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After a five-year hiatus in Montana, plaintiffs’ attorney Andrew M. Scherffius has returned to Atlanta to join a notoriously tenacious colleague. Last week, Scherffius became a name partner at James E. Butler Jr.’s firm, Butler, Wooten, Overby, Fryhofer, Daughtery & Sullivan. Scherffius, 52, left his own firm in 1997 to move to Montana with his wife and two children. He then became of counsel to Ballard, Still & Ayres in Atlanta, commuting back and forth on his private plane, and scaled back his law practice. But Scherffius says he’s ready now for a full-blown re-entry into plaintiffs’ work. And he sees Butler Wooten, the winner of the largest jury verdict in Georgia history, as the perfect place to practice. He says he moved to Montana to spend more time with his wife and his children, now ages 10 and 6. Tamara M. Ayres, a former partner at the Ballard firm, has worked with Scherffius for 16 years. She also joined Butler Wooten last week as a partner. The new firm is called Butler, Wooten, Scherffius, Fryhofer, Daughtery & Sullivan. Scherffius and Butler have tried cases together and knew each other as undergraduates at the University of Georgia. Both attorneys say they’ve discussed an alliance for several years. CONTRAST IN STYLES The two are a contrast in their courtroom styles. Scherffius is a low-key tactician, while Butler has a formidable, aggressive courtroom presence. Scherffius’ personality — both in and out of court — seems a little incongruous with Butler Wooten’s style, says Alston & Bird litigation partner Judson Graves. “[Scherffius] seems to me to be cut from a different mold,” Graves says. But, he adds, “the blending of styles could be effective.” Hawkins & Parnell partner Michael J. Goldman, who worked with Scherffius there in the 1970s, calls the Butler-Scherffius tandem “a pretty deadly combination.” “They [Butler Wooten] were already a force without him,” he says. “They’re going to be an even greater force with him.” Don C. Keenan, of The Keenan Firm, says he’s glad Scherffius is coming out of “retirement,” and that he will be “a good match” with Butler Wooten. Scherffius acknowledges that other attorneys characterized his move to Montana as retirement. But Scherffius says he maintained an active, if scaled back, caseload. Scherffius, who pilots his own plane, says he regularly commuted to cases he was handling in several states. One such case was that of the family of Dow, Lohnes & Albertson partner Michael P. Fisher. In 1998, Fisher was killed in a midair collision when an executive jet carrying Fisher and three other Dow Lohnes partners crashed into another plane over Roswell, Ga. The families of the lawyers killed in the crash sued Georgia Power, the alleged employer of the other pilot, and the Federal Aviation Administration. Last year, all four attorneys’ families settled out of court for a total of $42 million. In re: Mid-Air Disaster, No. 1:99CV315 (N.D. Ga. filed Feb. 2, 1999). During his time with Ballard, Scherffius also represented the guardian of a man who suffered catastrophic brain injuries when his Suzuki Samurai rolled over on Memorial Drive in DeKalb County. The plaintiff’s legal team also included Butler and George W. Fryhofer III of Butler Wooten. That case settled in 1998 for an undisclosed amount. Ray v. Suzuki Motor Corp., No. 94VS0094531-E (Fult. St. filed Dec. 29, 1994). Then with Bird & Scherffius, his own firm, Scherffius won $4 million in a medical malpractice case against West Paces Ferry hospital in 1989. The plaintiff argued she suffered brain damage after intensive-care nurses failed to detect signs of pressure within her skull after brain surgery. Parkinson v. West Paces Ferry Hospital, Civil Action No. D-40512 (Fult. Super. Filed Dec. 12, 1987). In another medical malpractice case, Scherffius won $7.3 million for a client who went into a coma after surgery at Georgia Baptist Medical Center in 1982. At the time, the verdict was a record for Georgia malpractice cases. In 1985, Scherffius secured $2 million in a wrongful death case in DeKalb Superior Court. The husband and children of a Fayette County woman sued a DeKalb medical group after the woman died of a pulmonary embolism following an unnecessary hysterectomy in 1980, according to court records. Scherffius estimates that he’s worked with Butler on about 10 cases over the years. Scherffius and Ayres estimate that they have brought 10 to 15 open cases to the Butler firm. In 1997, Butler Wooten secured a $454 million Verdict — the largest jury verdict ever awarded in Georgia — for its client, the investors in Six Flags Over Georgia, against Time Warner Entertainment. Six Flags Over Georgia v. Six Flags, No. 97-A-1939 (Gwinn. Super. March 19, 1997). Scherffius says he and Ayres won’t get a cut of that money. In 1996, Butler Wooten secured $150 million for a client who was paralyzed when his Chevrolet Blazer crashed. Hardy v. General Motors, No. CV-93-57 (Lowndes Cir. verdict June 3, 1996). The case eventually settled in 1996 for a confidential amount. The firm won a $46.45 million verdict in a 1994 suit over a defective seat-belt latch against Toyota Motor Corp. The plaintiff settled for a lower amount under a high-low agreement. Butler Wooten also settled a products liability case against General Motors Corp. Originally, Butler Wooten secured a $105 million verdict in 1993, but that award later was overturned. The case ultimately settled. Moseley v. General Motors, No. 90-V-6276 (Fult. St. Feb. 5, 1993). After graduating from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1974, Scherffius worked for Freeman & Hawkins (now Hawkins & Parnell) until 1979, focusing exclusively on plaintiff-side litigation. Scherffius formed Bird & Scherffius in 1979 but left that firm in 1987. He then formed Andrew M. Scherffius PC and remained there until 1997. He then became of counsel to Ballard, Still & Ayres and moved to Montana. Ayres graduated from the University of Oklahoma School of Law in 1981 and began practicing with Bird & Scherffius that year. She moved to Andrew M. Scherffius PC in 1987 and joined the Ballard firm in 1997. She became a partner at the Ballard firm in 1998. Scherffius’ former law partner William Q. Bird jokes, “It’s about time Andy got back to work. He’s been slacking too long.” Bird says he wouldn’t call Andy laid-back but says, “He is hard-charging and aggressive in his own way.” “Andy brings a lot to the table,” at Butler Wooten, says Bird. “I think [Scherffius' joining the firm] does nothing but help them.” Keenan says he’s not surprised at all that Scherffius decided to come back to work. “If you’re a true trial lawyer you never can retire, because there’s always more battles to win,” he says.

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