The former residents of the Marshall Square retirement community made some very wise decisions in choosing local attorneys Sam Nicholson, Harry Revell and Jack Long to represent them in court.
All three lawyers are well respected throughout the community, extremely knowledgeable about the law and have garnered a lot of attention over the years.
Some of that attention has even made national news.
First off, Sam Nicholson has been practicing law in Augusta for more 35 years and has been named a “Super Lawyer” in the State of Georgia for five of the last six years and also been selected to the National Trial Lawyers Association.
You can’t get much better than that. Let’s just say, he’s worth the money.
But about 15 years ago, Nicholson made national headlines when he dared to take on a corporate monster.
Who exactly was this Goliath that Nicholson challenged in court?
None other than Hooters of America.
Yep. The national restaurant chain best known for its busty waitresses wearing tiny tank tops and skimpy orange shorts.
So what was Nicholson’s beef with the Atlanta-based restaurant chain?
He got fed up with their faxes coming to his office.
The local restaurant began faxing coupons for the restaurant to local businesses and Nicholson quickly became irritated by them.
“They’re annoying,” Nicholson told the New York Times in 2001. “They’re using your paper. They can come in when you’re looking for another fax.”
As a result, Nicholson filed a class-action suit against the company and, to the nation’s surprise, a jury found that the Hooters’ faxes that were rolling off his machine in 1995 willfully violated a little-known federal law called the Telephone Consumer Protection Act that prohibits sending unsolicited fax advertisements.
The jury ended up awarding Nicholson and the 1,320 other plaintiffs included in the lawsuit a $11.9 million judgment.
It was a precedent-setting case that stunned the country.
And who was the lead plaintiff attorney representing Nicholson during the case?
Harry Revell, who happened to be a partner with the local law firm, Burnside Wall Daniel Ellison & Revell, at the time.
During the trial, Revell apparently made quite an impact on the jury.
In order to illustrate the number of faxes that Hooters allegedly sent to members of the lawsuit, Revell wheeled 42 reams of paper into the courtroom.
The attorneys estimated it was equivalent to about 21,000 pages of faxes.
“It was more than a few pieces of paper,” Nicholson told the New York Times in 2001.
The case attracted worldwide attention and its merits were debated in law schools across the country, as well as on television programs such as ABC’s “Good Morning America.”
It took six years for Nicholson’s case to reach a jury, but, when it finally did, the $11.9 million verdict left most lawyers, marketing executives and consumer advocates completely speechless.
Clearly, Revell had done an outstanding job on the case against Hooters and, about three years later, in August 2004, he agreed to partner with Sam Nicholson to form Nicholson Revell LLP.
But some former residents of Marshall Square were equally wise to hire attorney Jack Long of the local law firm, Tucker Long.
Long, who has been a trial lawyer since 1971, has been named a Georgia “Super Lawyer” for three years straight.
Long was also appointed by the Chief Justice of the Georgia Supreme Court to serve on the Augusta Judicial Circuit Public Defender Selection Panel and has testified before the Georgia Supreme Court on Indigent Defense.
One of his clients described him as the “Columbo” of local attorneys because he is extremely detail oriented and works tirelessly for his clients.
In recent years, Long has also received a great deal of national attention for the civil cases he has filed in both Richmond and Columbia counties alleging that the state’s private probation company, Sentinel Offender Services, has violated his clients’ constitutional rights.
Long and his local law firm have been committed to battling private probation for years.
Founded in 1992, Sentinel Offender Services has grown into a powerful player in criminal justice systems around the country.
Based in Irvine, Calif., the company has assets of nearly $32 million, and brought in nearly $5.6 million in revenues in 2012, according to disclosures filed in a separate, federal lawsuit.
In Georgia, the bulk of the company’s business comes from collecting fines and fees for private probation.
Long’s clients allege that Sentinel overcharged probationers and illegally collected fees, in some instances using incarceration in jails to coerce payment from probationers.
“Examples of the abuses of tolling go on and on,” Long wrote in a brief to the Georgia Supreme Court. “The point is that Sentinel makes money from tolling at the expense of Georgia citizens. It is debt collection aided by the threat and use of incarceration to compel payment.”
Long is dedicated and absolutely determined to change the probation system here in Georgia.
“The purpose of all of this is to stop what I think is an abusive system,” Long told the Metro Spirit last year. “These people who are working for Sentinel are not really trained probation officers. They are bill collectors.”
Clearly, the former Marshall Square residents are in very good hands with these three lawyers.