Have you met Berman & Simmons attorney Chuck Hehmeyer yet?
In this Maine Lawyers Review article written by Jo Southard, Chuck talks about winning a record verdict in federal court, why he chose to move to Maine when he could practice anywhere, and the collegiality of the Maine Bar.
“Maine Bar: Respect and Collegiality” article, published, December 8, 2022:
Berman & Simmons attorney Charles “Chuck” Hehmeyer just obtained a unanimous $25 million verdict in the US District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania for an injured client. The client, Travis Sweigart, was injured when a tractor-trailer owned by Blue & Green Trucking & Hair (not a typo) turned in front of the motorcycle he was driving. The driver was on his cell phone.
This verdict sets a record for Maine attorneys trying out-of-state cases. For a case that was not a mass tort, “it’s a pretty big verdict,” Hehmeyer said.
He added that there is a decent chance his client will collect the full $25 million. The Defendant insurance company never offered a settlement figure, although the policy will only cover $11 million. In a case such as this, the other defendants may seek leave of the court to sue the insurance company on behalf of the plaintiff for bad faith. If it loses, the insurance company will have to cover the full amount.
While Hehmeyer is a Maine attorney now, he is relatively new to the state. For 30 years he practiced in Pennsylvania, specializing in medical malpractice and focusing on children with metabolic disorders and birth injuries.
Hehmeyer said he has collaborated with attorneys in 26 states over the years, including with Berman & Simmons in Maine. At one point, he said, he realized he enjoyed working with that firm more than other high-end plaintiff firms.
“I got to know firms around the country,” Hehmeyer said, “I saw how they operated. This firm is different than most. It’s larger and more sophisticated and has some terrifically talented young lawyers.” If he were just starting out, he joked, Berman & Simmons would not hire him. Hehmeyer praised not only his colleagues at the firm but the entire Maine Bar. “I even like the lawyers on the other side” of cases, he said. “I like to practice in this world with so much collegiality and respect, all while operating at a very high level.”
Asked about any upcoming interesting cases, Hehmeyer could not comment. He did say he is not necessarily a big fan of Maine’s medical malpractice panel. “That’s not common across the country,” he noted. He is working on several medical malpractice cases, but they are all still before the panel and therefore he cannot talk about them.