Stephen J. Cohen
Partner / Atlanta
Steve is a partner in the Atlanta office of Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell, LLP. Steve’s experience prior to practicing law provides him with a unique perspective for representing motor carriers and their drivers in personal injury litigation. After obtaining his bachelor’s degree in criminal justice he worked as a police officer where he investigated numerous traffic accidents. He then spent over seven years as a claims adjuster at a commercial automobile insurer while attending law school at night. The combination of skills learned in law enforcement and insurance have proved valuable in defending lawsuits against commercial drivers, trucking companies, motor coaches, public school and municipal bus authorities, para-transit providers, limousine services, and their insurers.
In addition to representing the transportation industry, Steve has also defended law enforcement officers in civil rights cases. His knowledge of the law and policies governing the conduct of law enforcement personnel in the line of duty allows him to represent police officers faced with claims of false arrest, excessive force, illegal searches and seizures, injury due to high-speed chases, and malicious prosecution.
Gary Lovell and Stephen Cohen Obtain Defense Verdict in Wrongful Death Case
October 18, 2018
In October 2018, Gary Lovell obtained a defense verdict in a wrongful death case in Superior Court of Stephens County, Georgia. Mr. Lovell tried the case with colleague Stephen Cohen, of CCS’s Atlanta office. The case concerned an explosion at a residence in White County Georgia. Prior to the explosion, the defendant sold liquid propane (“LP”) to the homeowners. The homeowners believed they were using an excessive amount of LP, and called defendant to refill the tank, and check the system for leaks. The company's technician responded, found no leaks during his check, and filled the tank. The homeowners were away on travel at the time, so their grandfather took responsibility for coordinating the LP delivery with defendant. After delivery of the LP, the homeowner’s grandfather went to the residence, activated the furnace, and found everything to be in working order. Approximately three days later, the grandfather returned to the residence for an unknown reason. After he returned, the home exploded for an unknown reason. Sadly, the grandfather was inside, and his body was recovered by fire investigators. The decedant’s widow filed a wrongful death suit in Stephens County, Georgia. She alleged that defendant failed to perform, or improperly performed the leak test and failed to locate a leak in the LP system servicing the home. At trial, the evidence showed that defendant's delivery technician performed the leak test prior the explosion. Photographs taken by fire investigators shortly after the explosion revealed that the instrument necessary to perform the leak test was still attached to the LP tank regulator. Furthermore, defendant’s experts refuted plaintiff’s experts’ theory that a hole in a furnace line was the cause of the leaking gas. The defense expert opined that the hole was caused by deterioration from sitting in ash for almost a month after the fire. Additionally, plaintiff’s theory of excessive LP use as evidence of a leak was also refuted. Defendant’s expert showed that the usage was normal based on approximately 10 years of LP usage data. Finally, the same expert also showed that the significant release of LP in the two to three days between the delivery and the explosion was consistent with an uncapped valve being opened, possibly by the decedent. The trial lasted four days, with the jury retiring for deliberations on the afternoon of the fourth day. After deliberating for approximately 3 hours, the jury returned a verdict in favor of the defense. A confidential pre-trial hi-lo agreement was secured between the parties, which precluded any appeals.
For informational purposes only. Past success does not indicate the likelihood of success in future cases.
Copeland Stair’s Annual Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Seminar in Atlanta, GA – September 12, 2019
September 12, 2019
Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell's Annual Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Seminar was held on Thursday September 12, 2019. Located at the beautiful Atlanta Botanical Gardens, this two-track format addressed the emerging issues that keep you up at night. Some session topics included: the rise in tort litigation, putting together the pieces of the wrongful death case, effective use of recorded statements and the material misrepresentation defense, liability exposure in the age of active shooters and the impact bias has on case evaluation and jury deliberations. For more information on this seminar, please contact Michelle Mattox.
TIDA Advanced Seminar – Stephen Cohen attended
February 2, 2017
Stephen Cohen attended the TIDA Advanced Seminar on Feb 2-3, 2017 at the Renaissance Orlando Hotel in Orlando, Florida.
Arkansas Trucking Seminar – September 13-15, 2016 – Stephen Cohen attended
September 13, 2016
Stephen Cohen attended the 2016 Arkansas Trucking Seminar from September 13-15, in Rogers, Arkansas at the Embassy Suites Hotel & NWA Convention Center.
CSKL Attorneys Named to 2020 Georgia Super Lawyers and Rising Stars Lists
February 15, 2020
Copeland, Stair, Kingma & Lovell, LLP is proud to announce that several of our lawyers have been selected for inclusion on the Georgia Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars® lists for 2020. Super Lawyers® recognizes attorneys who have distinguished themselves in their legal practice. Attorneys are chosen for this honor through a nomination process, peer review by practice area and independent research on candidates. The lengthy process identifies lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Meet our Super Lawyers® and Rising Stars®! Only five percent of attorneys in the state of Georgia are selected for inclusion in Super Lawyers® list. Our Super Lawyers® are: Wade K. Copeland Eric J. Frisch Johannes S. Kingma D. Gary Lovell, Jr. Rolfe M. Martin Charles M. McDaniel, Jr. William D. Newcomb David F. Root Douglas W. Smith Kent T. Stair Fred M. Valz, III Rising Stars® list recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys in the state – those who are 40 years old or younger, or those who have been practicing for 10 years or less. No more than 2.5 percent of eligible attorneys are named to the Rising Stars® list, here are ours in Atlanta: Melissa L. Bailey Stephen J. Cohen Michael P. DiOrio Tawny D. Mack Claire A. Sumner
Carlock Copeland Announces Attorneys Elevated to Partner
January 1, 2019
Carlock, Copeland & Stair is pleased to announce eight attorneys, across three offices have been elevated to partner effective January 1, 2019. We congratulate each of them for this achievement and couldn’t be prouder of the manner in which they have distinguished themselves, both in the courtroom and within the community.
“The class size, location, and diversity of this year’s new partner group demonstrates the emerging talent CCS has worked hard to cultivate throughout the Firm. We are proud to support and elevate the attorneys helping us grow and transition the Firm in the future.”
~Managing Partner, Shannon Sprinkle ~Stephen J. Cohen, of our Atlanta office, received his J.D. from Atlanta’s John Marshall Law School, his M.P.A. from the University of Georgia and his B.A. from the University of Nevada, Las Vegas. Prior to practicing law, Steve was a police officer, and then a claims adjuster at a commercial automobile insurer. Both professions afforded him invaluable experience and a unique perspective in his thriving trucking and transportation litigation practice with Carlock Copeland. Alexander E. (Alex) Davis, of Carlock Copeland’s Charleston office, earned his J.D. at the University of South Carolina School of Law and his undergraduate degree from Wake Forest University. Alex has vast experience in complex insurance coverage disputes, construction defects claims and regularly represents clients in a variety of business and commercial tort claims. Alex is accomplished author, having been published in several national and regional magazines and is a participant of SCDTAA’s Emerging Leaders Program. Michael P. (Mike) DiOrio earned his law degree at The Catholic University of America, Columbus Law School, where he was a Moot Court member, and his undergraduate degree from Vanderbilt University. Prior to joining Carlock Copeland, Mike practiced as a criminal prosecutor in a metro Atlanta area District Attorney’s Office. Mike’s practice is focused primarily on medical malpractice defense and general liability litigation out of our Atlanta office. He has been first chair in over 50 jury trials. Mike volunteers his time with several worthy organizations, including serving as a past co-chair of Slyland Trail’s Annual Southern Shindig event. He lives in Atlanta with his wife, Morgan, and daughter, Virginia Dare. Abby C. Grozine earned her B.A. in Political Science from the University of Georgia and her J.D. from Mississippi College of Law with honors. Abby focuses her practice in the area of commercial litigation, general liability defense and trucking and transportation litigation, from our Atlanta office. Prior to joining Carlock Copeland, Abby served as a Staff Attorney for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th District where she gained valuable research, writing and analytical skills used today in her expanding litigation practice. Jennifer Guerra, in the Atlanta office of Carlock Copeland, focuses her practice on commercial litigation, representing clients in professional liability claims, product liability claims and bad faith/coverage disputes. Jennifer attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she received her B.A. with honors, and then the University of Pennsylvania Law School for her J.D. Prior to practicing in the civil arena, Jennifer clerked with the State Court of DeKalb County where she learned the ropes of complex tort and multi-party litigation. Angela Cirina Kopet opened Carlock Copeland’s Chattanooga, TN office in 2014 and has managed the office since its inception. Angela practices primarily general liability, transportation and insurance coverage litigation, and is licensed in Georgia, Tennessee and Washington D.C. She is heavily involved with the Claims and Litigation Management Alliance (CLM), serving on several committees, the Educational Task Force, and was named The CLM Professional of the Year in the Outside Counsel Category in 2017. She was appointed to the Executive Council for the School of Leadership and remains a faculty member in the School of Casualty within CLM’s Claims College. Angela is Martindale –Hubbell AV Preeminent rated, awarded Top 100 Litigation lawyer in the State of Tennessee, and honored with a Senior Fellowship in the Litigation Counsel of America, a Trial Lawyer Honorary Society where she was inducted into the Order of Juris and Order of Certus for her trial and appellate work. Angela earned her B.A. from Fairfield University, her M.B.A. from Widener University and her J.D. from Delaware Law School. Claire A. Sumner, in our Atlanta office, focuses her practice in health care and general liability defense litigation. Claire has a number of trials under her belt, in both state and federal court, and has appellate experience as well. Claire attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she earned her undergraduate degree in English and religious studies. She received her J.D. with honors from the University of Tennessee College of Law, where she interned at the U.S. Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals. Kristen K. Thompson, in Carlock Copeland’s Charleston office, started her career with the firm in 2012 upon graduating law school. Kristen focuses her practice primarily in medical malpractice and general liability litigation and has impressive experience developing litigation strategies and writing persuasive briefs and motions in defense of her clients. Kristen is the current Vice President of the Susan G. Komen Lowcountry Affiliate's Board of Directors and a former Roper St. Francis Foundation Fellow.
Publications and Presentations
Analyzing Vehicle Technology in Busing and Trucking Cases – Presentation at Copeland Stair’s 2019 Insurance Coverage and Bad Faith Seminar
September 12, 2019
An abundance of data and information is gathered at the scene of many motor vehicle collisions, but in addition to the physical evidence, some motor vehicles contain event data recorders, gps, cameras and other electronic devices that record information. Stephen Cohen and guest speaker, J. Heath Stewart of Impact Collision Analysis, LLC, provided insight into the type of data that is logged into electronic devices, which can include vehicle speed, brake and clutch application, cruise control and video. Attendees were provided with instruction on proper practices for downloading data through computer software. Attendees left with a better understanding on how to obtain and utilize available data to efficiently resolve cases or prepare for defense. For more information on this presentation or firm seminars, please contact Michelle Mattox.
Relationships In Claims: a Panel Presentation including Stephen Cohen at the 25th Annual TIDA Seminar, October 25-27, 2017
October 25, 2017
Stephen Cohen was selected as a panelist at the 25th Annual TIDA Seminar, October 25-27, 2017 in Las Vegas, NV. Stephen presented Relationships in Claims on October 25. Please contact Patty O'Toole at email@example.com for more information.
Carlock, Copeland and Stair, LLP Welcomes Attorneys To Atlanta and Charleston Offices
August 24, 2016