August 28, 2000

The National Law Journal Names Jud Graves One of the Nation's Top Ten Litigators

Attorney Recognized for Successful Strategies in Medical Malpractice Defense Cases: “Mock Trials Do Not Always Tell the Truth”

In an unusual honor for the second time this year, Judson Graves of the national law firm Alston & Bird LLP, has been recognized by The National Law Journal for his successful record in defending medical malpractice cases. Mr. Graves, partner in the Firm’s Medical Products & Services Practice Group, has been chosen by The National Law Journal in its annual recognition of ten of the nation’s top trial attorneys. This award comes on the heels of Mr. Graves's recognition by The National Law Journal as one of the country’s best defense wins by a trial team in 1999. The Graves defense team was also recognized for a best defense win in 1998. Both cases involved allegations of obstetrical malpractice.

The National Law Journal’s annual selection of the nation’s top ten trial attorneys focuses on attorneys who have been successful over a period of years. The report describes each attorney’s specific strategy and methodology to prepare for and conduct each step of a particular trial. The annual survey, published in a special supplement, profiles the top attorneys, citing a recent “win” as an example of this strategy. These cases are said to be among the most significant trials nationally over the past 18 months.

Jud Graves, who represents primarily defendants in medical malpractice and products liability cases, has won more than 90% of his trials. The wins include some of the most difficult medical malpractice defenses nationally, often against well-known plaintiffs’ attorneys. His practice concentrates on jury trial work with an emphasis on medical malpractice and products liability defense, other insurance defense, and media law.
Mr. Graves is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers.

The National Law Journal cited Mr. Graves for winning a successful medical malpractice verdict against famed plaintiffs’ lawyers, Atlanta’s Keenan Law Firm and Jim M. Perdue Jr. of Houston’s The Perdue Law Firm LLP in the case Momani v. Kennedy (No. 97-VS-0131475-J, St. Ct., Fulton Co., Ga.) In what was a particularly high profile medical malpractice case involving the death of a pregnant 40 year old woman carrying twins,
Mr. Graves defended an infectious disease specialist who was just one of many doctors involved in treating this patient. Based on the adverse results of a mock trial, conducted privately long before the actual jury trial, several of the other physicians and the hospital named in the case decided to settle rather than go to trial.

Commenting on his selection based on this high profile case, Mr. Graves stated, “Mock trials do not always predict what will happen with an actual jury. The most important part of preparing this case was spending extensive pretrial preparation time learning the complicated medicine involved in the case from a variety of specialists, so that I could translate it for the jurors in layman’s terms during the trial. In addition to focusing on the medicine, it is critical to humanize the defendant, in this case an excellent, caring doctor, so the jury sees the defendant physician, as well as the injured party, as a human being. Mock trials often don’t allow us enough time to establish these themes. Real trials do.”

Alston & Bird’s Medical Products & Services Practice Group has had key roles in major product liability cases, including such products as breast implants, latex gloves, pedicle screws used in orthopedic surgical procedures, and Fen-Phen/Redux weight loss drugs. As national counsel coordinating the defense of professional liability litigation for the largest providers of behavioral healthcare in the U.S., the Group also created state-of-the-art computer applications that allowed the Firm’s trial team to monitor and closely supervise local counsel in defending hundreds of claims and lawsuits against one client’s psychiatric facilities in more than 30 states. These innovations contributed to faster resolution of cases, reduction in insurance expenses, significantly lower defense costs and substantial savings in the clients' total litigation budget, the latter confirmed by independent audit.

With offices in Atlanta, the Research Triangle, Charlotte, and Washington, D.C.,
Alston & Bird, which ranks this year as one of only two law firms to be listed in Fortune’s “100 Best Companies To Work For,” is one of the largest and oldest in the country. Its more than 475 attorneys provide a full range of services to domestic and international clients who conduct business all over the world. In addition to medical products and services, Alston & Bird's practice areas include: Internet and e-business; capital markets and investment; finance and public finance; environmental; antitrust and investigations; bankruptcy, reorganizations and workouts; fiduciary; tax and employee benefits; and labor and employment.
Media Contact
Nicholas Clarke
Senior Communications Manager
Phone: 212.210.1222
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