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.”

Carie Tarte secures bid to host 2016 NFPA Convention in Burlington

Carie Tarte, a paralegal at the firm and President of the Vermont Paralegal Organization, secured the bid to host the 2016 National Federation of Paralegal Association’s Convention in Burlington.  The conference was held last year in Anchorage, Alaska and attended by Kristin Mattes.  Kristin Mattes is a paralegal at the firm and won the 2012 Individual Pro Bono award for exhibiting outstanding dedication and service in the area of Pro Bono Service to the public.  The keynote speaker for last year’s event was the Honorable Morgan Christen of the United States Court of Appeals.

Eric Miller, Jeffrey Behm and Jim Spink selected as key individuals in their field

Eric Miller, Jeffrey Behm, and Jim Spink were selected in 2013 as key individuals in their field by Chambers USA. Chambers stated that “The team is especially accomplished due to its mixture of established, seasoned practitioners and more recent talent. Peers readily refer to this team in case of conflicts, because of confidence in the breadth of its skill set.”  Further, Eric Miller was described as “extraordinarily well prepared and confident in Court.” Jim Spink “brings valuable arbitration and mediation experience to the group” and Jeffrey Behm is “insistent on behalf of his clients during tough proceedings and tough to beat.”

Jeffrey Behm becomes a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers

Attorney Jeffrey Behm became a fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers at the group’s most recent annual meeting in New York City on October 20.  The induction ceremony took place at the Waldorf-Astoria before an audience of nearly 1,100.  The College limits membership to no more than 1% of the total lawyer population of any state.  Lawyers must also have a minimum of 15 years trial experience before they can be considered for fellowship. Attorney Jim Spink was also elected in 2004.