Helping Clients Sleep At Night

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Harrison, Bettis, Staff, McFarland & Weems L.L.P. Eliminate Surprises in the Courtroom

The award-winning trial lawyers of Harrison, Bettis, Staff, McFarland & Weems L.L.P. give clients a priceless gift when they need it most—peace of mind. Drawing from decades of courtroom experience, the firm’s seasoned attorneys—several of whom are longtime AV® Preeminent™ rated by Martindale-Hubbell®—are able to give worried clients relief by providing the answers they need and the guidance to know what’s ahead.

With significant expertise in the areas of complex commercial litigation; energy, oil and gas; construction; insurance coverage; personal injury and wrongful death; among many others; the attorneys at Harrison Bettis make it their business to understand their clients’ companies at an intimate level.

“Preparation means going to great lengths to find the perfect expert for cases,” says Partner Cliff Harrison.

Recently, D. Mitchell McFarland and James M. Bettis, Jr. Kinder Morgan successfully represented the petroleum-coke handling company Kinder Morgan in arbitration for damages and lost profits related to the collapse of a coke pit wall at a refinery. The claim was complicated by a prior arbitration that had led to a $61 million award from which Kinder Morgan had sought indemnity.

“We hired experts in plant operation, lost profits and a former professor in concrete construction. He determined exactly why the wall fell and what was wrong with it,” McFarland explains.

At trial, the team successfully proved that Kinder Morgan complied with its contractual obligations in full and that the cause of the coke pit wall failure was a result of defects in the design and construction of the coke pit. The arbitrator ruled that Kinder Morgan owed nothing on the claims.

Harrison Bettis is skilled in innovating creative solutions to help its clients. Tennessee Gas Pipeline (TGP) had an $86 million compressor project that should have been completed in 17 months and instead took almost three years. TGP had not intended to make a claim, but when faced with a $20 million claim for damages by the contractor, the firm worked with the TGP to find how it had been damaged by the delay. After a six-day jury trial, the firm obtained an $18. 5 million jury verdict for TGP on its claims and a zero verdict on the counterclaims by the contractor.

Unfazed by complex cases, the attorneys fight relentlessly for the rights of their clients. The firm was called on by three large professional employment organizations (PEO) when they discovered that their insurance brokers had placed them with fraudulent or non-existent workers compensation insurance. The debacle forced the clients out of business, leading to lost profits claims totaling in excess of $75 million. After intense investigations and discovery, the firm achieved favorable settlements for all of the PEO clients.

Rick Staff and Kerry McEniry were called upon by a division of a major oil field service provider to develop an accurate and early risk assessment and tactical litigation plan for the handling of four related contract, personal injury and wrongful death suits in Texas and New Mexico. The last of the four suits was resolved by settlement after almost four years of litigation.


“The company used our assessment and plan in conjunction with developing a revised business plan to address unexpected downturn in the demand for its products and services,” Staff recalls. “Our firm helped the company take advantage of the opportunities after the economy stabilized in its marketplace.”

Harrison Bettis leverages its expansive experience to tell their clients what to expect in the courtroom and the range of potential outcomes in order to manage expectations.

“Our firm is diligent in learning our clients’ business and earning their trust,” Harrison says.

Many of the firm’s clients have been with the firm for multiple decades. In addition, these clients refer the firm to their colleagues, family and friends. After hearing good things about Harrison Bettis from an associate, a respected businessman called the firm when he was stressed and unable to sleep due to a claim that posed a significant threat to his company. An employee was horribly injured on the job and had hired an aggressive plaintiff’s lawyer. He consulted a big firm and was told that there was no insurance coverage that would protect him and his business.

Within days, the attorneys of Harrison Bettis worked to trigger coverage under not one but several liability policies. They quickly called the plaintiff’s lawyer, arranged an interview with the injured employee, analyzed the medical and liability facts, evaluated the case for the client and the insurance company, and set up mediation. The case settled for a favorable amount, paid by the very insurance companies that, weeks earlier, had told “the big firm” no coverage existed. The case was completed in a few weeks. The next day, a vice president of the company called the firm, and said, “I just thought you might like you to know—the old man slept last night.”

–Ashley Cisneros
Ashley Cisneros is a co-founder of Chatter Buzz Media, an Orlando Internet marketing firm that helps companies and organizations engage with their target markets through inbound marketing via the Internet. Chatter Buzz Media, which won the Social Madness competition for the Orlando small business market, is a full-service digital marketing firm specializing in website design, search engine optimization (SEO), social media marketing and content creation. Prior to founding Chatter Buzz, Ashley worked as a newspaper reporter, magazine editor, technical writer, marketing manager, public relations practitioner and freelance journalist. To see Ashley’s content writing, visit You can also reach Ashley on her Google profile.

By | 2017-04-28T07:32:26+00:00 April 20th, 2012|Categories: Blog, Samples|Tags: , , |0 Comments

About the Author:

Ashley Cisneros Mejia is a journalist, entrepreneur and marketer. She began her career as a newspaper reporter and later as an editor at Florida Trend business magazine. Ashley has worked as a professional freelance writer since 2009, as a technical writer, marketing manager, and public relations practitioner. She also founded two digital marketing agencies in Orlando. Named one of Orlando’s 40 Under 40 and honored by the Women’s Executive Council of Orlando for achievements in media and communications, Ashley earned a B.S. in Journalism and an M.S. in Entrepreneurship at the University of Florida.

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