Attorneys Duffy and Miller file Amicus Curiae Brief on behalf of the Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Services in support of the HowardCenter

On January 31, Attorneys Duffy and Miller filed an Amicus Curiae brief with the Vermont Supreme Court on behalf of the Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Services in support of the Appellee, HowardCenter. The issue on appeal by the South Burlington School District is whether an interior renovation permit was improperly granted for work to be done to open a much-needed methadone treatment clinic in South Burlington. The brief outlined Vermont Council’s concern that reversal of the Environmental Court’s and the South Burlington Development Review Board’s decision could ultimately be discriminatory against HowardCenter and its patients under the Americans with Disabilities Act. The Vermont Council of Developmental and Mental Health Services is composed of sixteen community-based members who are private, nonprofit providers of developmental and behavioral health care services located throughout Vermont.

Attorney Zamore files Joint GMP/VELCO Petition for Section 248 Approval of Georgia Interconnection Project

The Section 248 Petition was filed by Attorney Zamore with the Vermont Public Service Board on January 13.  The Project consists of a new GMP switching station, approximately 2 miles of new and 4.5 miles of reconductored GMP transmission lines, a new VELCO 115/34.5kV transformer and a capacitor bank.  The Project is needed to address reliability needs in the St. Albans and surrounding areas.  Assuming Board approval by October 1, 2014, the projected construction schedule extends from October, 2014 to December, 2015.

Eric Miller and Jeffrey Behm protect $43 million verdict against post-trial attacks

Attorneys Eric Miller and Jeffrey Behm were recently retained by the plaintiff in a products liability case to protect a $43 million verdict against post-trial attacks by the defendant, an automobile component part manufacturer.  Late last year, they won the first round of post-trial proceedings when the trial court turned back the Defendant’s motion for a new trial, accepting the arguments Eric, Jeff, and the trial team advanced in their briefs.  The defendant has now appealed the case to the Vermont Supreme Court, where Eric and Jeff will continue to take the lead in protecting the jury’s verdict.

Peter Zamore and Deb Bouffard assisted in filing Green Mountain Power’s December 20, 2013 request for Public Service Board approval of a slight rate decrease and new alternative regulation plan.

The rate filing implements a Board requirement, imposed in connection with GMP’s merger with CVPS, that GMP undergo a comprehensive review of its costs.  The filing includes testimony and exhibits of ten witnesses and addresses all aspects of GMP’s costs.  It is expected that the Board will suspend implementation of the rate decrease and investigate the filing, with a decision expected later this year.  The proposed new alternative regulation plan is intended to take effect at the expiration of the current plan on October 1, 2014.  It will also be subject to review over the next several months.

More information about the filing can be found at

Kevin A. Lumpkin joins Sheehey’s litigation group

Sheehey Furlong & Behm PC is pleased to announce that Kevin A. Lumpkin has joined the firm as an associate attorney in the litigation department.

Prior to joining Sheehey Furlong & Behm, Kevin attended Vanderbilt University Law School and clerked for Vermont Superior Courts in Bennington, Burlington, and Middlebury.  Kevin is admitted in Vermont and New York.

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 Debra Bouffard recently filed a brief in the Second Circuit Court of Appeals defending a summary judgment order obtained on behalf of their client, BlueCross and BlueShield of Vermont (“BCBSVT”), in which the trial court dismissed a breach of contract claim brought by BCBSVTs’ former Chief Executive Officer.  Oral argument has not yet been scheduled.

The case arose from an agreement entered a few weeks before the Plaintiff’s retirement in which BCBSVT agreed to pay the Plaintiff $580,000 of unvested incentive compensation in the few years following his retirement.  After the Plaintiff’s retirement, but before the first payment was made to him, Vermont’s Department of Banking Insurance and Health Care Regulation (“BISHCA”) began investigating whether the compensation paid to Plaintiff in the years preceding his retirement had been excessive and in violation of BCBSVT’s statutory duties.  Formal proceedings were then initiated that resulted in a BISHCA order, finding that Plaintiff had been paid a significant amount in excessive compensation.  BCBSVT refused to pay the additional incentive compensation to Plaintiff because it believed doing so would constitute additional excessive compensation.

The United States District Court for Vermont held in its Summary Judgment Order (U.S. Dist. Ct. Dkt. No. 1:11-cv-00049) that BCBSVT’s performance under its agreement with the Plaintiff had been discharged by the doctrine of supervening legal impracticability.  It therefore dismissed the Plaintiff’s claim for breach of contract and it also dismissed, on other grounds, Plaintiff’s claim for breach of the covenant of good faith and fair dealing.  No appeal was taken from the dismissal of Plaintiff’s breach of covenant claim.

Jeffrey Behm will argue the case before the Second Circuit Court of Appeals.


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

In Demag v. Better Power Equipment, Inc. (App. Docket No. 2013-120) Jeffrey Behm and Eric Miller urged the Supreme Court to abolish the business invitee/licensee distinction in Vermont’s law governing a business’s liability for the condition of its premises.  Eric Miller argued the case before the Court on December 3, 2013.

Rodney Demag was seriously injured when he fell into an open manhole located in the Defendant’s parking lot.  The manhole cover had been dislodged during snowplowing.  The appeal challenged the trial court’s summary judgment rulings that Demag was a licensee and not an invitee of the Defendant business, and thus the Defendant did not owe Demag a duty of care with respect to the condition of its premises. In addition to challenging the trial court’s rulings that Plaintiff was not an invitee and the Defendant was not actively negligent in plowing its parking lot, the appeal urged the Court to change its centuries-old premises liability law and require business owners to accord the same duty of reasonable care to both invitees and licensees with respect to the condition of the business premises.

James Spink and Jeffrey Behm speak about ‘Ethical Dilemmas Confronting the Trial Lawyer’

Attorneys Spink and Behm presented on “Ethical Dilemmas Confronting the Trial Lawyer” at the Vermont Bar Association’s Annual Meeting in Lake Morey on September 27, 2013.  Attorneys Spink and Behm lead the audience in an analysis of ethical challenges in relation to the Model Rules, the Vermont Rules, and the Code of Pretrial and Trial conduct. Attorneys Behm and Spink have a combined 59 years of experience practicing law.

James Spink Attends National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals Training

Attorney Spink attended a 3-day National Academy of Distinguished Neutrals advanced mediation training retreat in Boston, MA on August 21-24.  Membership in the Academy is by invitation only and limited to professional mediators and arbitrators who are well established as trusted neutrals amongst the legal community within their state of practice. Speakers at the retreat included Lee Jay Berman (American Institute of Mediation), Prof. Guhan Subramanian (Harvard Law, Program on Negotiation), Andy Little (author of “Making Money Talk”), Lela Porter Love (co-editor of “Stories Mediators Tell”) Don Philbin (TX) and John Salmon (FL).

Ian Carleton achieves ground-breaking ruling

Congratulations to Attorney Carleton for his dedication and persistence in the matter of State v. John Grega.  On August 21, 2013, a judge overturned the 1995 murder conviction and life-without-parole sentence for John Grega based on exculpatory DNA evidence.  John Grega was convicted of raping and murdering his wife while on vacation in Vermont.  John Grega spent 18 years of his life in prison before being released.  Dan Richardson, a private practice attorney who writes a Vermont Supreme Court law blog states “Grega’s case represents the first time a prisoner was released due to a post-conviction DNA test.”