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Erica L. Parsons

Partner

Buckhead Primary

p: 404-480-3927 f: 404-480-3927

Education

  • University of Georgia School of Law, J.D.
  • Auburn University, B.A. Magna Cum Laude

Admissions

  • Georgia Supreme Court
  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • All Georgia State and Superior Courts
  • United States District Court, Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia
  • 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Alabama Supreme Court
  • Alabama Court of Appeals
  • All Alabama State, District, and Circuit Courts
  • United States District Court for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama

Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • State Bar of Alabama
  • State Bar of Tennessee
  • State Bar of Mississippi (inactive)
  • Atlanta Bar Association

Recognition

Erica is a Partner in the Buckhead office of Lueder, Larkin & Hunter, LLC. She has more than a decade of experience advising insurers in the management of risk through representation in complex coverage and bad faith litigation, involving both first party and third party insurance policies. She prosecutes and defends insurance coverage and bad faith disputes involving first- and third-party auto, property and liability policies; homeowners, landlords and renters policies; commercial general liability policies; customized business liability policies; and excess and umbrella policies. She routinely writes and speaks on current issues and trends in the insurance coverage and bad faith arena and manages the firm’s insurance coverage articles.

In addition to her coverage and bad faith practice, Erica also maintains a successful litigation practice focused in the areas of general liability, products, and premises liability defense. She successfully litigates a wide variety of cases in state and federal courts at the trial and appellate levels. She has obtained defense verdicts, judgments and appellate rulings, even in clear liability cases. Her client base includes national multi-line insurers, individual insureds, large corporations, small businesses, retailers, churches, schools, trucking companies and drivers, and construction companies. She is admitted to practice in Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi.

She was named a Rising Star by Georgia Super Lawyers in 2010/11, 2014/15, and 2015/16. She was also selected to serve as a Barrister in the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court.

Erica graduated, magna cum laude, from Auburn University in 2001 with a Bachelor of Arts in English and French. She obtained her Juris Doctor from the University of Georgia School of Law in 2004, where she was a member of Moot Court and Mock Trial teams, a Pupil in the Joseph Henry Lumpkin Inn of Court, a member of Order of Barristers, and served as research assistant to Prof. Ronald L. Carlson.

Defense Verdict - Erica Parsons and Jason Hammer secured a defense verdict for their client in Gwinnett County State Court after a one-week jury trial. The case arose from a 2010 incident in which the Plaintiff was exercising on a weight machine at his gym. After completing his exercises, the Plaintiff attempted to secure the 245 pound bar in place, but it fell on his neck and shoulder, taking him all the way to the ground. The Plaintiff, a 64 year-old former football and basketball coach, injured his neck, shoulder and knee, requiring a 2-level cervical fusion, multiple procedures on his shoulder to repair a torn rotator cuff, and surgery on his knee to repair a torn meniscus. The Plaintiff’s medical expense totaled $134,000.00. Plaintiff filed suit against the gym, an international fitness center company, alleging the Defendant negligently failed to properly train him how to use the machine and that the machine was an inherently dangerous product and the gym failed to keep their premises safe. After four years of litigation, including extensive motions practice resulting in Plaintiff’s claims being narrowed significantly, as well as his testifying expert being excluded, the case was tried to a Gwinnett County jury in January of 2016. The Plaintiff asked the jury to award $1,300,000 in compensatory damages. The crux of the defense was that Plaintiff’s own negligence was the sole proximate cause of his injuries. The jury agreed and returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant. Post-trial motions are being filed to address Defendant’s attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation. The Defendant served a statutory offer of settlement two years prior and subsequently incurred approximately $75,000.00 in fees and expenses.

Appellate Courts Confirm That Homeowner's Policies Do Not Cover Auto Accidents - Obtained a ruling from the Georgia Supreme Court, affirming the grant of summary judgment to Allstate in a case involving a question of coverage under a homeowner's policy for the death of a teenage girl arising from an auto accident. The plaintiffs/appellants attempted to argue that the exclusion should only apply when the vehicle belongs to or was being operated by an insured under the policy, but the trial court granted summary judgment to Allstate, finding that the policy unambiguously excluded coverage for damages arising from the use of any motor vehicle. The Court of Appeals confirmed that homeowner's policies clearly do not provide coverage for damages arising from the use of a motor vehicle, regardless of who owned or was operating the vehicle. Plaintiffs petitioned the Georgia Supreme Court for certiorari on the issue, but the court denied the petition and affirmed the lower courts' rulings in favor of Allstate. Sauls v. Allstate Prop. & Cas. Ins. Co., 326 Ga. App. 821, 757 S.E.2d 455 (2014), cert. denied Case No. S14C1093 (Sept. 22, 2014).

Court of Appeals Affirms Summary Judgment for Insurer, Rules "Any Motor Vehicle" Means Exactly That - The Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurance company in a declaratory judgment action stemming from a 2011 auto accident. The Plaintiff's sixteen year-old daughter was killed in the accident, which occurred after their daughter and other minors had allegedly been socializing and drinking at the home of the insureds. Plaintiff filed suit against the insureds, and the insureds sought coverage under their homeowner's policy issued. The insurance company, in turn, filed a declaratory judgment action seeking a judicial declaration that the homeowner's policy excluded coverage for damages arising from the use of any motor vehicle. The Plaintiff argued that the exclusion applied only when the insured exercised control over the motor vehicle. However, the Court of Appeals and the trial court rejected this argument. Instead, the courts accepted the position that "any motor vehicle" was not limited to motor vehicles owned or operated by or under the control of the insured, but applied to motor vehicles owned or operated by any person. Accordingly, the Court of Appeals confirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of the insurer and ruled as a matter of law that the insurer had no further duty to defend or indemnify the insureds in the underlying tort action.

Summary Judgment in Favor of Defendants in Dog Bite Case - Obtained summary judgment in favor of a florist's shop and the shop owner in a tort case stemming from an alleged dog bite. The Plaintiff claimed that two dogs belonging to the shop owner attacked him as he was walking by the shop. Within days of the alleged attack, he returned to the shop and demanded payment from the shop owner for his purported injuries. The shop owner paid the plaintiff and obtained a full release. Nevertheless, the plaintiff filed suit in an attempt to recover additional funds. Successfully argued that the previous payment and full release constituted an accord and satisfaction, which precluded the plaintiff's claims. The court granted summary judgment in favor of the defendants and dismissed plaintiff's claims with prejudice.

Summary Judgment for Insurer in Auto Coverage Case - Obtained summary judgment in favor of an insurance company in a declaratory judgment action in federal court stemming from a 2011 automobile accident. The at-fault driver and his father sought coverage for the accident under an auto policy as well as a homeowner's policy. Successfully argued that the driver was not an "insured person" as defined by the auto or homeowner's policies, the driver's father was not an "insured person" as defined by the auto policy in relation to the accident, and the homeowner's policy did not cover liability stemming from automobile accidents or negligent entrustment of an automobile. Accordingly, the court ruled that the insurer had no duty to defend or indemnify the driver or his father in the underlying tort lawsuit.

Appellate Court Affirmed That Insurer Owed No Coverage For Damages Arising From Homeowner's Murder Of Wife - The 11th Circuit Court of Appeals affirmed the trial court's grant of summary judgment in favor of an insurer in declaratory judgment action. The insured had been convicted of murdering his wife and had been sued in a subsequent wrongful death action by his wife's parents. The Court of Appeals held that the intentional/criminal acts exclusion contained in a homeowner's policy precluded coverage. Accordingly, the Court held that the insurer had no obligation to defend or indemnify the insured in the underlying wrongful death.

Defense Verdict in Admitted Liability Car Wreck Case - Represented an individual in an admitted liability motor vehicle accident case filed in DeKalb County State Court. The Defendant admitted negligently rear-ending the Plaintiff, but contested causation and the nature and extent of the Plaintiff's injuries and damages at trial. The only medical evidence presented by the Plaintiff was the testimony of his chiropractor. Despite the admission of negligence, the jury considered the minor damage to the vehicles, gaps in treatment and questionable testimony by the chiropractor as to causation, and returned a verdict in favor of the Defendant.

Summary Judgment for Automobile Owner in Dekalb County Superior Court - Defended an insured automobile owner and his friend. A car thief stole the insured's vehicle and crashed into innocent motorists. The motorists filed suit against the insured and his friend, who were following the thief in another vehicle at time of the accident. The Superior Court, DeKalb County, entered summary judgment in favor of the insured owner and friend and the motorists appealed. The Court of Appeals affirmed the grant of summary judgment, ruling that the motorists presented no evidence showing that owner and friend breached any duty by following the car thief and that they presented no evidence of a causal connection between their following and the subsequent accident. The Supreme Court denied Plaintiffs' Petition for Cert.

Dismissal of Case Against Insurer for Uninsured Motorist Benefits - Defended an insurer who had issued a policy of auto liability insurance and an excess liability policy. The insurer was served with a lawsuit as a purported uninsured motorist carrier. The excess insurance policy, issued in North Carolina, had liability limits of $1 Million but did not provide uninsured motorist benefits. The insurer tendered the limits under the liability policy but failed to timely respond to certain Requests for Admissions seeking affirmation of coverage for uninsured motorist benefits under the excess policy and such requests were deemed admitted. Additionally, the named defendant failed to answer and default judgment was entered against him in the amount of $854,727.04. Moved to set aside the admissions and Plaintiff moved to impose sanctions against the insurer for failure to respond to discovery. After extensive briefings and oral argument, the court granted the insurer's Motion to Set Aside Admissions and denied the Motion for Sanctions. Because the admissions were withdrawn, the Plaintiff could not obtain any further recovery under the policy, and he dismissed his claims against the insurer.

Summary Judgment In Favor Of Insurer Affirmed On Appeal - Defended a homeowners' insurer against claims for coverage for an accident that occurred away from the insured premises. The parents of a teenage girl were hosting her birthday party at a field belonging to family friends where guests could ride four-wheelers and engage in other outdoor activities. The teenager and her friend were seriously injured when the four-wheeler they were riding turned over. The parents sought coverage for the injuries under their homeowners' policy of insurance, contending that the field, located several miles from the insured premises, was being used "in connection with the insured premises." In affirming summary judgment in favor of the insurer, the Court of Appeals rejected this argument, explaining that adoption of such an expansive definition of "insured premises" would expose insurers to virtually endless liability. Mason v. Allstate, 2009 WL 1636588.

Petition for Declaratory Judgment Granted for Automobile Insurer - Filed a declaratory judgment action on behalf of an automobile insurer, contending that the insurer had no further duty to defend or indemnify its insured because she breached her duty under the policy to cooperate with the insurer and because she and and her assignees engaged in fraudulent conduct designed to manufacture a bad faith claim against the insurer. Following submission of letter briefs, the District Court held that insurer did not act in bad faith in paying policy limits without conditioning payment on release of its insured. Accordingly, the Court granted the insurer's Petition for Declaratory Judgment and the Eleventh Circuit affirmed on appeal. In an unpublished opinion, the District Court also dismissed, sua sponte, the assignees' lawsuit for bad faith.

Education

  • University of Georgia School of Law, J.D.
  • Auburn University, B.A. Magna Cum Laude

Admissions

  • Georgia Supreme Court
  • Georgia Court of Appeals
  • All Georgia State and Superior Courts
  • United States District Court, Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Georgia
  • 11th Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Alabama Supreme Court
  • Alabama Court of Appeals
  • All Alabama State, District, and Circuit Courts
  • United States District Court for the Northern, Middle, and Southern Districts of Alabama

Memberships

  • State Bar of Georgia
  • State Bar of Alabama
  • State Bar of Tennessee
  • State Bar of Mississippi (inactive)
  • Atlanta Bar Association

Support Staff

Anh Huynh Litigation Paralegal 404-537-3749
Macey McDougald Litigation Paralegal 404-480-4485
Brittney Reynolds Administrative Assistant 404-492-8870