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Four Top Plaintiffs’ Firms Join Forces to Create Mega-Firm

August 10, 1999 Press Releases


Joint Venture Combines Nationally – Prominent Law Firms in Four States

In a move that will impact the way consumers are represented throughout the country, four nationally-prominent law firms located in four states B California, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi B have formed a Georgia Limited Liability partnership known as Herman, Middleton, Casey & Kitchens (Herman, Middleton).

Herman, Middleton, from its central office in Atlanta, will represent consumers in cases across the nation, establishing a local presence through satellite offices and drawing on the substantial expertise of its member firms’ partners. Herman, Middleton’s approach, unique among plaintiffs’ firms, provides consumers with the same access to national representation that large defense firms have long made available to giant corporations. Because of the considerable resources of the mega-firm, Herman, Middleton will be able to front the often unmanageable costs that arise in major tort litigation, leveling the playing field for victims of corporate wrongdoing.

The mega-firm is comprised of Herman, Herman, Katz & Cotlar of New Orleans; Middleton, Mathis, Adams & Tate of Savannah, Georgia; Casey, Gerry, Reed & Schenk of San Diego; and Kitchens & Ellis of Jackson, Mississippi. The attorneys, members of which successfully sued the tobacco industry, asbestos industry, and Exxon in the Oil Spill Litigation, are all heavily involved in public justice issues.

Herman, Middleton will give consumers greater access to the court system in a legal system increasingly dominated by multi-national corporations. It’s going to have far-reaching social consequences, says David Casey.

Herman, Middleton’s first case is against Japanese corporation Mitsui Mining Co. Ltd. and its affiliates, Mitsui & Co. Ltd., Mitsui & Co. USA Inc. and Mitsui Mining USA. The groundbreaking lawsuit alleges Mitsui subjected an American prisoner of war, Lester I. Tenney, to slave labor at Mitsui mines from 1943 to 1945.

Tenney’s is the first suit to be filed under a state law which went into effect in July giving California courts jurisdiction to hear World War II-era slave labor cases and extending the statute of limitations for filing such suits until December 31, 2010.

The novel structure of the mega-firm allows each individual firm to continue to operate as a law firm separate and distinct from Herman, Middleton, handling its own cases as it has in the past.

Herman, Middleton will operate through a Board of Directors. Technology will play a large role in the endeavor, says Herman, Middleton, Casey & Kitchens= managing partner, Ed Konieczny, graduate of Harvard Law School and formerly with Kilpatrick, Stockton, LLP, a firm with over 300 lawyers. The central office in Atlanta, each individual firm and the satellite office will be connected through state-of-the-art computer systems and secure Internet communications.