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Three southwest Georgia lawyers tapped to review Grady EMC lawsuit

Three southwest Georgia attorneys, none of whom have any apparent connection with any Georgia electric membership cooperative, have been appointed to an independent litigation review committee to review claims made against Grady EMC by a group of disgruntled EMC members.
Superior Court Senior Judge Loring A. Gray Jr., made the appointments official in a court order filed in Grady Superior Court late Friday afternoon.
The three attorneys appointed to serve are John S. Sims Jr., of Tifton; J. Converse Bright, of Valdosta; and F. Faison  Middleton IV, of Albany.
Sims was admitted to the Georgia Bar in Dec. 1962 and is a partner in the law firm of Sims Fleming & Benson in Tifton. He specializes in eminent domain, according to the Georgia Bar website.
Bright is a trial lawyer with over 45 years experience, offering representation for a range of clients in the trial of personal injury and wrongful death cases, felony criminal cases, and appeals.
Middleton has practiced in his hometown of Albany since 2003. His area of practice includes civil litigation, complex commercial litigation and catastrophic injury litigation.
Attorneys representing Grady EMC successfully argued for the formation of a litigation review committee during a hearing held on Aug. 18.
Judge Gray had said he would appoint the committee members the following week, but his order was not filed until last week.
In the order filed with Grady County Clerk of Superior Court Debbie Kines, the committee is to work without compensation and shall report their findings to the court by Oct. 30. The order also stipulates if additional time is required the court may grant an extension.
During the Aug. 18 hearing, the EMC attorneys pushed for attorneys serving as legal counsel for other Georgia EMCs as candidates to serve on the committee, which drew objections by attorneys for the plaintiffs.
The plaintiffs are seeking information from both Grady EMC and United National Bank concerning Grady EMC’s purchase and subsequent sale of UNB stock to Thomas A. Rosser Sr. They say they want information from the EMC regarding several items including work performed by Grady EMC mechanics on personal vehicles belonging to Rosser Sr., the $3.8 million renovation of the EMC headquarters, the purchase of a large tract of land on GA Hwy. 112, and more.
The plaintiffs, who are Gordon Clyatt, Ronald Sellars, C. Seaborn Roddenbery, Jerome J. Ellis and Roy Brock, originally filed suit Oct. 7, 2014 against the EMC over the way it retains capital credits, then only disburses them to deceased members, and for business decisions made including using EMC funds to purchase stock in United National Bank and then selling the stock to Thomas A. Rosser Sr., while financing the purchase with a loan from the co-op, among other things.
Between July 23, 2014, and Aug. 27, 2014, the plaintiffs placed six advertisements in The Messenger raising their concerns with the operation and management of Grady EMC.
In addition to Rosser Sr., and the EMC, the defendants include EMC board of directors members Dewey Brock Jr., Caylor Outzs, Lamar Carlton, James Freeman, Lamar Strickland, Robert E. Lee, James Lewis, and current EMC General Manager Thomas A. (Bo) Rosser Jr.
Rosser Sr. is represented in the matter by Greg Michell of Stanley, Esrey & Buckley of Atlanta. Other attorneys for the defendants include Hugh B. McNatt of Vidalia; T. Joshua, R. Archer, M. Anne Kaufold-Wiggins, and Matthew B. Ames of Balch & Bingham of Atlanta; M. Claire Chason of the Chason Law Firm in Cairo; V. Gail Lane of Altman & Lane in Thomasville; and Thomas Conger of Bainbridge.

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