Advocate Capital, Inc. Law Firm Financing Blog

Law Practice Management Stories

LA Supreme Court Decision Has National Impact on Bad Faith Claims


Advocate Capital Inc. client Frank Tomeny IIIThe Louisiana Supreme Court recently issued a decision that will have national implications on how insurance companies defend bad faith claims.  Advocate Capital’s friend and client, Frank Tomeny III of Tomeny Law Firm APLC was instrumental in bringing the issue before the Louisiana Supreme Court. Tomeny successfully argued that an insurer can be found liable for bad faith for failing to settle a claim even if it never received a firm settlement offer.


Frank represented his client in a claim against the defendant, and the defendant’s insurer, State Farm.  Mr. Tomeny recommended settlement for the entire policy limit, which State Farm ignored for months.  After plaintiff obtained an excess judgment, the defendant assigned his bad faith claim against State Farm to plaintiff.  The bad faith matter was removed to Federal Court and subsequently appealed to the US Fifth Circuit Court. The Fifth Circuit certified two questions to the Louisiana Supreme Court. The Louisiana Supreme Court agreed to answer the certified questions, and after oral argument, unanimously held:


1)       “an insurer can be found liable for a bad-faith failure-to-settle claim under La. R. S. 22:1973(A), notwithstanding that the insurer never received a firm settlement offer and

2)       an insurer can be held liable under La. R. S. 22:1973(B)(1) for misrepresenting or failing to disclose facts that are not related to the insurance policy’s coverage; the statute prohibits the misrepresentation of “pertinent facts”, without restriction to facts “relating to any coverages.”


Mr. Tomeny said of the Supreme Court’s decision:


This clearly establishes all Louisiana insurers owe an affirmative duty to adjust claims fairly and promptly and to make reasonable effort to settle claims with the insured or the claimant and must not engage is misrepresentation of pertinent facts.  We hope this decision will be a wake up call to State Farm and all insurers who do not fairly and promptly make reasonable efforts to adjust claims fairly and end the practice of withholding the policy limits from third party claimants.


For more on the Supreme Court’s answers raised in Kelly v State Farm case click here.


Tomeny Law Firm APLC is located in Baton Rouge, LA representing clients in personal injury matters throughout the Louisiana.  Frank‘s peers nominated him as a Martindale-Hubbell top-rated lawyer and The National Board of Trial Advocacy certified Frank in Civil Trial Advocacy.  He is a member of the Baton Rouge Bar Association, the American Association for Justice, the American Bar Association, the Texas and Louisiana Bar Associations, and is on the Board of Governors for the Louisiana Association of Justice.


Congratulations to Frank Tomeny and his team at Tomeny Law Firm APLC!  Advocate Capital, Inc. is proud to support the important work done by trial lawyers like Frank Tomeny.


Donna Jones

Senior Vice President


Advocate Capital, Inc. Preakness Party


Advocate Capital, Inc. 2015 Preakness Party WinnersOn Friday, May 15th, Advocate Capital, Inc. Nashville office employees enjoyed a Preakness themed party for this month’s employee appreciation event. Box lunches were provided by South Street Smokehouse & Crab Shack and dessert featured Preakness favorite, Bergers Cookies.


The first party activity was voting for the Best Derby Hat. The winner with 11 votes was Quality Assurance Analyst Sarah Hazelwood. Next, employees raced to finish their custom ‘jockey jersey’ in a timed event. After 5 minutes and tallying votes, Business Development Manager Michelle Simms won Best Jockey Jersey with her duck themed design.


Advocate Capital, Inc. 2015 Preakness Party Shirley Johnson winnerThe fun didn’t stop there as employees were divided up into heats to race against each other in the miniature magnetic horse races.  Each employee received a personalized horse name to cheer for in four different races. The winners from each race were Sarah Hazelwood, Todd Jackson, Shirley Johnson and Paul Myers. During the final championship race, Shirley Johnson’s horse, Don’t Call Me Shirley, got off to a flying start and never looked back. She received two of the miniature horse race games as her grand prize.


Lastly, employees cast their votes for the actual winner for the 140th Preakness Stakes Race. Thirteen employees won with their vote for American Pharaoh.


Thanks to all the employees for making this such a fun event across the board. Special thanks to the Marketing Team for planning and hosting the event.


Be sure to check out our Facebook and Google+ albums to see photos for more photos.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Memorial Day Hours


Copyright : Richard Laschon In observance of the Memorial Day holiday, our offices will be closed on Monday, May 25th.  All payments, fundings and other transactions received on this day will be processed promptly on Tuesday, May 26th. Should you have any questions regarding the processing of any transaction, please feel free to contact our Accounting Team at 1-615-577-5448 or by email to this address:


The entire Advocate Capital, Inc. Team wishes a safe holiday to all of our customers, staff and their families.


Michael J. Swanson

President and CEO


Photo Credit : Richard Laschon 

2015 Advocate Capital, Inc. / AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award Nominations Now Open


As seen on Boston GlobeMarketWatchReuters and Yahoo! Finance.


Advocate Capital Inc celebrates 15th AnniversaryFor the fourth year, Advocate Capital Inc. is partnering with the American Association for Justice (AAJ) to sponsor the Advocate Capital, Inc. / AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award. We hope that this award continues to bring well deserved attention to the crucial role that paralegals play in our civil justice system.


The Advocate Capital, Inc. / AAJ Paralegal of the Year Award is presented to a paralegal that has consistently demonstrated knowledge of the law, perseverance in their cases and to their attorneys’ clients, superior paralegal skills and whose commitment and overall attitude is an inspiration to other paralegals. Judging criteria is based on a candidate’s commitment to the paralegal community, continuing legal education and their community through volunteering. Any Paralegal Affiliate of AAJ who has been a member for at least one year is eligible for nomination. A candidate must be nominated by an AAJ Attorney Member in good standing or by another AAJ Paralegal Affiliate. The deadline for nominations is June 5, 2015.


(Download the 2015 Paralegal of the Year Award nomination form)


The 2015 Paralegal of the Year Award recipient receives free airfare, hotel and registration to AAJ’s 2015 Annual Convention in Montreal, Canada on July 11-14.


If you know someone who fulfills these criteria, please submit your nomination via email to Jennifer Rafter, Caucus Group Manager, at or Mary Skinner, co-chair of the Paralegal Affiliates at


Advocate Capital, Inc. is the premier provider of strategic financial products and accounting services for successful trial law firms nationwide. They serve the plaintiff bar from their headquarters in Nashville, Tenn. and now enjoy a client base that extends nationwide. For more information, visit


Meet Attorney Lance Cooper


President and CEO Michael J. Swanson interviews Attorney Lance Cooper of The Cooper Firm about how Advocate Capital, Inc.’s case expense financing has benefited his practice and his clients.



Industry News: May is Motorcycle Awareness Month


Copyright : Karen RoachI was reminded by Attorney Timothy J. Ryan that in the State of California May is Motorcycle Awareness Month.


Mr. Ryan notes the following statistics in his blog:


• The fatality rate is SIX TIMES HIGHER for motorcyclists than passenger car riders.


• 4,668 people were killed and 88,000 injured in motorcycle accidents in 2013.


Mr. Ryan also shares multiple tips for avoiding motorcycle accidents all together. You can read all about them in his most recent blog:


Bottom line for all motorists…be aware, be careful, be mindful and most of all share the road.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: Karen Roach

Google’s Plans to Eliminate Doorway Pages


Photo Credit: Stuart MilesIsn’t it frustrating when you do a Google search, click link after link for information, yet still find yourself back at square one with nothing? Well, Google is working on improving users’ experiences just like this by eliminating the internet world of doorway pages.


These doorway pages, as they are called, are pages or complete websites that people land on following a Google search that are, ultimately, the middleman between users and content. These doorway pages do not contain quality information, but are ranked highly for the keywords searched.


For more information on doorway pages and how Google is working to solve this issue, read the full Brafton article here.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Photo Credit: Stuart Miles

Industry News: Congratulations Darren Penn!


GTLA President Darren PennDuring the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association annual meeting held in Atlanta on April 30th, Darren Penn of the law firm Harris Penn Lowry was named its 60th president. He replaced outgoing president Linley Jones of The Linley Jones Firm, PC.


You can read the announcement here.


Mr. Penn pledges his one year term will be focused on protecting Georgians right to a trial by jury.




Every  year, it seems it’s a little more difficult to get your cases to trial and more difficult to get the evidence you need in discovery….Every year, more bills are introduced at the Capital that could affect the right to trial by jury in Georgia.


Mr. Penn has been practicing law since 1994.  He formed his current firm in 2006.  He goes on to say, “I am one of those who will tell you I am a trial lawyer.  I love what I do.”


From everyone here at Advocate Capital, Inc., congratulations Darren Penn!  Thank you for what you do.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: GTLA

What You Need To Know About Mandatory Arbitration


Watch President and CEO Michael J. Swanson‘s recent interview with Larry Bodine from as he talks about arbitration clauses in consumer contracts and how it affects your 7th Amendment rights.



To learn more, check out this article:
Ban Arbitration Clauses in Consumer Contracts Now


To help ban arbitration, click the link below and sign the petition.


SCOTUS to Hear Case That Might Limit Consumer Lawsuits


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Greg Stohr recently reported in Bloomberg News that the U.S. Supreme Court “will consider a business-backed bid to put new limits on Congress’s power to authorize consumer lawsuits in federal court.” The justices “said they will hear an appeal from the data broker Spokeo Inc. in a dispute with implications for a slew of federal statutes.” Spokeo, “which uses public information to compile personal dossiers, is seeking to stop a lawsuit by a man who says the company misrepresented his education, wealth and marital status.” The suit, “seeking class action status, accuses Spokeo of violating the U.S. Fair Credit Reporting Act, which authorizes damages of at least $100 for each victim.” According to Bloomberg, the “central question is whether federal judges can hear cases when a statute authorizes damages to someone who hasn’t suffered any concrete harm, as Spokeo contends is the case with plaintiff Thomas Robins.”


According to the article, businesses are claiming that the “issue has broad implications, affecting laws governing copyrights, real-estate settlements, employee benefits, disabilities and housing discrimination.”  There are several companies weighing in in support of Spokeo’s position, including eBay Inc., Facebook Inc., Google Inc., and Yahoo! Inc.


The full article can be read here.


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Tradeshows, Tradeshows and More Tradeshows


Advocate Capital Inc. booth at GTLA 2015Donna Jones and I were busy representing Advocate Capital Inc. at the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association Annual Convention in Atlanta while Michael J. Swanson and Kelly O’Leary were in Denver for the Injury Board Radius of Influence conference and Jeff Glueck and Paul Myers were in Atlantic City for the New Jersey Association for Justice Boardwalk Seminar®.


GTLA, ROI and NJAJ are incredible shows and we did not want to miss a single one. So, by planes, trains and automobiles our managers set out to represent Advocate Capital in three different parts of the country shaking hands of friends, clients and prospects.  Mike Swanson even planted a few trees and painted a few park benches in Martinez Park during ROI’s group community service project.


It was a busy time for each of these organizations and Advocate Capital would like to thank each Executive Director, Coordinator and staff person who made these shows possible.


We would also like to thank our wonderful Advocate Capital marketing staff Tiffany Orth, Matt Sturdivant and Jaime Bruder. Coordinating three simultaneous tradeshows each with a different set of deadlines, moving parts and pre-show marketing campaigns is no small feat. Respectively everything went off without a hitch or hiccup due to their perfectly executed planning and coordination. Thank you and on to the next tradeshow!


Tina Burns

Vice President



Is Your Website Optimized for Mobile?


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>Google recently announced it has changed the way its search engine works, particularly for those searching via a mobile device.  The algorithm changes now reward sites that are optimized for mobile.


What does it mean for your website to be “optimized for mobile”?  It means your website automatically configures to fit the searchers smart phone screen and is designed to be read and look good at the same time preventing that annoying “pinch and spread” to read content.  Google made these changes because people are changing the way they search for content, and the statistics are staggering:


  1. Searches are mobile devices are growing 10 times the rate of desktop searches
  2. Mobile searches have increased more than 60% in 2014 alone


This is one of the biggest changes Google has made with regard to searches, and one to be taken seriously.  According to Nathan Barling’s blog in The Next Web, “mobile friendliness” will now play a key role in the way a website is ranked, and sites not optimized for mobile will appear much lower down on Google’s search pages.  You can read Mr. Barling’s blog here.


If your firm’s website is not optimized for mobile, it is worth considering making the investment.  Being “below the fold” when a prospective client is searching for representation is not where any firm wants to be.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

2015 NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar®


Advocate Capital Inc. at NJAJ 2015 Boardwalk SeminarThe bells were a-jingling and whistling at Bally’s in Atlantic City New Jersey for this year’s annual New Jersey Association for Justice Boardwalk Seminar®.


The Exhibit hall floor was busier than ever with over 110 booth visitors who stopped by to say hello and who registered to win a Bose® Soundlink® Mini. I was joined by our Chief Credit Officer Paul Myers (pictured here) and we enjoyed meeting so many of our existing and prospective clients.


Thank you to everyone who made this conference another success for us at Advocate Capital. See you next year!


Jeff Glueck

Vice President, Business Development


Texas Attorney L. Todd Kelly Receives Distinguished Recognition


Advocate Capital Inc. client L. Todd Kelly2015 is off to a great start for Attorney L. Todd Kelly of The Carlson Law Firm. Join us in congratulating Attorney Kelly on recently being recognized for the 2015 list of the Nation’s Top One Percent by the National Association of Distinguished Counsel. This is a distinguished acknowledgement by an organization committed to recognizing attorneys who elevate the standards of the Bar and provide a benchmark for other lawyers.


Attorney Kelly was also selected for the 2015 Super Lawyers Award, dedicated to recognizing lawyers who have attained a high-degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. Among other achievements, he was also named Partner of The Carlson Law Firm for 2015.


Attorney Kelly is a former Marine and is credited for his trial work in changing the rules related to military contractors overseas and with being the first ever to defeat the arbitration provision in one major military contractor’s employment contracts.


In 2012 Attorney Kelly was added to the inaugural Texas Lawyer Hall of Fame for a successful $16.9MM verdict.


Join us in congratulating L. Todd Kelly for being recognized for his dedication and commitment to the fight for justice on behalf of injury victims.


Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice-President, Client Services


Meet Attorney Sean Claggett

President and CEO Michael J. Swanson interviewed Attorney Sean Claggett of Claggett & Sykes Law Firm about his experience with Advocate Capital, Inc. and how we help his law firm.


Law Schools Struggle to Adapt as Job Market Sours


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>In a recent article in the Washington Post, Danielle Douglas-Gabriel reports that law schools “across the country are facing their lowest enrollment numbers in years, causing some to slash their budgets and revamp their programs in an effort to attract students worried about finding a job in a diminished legal industry.” The Post notes that a little more than 41,000 people “applied to go to an accredited U.S. law school in the most recent admissions cycle, compared with 77,000 in 2010 and 90,000 in 2004, according to the Law School Admission Council,” and it adds that even “top-ranked Harvard Law School witnessed a drop in applications before rebounding in the last two years.”


The full article can be read here.


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

American Academy of Trial Attorneys Premier 100 List


Advocate Capital Inc. client Brian Chase AATA Premiere 100Congratulations to Advocate Capital, Inc. friend and client Brian Chase, of Bisnar|Chase Personal Injury Attorneys, who was recently added to the American Academy of Trial Attorneys Premier 100 list for 2015.


Attorney Chase has dedicated his career to helping injured people obtain justice. One of his greatest passions is seeking justice for those who are injured by big corporations who place profit over consumer safety. He is the author of “Still Unsafe at Any Speed”, and works tirelessly to help create awareness and share knowledge about product safety. The results he achieves in the courtroom help injured victims have the best possible chance for recovery and the best quality of life possible in the face of the injuries they’ve suffered. Mr. Chase is the recipient of numerous awards for his work on behalf of injured victims and the current President of the Consumer Attorneys of California.


Join us in congratulating Brain Chase on this most recent acknowledgement of his dedication and achievement in achieving justice on behalf of consumers.


Lisa Wagner

Senior Vice President, Client Services


Industry News: Dangers of Lane Splitting


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>As a frequent traveler to California, I have been surprised (startled really) by a motorcycle whizzing by me at high rates of speed between the lanes of traffic on the freeway. I was surprised to learn that this “lane splitting” is legal in the State of California. I remember thinking, how can something so dangerous be legal and what happens if there is a crash?


Should an accident occur as a result of lane splitting, one might assume the motorcycle driver is at default. That assumption would be wrong.


Personal injury lawyer Steven Sweat of The Law Offices of Steven M. Sweat talks candidly about this topic with’s Editor in Chief Larry Bodine. Mr. Sweat shares eye-opening information every driver needs to be aware of, particularly if lane splitting is legal in your state.


You can watch Mr. Bodine’s interview here.


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

And the Winner Is . . . Lynne Cushing


Advocate Capital, Inc. Pay It Forward Award recipient Lynne CushingRecently Michelle Rigsby was the recipient of the Advocate Capital “Pay It Forward” employee appreciation award.  After much deliberation, she then paid forward her appreciation to our senior Business Development Manager, Lynne Cushing.


As a valuable member of our new business development team since 2005, Lynne not only serves as a mentor for new sales associates but also shares her experience and leadership with the entire team here at Advocate Capital.


We are truly blessed here at Advocate Capital, Inc. to have so many valuable teammates contribute to the success of our law firm clients by helping them get even better results for their own clients.


Congratulations to both Michelle Rigsby and Lynne Cushing for recognition well deserved.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Team Hope Volunteers at Nashville Rescue Mission


On Friday, April 24th, Advocate Capital, Inc.’s Team Hope helped serve lunch at the local Women and Children’s Rescue Mission.


Advocate Capital, Inc. Team Hope volunteers at Nashville Rescue Mission


Nashville Rescue Mission serves men, women and children in the Nashville community who are in need of refuge, safety, and healing. Team Hope had the privilege of helping this great organization by prepping for lunch, serving the guests and cleaning up afterwards. We would like to thank all of our employees who volunteered:


Jaime Bruder

Tina Burns

Buffy Escue

Ashley Harrison

Todd Jackson

Shirley Johnson

Lisa Larkin

Lynn Malone

Paul Myers

Tiffany Orth

Michelle Rigsby

Donald Scott

Michelle Simms

Matt Sturdivant

Mike Swanson


Click here to learn more about Nashville Rescue Mission, and to make a donation!


View more photos in our Facebook and Google+ albums.


Tina Burns

Vice President


You Received an IRS Letter – What To Do Next? IRS frequently communicates with taxpayers by sending letters via the USPS.  So what do you do if you receive one of these notices?  The most important thing is to not ignore it.  If the notice requests a course of action, the taxpayer should comply.  However, many letters do not require any follow up.  They serve as notifications only.


The IRS provides several tips including:


  • Don’t panic. You often can take care of a notice simply by responding to it.
  • Each notice relates to a specific issue.
  • Specific instructions are provided if follow up is required.
  • If you agree with the notice, you usually don’t need to reply unless it gives you other instructions or you need to make a payment.
  • Always keep copies of received notices with your other tax records.


To read the IRS’ entire publication, please click here.


Kelly A. O’Leary, CPA, CGMA, MBA, CITP, CIA, CFE

Vice President, Finance and Administration


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock

New Jersey Association for Justice Boardwalk Seminar® 2015


2015 NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar Advocate Capital Inc BoothHeaded to Atlantic City for the NJAJ Boardwalk Seminar® this week?


Stop by and see Paul Myers and Jeff Glueck at the Advocate Capital, Inc. booth (#5) during the seminar to discover how our case expense funding product can help you achieve even better results for your clients.


The 2015 Boardwalk Seminar® will be held at Bally’s Atlantic City. This three-day seminar showcases in-depth educational lectures on trial strategies and litigation techniques. Attorneys can earn more than 23.4 MCLE credits and up to 6 Ethics MCLE credits!


Don’t forget to visit our booth and enter our raffle for a chance to win Bose® SoundLink® Mini!


We hope to see you there.


Tina Burns

Vice President


GM’s Bankruptcy Shield Partially Upheld by Court


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>As reported in the New York Times, U.S. District Court Judge Robert E. Gerber issued a ruling on April 15, 2015 that bars lawsuits against GM for accidents related to defective ignition switches that pre-date GM’s bankruptcy shield of July 10, 2009. The ruling allows lawsuits for accidents that occurred after this date to go forward. The CBS Evening News noted that GM has tied 84 total deaths to the ignition switch defect.


Judge Gerber noted that the shield should remain in place “even though the company has acknowledged that many employees knew about the defective switch at the time but failed to alert owners of the cars that they might have a potential claim against the company.” The New York Times noted that this would also shut down lawsuits seeking economic damages for the defective vehicles.


Bloomberg News estimated that Judge Gerber’s ruling would protect GM from $10 billion in class action lawsuit claims related to the ignition switch recalls. It was noted that Judge Gerber also stated that “car owners can still sue over its failure to warn of the defects.”


Will GM ever take full responsibility for all the deaths and injuries that occurred as a result of their negligence and cover up? Or will they continue to hide behind the shield of bankruptcy protection AFTER taking the government’s bailout funds? Only time will tell.


Meanwhile, we are grateful to the American Association for Justice for the important work they do and for keeping consumers up to date with the latest information on the GM recalls and lawsuits. We at Advocate Capital, Inc. are thankful that someone is proactively ensuring access to the courthouse for all citizens, especially when corporate America continues to make excuses for NOT doing the right thing.


Donna A. Jones

Senior Vice President


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

Georgia Trial Lawyer Association 2015 Annual Convention in Atlanta


Advocate Capital Inc. attending GTLA 2015 Annual ConventionWill you be attending the GTLA Annual Convention in Atlanta on April 30-May 1?


Donna Jones and I will be representing Advocate Capital, Inc. at our booth during the convention. Stop by and discover how our case expense funding product can help you get even better results for your clients.


The 2015 GTLA Annual Convention will take place at the Ritz-Carlton, Buckhead in Atlanta. This convention features two days of educational sessions with accomplished trial lawyers and experts. Attorneys can receive up to 14 CLE including 3 trial, 1 ethics and 1 professionalism.


Don’t forget to visit our booth and enter our raffle for a chance to win Bose® SoundLink® Mini!


We hope to see you there.


Tina Burns

Vice President


Happy Employees Equals YOUR Success!


Copyright: <a href=''> / 123RF Stock Photo</a>According to Jacquelyn Smith of Business Insider, it turns out employee happiness IS good for business. YOUR practice.


In her article entitled “30 simple ways to make your employees happier”, Ms. Smith highlights some very simple things you can do to make your firm’s employees happier…and therefore more productive, which in turn makes your practice more successful.


I for one will be taking #4 to Mike Swanson, my boss, for consideration!


Jeff Glueck

Vice President – Business Development


Photo Credit: 123RF Stock Photo

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