Hugh McNatt Headshot

Hugh B. McNatt

Partner Atlanta Vidalia
(404) 962-3541 | (912) 537-9343
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Education
  • Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law
    J.D., 1972,

    cum laude; Mercer Law Review, Student Articles Editor

  • Mercer University
    B.A., 1969
Bar Admissions
  • Georgia, 1972
About Hugh
Q&A
  • What types of clients do you represent?

    I represent businesses and individuals, including investor-owned utilities and electric membership corporations, in a broad range of issues including wrongful death, personal injury, property damage, class actions, products liability, and condemnation matters.

  • What type of matters do you work on most often?

    I have a true trial practice. While trying cases before a jury may be a dying art, I am a believer in the jury trial system. There is nothing I enjoy more that preparing and presenting my cases to jury.

  • What previous experiences, prior to your work at Balch, influence your practice?
MORE ABOUT Hugh
  • Products liability/wrongful death action: Awarded defense verdict in multi-million dollar wrongful death/products liability case arising out of the tragic death of a young woman following a single vehicle, rear end collision. Plaintiffs’ strict liability theories focused on several alleged design defects, including a failure to warn claim. The case was tried before Judge Jones in the U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia. After the close of Plaintiffs’ evidence, Judge Jones directed a verdict in favor of the vehicle’s American distributor. After a two week trial, the jury then returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of all remaining defendants. (2014, Mitchell, et al v. Volkswagen Group of America Inc., et al, Civil Action No. 1 10 CV-0944).
  • Patronage capital class actions: Obtained dismissal of two class action, patronage capital lawsuits in the trial court filed against three named distribution EMCs. In both cases, plaintiffs challenged the EMCs’ patronage capital distribution practices using many legal theories, including alleged violations of the EMC enabling act, breach of contract, unjust enrichment, breach of fiduciary duty, money had and received, conspiracy, conversion, and breach of the implied obligation of good faith. In general, plaintiffs sought to increase electricity rates and remake how EMCs operate in Georgia. The trial court dismissed the statutory claims because nothing in the EMC enabling act requires EMCs to distribute patronage capital to current or former members. The act simply provides EMCs should address the allocation and disposition of revenues in their bylaws, which all the EMCs did. All other claims of the plaintiffs were separately addressed and dismissed.
  • Aviation wrongful death actions: Representing electric utility in defense of negligent pole placement and construction claims following collision of jet into utility pole, including defense that crash was in fact caused by pilot error and fatigue.
  • Roll-over wrongful death actions: Obtained favorable resolution of several wrongful death and catastrophic injury cases arising from passenger van roll-over accident, including failure to warn of allegedly defective van and other negligence claims.
  • Environmental tort action: Successfully defended Fortune 500 corporation in suits alleging personal injuries and property damages arising from operations of a coal-fired generation plant. Specifically, plaintiffs alleged air emissions, coal ash handling, and use of unlined coal ash ponds caused the release of hazardous substances into soil, air, and groundwater. Ultimately, suits were dismissed.
  • Noise nuisance actions: Favorably resolved several noise nuisance cases against power plant using gas-fired combustion turbine units.
  • Electric contact injury action: Obtained defense verdict in trial of personal injury action in which plaintiffs sought to recover for the injuries sustained when a graphite fishing pole struck an admittedly visible power line.  The jury found plaintiff assumed the risk of his injuries.
  • Electric contact wrongful death action: Attained grant of summary judgment for EMC, which was affirmed after argument in the Georgia Court of Appeals, holding the utility is not the proximate cause of injuries sustained when a vehicle strikes a utility pole located well off the traveled portion of a road. (2009, Meadows v. Diverse Power, Inc., 296 Ga. App. 671).
  • Personal Injury suit: Awarded defendant’s verdict for an electric utility company where Plaintiff was injured by a guy wire.
        Education
        • Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law, J.D., 1972,

          cum laude; Mercer Law Review, Student Articles Editor

        • Mercer University, B.A., 1969
        Courts
        • Supreme Court of Georgia, 1980
        • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 1980
        • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 1985
        • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, 1987
        • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, 1972
        • State Courts of Georgia, 1972
        Bar Admissions
        • Georgia, 1972
        Professional Affiliations
        • State Bar of Georgia
        • American College of Trial Lawyers, Fellow, 1996, Georgia State Committee, 2001-2003
        • American Board of Trial Advocates, past president of Georgia Chapter, 2001-2003
        • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association, Georgia Code Commission, Secretary
        • Georgia Super Lawyers
        • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, Advisory Committee
        Awards & Accolades
        • Tradition of Excellence Award, 2003, State Bar of Georgia, General Practice and Trial Section, for exemplary work as a defense lawyer
        • 15th Annual Bench and Bar Thomas O. Marshall Professionalism Award, 2016, State Bar of Georgia
        • The Best Lawyers in American, 2007 – Present
        • Georgia Super Lawyers
        Community Involvement
        • Clayton United Methodist Church, Clayton, Georgia, Member and Sunday School Teacher