowledge of municipal liability, motor vehicle and trucking claims, construction accidents, deliberate intent and medical malpractice matters.
of Bailey & Wyant PLLC is identified by sources for his hard-working attitude and experience of working with government entities. His other areas of expertise include product liability, insurance, aviation and construction claims.
of Carey, Scott & Douglas, PLLC is described as "a hard-nosed litigator who brings the toughness of a prosecutor into civil litigation cases."
He focuses on commercial disputes and governmental regulatory proceedings.
of Farmer, Cline & Campbell PLLC advises on personal injury, product liability and legal malpractice claims, earning credit as a trustworthy figure to refer cases to.
Interviews confirm that Shawn George
of George & Lorensen is considered "a talented lawyer who serves a coterie of excellent clients."
of Nelson Mullins Riley & Scarborough, meanwhile, generates plaudits as "an A-plus lawyer with fine litigation skills and a buoyant practice."
His practice focuses on class actions, commercial litigation, employment disputes and medical device suits.
His colleague Melissa Foster Bird
is also credited for her hard work representing railroad, trucking and chemical companies.
of Robinson & McElwee PLLC combines "the intelligence of a professor"
with "a wonderful courtroom style,
" sources believe. His vast experience includes dealing with energy, timber and mineral law cases.
The market also deems sole practitioner John Tinney
, who adds long-standing experience of professional liability, antitrust and class actions, to be a talented practitioner.
of Huddleston Bolen LLP is considered to be "a tough litigator who takes no prisoners."
He advises clients in the natural resources sector, particularly coal mining companies. Also at this firm is Angela Konrad
, who concentrates on railroad defense and personal injury cases, as well as discrimination claims. Their colleague John Mahaney
is described as "tenacious, hard-working and effective for his clients"
concerning commercial litigation and tort actions.
, another alumni of Guthrie & Thomas, has become a name partner of Thomas Combs & Spann. He is generally recognized as "the dean of mass tort lawyers in West Virginia."
Sources also commend him for "his ability to come up with good strategies on large and complex matters."
Also arriving from the dissolved Guthrie & Thomas firm is Bryant Spann
, who has similarly lent his name to the newly formed Thomas Combs & Spann. He represents clients in product liability claims and financial litigation that includes fraud, taxation and public corruption matters.
is the third member of Guthrie & Thomas to form Thomas Combs & Spann. He is a product liability specialist who has extensive experience of representing clients in the pharmaceutical, automotive and firearms industries.
Since publication, Rebecca Betts
has joined Kay Casto & Chaney PLLC. She is well respected for her involvement in large-scale litigious proceedings. Her main focus lies in mass tort and class action cases as well as regulatory matters.