HALL BOOTH SMITH, P.C

Duane L. Cochenour

191 Peachtree Street NE
Suite 2900
Atlanta, GA 30303-1775 

dcochenour@hallboothsmith.com

Partner

404.954.6979

Biography

Duane Cochenour is a litigator specializing in medical malpractice claims, negligent security cases and insurance coverage. He has a unique perspective, with 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 over 30 years of experience in the insurance and legal industry to defend and counsel clients in various types of 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. Duane is also a certified mediator and a member of both the Georgia and Florida bars.

Duane specializes in representing hospitals, physicians and other health care providers against claims of medical malpractice. In addition to routinely defending these cases in both Georgia and Florida, he is also part of a team of litigators who defend catastrophic cases across the country as part of the firm’s National Trial Counsel Program.

More +

Duane also specializes in representing clients against claims of negligent security in cases involving shootings, assaults and other serious crimes. These claims have exploded in Georgia, but our firm has developed specific strategies that allows us to minimize the exposure of these businesses, property owners, property managers and their insurers.

In addition to these two areas of specialty, Duane keeps a varied litigation practice and represents clients in motor vehicle accidents, products liability claims, premises liability claims, construction disputes, non-medical professional liability claims and other types of bodily injury and property damage litigation.

Drawing on three decades of experience interpreting insurance coverage, Duane is one of the leaders of 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. His vast experience in the insurance industry, coupled with his experience litigating coverage and bad faith actions, enables him to counsel and defend insurers in coverage and bad faith disputes. He knows exactly what it is like to be an adjuster working a large case load, a front line supervisor managing multiple adjusters and a regional claim manager overseeing the claim operation in 5 states for a major insurer. This gives him a unique perspective (and passion for) defending insurance professionals against claims of bad faith. He also regularly reviews cases involving time-limited and/or policy limit demands, advising carriers on their exposure and providing recommendations on how to respond to these demands. He is also frequently retained by excess carriers as monitoring counsel on high-exposure claims.

Duane started his insurance career as a claim representative with Liberty Mutual, but spent the bulk of it with St. Paul Insurance Company. He managed territories throughout the Southeast and, as a major case negotiator, handled catastrophic claims throughout the country. He was also selected to be on a project team that literally drew up a new dedicated medical claim structure nationally for St. Paul in 1995. He was also designated as an internal resource on coverage matters at St. Paul, teaching liability coverage courses internally to adjusters and supervisors. He regularly partnered with underwriters and agents on sales calls with prospective insureds. This experience gives Duane a unique insight into how to meet the needs of his insurance clients.

Duane excelled academically, graduating 7th in a class of over 150 students at the Georgia State University College of Law. 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 Advanced Evidence.

Service Specific Experience



Construction

Duane 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. Duane draws on over three decades of experience evaluating exposure in complex liability cases.



General Liability

Throughout Duane’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 monitoring/assessing excess liability claims.



Insurance Coverage

Interpreting insurance coverage is nothing new for Duane; he has done it for almost 30 years. He has had to make the decision of whether to pay policy limits under the pressure of a time limit demand in cases involving excess exposure. He has dealt with underwriters, agents, producers, brokers, 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.



Medical Malpractice

Duane has extensive experience representing hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers. He has litigated medical malpractice cases throughout Georgia and Florida. In addition, as part of the firm’s National Counsel Program, he has defended hospitals and physicians in catastrophic damage claims in numerous other states.



Professional Malpractice and Ethics

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

Credentials

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

EDUCATION

  • J.D., magna cum laude: Georgia State University

  • B.B.A., Marketing, Georgia State University

Memberships

  • 20+ year member of the organizing committee for the Jazz Thing, Annandale Village, Suwanee, GA

  • Atlanta Claims Association

  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance

  • Former Board Member, Young Audiences of Atlanta

  • Former Board of Directors Member – Atlanta Claims Association

More +
  • Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Resource Center, Atlanta, GA

  • Former Chairman of the Community Involvement Committee for St. Paul Insurance Company, Atlanta Office

  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association

  • Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution

  • Georgia Society of Healthcare Risk Managers

  • Member, Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, GA

  • State Bar of Florida

  • State Bar of Georgia

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, 2023

Presentations

  • Current Trends and Emerging Issues in Negligent Security Claims
    Marsh McLennan Agency - Southeast, Claims Summit; March 21, 2023
  • Timing is Everything: Liability and Limitations
    Crum & Forster, Claim & Underwriting Units; September 2014
  • Diminution of Value in Property Loss Claims
    US Law's Spring Conference, 2013
  • Cross Examination of the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case
    Institute of Continuing Legal Education's "Inside the Courtroom: The Trial of a Personal Injury Case;" September 20, 2012
  • Tort Reform in Georgia: A current status of the 2005 tort reform
    Zurich Medical Professional Liability Claim Department; April 14, 2010

Publications

  • Important Ruling on Assault & Battery Exclusions
    HBS National Insurance Coverage Blog, December 2022 (Read full article)
  • What You Need to Know About MCS-90 Endorsement
    HBS Transportation Blog, April 2021 (Read full article)
  • Georgia Judge Orders Litigation Funding Company To Produce Documents Related To Its Funding Of Plaintiff’s Medical Expenses
    HBS Transportation Blog, August 2020 (Read full article)
  • Insurers Win First Battle In Fight Over Business Interruption Coverage For COVID-Related Closings — Michigan Judge Issues First Decision In This Billion Dollar Insurance Coverage Fight
    National Insurance Coverage Blog, July 2020 (Read full article)
  • Legislative Update: 2013 Atlanta Claim Association Legislative Review
    A Claimscene: The Newsletter of the Atlanta Claims Association, Sept. 2013, p. 5

In the Press

Important Ruling on Assault & Battery Exclusions

Written by: Duane L. Cochenour, Esq. Judge Kevin B. Weiss of the Circuit Court for Orange County, Florida, issued a potentially important ruling regarding assault and battery exclusions. An appeal is sure to follow, but the court granted the plaintiff’s rather novel argument that mental anguish damages (and a $25M Judgement for them) are not

Read More

Hall Booth Smith Attorneys Honored by The Best Lawyers In America 2023

Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) is pleased to announce 47 lawyers from the firm were honored in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This award is based on an evaluation process that includes a collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from attorneys in the same field. These HBS attorneys

Read More

What You Need to Know About MCS-90 Endorsement

Written by: Duane L Cochenour, Esq. In 1980, Congress passed the Federal Motor Carrier Act, an Act that was intended to increase price competition, and reduce and simplify regulations on carriers. One of the most enduring benefits of the Act was a provision for the MCS-90 Endorsement (“MCS-90”) which required proof of financial responsibility of

Read More

Insurers Win First Battle in Fight Over Business Interruption Coverage For COVID-Related Closings — Michigan Judge Issues First Decision in this Billion Dollar Insurance Coverage Fight

Written by Duane L Cochenour, Esq. and Caitlin E. Correa, Esq. Hundreds of declaratory judgment actions have been filed across the country seeking business interruption coverage for shutting down businesses due to the coronavirus. It is shaping up as one of the biggest coverage battles in years with billions of dollars of losses at stake.

Read More

Duane Cochenour | Medical Malpractice And Insurance Covergae Duane Cochenour | Medical Malpractice And Insurance Covergae
Uncategorized

Duane L. Cochenour

atp5d vr

Duane L. Cochenour

Partner
spc2

Biography

Duane Cochenour is a litigator specializing in medical malpractice claims, negligent security cases and insurance coverage. He has a unique perspective, with 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 over 30 years of experience in the insurance and legal industry to defend and counsel clients in various types of 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. Duane is also a certified mediator and a member of both the Georgia and Florida bars.

Duane specializes in representing hospitals, physicians and other health care providers against claims of medical malpractice. In addition to routinely defending these cases in both Georgia and Florida, he is also part of a team of litigators who defend catastrophic cases across the country as part of the firm’s National Trial Counsel Program.

More +

Duane also specializes in representing clients against claims of negligent security in cases involving shootings, assaults and other serious crimes. These claims have exploded in Georgia, but our firm has developed specific strategies that allows us to minimize the exposure of these businesses, property owners, property managers and their insurers.

In addition to these two areas of specialty, Duane keeps a varied litigation practice and represents clients in motor vehicle accidents, products liability claims, premises liability claims, construction disputes, non-medical professional liability claims and other types of bodily injury and property damage litigation.

Drawing on three decades of experience interpreting insurance coverage, Duane is one of the leaders of 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. His vast experience in the insurance industry, coupled with his experience litigating coverage and bad faith actions, enables him to counsel and defend insurers in coverage and bad faith disputes. He knows exactly what it is like to be an adjuster working a large case load, a front line supervisor managing multiple adjusters and a regional claim manager overseeing the claim operation in 5 states for a major insurer. This gives him a unique perspective (and passion for) defending insurance professionals against claims of bad faith. He also regularly reviews cases involving time-limited and/or policy limit demands, advising carriers on their exposure and providing recommendations on how to respond to these demands. He is also frequently retained by excess carriers as monitoring counsel on high-exposure claims.

Duane started his insurance career as a claim representative with Liberty Mutual, but spent the bulk of it with St. Paul Insurance Company. He managed territories throughout the Southeast and, as a major case negotiator, handled catastrophic claims throughout the country. He was also selected to be on a project team that literally drew up a new dedicated medical claim structure nationally for St. Paul in 1995. He was also designated as an internal resource on coverage matters at St. Paul, teaching liability coverage courses internally to adjusters and supervisors. He regularly partnered with underwriters and agents on sales calls with prospective insureds. This experience gives Duane a unique insight into how to meet the needs of his insurance clients.

Duane excelled academically, graduating 7th in a class of over 150 students at the Georgia State University College of Law. 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 Advanced Evidence.

Experience

Construction

Duane 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. Duane draws on over three decades of experience evaluating exposure in complex liability cases.

General Liability

Throughout Duane’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 monitoring/assessing excess liability claims.

Insurance Coverage

Interpreting insurance coverage is nothing new for Duane; he has done it for almost 30 years. He has had to make the decision of whether to pay policy limits under the pressure of a time limit demand in cases involving excess exposure. He has dealt with underwriters, agents, producers, brokers, 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.

Medical Malpractice

Duane has extensive experience representing hospitals, physicians, and other health care providers. He has litigated medical malpractice cases throughout Georgia and Florida. In addition, as part of the firm’s National Counsel Program, he has defended hospitals and physicians in catastrophic damage claims in numerous other states.

Professional Malpractice and Ethics

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

Credentials

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
EDUCATION
  • J.D., magna cum laude: Georgia State University
  • B.B.A., Marketing, Georgia State University

Memberships

  • 20+ year member of the organizing committee for the Jazz Thing, Annandale Village, Suwanee, GA
  • Atlanta Claims Association
  • Claims and Litigation Management Alliance
  • Former Board Member, Young Audiences of Atlanta
  • Former Board of Directors Member – Atlanta Claims Association
More +
  • Former Chairman of the Board of Directors of the Cooperative Resource Center, Atlanta, GA
  • Former Chairman of the Community Involvement Committee for St. Paul Insurance Company, Atlanta Office
  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
  • Georgia Office of Dispute Resolution
  • Georgia Society of Healthcare Risk Managers
  • Member, Hebron Baptist Church, Dacula, GA
  • State Bar of Florida
  • State Bar of Georgia

Recognition

  • The Best Lawyers in America®, 2023

Presentations

  • Current Trends and Emerging Issues in Negligent Security Claims
    Marsh McLennan Agency – Southeast, Claims Summit; March 21, 2023
  • Timing is Everything: Liability and Limitations
    Crum & Forster, Claim & Underwriting Units; September 2014
  • Diminution of Value in Property Loss Claims
    US Law’s Spring Conference, 2013
  • Cross Examination of the Plaintiff in a Personal Injury Case
    Institute of Continuing Legal Education’s “Inside the Courtroom: The Trial of a Personal Injury Case;” September 20, 2012
  • Tort Reform in Georgia: A current status of the 2005 tort reform
    Zurich Medical Professional Liability Claim Department; April 14, 2010

Publications

  • Important Ruling on Assault & Battery Exclusions
    HBS National Insurance Coverage Blog, December 2022 (Read full article)
  • What You Need to Know About MCS-90 Endorsement
    HBS Transportation Blog, April 2021 (Read full article)
  • Georgia Judge Orders Litigation Funding Company To Produce Documents Related To Its Funding Of Plaintiff’s Medical Expenses
    HBS Transportation Blog, August 2020 (Read full article)
  • Insurers Win First Battle In Fight Over Business Interruption Coverage For COVID-Related Closings — Michigan Judge Issues First Decision In This Billion Dollar Insurance Coverage Fight
    National Insurance Coverage Blog, July 2020 (Read full article)
  • Legislative Update: 2013 Atlanta Claim Association Legislative Review
    A Claimscene: The Newsletter of the Atlanta Claims Association, Sept. 2013, p. 5

In the Press

Important Ruling on Assault & Battery Exclusions

Written by: Duane L. Cochenour, Esq. Judge Kevin B. Weiss of the Circuit Court for Orange County, Florida, issued a potentially important ruling regarding assault and battery exclusions. An appeal is sure to follow, but the court granted the plaintiff’s rather novel argument that mental anguish damages (and a $25M Judgement for them) are not
Read More

Hall Booth Smith Attorneys Honored by The Best Lawyers In America 2023

Hall Booth Smith, P.C. (HBS) is pleased to announce 47 lawyers from the firm were honored in the 2023 edition of The Best Lawyers in America. This award is based on an evaluation process that includes a collection of client and lawyer evaluations and peer reviews from attorneys in the same field. These HBS attorneys
Read More

What You Need to Know About MCS-90 Endorsement

Written by: Duane L Cochenour, Esq. In 1980, Congress passed the Federal Motor Carrier Act, an Act that was intended to increase price competition, and reduce and simplify regulations on carriers. One of the most enduring benefits of the Act was a provision for the MCS-90 Endorsement (“MCS-90”) which required proof of financial responsibility of
Read More

Insurers Win First Battle in Fight Over Business Interruption Coverage For COVID-Related Closings — Michigan Judge Issues First Decision in this Billion Dollar Insurance Coverage Fight

Written by Duane L Cochenour, Esq. and Caitlin E. Correa, Esq. Hundreds of declaratory judgment actions have been filed across the country seeking business interruption coverage for shutting down businesses due to the coronavirus. It is shaping up as one of the biggest coverage battles in years with billions of dollars of losses at stake.
Read More