Litigation and Trial Practice

A civil litigation law firm which, for over Seven decades, has concentrated in the representation of victims of catastrophic injuries and death arising out of aviation, automotive-trucking, railroad, professional negligence and other complex civil litigation

Civil Litigation

Challenge and diversity characterize the firm’s civil trial practice. The firm has obtained numerous settlements and verdicts in excess of $1,000,000.00, and regularly is employed in complex civil cases throughout Georgia and the Southeastern United States. The following are areas of litigation in which the firm has practiced, illustrating the broad range of the matters handled, and are representative of the diverse nature of the firm’s activities over the course of the past five decades:

Governmental Liability
Architectural/Engineering Negligence
Insurance (Bad Faith Refusal to Pay)
Automotive/Trucking Accidents
Legal Malpractice
Medical Negligence
Burn Injury
Nursing Home Neglect
Premises Liability
Competition Law
Product Liability
Copyright and Trademark Infringement
Copyright and Trademark Infringement
Discrimination and Employment Law
Discrimination and Employment Law
Traumatic Brain Injury

Firm members Clark H. McGehee and William C. Lanham are currently handling litigation involving the recall of the Smith & Nephew Cementless Oxinium Profix and Genesis knee implants. For information on that litigation, see the attached article, “Johnson & Ward Files Suit Against Smith & Nephew in Recall Case.” Mr. McGehee and Mr. Lanham are also currently litigating a number of Salmonella and E. coli food poisoning cases, arising out of recent outbreaks occurring in Georgia and the southeastern United States. In addition, they have also recently concluded several seven figure settlements for wrongful death and serious personal injury, including several tractor trailer/automobile collision claims; a motor vehicle/dram shop liability claim; a governmental liability/high speed pursuit claim; several settlements concerning product liability/automobile design defects; and a number of governmental liability/roadway design engineering matters.

The lawyers at Johnson & Ward have successfully handled thousands of civil matters, including complex civil cases such as:

  • representation of victims of the collapse of the Atlanta Botanical Gardens elevated canopy walkway in December 2008.
  • representation of victims of the Olympic bombing at the 1996 Atlanta Olympic games.
  • representation of victims of the 1998 E. coli outbreak at the Atlanta White Water Park, which killed one child and seriously injured dozens.
  • representation of victims of insurance bad faith and wrongful denial of coverage, including the first ever ruling by a Georgia Appellate Court that an insurance company’s policy must be broadened to conform with the minimum coverages under the Georgia Standard Fire Policy.
  • representation of victims of numerous commercial and private aviation disasters, including acting as representative of the Plaintiffs’ steering committee.
  • representation of victims of the Toccoa Dam disaster in which 39 people died.
  • representation of victims of numerous trucking, automotive and railroad tragedies, including cases against most of the major trucking companies in the United States.
  • representation of victims of medical and hospital-related negligence in numerous cases against physicians, hospitals, nursing homes and other medical care providers throughout the State of Georgia, including the first verdict ever obtained against Atlanta’s Fulton-Dekalb Hospital Authority (a/k/a Grady Memorial Hospital).
  • representation of victims of nursing home abuse and neglect.
  • representation of victims of defective products, ranging from defective autopilot systems to improperly designed automobiles to dangerous saws and power equipment, including cases against most of the major automobile manufacturers.
  • representation of victims of governmental negligence, including cases brought under the State and Federal Tort Claims Acts, and the first case taken to the Georgia Supreme Court to address the parameters of recovery under the State Tort Claims Act.
  • representation of victims of securities fraud perpetrated on prominent athletes and others by a large brokerage firm, which included the first ever ruling by a Georgia Appellate Court permitting a jury trial, despite a mandatory arbitration clause in a brokerage agreement.
  • representation of independent movie distributors in anti-trust and breach of contract actions against major motion picture companies in the United States.
  • representation of numerous groups of tenants and owners of apartment complexes in fire-related disasters and architectural/engineering negligence cases.
  • representation of numerous employees and ex-employees of many Fortune 500 companies, federal and state governments and the postal service regarding claims of discrimination, harassment and retaliation because of age, race, gender, disability, religion, national origin and color.
  • representation of numerous companies and individuals seeking to enforce or defend against restrictive covenant agreements, such as non-compete, non-solicitation and non-disclosure.
  • representation of numerous companies and individuals regarding business tort claims, such as fraud, breach of fiduciary duty, interference with contractual relations, interference with business relations, unfair business practices, RICO, misappropriation of assets, invasion of privacy, libel, slander and defamation.


The lawyers at Johnson & Ward have engaged in a number of significant corporate transactions including the representation of computer hardware and software companies in the acquisition and merger with other corporations, and insurance coverage issues. Additionally, Johnson & Ward attorneys have represented companies engaged in commercial real estate development and import trade in significant transactions. Recently, the firm’s attorneys have represented a large aircraft brokerage company in the acquisition of real estate and the establishment of a commercial aircraft servicing facility.

We have handled numerous copyright and trademark matters, including:

  • representation of a trademark licensee in negotiations with a major league baseball team;
  • advising a publisher regarding international copyright issues;
  • representation of authors regarding contract and copyright matters; and
  • numerous successful trademark registrations.