Martin A. Levinson
Martin Levinson is a partner in the Atlanta office of Hawkins Parnell Thackston & Young LLP. Martin represents businesses and individuals in various types of liability defense and litigation, including premises liability, product liability, trucking and transportation law, general property and casualty liability, and insurance and bad faith litigation. Martin handles matters in all phases of the litigation process, including advising clients on litigation avoidance, pre-suit liability and/or coverage analysis, handling matters in active litigation, mediation and settlement, trial, and appeals.
Martin advises and represents individuals and businesses of all types and sizes, ranging from international food and beverage manufacturers, electronics and medical equipment manufacturers, and nationwide trucking and logistics companies to individuals and small business owners faced with litigation or other legal concerns.
Martin strongly believes that obtaining the best outcome for his client in any case requires flexibility, strategic analysis, and creativity. In every case, Martin's primary focus is to obtain the best possible result for his client by examining the issue or case critically and then presenting the client with available options so that the client can make the right choice for that particular client in that particular matter.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of owner of mobile home park in case where plaintiff slipped and fell on ice on our client's premises and claimed nearly $100,000 in medical expenses
- Obtained dismissal of negligent security/premises liability wrongful death action in which plaintiff sought to recover for accidental shooting death of plaintiff's son on defendant's property
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of store owner in case alleging false imprisonment, assault, and other claims alleging from alleged wrongful detention of store patron by security guard
- Settled negligent security/premises liability action for assault/robbery in parking lot for approximately one-fourth of plaintiff's claimed special damages
- Reached nominal settlement in premises liability wrongful death action by establishing both that premises owner did not have actual or constructive knowledge of defect and that plaintiff's death was not proximately caused by incident
- Obtained dismissal of premises liability action against proprietor of medical facility for alleged liability pertaining to handicapped access ramp
Product Liability & Food Safety Cases
Martin represents businesses in cases alleging the manufacture and/or sale of defective products ranging from commercial equipment and machinery to food and drink products.
- Obtained summary judgment in two product liability and negligence cases against manufacturer where plaintiff alleged that subject chips contained mold and that plaintiffs, including minor child, suffered from food poisoning after consuming the chips
- Reached settlement for nominal amount in case where plaintiff alleged that defendant's product contained a foreign, metal object that caused damage to plaintiff's teeth and required significant dental work
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of manufacturer of ground beef, where plaintiff alleged that ground beef contained pieces of glass, one of which caused plaintiff to break her tooth
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of commercial equipment broker in suit brought by major chewing gum manufacturer alleging defect in piece of commercial equipment and claiming over $1,000,000 in damages
- Handled defense/investigation of more than 50 transportation cases of all types involving numerous types of commercial vehicles, including tractor-trailers, box/straight trucks, ambulances, nonemergency medical transport vehicles, commercial buses and vans, and construction vehicles
- Obtained favorable settlement for motor carrier in suit involving serious injuries, alleged failure to properly maintain carrier's commercial vehicles, and multiple alleged violations of Federal Motor Carrier Safety Regulations (FMCSR)
- Obtained favorable settlements for non-emergency medical transport carriers in cases alleging serious injury resulting from failure to properly assist disabled passengers and/or to install appropriate restraints for wheelchair-bound patients
General Negligence, Intentional Torts, and Environmental Torts
Martin has handled numerous other matters involving all types of negligence and other torts, including all manner of different types of property and casualty claims. Among other sub-specialties, Martin has successfully defended numerous persons and entities against claims involving alleged water deviation, runoff, sedimentation, and pollution damage.
- Obtained complete defense verdict on plaintiffs' nuisance and trespass claims as well as $250,500 verdict in favor of defendants on their counterclaims for intentional torts, attorney's fees, and punitive damages in case between neighboring property owners
- Obtained partial summary judgment on some of plaintiffs' property damage and intentional tort claims and reached nominal settlement on remainder of claims in case between neighboring property owners involving alleged nuisance, trespass, property damage, and other torts arising from alleged water diversion and sedimentation
- Obtained dismissal of case alleging trespass, nuisance, and property damage for alleged pollution of lake by neighboring property owner
- Induced nominal settlement (while motion for summary judgment was pending) in case against homeowner's association alleging sedimentation, property damage, and fraud and seeking over $1 million in damages
- Obtained dismissal with prejudice of slander and libel claims asserted against attorney relating to negative comments posted on internet websites about plaintiff company
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of occupier of property, and successfully defended same on appeal, in suit where worker sued to recover for paraplegia and other injuries allegedly resulting from worker's fall from ladder
Martin represents and advises businesses in various types of litigation, including contract disputes, indemnity claims, major property damage claims, employment discrimination claims, and general liability matters.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of client in business dispute alleging conversion of over $400,000 in merchandise
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of major textile manufacturer in wrongful death/contractual indemnity case
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of employment agency in employment discrimination lawsuit brought by former employee
- Defeated seller's motion summary judgment and obtained favorable settlement in suit brought on behalf of real estate developer/purchaser for fraud and misrepresentation by seller in commercial land transaction
Bad Faith & Insurance Coverage
Martin analyzes, evaluates, and advises clients on issues relating to insurance coverage disputes and bad faith, including representing insurance carriers in declaratory judgment and bad faith actions.
- Greatly limited insurer's potential liability and eliminated any potential for bad faith claim by settling coverage matter in case involving multi-million dollar potential liability for serious bodily injury across several insurance policies for a fraction of total policy limits
- Obtained dismissal of bad faith action against insurer seeking remuneration for total fire loss to alleged insured's house
- Advised numerous insurers on applicability of various policy coverages and exclusions in policies of all types, including commercial general liability (CGL) policies, special-purpose business liability policies, homeowner's policies, personal and commercial automobile insurance policies, and umbrella insurance policies
Construction Defect, Property Damage, and Casualty Claims
Martin also represents clients in cases involving alleged construction defects and other property damage, including large scale casualty losses resulting from numerous sources such as fire, hail, and/or water damage.
- Obtained favorable settlement for client in claim alleging defective installation of stucco and other finishes throughout large condominium and seeking several million dollars in damages
- Obtained dismissal of claim against pool contractor in case alleging defective construction of pool and pool surround area for major townhouse/condominium development
- Obtained favorable settlement of subrogation case seeking more than $1 million in damages resulting from fire damaging multiple apartment units allegedly caused by insured's subtenant
APPELLATE AND REPORTED CASES
- Kohler v. Van Peteghem, 330 Ga. App. 230 (2014), cert. denied, 2015 Ga. LEXIS 168 (Mar. 2, 2015) - The Court of Appeals affirmed the judgment entered on the verdict in favor of our clients on all of the plaintiffs' claims in this dispute between two neighboring property owners regarding water runoff and claims of trespass, nuisance, and various intentional torts. The Court of Appeals also affirmed the judgment on the verdict in our clients' favor on their counterclaims against the plaintiffs, with the exception of granting a new trial on one claim (with the practical effect being that the verdict in favor of our clients on their own counterclaims against the plaintiffs from $250,500 to $239,750. The plaintiffs moved for reconsideration of the Court of Appeals' order and petitioned the Supreme Court of Georgia for certiorari, both of which were denied.
- McCullough v. USM, Inc., 2014 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 137903 (N.D. Ga. Sep. 30, 2014) (Case no. 1:12-CV-4079-RWS) - Obtained summary judgment in favor of our client, a maintenance contractor, in slip-and-fall case in which plaintiff slipped and fell in a store's restroom which was serviced by our client. The plaintiff claimed significant special damages and alleged that she had to undergo surgery as a result of the incident. The U.S. District Court granted our client's motion for summary judgment on the basis that our client did not owe a duty to the plaintiff and she was not a third-party beneficiary to the contract between our client and the owner of the store.
- Graham v. HHC St. Simons, Inc., 322 Ga. App. 693 (2013) - Wrote amicus curiae brief on behalf of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA) in the Georgia Court of Appeals on issues of broad importance to Georgia litigants relating to purported settlement of lawsuits and the Georgia "offer of settlement/judgment" statute. In reaching its decision, the Court of Appeals relied in part on a rationale asserted only in the GDLA's brief and not in either party's brief.
- Smith v. BP America, Inc., et al. - Georgia Court of Appeals, docket no. A12A0590 (2012) - Obtained affirmance from the Georgia Court of Appeals of the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of our client, a gas station licensor/franchisor, in a premises liability and negligence case.
- Dixie Group, Inc. v. Shaw Industries Group, Inc., et al., 303 Ga. App. 459 (2010) - The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of our client, the owner of a manufacturing plant, in a case where a defendant had sought indemnification from our client via a third-party complaint for the plaintiff's alleged wrongful death and related damages.
- Atlanta Opportunity, Inc. v. Pratt, Georgia Court of Appeals, Docket no. A10A2297 (2010) - Obtained dismissal of plaintiff-appellant's appeal from trial court's dismissal of plaintiff's complaint with prejudice in slander/libel case.
- Muskett v. Sketchley Cleaners, Inc., 297 Ga. App. 561 (2009) - Obtained affirmance of the trial court's denial of the plaintiff-appellant's motion for new trial in a trip-and-fall premises liability action after the jury had returned a verdict in favor of the defendant, the proprietor of a dry cleaning business in whose parking lot the plaintiff-appellant fell. The plaintiff-appellant had alleged that he fell due to a pothole which the proprietor of the premises was negligent in failing to repair the pothole. The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the verdict in favor of the proprietor, and we also successfully opposed the plaintiff's petition for certiorari to the Supreme Court of Georgia, which was denied.
- Melancon v. Brabers, Georgia Court of Appeals, Docket no. A09A0854 (2009) - Obtained affirmance of the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of one participant in a competitive adult soccer league in case where another participant in the league had sought to recover for damages allegedly suffered while both were participating in an competitive soccer game.
- Henderson v. Sargent, 297 Ga. App. 504 (2009) - The Georgia Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of our client, who was alleged to have caused paraplegia in the course of moving/attempting to assist appellant after a fall. The appellant then sought certiorari from the Supreme Court of Georgia, which we opposed and which was denied.
- State Bar of Georgia
- Legislative Advisory Committee (2015-2016)
- Atlanta Bar Association
- Commissioner, Atlanta Bar Competitive Softball League
- DeKalb Bar Association
- Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA)
- Board of Directors (2015-present)
- Chair, Amicus Curiae Brief Committee (2015-present)
- Chair, Premises Liability SLC (2013-2015)
- Vice Chair, Premises Liability Section (2011-2013)
- Defense Research Institute
- Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society
- President's Award, Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (2017)
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®
- Super Lawyer "Rising Star," Super Lawyers Magazine (2011, 2013-2016)
- Super Lawyer, Super Lawyers Magazine (2017)
- Top Rated Lawyer in ‘Insurance Law,’ American Lawyer Media and Martindale-Hubbell (2013)
- "Federal vs. State Court: Key Differences, Practice Pointers, and Tips for Georgia Litigators," ICLE Trial & Error, Atlanta, GA (March 2015)
- "Managing Complex Liability Insurance Claims," 2015 Atlanta RIMS Educational Conference, Atlanta, GA (February 2015)
- "Negotiation Strategies for Claims Professionals," CLM Continuing Education Course, Zurich American Insurance, Chicago, IL (October 2014)
- “Who’s in Charge Here? Dealing with Difficulties thatArise Between Insurer and Insures as the Value of a Case Nears the Insured’sSIR,” CLM Transportation Conference, Chicago, IL (July 2014)
- "Deal or No Deal? Mutuality, Timing, and OtherIssues Involved in Acceptance & Rejection of Settlement Offers &Demands,” Georgia Defense Lawyers Association Annual Meeting, Ponte Vedra, FL(June 2014)
- "Settlement Offers and Negotiations: Pitfalls, Pointers and Recent Developments," CLM Georgia Event, Atlanta, GA (February 2014)
- "Transportation Claims: How to Investigate, Defend, and Resolve," CLM Continuing Education Course, RLI Insurance, Atlanta, GA (December 2013)
- "Assessing and Addressing Insurance Fraud in the Claims Environment," CLM Continuing Education Course, Zurich American Insurance, Chicago, IL (October 2013)
- "Advanced Strategies for Success in Mediation," CLM Continuing Education Course, Swiss Re America, Chicago, IL (June 2013)
- "Advanced Strategies for Success in Mediation," CLM Continuing Education Course, Kemper Insurance, Charlotte, NC (February 2013)
- “Premises Liability: Emerging Trends and a Return to theBasics?” Georgia Defense Lawyers Association CLE, Atlanta, GA (2012)
Articles and publications
- The Current State of Spoliation Law in the State Courts of Georgia
- Money for Nothing: Problems with Holding Franchisors Liable for the Negligence of Franchisees
- Federal vs. State Court in Georgia
- Who’s in Charge Here? Dealing with the Difficulties that Arise Between Insurer and Insured as the Value of a Case Nears the Insured’s Self-Insured Retention
- Unsettling News: Recent Developments in Georgia Law and Issues Faced by Defendants in Making and Responding to Settlement Offers
- Keeping Small Claims Small: How a Penny Saved is Not Always a Penny Earned
- Affirmative Defenses, Contributory Negligence, Assumption of the Risk and Non-Party Apportionment in the Context of Boating Torts
- Assumption of the Risk: Alive and Well in Premises Liability Actions in Georgia
- Premises Liability Case Law Update
- The Collateral Source Rule: A Compendium of State Law
- "Alternative Fee Arrangements: An Idea Whose Time Has Come?"
- Let's Be Reasonable
- "Premises Liability Case Law Update"
- "Is That Fair? Medical Expense Write-Offs and a Call for a Return to 'Reasonableness' in the Context of Recovering Alleged Medical Expenses in Tort Actions"
J.D., cum laude, University of Georgia School of Law (2004)
- Editorial Board, Journal of Intellectual Property Law
- Prosecutorial Clinic (Office of the Solicitor-General, Gwinnett County)
- Senator, Student Bar Association
B.A., University of Georgia (2001)
- All Georgia State and Superior Courts
- Supreme Court of Georgia
- Court of Appeals of Georgia
- United States District Court for the Northern District of Georgia
- United States District Court for the Middle District of Georgia
- United States District Court for the Southern District of Georgia
- United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- Supreme Court of the United States