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One of the founders of Butler, Wooten, Overby, Fryhofer, Daughtery & Sullivan has left the firm that bears his name. C. Frederick Overby, who worked at the firm’s Columbus, Ga., office, says he seeks a more “laid-back approach” to practicing law. In another departure from the firm, Lee Tarte Wallace, the firm’s only female partner, has resigned. Wallace, who was based in the Atlanta office, starts Monday as a name partner with Atlanta’s Warshauer Woodruff & Thomas. The departures represent one-fourth of Butler, Wooten’s partnership, says managing partner Joel O. Wooten Jr. “It’s bad in a sense, but we still work with all of our alumni,” says partner James E. Butler Jr. Overby says he’ll spend more time hunting, fishing and enjoying the outdoors. He has opened his own law office in Columbus and took most of his client files with him, says Wooten. Because of Butler, Wooten’s aggressive plaintiffs’ work, Overby says, “It would have been more difficult to integrate that more relaxed approach into the firm’s hard-charging approach.” Overby, along with Butler, Wooten and former partner Robert D. Cheeley, founded the firm in 1988. Overby says he’ll continue to concentrate on motor carrier and commercial vehicle liability cases as well as governmental liability, road design and premises liability issues. Wallace focuses on personal injury law, including product liability, catastrophic personal injury and wrongful death, medical malpractice, and premises liability. She is also the chairwoman-elect of the products liability section of the State Bar of Georgia. “I’ve cut my teeth on some of the biggest cases in the country,” Wallace says. “But eventually you want to slay your own giants.” Wallace, who says she litigated several cases against General Motors Corp., adds that she’ll also take many of her case files with her to Warshauer. The three-attorney Warshauer firm also does plaintiffs-side litigation, says partner Bradford W. Thomas. Last year, highlights for the firm included a $5 million medical malpractice verdict and a $2 million verdict in a case involving an injured railroad worker. The firm will change its name to Warshauer Woodruff Thomas & Wallace. Earlier this year, three Butler Wooten associates left to start their own firm. Cale H. Conley, Richard A. Griggs and Joshua Sacks established Conley, Sacks & Griggs in March. When they left, there was speculation that their departure was related to the $454 million verdict for Butler Wooten’s client, the investors in Six Flags over Georgia, against Time Warner Entertainment. Six Flags Over Georgia v. Six Flags Fund, No. 97-A-1939 (Gwinn. Super. March 19, 1997). Wooten says the punitive damage part of the verdict — $257 million — is on appeal to the U.S. Supreme Court. Wallace says she didn’t work on the Six Flags case. Wooten says the firm has replaced two of the associates. Nelson O. Tyrone, formerly a litigation associate with Garland, Samuel & Loeb, joined Butler, Wooten’s Atlanta office in April. The firm also hired Jeffrey R. Harris, formerly of Savannah’s Ellis, Painter, Ratterree & Bart, in mid-May. And J. Clay Fuller, who clerks for Judge Richard W. Storey of the Northern District of Georgia, will join Butler Wooten in June, Wooten says. EX-PUTNAM COUNTY ATTORNEY SUING COMMISSIONERS Dorothy J. Adams, who recently was fired as Putnam County, Ga., county attorney, has filed a defamation suit against two Putnam commissioners who allegedly claimed Adams and her husband and law partner had breached client confidences. Adams’ suit, filed last week, also claims that Putnam Commission Chairman Steven H. Layson and Commissioner Sylbie Yon, told news media that Adams and her husband, Francis N. “Frank” Ford, had conflicts of interest with a client. The defamatory statements, the complaint says, were made “with reckless disregard for whether or not the statements were true.” Adams and Ford are requesting that compensatory and punitive damages be determined and awarded by a jury. Adams v. Layson, No. 01-SU-CV-164 (Putnam Super. May 21, 2001). On May 4, the Putnam Board of Commissioners fired Adams, claiming that she had conflicts of interest with the county. But the commissioners wouldn’t expand on what they believed constituted those conflicts. Adams and Ford demanded that Layson and Yon retract statements they made to the Macon Telegraph and the Eatonton Messenger by May 18 or face a suit. But in a May 18 letter to Adams and Ford, interim Putnam County attorney Kenneth G. Jackson told Adams and Ford that a “retraction is not in order.” The letter said the commissioners’ statements were made as “direct results of [Adams' and Ford's] decisions to include county officers on equal footing with the Board of Commissioners and notify them of positions and communications which were in direct conflict with the positions of the Board.” FORD & HARRISON GROWS ORLANDO OFFICE BY THREE Ford & Harrison’s Orlando, Fla., office has expanded its ranks by three lawyers. The firm acquired labor and employment boutique Brown & Green last week. James G. Brown and Dorothy F. Green joined the Atlanta-based firm as partners, and M. Susan Sacca joined the firm as an associate. Among the clients that came with the attorneys to Ford & Harrison are the Orange County School Board, Johnson Controls Inc. and the Jax Transit Management Board. Ford & Harrison has more than 120 attorneys in nine offices. The firm now has 12 lawyers in its Orlando office.

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