ALBANY — The Georgia Court of Appeals handed down a ruling this week that will allow Alexandra Myles’ suit against celebrity attorney Ken Nugent and Nugent’s law businesses — Kenneth S. Nugent PC and the Nugent Law Firm — as well as former Nugent attorney Christopher Warren to move forward to trial.
The Appeals Court ruled that a Dougherty Superior Court judge made no errors in its ruling that Nugent had no grounds for summary judgment that would have dismissed charges against him.
Myles, who was injured in a car accident in which a city of Smithville employee ran a stop sign in a city-owned vehicle and hit her car, had initially hired Nugent’s firm to represent her in a lawsuit, but she said in court documents that she was not satisfied with the representation she received and she dismissed Nugent’s firm in favor of Albany-based Watson Spence firm attorney Chris Cohilas.
Contacted about the ruling, Cohilas said he could not say much about it with a trial now pending.
“Obviously, we’re pleased with the results of the Appeals Court’s ruling and look forward to trial,” Cohilas, the Dougherty County Commission’s chairman, said. “There will be a period of gathering official documentation, but once that’s done the trial should move forward (in Dougherty Superior Court).
“My client is very pleased with the ruling, and she’s ready for this process to move forward. We believe strongly in our position, and we feel that the Court of Appeals did the right thing and followed the law.”
Nugent was out of the country and not immediately available for comment, but Lisa Rayner in his law office said she would contact him to see if he wanted to respond to an Albany Herald request for comment.
Myles said in court documents that she hired the Nugent law firm to represent her in the case after seeing his advertisements on local TV stations. She said that, despite several attempts, she could not get Warren, who had been assigned to her case, to meet with her.
When the two finally met, Warren said he’d negotiated a $10,327.76 settlement with the city of Smithville insurance company, but Myles rejected the settlement offer. Court documents show that Warren eventually accepted the settlement offer on Myles’ behalf and a check for the amount negotiated was signed and deposited into the Nugent firm’s escrow account.
With Cohilas as her counsel, Myles brought 15 charges against Nugent, his firm and Warren that included legal malpractice, violation of the RICO Act, conspiracy, conversion, forgery, fraud and breach of fiduciary duty.
The Appeals Court, citing examples in the law, ruled that then-Dougherty Superior Court judge Stephen Goss had ruled correctly in denying Nugent’s requests for summary judgment in the case. In one section, the panel of Appeals Court judges wrote, “Moreover, twice during the oral argument below, the trial court asked Nugent’s counsel to name the claims to be affected by a ruling on the motion (made during the hearing). And twice, counsel failed to identify any specific claim.”
On five separate instances in its ruling, the Appeals Court panel wrote, “We find no error in trial court’s denial of Nugent’s claim” or similar wording.
Cohilas said no time table has been set for the case to move to trial.