Attorney - Duane L Cochenour

Attorney:

Duane L Cochenour
Partner
HBS Atlanta Office

P: 404.954.6979
F: 404.954.5020
E: dcochenour@hallboothsmith.com
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Overview

Duane Cochenour is a litigator specializing in the representation of medical professionals and is leader of the firm's Insurance Coverage Practice Group.  He has a unique perspective, with almost 20 years of experience as an insurance claim professional prior to becoming a lawyer.  He knows exactly what it is like to be an adjuster, supervisor, regional claim manager and major case negotiator, because he has worked in each of those positions.  He draws on this vast experience to defend clients in various types of serious bodily injury and property damage litigation.  He also specializes in insurance coverage and bad faith litigation, regularly providing guidance on complex coverage matters to major insurance carriers. Mr. Cochenour is also a certified mediator and a member of both the Georgia and Florida bars.
Mr. Cochenour started as a claims representative with Liberty Mutual, but spent the bulk of his insurance career with St. Paul Insurance Company. He managed territories throughout the Southeast and, as a major case negotiator, handled catastrophic claims throughout the country.  He has experience in many types of high-exposure claims, including medical and dental malpractice, construction defect, negligent security, automobile, defamation, long term care, excess liability and bad-faith/extra contractual claims. He was also designated as an internal resource on coverage matters at St. Paul, teaching liability coverage courses internally to adjusters and supervisors.  This experience gives Mr. Cochenour a unique insight into how to meet the needs of his insurance clients. 
Mr. Cochenour specializes in representing hospitals, physicians and other health care providers against claims of medical malpractice.  However, he keeps a varied litigation practice, representing clients in complex construction defect cases, negligent security cases, motor vehicle accidents, and several other types of bodily injury and property damage litigation.  
Drawing on almost three decades of experience interpreting insurance coverage, Mr. Cochenour leads the firm's Insurance Coverage Practice Group. He regularly provides coverage opinions and other guidance to major insurers on complex coverage and bad faith cases.  However, he is not just a coverage lawyer; he is a litigator. He also litigates declaratory judgment and bad faith actions in both state and federal court.     
Mr. Cochenour excelled academically, graduating in the top 10 of his law school class at Georgia State University. He demonstrated his litigation skills early, leading a team that placed second nationally at the prestigious National Trial Advocacy Competition held annually at Michigan State University.  He also received the Nai Karimimanesh Award as the top student in Advance of Evidence.

Practice Areas

Construction

Mr. Cochenour specializes in providing coverage opinions in construction defect cases, litigating those cases when necessary. However, he also brings additional expertise to the table in evaluating these complex cases. Understanding how the coverage issues interplay with the litigation issues in these matters is essential in assisting carriers evaluate their exposure.  Mr. Cochenour draws on almost three decades of experience evaluating exposure in complex liability cases.

Dental

Mr. Cochenour has years of experience managing dental malpractice claims for insurance carriers.  As an attorney, he now draws on that extensive experience to defend dentists against claims of dental malpractice and during investigations by the Georgia Board of Dentistry.  He can provide representation for all aspects of a dental practice, including transactional matters, patient consent forms, lease agreements, independent contractor arrangements, landlord tenant issues and all health care related issues encountered in a dental practice.

General Liability

Throughout Mr. Cochenour's insurance career, he handled a wide variety of liability claims.  He has continued that type of varied practice into his career as a litigator.  He has litigated numerous types of general liability matters, including negligent security cases, motor vehicle accidents, slip and falls, and excess liability monitoring.

Insurance Coverage

Interpreting insurance coverage is nothing new for Mr. Cochenour; he has done it for almost 30 years. He has had to make the decision of whether or not to pay policy limits under the pressure of a time limit demand in cases involving excess exposure. He has dealt with underwriters, agents, producers, risk managers and others in the insurance sales channel, which gives him a global framework of practical experience on how the insurance industry operates. This experience gives him knowledge and insight into insurance coverage and bad faith issues that a legal education alone simply cannot provide.  He not only provides coverage opinions and guidance to carriers and clients, but also litigates those disputes when necessary.

Professional Malpractice and Ethics

Mr. Cochenour also has experience handling complex E&O claims against various professionals, including attorneys, directors, officers, insurance and real estate agent.   His insurance background, as well as his service on various non-profit boards, gives him a broad breath of experience to draw on.

Professional Negligence / Medical Malpractice

Mr. Cochenour has extensive experience representing hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers.  He has litigated medical malpractice cases throughout Georgia and Florida.  In addition, he has been asked by several insurers to represent health care professionals in numerous other states as part of the firm's National Counsel Program.

Retail and Hospitality

Mr. Cochenour handles a wide variety of premises liability claims, including everything from slip and falls to negligent security claims.

Transportation

Mr. Cochenour also defends client involved in auto accidents, including both passenger vehicles and tractor-trailers accidents.  He handled these claims for years as an adjuster, developing specialized expertise in this area.  He now uses this experience and his litigation skills to defend clients involved in these claims.

Education

Bachelor of Business Administration, Marketing, Georgia State University
JD, Georgia State University, magna cum laude

Admitted

Georgia Supreme Court
Georgia Court of Appeals
All Georgia State and Superior Courts
United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia
United States District Court, Middle District of Georgia
All Florida County and Circuit Courts

Publications

"Legislative Update: 2013 Atlanta Claim Association Legislative Review," A Claimscene: The Newsletter of the Atlanta Claims Association, Sept. 2013, p. 5

Presentations

"Timing is everything: Liability and Limitations." Claim and Underwriting units at Crum & Forster. Sept. 2014.

"Tort Reform in Georgia: A current status of the 2005 tort reform." Zurich Medical Professional Liability Claim Department. April 14, 2010.

“Cross Examination of the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case” Presented at:  “Inside the Courtroom: The Trial of a Personal Injury Case” Institute of Continuing Legal Education in Georgia September 20, 2012.

“Diminution of Value in Property Loss Claims” presented at the US Law Spring 2013 Client Conference in Tuscon, AZ.

Memberships

State Bar of Georgia
State Bar of Florida
Defense Research Institute
Atlanta Claims Association- Board of Directors 
Atlanta Claims Association- Chairperson of the Legislative Committee
Georgia Society of Healthcare Risk Managers
Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution
Georgia Defense Lawyers Association