Skip Finkbohner, President
April 2020
Volume XLIV, Issue 4

In This Issue...
Ann's Article...........................Page 2
Donate Coffee........................Page 4
Law Day.................................Page 5
VZC Bar.................................Page 5
Significant Decision...............Page 6
Lawyers' Assistance..............Page 7
Legal Ethics of Coronavirus..Page 8
In the News...........................Page 9
Announcements....................Page 10
Mobile Bar Foundation..........Page 10
Birthdays...............................Page 12
    2020 OFFICERS
President Elect - CHARLES J. (CHARLIE) POTTS
Vice President - D. BRIAN MURPHY
Executive Director - ANN F. SIRMON
President's Message
Ground to a Halt

As I write this on Tuesday, March 17, jury trials have been suspended, as have multi-party and multi-lawyer in-person court hearings, with no reasonable ability to estimate a time things can or will return to normal. Businesses, large and small, are in a state of flux, with unavoidable fixed costs of doing business, but decreased (or non-existent) revenue because of “social distancing,” “self-quarantining,” and the like. Employees in the service sector, especially folks who work in the restaurant and hospitality industry have no work and might lose their jobs. The COVID-19 virus poses a domestic and international health and safety threat causing extreme and potentially dire economic consequences for individuals and businesses.
I wish I had some good news, or something profound to say, but I do not. I’ve been practicing law since 1986 and have never seen the courts virtually shut down, with jury trials suspended, for anything other than inadequate funding, and even then there were work-arounds so that trials continued. If nothing else, maybe everyone will have a greater appreciation for the necessity for jury trials, even though the number of trials has decreased over the years. Without jury trials and trial settings, there is no pressure for opposing parties to resolve disputes, and there is no ability for aggrieved and injured people and businesses to have their day in court. Really, without jury trials, our adversarial system of justice is at a grinding halt. So, when we get past this pandemic, and the courts are again operating as they always have been with court hearings, trial settings, jury dockets and jury trials, etc., maybe we will appreciate more our system of justice, its importance, the need to have it functioning and functioning properly, and the cost borne by everyone when it is unable to function – even if only temporarily suspended.
I hope and pray that when I write the “President’s Message” for the May newsletter, that things will be back to normal, or at least everyone will have some clarity and some visibility as to when things will be back to normal. Until then, good luck to all, especially our clients.
Ann's Article
We are facing uncertain times. Right now, we do not know what will happen from one day to the next. I don’t know if you feel like me, but social distancing can be really hard some days. It is important to work on mental health because so much of this we cannot control or understand.
I want to put aside the uncertainty for a moment and share how important, you as a member of the Mobile Bar Association, are to the organization. April is National Volunteer Month in the United States.  It is an opportunity to honor and thank all the many volunteers in our communities as well as encourage volunteerism throughout the month.
Volunteerism is at the core of the Mobile Bar Association.  We could not function without YOU: our wonderful members!  Our volunteer opportunities come in all shapes and sizes.  Whether you answer the phones for Law Day, become a committee member, or serve as President of the Mobile Bar Association, each of you play a very important role.  The time, talents, and expertise of our volunteers provide support to the long-term growth of the association as well as the greater legal community.
It has been proven that volunteering, even in simple ways, can help improve your health and happiness.
Here are six benefits of volunteering:
1.    Connecting with others and the legal community
2.    Good for your mind and body
3.    Advancing your career
4.    Learning new skills
5.    Gaining a new perspective
6.    Bringing fun and fulfillment to your life
We hope that volunteering with the Mobile Bar Association brings these and other benefits to your life.  We want you to enjoy your service, meet others in your community, and make each project better than the way you found it.  
A BIG thank you to YOU!  We celebrate and appreciate all our volunteers with the Mobile Bar Association. You are making a difference in our community.  
One day, we will get past this crisis. And when we do, we look forward to working with you on upcoming projects and seeing you at our events. If you are not volunteering with Mobile Bar, please consider joining the fun. We would love to have you.
Since we have to practice social distancing, here are a few photos taken during 2019 of our members volunteering and making a difference in our community. Enjoy! Hope it brings a smile to your face!
150th Anniversary Celebration
SAVLP Mobile Monthly Advice Clinic Team
Women Lawyers Trailblazer Tea
Young Lawyers Volunteer Project at Florence Howard Elementary
MBA Past Presidents
Family Law Stars Across the Bay
Opening of the Alabama Justice Exhibit: The Cases and Faces that Changed a Nation
Law Day Help Line
Bench and Bar Conference
For many years the Mobile Bar Association has proudly sponsored free coffee and condiments for Mobile County residents called to serve as jurors in the 13th Judicial Circuit Court. Although it may seem a small gesture, if something as seemingly insignificant as a fresh cup of coffee can make the jury process more enjoyable, we believe it is a benefit to the system as a whole.

The Mobile Bar Association is currently asking MBA Members to consider donating either $50.00 or $100.00 to help us continue this tradition. If you are interested in donating to the Juror Coffee Fund, please click here . Thanks in advance for your consideration and contribution. 
Have you logged into the new website? What are you waiting for?
It is a great way to connect with Mobile Bar members.

For your first time logging in:
User Name: your email address
Password: MBA2020
Once logging in for the first time, for security purposes, please go to your preferences and update your information and change your password.

Sign up for Committees and Sections:
Once you are logged in, there is a top tool bar of features. Look for Groups. This is the area where you can sign-up or see where you have been connected to participate in our different Committees and Sections. Once you are sign up, it is a great way to connect and share ideas with other members within the Committee and/or Section.

Premium Memberships : Don’t forget about our premium memberships. With the new website, we will offer our own version of a lawyer referral service called  Find a Lawyer . If someone in the community feels they need an attorney, they can visit our website and search for an attorney. To participate in the  Find a Lawyer  service, it is considered a Premium Membership. The cost is $100 annually to participate. For this, you will be searchable over 43 different practice areas on the public side of the website. It will include your picture, contact information, and description of your practice. If you are interested in participating in  Find a Lawyer , please include the additional $100 when paying your membership dues. Even if you have paid your membership dues and decide later that you want to participate in  Find a Lawyer , it not too late! You can sign-up anytime. Please contact Mobile Bar headquarters for more information.
2020 LAW DAY
By Weathers Bolt, Law Day Committee Chair
Law Day, held annually in May, is a national time set aside to celebrate the rule of law. Law Day provides an opportunity to understand how law and the legal process protect our liberty, strive to achieve justice and contribute to the freedoms that all Americans share. This year’s Law Day theme is Your Vote, Your Voice, Our Democracy: The 19 th Amendment at 100 .
Due to COVID-19, the Mobile Bar Association has altered activities related to Law Day. Here is an update:

Accepting Nominations for the Liberty Bell Award - CANCELED UNTIL FURTHER NOTICE


Tuesday, May 5, 2020 - Welcome Reception for the Alabama Supreme Court - MOVED TO THE FALL

Wednesday, May 6, 2020 - Alabama Supreme Court Oral Arguments - MOVED TO THE FALL
Tuesday, May 12, 2020  –  Law Day Helpline  - 6:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. at Local 15 TV. - UNSURE TO DATE IF IT WILL CONTINUE. WILL KEEP YOU POSTED.

NEED: Six attorneys for the 5 time slots to answer the phone lines. Time slots are 90 minutes.
Time slots are: 6 – 7:30 a.m., 7:30 – 9:00 a.m., 9:00 – 10:30 a.m., 10:30 a.m. – 12:00 p.m., 12:00 – 1:00 p.m., time slots. To sign-up, please contact John Kavanagh by email at .
By Suntrease Williams-Maynard, President
We will not be hosting a meeting this month, but we are having a March Madness Membership Drive for this month. We are asking all current members to renew. A special membership rate is being provided to members that renew and bring in a new member. 
Otherwise, we are praying that all stay safe and healthy during this time.
In a case of first impression, the Court of Civil Appeals in Renter’s Realty v. Smith , No. 2181042 (Ala. Civ. App., January 10, 2020), held that Ala. Code § 6-10-6.1 was unconstitutional. Section 204 of the Alabama Constitution limits personal property exemptions against executions and garnishments to $1000. The statute sought to exclude wages, salaries and other compensation from the definition of “personal property,” but the Court held that this could only be done via the constitutionally proscribed methods for amending the constitution.
In S.J. v. A.B. , No. 2180797 (Ala. Civ. App., January 10, 2020), the Court of Civil Appeals held that the trial court’s failure to make specific findings of fact in accordance with Ala. Code § 30-3-4, which pertains to the visitation rights of grandparents, required a reversal of the decision.
In another case of first impression, the Supreme Court of Alabama in Youngblood v. Martin , No. 1171037 (Ala., January 10, 2019), held that a medical malpractice expert who failed to testify as to his current qualifications to serve as a medical expert in a medical malpractice trial should not have been permitted to testify under Ala. Code § 6-5-548 and, thus, the jury verdict in favor of the plaintiff was due to be reversed. While the plaintiff argued that the defendant had waived this objection by not specifically objecting to that precise point, the Court held that the defendant’s several objections as to the qualifications of the witness were sufficient.
In Ex parte LED Corporations, Inc. , No. 1180629 (Ala., February 28, 2020), the Supreme Court held that the trial court had personal jurisdiction over a Florida corporation that had no physical presence or contact with Alabama generally but that, in the present case, the transaction involved shipping materials to Alabama and physically sending representatives to Alabama to perform critical work on the transaction.
In Schaeffer v. Thompson , No. 2180834 (Ala. Civ. App., February 28, 2020), the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a summary judgment granted in favor of an attorney on a legal malpractice claim. The attorney had argued that all the claims against him involved strategic decisions made during a trial and that there could be no liability for such, but the Court noted that the attorney had offered no evidence on summary judgment to the effect that he had not deviated from the standard of care, having only submitted a copy of the trial transcript. Accordingly, the Court concluded that the burden never shifted to the plaintiff to present evidence creating a dispute.
By Ruth Lichtenfeld, Lawyers' Assistance Program Chair
Fear of the unknown, anxiety, and the dread of how the next few weeks and months will adversely affect our community, are all very appropriate responses to the COVID-19 pandemic. Each of us are affected in different ways, and that is okay. 

The chart below best describes ways that we can cope with the staggering effects of the COVID-19 pandemic and its impact on our communities and ourselves. The Substance Abuse  and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) has a disaster distress  hotline if you feel overwhelmed and need to talk about it at 1-800-985-5990 or text TalkWithUS to 66746.  Moreover, there are numerous mental health resources listed on the internet. 

In addition, please do not hesitate to reach out to friends in the legal community, in addition to your friends and family. You also have the option of contacting the Mobile Bar Association for a confidential referral to a member of the Lawyers’ Assistance Program. 

We are in this together,  and together we will get through it.

Take care of yourselves and each other.
The following is a re-printed article from the D.C. Bar. We note that the author cites the D.C. Rules of Professional Conduct and not the Alabama Rules of Professional Conduct. We refer you to the ethical rules applicable to the state(s) in which you practice.

By Saul Jay Singer
March 20, 2020

Goodbye to Rosie, the Queen of Corona,
see you, me and Julio down by the schoolyard
— Paul Simon (1972)

With the spread of the coronavirus pandemic, we would all like to say goodbye to “the Queen of Corona,” but COVID-19 is likely to be with us for some time.

By now, everyone should be familiar with the basic protective steps defined by health authorities. However, the spread of the coronavirus has caused massive disruption and created a potential minefield for D.C. lawyers, who retain all their ethical duties under the Rules of Professional Conduct. Though there are important issues that may arise in the face of the coronavirus threat — or any other threat to life and health, for that matter — the fundamental “prime directive” remains: thou shalt protect thy client. Your ethical obligations do not change, regardless of whether you are ill, your client is sick, or the courthouse is closed.

Below are some basic guidelines to assist lawyers in complying with their ethical duties during this pandemic and beyond.

Lawyer Becomes Ill
In the face of increased risk of serious incapacitating illness or worse, lawyers must have a ready succession plan for other lawyers to assume responsibility for legal representations and, at a minimum, a plan for promptly communicating with clients and for taking necessary protective action. In larger firms, other firm lawyers may be able to step in to take over a representation on short notice, but even such firms should develop a contingency plan to address how client matters will be handled in the event of mass lawyer incapacity or unavailability.

Assuring the continuity of representation can be more difficult for solo practitioners, where there is often no other lawyer to step in to handle cases in the event of the solo’s illness or death. As such, Comment [5] to Rule 1.3 provides that each sole practitioner should prepare a plan, in conformity with applicable rules, that designates another competent lawyer to review client files, notify each client that the lawyer is no longer engaged in the practice of law, and determine whether there is a need for immediate protective action. Solos should consider partnering with each other in reciprocal agreements to advise clients and courts when the lawyer has become incapacitated or is deceased.

Client Becomes Ill
One important result of COVID-19 is a reduction in personal contact between lawyer and client and, as such, potentially less lawyer awareness of the client’s health status. In this environment, attorneys may wish to ask clients to disclose developing health issues to them because a client’s illness may necessitate a continuation of the case, a waiver of appearance, or a request for remote attendance.

Rule 1.4 (Communication) requires that lawyers initiate and maintain the consultative and decision-making process even when clients fail to do so. When a seriously ill client develops a lack of capacity to proceed, Rule 1.14 (Client with Diminished Capacity) provides that the lawyer “may take reasonably necessary protective action including, in appropriate cases, seeking the appointment of a surrogate decision-maker.” However, the much-preferred option is for the lawyer to determine now how the client would want the representation to be handled in the event of incapacity.

Working Remotely: Confidentiality Issue
Pursuant to D.C. Rule 1.6 (Confidentiality of Information), the lawyer’s duty to maintain the client’s confidences and secrets is extremely broad. As such, lawyers working remotely or from other irregular or nontraditional sites must carefully consider the security and confidentiality of their policies, procedures, and systems. Some obvious basics include protecting computer systems and physical files and ensuring that telephone and other conversations and communications remain privileged.

Included in the mandate of Rule 1.1 (Competence) is a lawyer’s duty to be sufficiently technologically proficient to protect client confidentiality. If a lawyer working remotely lacks such knowledge, then he or she should retain a competent technological expert to advise regarding the lawyer’s security systems.

Diligence in a Constantly Changing Situation
Lawyers must be diligent in monitoring the ever-evolving COVID-19 situation, including but not limited to court closings and orders regarding filings, appearances, and statute of limitations tolling, and adapt as necessary to conform with their ethical obligations under the Rules of Professional Conduct. Coronavirus may present more than health issues, including restrictions, delays, increased costs in international transactions, labor and employment issues, client solvency issues, and risks to entire industries. Lawyers must be prepared to address all these issues, and more.

Finally, the old dictum “what goes around, comes around” has ironically never been more relevant, and lawyers should exercise ultimate civility and good will when dealing with opposing counsel.
KUDOS: On January 25, 2020 at the Renaissance in Montgomery, the Alabama Law Foundation inducted the following MBA Members as Fellows:
Bradley Byrne , Matthew McDonald , Mark Newell , Judge Jill Phillips , Jim Rebarchak, Greg Watts , and Judson Wells .
The Alabama Law Foundation Fellows program was established in 1995 to honor Alabama Bar members for outstanding service and commitment. Since no more than 1% of bar members are invited into fellowship, those chosen are an exceptional group of lawyers.
Pictured at the 2020 Alabama Law Foundation Fellows Dinner are: Richard Dorman, Matt McDonald, Mark Newell, Judson Wells, Larry Voit, Pete Mackey, Kathy Miller, Judge Henry Callaway, Judge Jill Phillips, Forrest Latta, David Daniell, Mary Margaret Bailey, and Mark Redditt.

DIED:   On March 15, 2020, MBA Member Marc Bradley passed away. Marc was a longtime partner with the Turner Kimbrough firm in Mobile. He loved cold Natural Light beer, plain old nature, Jeopardy!, driving cautiously, and a single pair of sunglasses so much that he kept them for 50 years. Marc was known for his wisdom, wit, humor, and knack for guiding advice-seekers to their own solutions. Marc is survived by his “self-proclaimed perfect” former wife Beverly Stanard Bradley and three children.
DIED:  MBA Member Gary P. Alidor, Sr. died on February 21, 2020. A lifetime resident of Mobile, Gary attended St. Matthews and Little Flower Catholic Schools, and later McGill Institute. He earned a B.A. in Philosophy from Spring Hill College in 1965 and his law degree from the University of Alabama where he was known as “Dean Alidor” by his 1968 classmates. Gary practiced law in Mobile for nearly 52 years, first at Tyson, Marr, and Friedlander, then as a solo practitioner, and finally, with his son, MBA Member Grey Alidor . Gary was active in several mystic societies and Saint Matthew’s Catholic Church. He loved Alabama football, Mardi Gras, all things New Orleans, and his dogs. Gary is survived by his six children, two grandchildren and numerous other family and friends.
DIED : On February 26, 2020, Paul D. (“Bubba”) Murray, father of MBA Member Judge Brad Murray , passed away peacefully at home. Bubba enjoyed a long career downtown at Mobile Bonding Company where he developed relationships with Mobile’s legal community. He was also a regular on the handball courts of the Moorer YMCA. Bubba is survived by his wife, Mary Ann Bailey Murray, four children, and six grandchildren.

DOWNTOWN OFFICE SPACE AVAILABLE:   Large beautiful offices in the Church Street East Historic District are available for rent at 501 Church St, within walking distance of state and municipal courts. Amenities: VOIP telephone, internet, WIFI, email, 3 in 1 copy, scan, fax machine both upstairs and downstairs and unlimited hours of convenient, free street parking for all, including clients, waiting area, kitchenette, plus optional space for staff. Contact Lee Hale , Sr. 251-433-3671, ext 2 or 251-509-5903 or at .

In Memory of
By: E. J. Saad

In Memory of
By: Mike Druhan
Please consider making a tax deductible donation to the Mobile Bar Foundation:

Name: ____________________________________________________________________________________
Address: __________________________________________________________________________________
Phone: _______________________________________ E-Mail: _____________________________________
YES, I want to make a donation to the Mobile Bar Foundation -
In honor/memory of: ______________________________________________________________________
Acknowledgement sent to:

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__ Life member ($5000, can be paid in up to 5 annual installments
__ Sustaining Member ($100 or more annually)
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Check: __________ (Please make checks payable to the Mobile Bar Foundation)
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Mail to: Mobile Bar Foundation, P.O. Drawer 2005, Mobile, AL 36652

* All credit card transactions will incur a $2.00 processing fee.
Wednesday, April 15
May Bulletin Deadline

Listed below are members that are celebrating birthdays in April:
Wesley Haas Blacksher
Joshua Benjamin Boone
Nathaniel Austin Bosio
James Knox Boteler, III
David A. Boyett
Kasie M. Braswell
Wanda J. Cochran
Andrew J. Crane
M. Donald Davis, Jr.
T. Jefferson Deen, III
Mignon M. DeLashmet
Daniel Asa Dennis, IV
Kristin Daniels Dukes
C. Mark Erwin
Jonathan Gerald Festa
Missty C. Gray
James Nathaniel Guin
Lawrence J. Hallett, Jr.
Anthony Michael Hoffman
Russell Dean Johnson
Taylor Barr Johnson
Shirley M. Justice
Colin Edward Kemmerly
Sujin Kim
Mary Carol Ladd
S. Gaillard Ladd, Jr.
Thomas Matthew Loper
Jeffrey Lynn Luther
Robert P. MacKenzie, III
Philip Daniel Mahoney
Aaron Nicholas Maples
Daniel L. McCleave
Anne Laurie Smith McClurkin
Jonathan Edward McConnell
William Christopher McDonough
P. Russel Myles
Terrie Seal Owens
John Day Peake, III
John Casey Pipes
James Rebarchak
Sandra G. Robinson
Edward Powell Rowan
Jeffrey Patrick Setterstrom
Michael David Sherman
James Dale Smith
Hendrik S. Snow
Domingo Soto
Sarah Hicks Stewart
Charles E. Tait
Jeremy Patrick Taylor
Joseph Dimmick Thetford, Jr.
Desmond Vaughn Tobias
Kimberly C. Walker
Patrick J. Ward
William W. Watts, III
Forrest C. Wilson, III
Margaret Ann Mahoney
Justin D. Roller
Mobile Bar Association | 251-433-9790 |