Litigation Practice Areas


Automobile Liability

SMRW has defended individuals, corporations and companies in automobile and trucking liability cases, ranging from simple to complex lawsuits. Our attorneys have significant experience litigating and resolving catastrophic injury cases, as well as lawsuits involving basic soft tissue injury. We work aggressively with our clients and their insurers to resolve these cases quickly, efficiently and economically. Our law firm has successfully tried countless auto liability cases to verdict in both state and federal courts.

 

Business Litigation

SMRW is dedicated to excellence and professionalism in litigation. Our attorneys regularly represent clients in federal and state and appellate courts, federal and state administrative proceedings, arbitration panels and other alternative dispute resolution tribunals.

We are equipped to effectively handle business disputes regardless of size or complexity in a trial, arbitration or mediation. Our attorneys understand business, and understand that strategy and procedures in litigation will always be subject to business decisions.

 

Commercial Transportation & Trucking

SMRW attorneys can manage, resolve and defend claims against trucking companies and truck drivers. In years of litigating claims at every level, from property damage and minor injuries to catastrophic losses and multiple fatalities, we have obtained settlements favorable to our clients. Our experience in evaluating all aspects of a claim and our aggressive approach to pre-litigation management, results in prompt, fair and cost-efficient resolution of claims. From the time of the accident response and investigation through the final resolution, our comprehensive, hands-on approach enables our clients to manage every potential claim.

 

Community Association/HOA Law

From condominiums and timeshares, to manufactured housing associations and planned communities, legal issues can arise from day one. There is the creation of governing documents and contract drafting. There are insurance coverage issues and fair housing and civil rights matters.  At SMRW, we can work with associations from the start to try to ensure that they begin on solid legal ground. We also can represent associations in any later legal matters that might arise, and we'll keep them abreast of ever-changing laws governing operations. 

 

Construction

Whether the issue includes allegations of design flaws, workmanship problems, building delays or failures, SMRW can help you defend your business and represent and guide you through the complex court system. We will draw on your expertise to fully prepare the most appropriate defense strategies. We can then pull from our significant construction litigation experience to zealously represent your best interests. Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, design professional, engineer or component manufacturer, we will work with you to create a litigation plan that aims to accomplish your goals and best protect your company. As always, we will be ready to take your case to trial when necessary.

 

GENERAL CIVIL LITIGATION

Regardless of the situation, disputes sometimes arise, and litigation becomes unavoidable. Whatever issue you are facing, our litigation team has the experience and expertise to handle it efficiently, professionally, discreetly, and successfully.

 

Insurance Coverage Issues

SMRW provides coverage opinions, strategic recommendations and coverage litigation services to both insurers and policy holders. Our experience in both first- and third-party insurance coverage issues is driven by our commitment to providing our clients with the highest quality of legal service at a reasonable rate. Our goal in each case is thorough, efficient representation that begins with exacting preparation and investigation. We scrutinize the policy, evaluate potential risk and advise the client on how best to proceed. Should the client opt to go to trial, our litigators are very familiar with courtrooms throughout East Tennessee, both on the federal and state level.

 

LABOR & EMPLOYMENT

Human resource management requires proper planning to ensure preventative measures are in place to reduce the risks associated with employee complaints and lawsuits. SMRW works closely with clients to develop and maintain necessary policies and procedures to comply with applicable federal and state law, and to ensure that the appropriate employment agreements, employee handbooks and covenants not to compete are in place. SMRW’s Labor and Employment team is experienced in providing ongoing counsel to employers in a variety of industries with regard to developments in labor and employment law and mitigation of employment practice liability including, but not limited to, these general areas:

  • Employment Law and Labor Law
  • Workers' Compensation Injuries
  • Wage and Hour
  • Business Law and Organizations
  • Human Resources Counseling

However, despite the best planning and preventative measures, disputes occur and litigation ensues. SMRW brings a wealth of experience to protecting an employer's interests in court. From traditional labor disputes between union employees and employers, to navigating the state and federal laws governing an employer's duties, SMRW's attorneys offer innovative solutions to assist clients in resolving disputes in an economical and cost efficient manner.

SMRW’s employment counsel and litigators provide thoughtful analysis, definitive solutions and effective advocacy.  Our trial attorneys maintain a long history of obtaining favorable results in trial and appellate courts in State and Federal Courts, as well as before the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, National Labor Relations Board, Occupational Safety and Health Administration and similar state agencies.

LONG TERM CARE LITIGATION

The defense of Long Term Care and Assisted Living Facilities cases has been a focus of our attorneys for more than twenty-five years.  Several trials have resulted in defense verdicts.  Our attorneys also have been involved in many of the appellate decisions enforcing the right to compel arbitration, including the leading Tennessee Supreme Court case on the subject.  The firm also assists providers in the defense of regulatory matters.  Our attorneys have spoken for, authored articles for, and represented the Tennessee Health Care Association. 

Premises Liability

Businesses and property owners can find themselves facing claims resulting from alleged defective conditions on their property or the alleged misconduct of their employees. SMRW has the experience necessary to vigorously defend against these claims and successfully resolve each case. Our attorneys have experience in defending premises liability cases, representing hotels, hospitals, restaurants, construction companies, nightclubs, landlords, tenants, commercial businesses, and other property owners against a variety of claims, including:

  • Negligent Security
  • Slip and Fall
  • Assault and Battery

We mount the most compelling defense possible for our clients. From our initial investigation of a claim through summary judgment or trial, every client gets our very best at affordable rates.

 

Products Liability

At SMRW, several of our lawyers possess the skills necessary to defend successfully a product liability claim. These skills include management of document productions and reviews, expert witness consultations and engagements, corporate witness deposition preparation and defense, drafting of motions particularly concerning evidentiary and summary judgment issues, and the use of alternative dispute resolution as a cost saving and risk reducing method for its clients. We understand the complexity that comes into play in these cases, and what is at stake for companies that are sued, both in terms of reputation and finance. We work with our clients in each matter to help craft a comprehensive defense.

 

Professional Liability

Because a professional's reputation is his or her most valuable asset, SMRW understands that an allegation of professional negligence requires a vigorous defense, and our experience and knowledge enables us to defend professionals aggressively. The bedrock of our professional liability practice comes from representing health care professionals, their practice groups, and hospitals. For decades, Spears Moore has provided effective representation in the defense of health care liability claims of all types, including:

  • Hospital and Nursing Home Malpractice
  • Physician Malpractice
  • Nursing Malpractice

SMRW attorneys also have extensive experience in defending malpractice claims against attorneys, CPAs, and other professionals.

 

Workers’ Compensation

SMRW defends employers, insurers, self-insurers, third-party administrators and captive insurance companies throughout Tennessee against compensation claims by employees. We provide an exceptional level of service, strategy and analysis regarding litigated claims, as well as advice regarding claims management before litigation ensues. Our attorneys and staff provide top-quality legal service at a reasonable rate, with a focus on providing value and information to our clients.


Corporate Litigation

 

SMRW's litigators assist clients to gain and sustain a tactical advantage. Today’s business climate is infused with conflict between employees and owners, staff and supervisors, management and shareholders, business owners and vendors, and business owners/partners and stakeholders. Controversy or dissention can result in expensive claims with no clear winner. For decades, business owners and entrepreneurs have turned to SMRW not only for courtroom results, but also for innovative strategies that advance business interests, protect client holdings and block potential loss.

Our goal is to achieve the best possible outcome for our client. At times, this means negotiating a resolution outside of court. Other circumstances demand complex, persistent litigation, trial or appellate counsel.  In any of these scenarios, SMRW litigators are consistently called upon to represent clients before Tennessee and federal courts, before state and federal administrative agencies, and before administrators, arbitrators and mediators. Regardless of the venue, SMRW litigators present highly focused and compelling arguments in order to resolve strife before it can snowball into a hazardous outcome.

Our Corporate litigation team is equipped to provide cost-effective results in all areas, including:

 

CREDITORS, BANKRUPTCY, AND COLLECTIONS  

Businesses of every size and from every industry are faced with challenges that can trigger a financial crisis. SMRW advises these organizations from the initial stages of evaluating insolvency alternatives, to assisting with prepetition planning, to guiding the client through the reorganization process, to creating and implementing the plan of reorganization. Many successful reorganizations are a true “team” effort, and our attorneys work cooperatively with accountants, appraisers, auctioneers, consultants and turn-around professionals to enhance the efficiency and success of these endeavors.

A workout can be a viable and practical alternative to litigation or bankruptcy, and often serves our client’s best interest. SMRW's attorneys utilize out-of-court workouts, as an alternative to Chapter 11 and other court proceedings, to assist scores of high profile borrowers, as well as lenders, to resolve problem debt situations. Whether our practitioners are renegotiating a bank loan, revising a debt instrument, or working out a new payment schedule with vendors, clients are assured they receive the most diligent legal assistance available.

SMRW represents borrower and lender clients on loan transactions with debtors-in-possession (DIPs) in Chapter 11. Such representation may involve obtaining authority for a client to borrow funds as a DIP. Alternatively, the firm may counsel the DIP lender or a prepetition lender. SMRW may represent other prepetition creditors to monitor the DIP lending transaction and to protect those creditors against inappropriate encroachment on their interests. 

SMRW also represents creditors in matters that do not involve bankruptcy. This expertise includes foreclosing upon real property on behalf of lienholders, filing or defending state court actions to recover collateral and collect debts, as well as initiating or defending actions to enforce mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens.

SMRW brings the additional value of working with clients on tax planning, because tax considerations frequently arise in a bankruptcy, reorganization or workout. This often involves outside accountants that advise on the tax effects of the reorganization or restructuring in a workout or in a bankruptcy case. Alternatively, the firm assists creditors, shareholders and lenders in defining pending tax challenges with a debtor’s plan of reorganization. For individuals, SMRW evaluates a taxpayer’s ability to discharge or satisfy tax liability through a bankruptcy case. Disputed tax liabilities can be litigated in the Bankruptcy Court. An analysis of any tax collection matter must include consideration of bankruptcy. However, many collection matters can be resolved through offers-in-compromise or installment payment agreements.  

Litigated matters can be plentiful and varied in insolvency proceedings under the Federal Bankruptcy Code. Many cases that involve contract and other commercial disputes end up in Bankruptcy Court because one of the parties is a debtor in a bankruptcy case. In fact, much of the developing commercial law comes from Bankruptcy Court decisions.

SMRW is experienced in representing all types of constituencies in many industries on virtually all issues that give rise to litigation to protect and enforce rights in a bankruptcy case, including preferences, fraudulent transfers, post-filing transfers, relief from the automatic stay, assumption/rejection of leases, licenses and executory contracts, plan formulation and confirmation, sales and purchases of assets, exemptions, appointment of trustees, proofs of claim, dischargeability of debts and involuntary bankruptcy, among other matters.

 

CONSTRUCTION AND REAL ESTATE

Whether construction issues include allegations of design flaws, workmanship problems, building delays or failures, SMRW can help you defend your business and represent and guide you through the complex court system. We will draw on your expertise to fully prepare the most appropriate defense strategies. We can then pull from our significant construction litigation experience to zealously represent your best interests. Whether you are a general contractor, subcontractor, design professional, engineer or component manufacturer, we will work with you to create a litigation plan that aims to accomplish your goals and best protect your company. As always, we will be ready to take your case to trial when necessary.

SMRW’s real estate litigators are well versed in property law that governs your legal issue. We represent numerous Landlords in both commercial and residential spaces, and are equipped to handle whatever issue you are facing efficiently and effectively. From boundary disputes to detainer actions, SMRW’s team of real estate litigators provides high quality legal services at affordable costs.