Our Practice Areas
We represent clients in the evaluation of insurance coverage issues. We conduct factual investigations and review insurance policies to evaluate whether or not particular claims are covered.
We represent clients concerning elevator and escalator claims. We have experience in handling negligent maintenance and product liability claims in Georgia and federal courts.
We defend municipalities, developers, contractors, and property owners whose activities are alleged to have caused water and silt to damage adjacent properties. These claims involve complicated rules and regulations arising from local and federal laws, including the Federal Clean Water Act, Georgia Erosion and Sedimentation Act of 1975, the Georgia Water Quality Control Act, and Georgia’s Water Quality Standards. To defend these claims, we hire local storm water experts to assist in the evaluation and defense of these claims.
We represent municipal governments. Our firm had the case of first impression on Subsection (e) of the July 2014 amendment to the Georgia ante litem notice statute, which requires the plaintiffs to state a specific amount of dollars claimed for certain injuries. Harrell v. City of Griffin, 346 Ga. App. 635 (816 SE2d 738)(2018). We followed that case with four more 3-0 published decisions of the Georgia Court of Appeals that helped develop Georgia law in this area: Pickens v. City of Waco, 352 Ga. App. 37 (833 SE2d 713)(2019), Manzanares v. City of Brookhaven, 352 Ga. App. 293 (834 SE2d 358)(2019), Tanks v. Nesmith, 359 Ga. App. 596 (859 SE2d 559)(2021), and City of Norcross v. Johnson, 363 Ga. App. 78 (870 SE2d 564)(2022).
In addition, we handle matters ranging from high-speed pursuit to false arrest and excessive force allegations and numerous matters for other employees and entities from public works employees to municipal judges. Storm water issues require a special expertise, which we have developed and used to the advantage of our municipal clients.
Under Georgia law, insurance companies may file a lawsuit, a declaratory judgment action, against the insured and claimants asking the court to determine whether or not a claim is covered and whether a claim should be paid in the event of a judgment against the insured. We have experience defending individuals and businesses in such cases in an effort to obtain the most coverage and proceeds available under the terms of the insurance policy at issue.
We represent clients concerning elevator and escalator claims. We have experience in handling negligent maintenance and product liability claims in Georgia and federal courts. In order to evaluate these claims, we frequently work with industry experts. We have resolved these cases through settlement, mediation, trial, and appeal if necessary. We successfully handled such claims in Sparks v. MARTA and Millar Elevator Service Company, 223 Ga. App. 768 (478 SE2d 923) (1996) and Rouse v. MARTA and Millar, 279 Ga. 311 (612 SE2d 308)(2005).
Lawsuits may arise when an insurer denies a claim for any number of reasons. We are also active in representing insurance agencies in regard to potential claims. Typically, a customer will sue an insurance agent claiming that the policy requested was not obtained or that the policy was insufficient. Other cases involve situations when an insurance company claims that the insurance agent improperly obtained coverage from the insurance company. We have defended claims involving allegations of negligence, fraud, conversion, and racketeering (RICO). In many instances, we have been successful in obtaining judgment for the insurance agency prior to trial. Examples of such cases are published in the State of Georgia and include the following: Fregeau v. Hall, 196 Ga. App. 493 (396 SE2d 241)(1990); Brooks Brown Insurance Agency, Inc. v. Harden, 236 Ga. App. 781 (531 SE2d 755)(1999); Lee v. American Central Insurance Company and Kaplan-Walker Insurance Services, Inc., 241 Ga. App. 650 (530 SE2d 727)(1999).
We represent whistleblowers who bring claims under the False Claims Act (FCA) and under the Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act (GFMCA). The FCA and the GFMCA allow a private citizen or company to sue on behalf of the United States and/or the State of Georgia in order to recover damages as a result of fraud against the government. Such suits by private citizens are also known as “qui tam” actions. Private citizens can potentially recover 15-30% of the recovery obtained by the United States and/or the State of Georgia. The defendant may also be liable for treble damages (three times the amount of the damages) and for penalties of $5,500 to $11,000 per fraudulent claim. The FCA and GFMCA also provide a cause of action to a private citizen for retaliation by an employer for the citizen’s lawful acts in the furtherance of the FCA and the GFMCA.
In 2014, we represented one whistleblower in a case in which Amedisys, Inc., a home health provider, agreed to pay $150 million to the United States to settle allegations arising out of several filed cases concerning home health billings. This settlement is considered the largest home healthcare settlement in the history of the False Claims Act. In 2017, we helped to recover
In the 2017 fiscal year, the Department of Justice recovered $3.7 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases brought under the FCA. Most of the recoveries in 2017, $2.4 billion, concerned health care fraud. One of these recoveries, over $2.5 million, included a health care fraud case filed by Lokey, Mobley and Doyle, LLP on behalf of Relator Andre Valentine, concerning allegations of ambulance billing fraud. In the 2021 fiscal year, the Department of Justice recovered $5.6 billion in settlements and judgments from civil cases brought under the FCA, with $5 billion involving the health care industry. The Department of Justice also pursues claims of government and military procurement fraud.
The legal procedures governing federal False Claims Act and Georgia False Medicaid Claims Act claims are complicated. At the start, complaints are kept secret, “under seal”, while the Department of Justice and/or the Attorney General of the State of Georgia investigate the allegations alleged in the complaint in order to make a decision as to whether to pursue the case. There are many pitfalls to navigate.
If you have any questions concerning a potential claim, please contact Kevin Doyle for a free consultation.