Mobile, Ala. – The National Law Journal, the premier legal periodical in the U.S., released an exclusive report of Winning Litigators in the United States for 2016, and included Lucy Tufts, a partner at Cunningham Bounds. Only 23 courtroom lawyers in the entire country were recognized in the report, and Tufts was one of only four women to achieve this distinction. The report noted that lawyers who made the list “all have the something in common – they score big wins in court.”
Lucy was recognized for her involvement in several recent cases where she represented working people. One of those involved Mississippi-based Singing River Health System (“SRHS”), where Lucy was one of three class counsel who represented retirees and current employees in a lawsuit arising out of a pension crisis. On June 2, 2016, the United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi approved a $149,950,000 recovery on behalf of more than 3,000 class members. The recovery was negotiated by attorneys with the law firms of Cunningham Bounds in Mobile, Alabama and Reeves & Mestayer, LLC in Biloxi, Mississippi. The Court’s decision followed a hearing in which the Court heard testimony from witnesses, reviewed documentary evidence, and evaluated the arguments of counsel for all parties. Tufts took a lead role throughout the litigation and at the hearing.
In another case, Tufts and partner Steve Olen represented the victims of a debt settlement scheme that took advantage of people in financial trouble. Following a trial, on February 16, 2016 the United States Bankruptcy Court for the Middle District of Alabama entered a $102,949,220 judgment against Defendants Americorp, Inc., Seton Corp., and Timothy McCallan for their roles in what the Court deemed “an extraordinary case of fraud on a massive scale.” The Court also sanctioned the defendants an additional $999,457 for discovery abuses that took place throughout the litigation. That trial involved the extensive presentation of witnesses, experts, and evidence. The scheme involved using a Montgomery law firm, Allegro Law, LLC, as a front to induce victims to sign up for debt settlement services operated by the defendants. Victims were promised that they would be represented by an attorney who would negotiate a settlement of their debts for a fraction of what they actually owed. The defendants instructed victims to stop making payments to their creditors and to instead make payments to Americorp and Seton. Virtually all of the money paid by the victims was siphoned off by the defendants, and the victims were then held to be in default on their debts – with nothing to show for the money they had paid. The Court noted in its order that the effect of the fraudulent debt settlement scheme on the victims was “personal economic suicide.”
“It is an honor to receive this recognition from the National Law Journal,” said Lucy Tufts. “The cases for which I was recognized are among many cases that Cunningham Bounds regularly handles in which the law firm seeks and obtains justice for the victims of wrongdoing. It is a privilege to work with a group of lawyers who are unafraid to take a case all the way to trial, who give a voice to those who were wronged, and who have a long history of unparalleled success in the courtroom.”