CLE Ethics Seminar Features Stephen Cooney and Presiding Justice of the Rhode Island Superior Court

The Defense Counsel of Rhode Island (DCRI) sponsored a continuing legal education program on August 1, 2018 titled, “Mindfulness for Lawyers.” The program focused on improving personal and professional development within the stresses and demands of everyday life including time constraints, work volume, competition, family obligations, and personal health.

HCC partner Stephen P. Cooney developed and moderated the program and was one of the featured speakers along with The Honorable Alice B. Gibney, Presiding Justice of the Superior Court. The seminar also concentrated on understanding basic techniques for work-life balance and building more ethical lawyering, civil communications, emotional intelligence, equanimity, and best practices. The evening program was held at the Harbor Lights Marina and followed the organization’s annual golf outing.

DCRI is the state association of attorneys defending the interests of business and individuals in civil litigation. Members of DCRI include lawyers engaged in private practice, corporate counsel and insurance company counsel. DCRI serves as a forum for exchanging ideas on current issues of importance to defense lawyers, corporations and insurance companies.

Stephen Cooney’s practice focuses primarily on civil litigation, including defense of products liability, toxic tort, premises liability, transportation litigation and insurance claims. He recently and successfully defended a leading manufacturer in a product liability lawsuit in federal court that Rhode Island Lawyers Weekly called one of the most important cases of 2018.

(In the photograph above, Presiding Justice Alice B. Gibney addresses the audience as Judith Hoffman, Executive Director of Coastline EAP, and HCC partner Stephen P. Cooney listen. Ryan McGowan, founder of Laid Back Fitness, also served on the panel.)

August 1st, 2018|

Paul Callaghan Interviewed by ALFA International

Paul S. Callaghan was recently featured in social media publications produced by ALFA International, the premier global network of independent law firms.

In a wide ranging interview, Paul was asked to address one of the highlights of his successful career as an attorney. He said prevailing in a highly contested jury trial where the plaintiff was seeking a multi-million dollar verdict after he had been forced to cancel a family vacation due to the trial date selected by the presiding justice.

His client was a major national construction company, and the case arose out of an unwitnessed construction site accident with no evidence to the contrary. He found this win particularly appealing because he had been forced to cancel that family vacation, and the plaintiff’s attorney, a senior member of the plaintiffs’ bar, was especially overconfident throughout the proceedings.

The jury deliberated for more than two days and then came back with a question. The question led the plaintiff’s attorney and his partner to believe that they had won the case, to the point where they were literally boasting to colleagues that they had done so even before the jury returned a verdict. Afterwards, Paul was delighted to receive a personal, handwritten letter from the company’s chairman and CEO thanking and congratulating me on the victory.

The complete ALFA International interview can be found here.

July 13th, 2018|

HCC Summer Associate Wins National Moot Court Competition at UCLA

HCC law clerk Kelsey Peck recently won the award for Best Overall Oral Advocates at the UCLA Cyber Crimes Moot Court Competition in Los Angeles.

UCLA School of Law Cyber Crimes Moot Court Competition is an annual moot court competition open to law schools across the nation, exploring cutting-edge issues in the field of cyber law.

Kelsey and her teammate Allison Regan are second-year law students at Roger Williams University School of Law. Kelsey (pictured at right) has been serving as a law clerk at HCC for the past year and will continue her work at the firm as a summer associate.

This UCLA Moot Court Competition featured an esteemed panel of renowned cyber law experts to judge competitors’ oral advocacy. In addition to the Competition, participants and judges heard from thought provoking speakers identifying new developments in the practice of cyber law, according to the UCLA School of Law website.

May 7th, 2018|

Celebrating the Life of Gianna Cirella

On April 20th, Higgins Cavanagh & Cooney, LLP employees (past and present) came out to celebrate the life of Gianna Cirella and to raise funds for the Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund.

On October 13, 2017, 16-year old Gianna developed a sore throat that turned into pneumonia and, ultimately, a life-threatening blood infection known as sepsis. Despite the heroic efforts of doctors at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to save her life, Gianna lost her battle to sepsis on November 1st.

The Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund was established to raise funds for pediatric sepsis research and provide financial assistance to children and families affected by sepsis. In honor of Gianna’s love of soccer, the fund will also provide scholarships to local soccer players.

Hundreds of people attended the gala at Crowne Plaza in Warwick to honor Gianna’s memory. Eyewitness News Reporter Kim Kalunian and Rhode Show host Will Gilbert hosted the event which included a night of dinner and dancing.

Tara Cirella, Gianna’s mother, is a longstanding and highly regarded HCC staff member. She is the firm’s billing and accounts receivable coordinator.

Tara serves as the parent advocate on a committee at Hasbro Children’s Hospital to work on sepsis awareness.  She told the reporter: “It means Gianna made a difference. I’m going to carry that on.”

Information about the Gianna Cirella Memorial Fund can be found at www.gistrong.org.

May 1st, 2018|

Kristina I. Hultman Secures Defense Verdict After Six-Day Jury Trial

Following a six-day jury trial in Providence Superior Court, HCC associate attorney Kristina I. Hultman recently secured a jury verdict in favor of the defendant, a major national transportation company.

The plaintiff in the case was struck by a motor vehicle as she attempted to cross a state highway at night. The plaintiff alleged that the defendant’s vehicle, parked on the side of the roadway, contributed to the accident by altering her path of travel across the highway. The plaintiff alleged that the operator of the defendant’s vehicle had been negligently trained and supervised.

The plaintiff sustained catastrophic personal injuries, including permanent neurological damage. She incurred hundreds of thousands of dollars in medical bills and also sought compensation for her lost wages, loss of earning capacity, and pain and suffering.

Attorney Hultman had several notable rulings at trial. She secured rulings limiting the scope of the testimony of the plaintiff’s accident reconstruction expert; excluding all evidence of the plaintiff’s loss of future earning capacity; and excluding several of the plaintiff’s fact witnesses. In addition, she obtained a ruling that excluded records and bills from many of the plaintiff’s medical providers.

After six days of testimony, the jury deliberated for forty minutes before returning a verdict in favor of the defendant on all counts.

In addition to maintaining an active civil litigation practice at HCC, Attorney Hultman has leadership roles in the Defense Counsel of Rhode Island and Defense Research Institute (DRI). She was also recently selected by Super Lawyers as a “Rising Star” for the third consecutive year.

February 8th, 2018|