Four Sheehey Attorneys Named 2014 New England Super Lawyers

The firm is pleased to announce that four of its attorneys were named this month by Super Lawyers magazine as among the top New England attorneys in 2014. Attorneys Eric Miller and Jeffrey Behm were recognized as leaders in business litigation. Attorney Michael Furlong was recognized for his work in business and corporate law. Attorney Jim Spink was one of two Vermont lawyers recognized as a leader in alternative dispute resolution. The Super Lawyers list is generated through peer nominations, independent research, and peer evaluations. Each year, only 5% of attorneys are selected as Super Lawyers.

Owen J. McClain Joins Sheehey’s Energy Group

Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C. is pleased to announce that Owen J. McClain has joined the firm as an associate attorney.  Owen will practice primarily in the firm’s energy group, alongside attorneys Peter Zamore and Debra Bouffard.

Prior to joining the firm, Owen attended Vermont Law School, and clerked for Vermont’s trial courts in Chittenden and Addison counties.  Owen has also worked as a summer associate for the Nuclear Regulatory Commission and as a law clerk for the Executive Office of the Governor.

Carie Tarte to join Vermont Joint Commission on the Future of Legal Services

Carie Tarte, RP®, has been invited to join the Vermont Joint Commission on the Future of Legal Services.  The Commission has been tasked by Chief Justice Paul Reiber of the Vermont Supreme Court to study the question of how to ensure that all Vermonters have access to quality, affordable legal representation.  It was created in a response to a sharp rise in the number of self-represented litigants in Vermont’s courts.

The Commission will consist of four committees.  Ms. Tarte will join the Legal Education and Practice Committee, which will study and develop responses to such questions as:

  • What reforms in the funding and provision of legal education could improve new lawyers’ ability to represent populations that currently lack representation?
  • Are there changes that can be made to Vermont’s unique clerkship program that would attract would-be law students to Vermont and enable new lawyers to provide more economical legal services?
  • What legal education is currently available for paralegals and other legal support personnel?

Ms. Tarte is the President and CLE Committee Chair of the Vermont Paralegal Organization.  Last winter, Ms. Tarte and two other VPO members published an article in the Vermont Bar Journal entitled “Equal Access to Justice: Paralegals and Limited Legal Licensure.”

Ian Carleton Files State and Federal Actions After DNA-Based Exoneration of Man Wrongfully Imprisoned For Nearly 18 Years

Attorney Ian Carleton has filed state and federal civil rights actions on behalf of John Grega, who was wrongfully convicted in 1995 of allegedly murdering his wife and sentenced to a prison term of life without parole. On May 14, 2012, post-conviction DNA testing results (also obtained by Attorney Carleton) revealed the presence of DNA from an unknown male (not Mr. Grega) on never before tested swabs taken during the autopsy of Mrs. Grega. On August 21, 2012, the Vermont Superior Court vacated Mr. Grega’s conviction based on this newly discovered exculpatory evidence. Mr. Grega was released the following day, after 17 years and 8 months in prison. In the wake of these events, Attorney Carleton has filed a variety of state and federal claims on Mr. Grega’s behalf, including claims for wrongful imprisonment, failure to investigate, and malicious prosecution.

Earlier: Ian Carleton Achieves Ground-Breaking Ruling.

Ian Carleton Teaches CLE on Evidence

Earlier this summer Attorney Ian Carleton was invited to serve as a panelist in a CLE offered by the National Business Institute entitled “Applying the Rules of Evidence: What Every Lawyer Needs To Know.”   Mr. Carleton lectured on Ethics, Witnesses, Expert Reports and Scientific Evidence.

Jeffrey Behm and Debra Bouffard Obtain Affirmance of District Court’s Grant of Summary Judgment in the United States Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit in Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont v. Milnes

Attorneys Jeffrey Behm and Debra Bouffard have successfully defended a grant of summary judgment obtained on behalf of their client, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont (“BCBSVT”) in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.

Earlier in the case, the trial court dismissed a breach of contract claim brought by BCBSVT’s former Chief Executive Officer on grounds of legal impracticability. On appeal, the Second Circuit upheld the trial court’s ruling on the alternative ground that the contract was unenforceable on grounds that it contravened public policy.  Mr. Behm and Ms. Bouffard had argued both grounds in both the United States District Court and in the Court of Appeals.

Jeffrey Behm argued the case before the Court of Appeals.

Earlier: Jeffrey Behm And Debra Bouffard Defend Summary Judgment Order In An Appellee Brief Submitted To The United States Court Of Appeals For The Second Circuit In Blue Cross And Blue Shield Of Vermont v. Milnes (Dkt. No. 13-1748).

Jeffrey Behm and Eric Miller Win Supreme Court Case Redefining Premises Liability in Vermont

Attorneys Jeffrey Behm and Eric Miller recently secured a landmark decision in the Supreme Court in Demag v. Better Power Equipment, Inc., successfully arguing that the Court should abandon Vermont’s common law distinction between business invitees and licensees in premises liability cases.

Rodney Demag was seriously injured when he fell into an open manhole in the Defendant’s parking lot. Challenging a trial court ruling, Mr. Behm and Mr. Miller urged the Court to change its centuries-old premises liability law, and instead require business owners to accord the same duty of care to all invited guests. In an opinion issued on July 18, 2014, the Court agreed, abandoning the common law distinction and adopting a duty of reasonable toward all lawful entrants onto property.

Earlier: Jeffrey Behm and Eric Miller Urge The Vermont Supreme Court To Abolish The Business Invitee/Licensee Distinction In Vermont’s Premises Liability Law.

David Austin Rejoins Sheehey

The law firm of Sheehey Furlong & Behm P.C. is pleased to announce that David Austin, a former partner of the firm, has rejoined the firm and is now of counsel to the firm.  Since last with the firm, Mr. Austin served for 12 years as the President of Bruegger’s Enterprises, Inc., a national restaurant company.  Mr. Austin will serve the firm’s clients with a focus on business, transactional and employment matters.

James Spink to Present at the June 18th Meeting of the Vermont Human Resources Association at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington, VT

James Spink, Of Counsel to the firm and a full time mediator/litigator, will present a program entitled:  “Are You Ready to Respond When Conflict Happens?” at the June meeting of the Vermont Human Resources Association on June 18th at the Sheraton Hotel in South Burlington, Vermont.  The two hour presentation to HR professionals will address how best to handle workplace conflict when it inevitably arises and how to incorporate mediation into any organization’s strategy to address conflict in the workplace.

Carie Tarte receives “RP®” designation from the National Federation of Paralegals

Carie Tarte has become a Registered Paralegal (RP® ) after passing the Paralegal Advanced Competency Examination (“PACE”) offered by the National Federation of Paralegal Associations.  She is the 8th paralegal in the State to achieve this designation. The Paralegal Advanced Competency Exam is a demanding national certification examination that tests legal principles, ethics, and their practical application for paralegals with post-secondary degrees and at least three years of substantive paralegal experience.