Anne Kaufold Wiggins Headshot
Education
  • Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law
    J.D. & Certificate in Advanced Legal Writing, 2005,

    cum laude

  • University of Georgia
    B.A., 2002,

    cum laude

Bar Admissions
  • Georgia, 2005
About Anne
I do not make the facts or the law, but I enjoy the tactical challenge of executing a winning strategy for my clients.
Q&A
  • What type of matters do you work on most often?

    I have successfully represented numerous investor-owned electric utilities and electric membership corporations (EMCs) with respect to a wide range of issues, including class actions, mass torts, fire cause and origin investigations, product liability and casualty litigation, land use matters, business torts, environmental, coal ash, and commercial litigation. I regularly advise my clients on new technology, such as various advanced metering initiatives (AMI) and related regulatory issues. I most often handle claims involving electrical contact, fires, toxic torts, nuisances, motor vehicle accidents, joint use (pole attachment) issues, contract disputes, fraud, and breach of fiduciary duty claims. I also handle cases alleging failure to comply with the National Electrical Safety Code, industry standards, negligent pole placement, and pole defects.

  • How are you involved in your community?
  • Which Courts or agencies do you most often appear before on behalf of your clients?
MORE ABOUT Anne
  • Patronage capital class actions: Developed strategy leading to trial court’s dismissal and Court of Appeals affirmance of two class action, patronage capital lawsuits 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 claims because nothing in the EMC enabling act or the bylaws requires EMCs to distribute patronage capital to current or former members prior to dissolution unless the Board of Directors decides to do so. (2017, Walker v. Oglethorpe Power Corp., A17A0384 Ga. Ct. App.; Shapiro v. Oglethorpe Power Corp., A17A0385 Ga. Ct. App.)
  • Fire claims: Lead investigation of multiple fire claims for electric utilities alleging utilities ignited fires, including coordinating scene inspections and laboratory exams, where causation was determined not to be the utility equipment, and no suits were filed.
  • Aviation wrongful death action: 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.
  • Joint Pole/Attachments: Represent multiple electric utilities in contract disputes, negotiations, and litigation.
  • AMI:  Represent  electric  utilities  in  legal  issues  (contracting  and  litigation)  related  to  installation, maintenance, and use of AMI systems.
  • Roll-over wrongful death action: 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 litigation: 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 litigation: Favorably resolved several noise nuisance cases against power plant using gas-fired combustion turbine units.
  • Class action: Obtained dismissal of class action claims against EMC alleging EMC unlawfully entered plaintiff’s property to erect structures. In a discretionary appeal, plaintiff sought reversal of the denial of joinder, contending that the trial court incorrectly concluded the claims were barred by the statute of limitations and erred by applying the joinder statute to a class action. The Court of Appeals affirmed. (2013, Boston Creek LLC v. Amicalola Electric Membership Corporation, 320 Ga. App. 375)
  • Local government/ breach of contract litigation: Successful defense of breach of contract action twice affirmed by the Georgia Court of Appeals, including a substantial award of prejudgment interest. (2014, Gwinnett County v. Old Peachtree Partners, LLC, 329 Ga. App. 540; 2012 Old Peachtree Partners, LLC v. Gwinnett County, 315 Ga. App. 342)
  • Electric contact injury action: Participated 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 rendered a defense verdict finding plaintiff assumed the risk of his injuries.
  • Electric contact wrongful death action: Crafted legal arguments leading to 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)
  • Negligent lighting action:  Obtained dismissal, which was affirmed on appeal, of wrongful death case alleging electric utility failed to maintain adequate street lighting. (2017, Whitesell v. Georgia Power Company, No. A17A0590, 2017 WL1406999, Ga. Ct. App.)
  • Health Insurance Claims: Plaintiff, a partner in an Atlanta law firm, sought long-term disability benefits, alleging total disability from a fall.  Plaintiff was drunk when he fell.  The Plan excludes from coverage any disability “caused by, resulting of, or related to” intoxication.  Client denied claim using alcohol exclusion.   Plaintiff filed suit in the USDC for the Northern District of Georgia, upon Cross-Motions for Judgment on the Pleadings the USDC found for Plaintiff.  GGL appealed to the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. After briefing, the 11th Circuit reversed the decision resulting in a full victory for Balch’s client.  (Steven D. Prelutsky v. Greater Georgia Life Insurance Company; U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Georgia, Atlanta Division; Civil Action File No. 1:15-cv-00628-WSD)
        Education
        • Mercer University, Walter F. George School of Law, J.D. & Certificate in Advanced Legal Writing, 2005,

          cum laude

        • University of Georgia, B.A., 2002,

          cum laude

        Courts
        • U.S. Supreme Court, 2012
        • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit, 2007
        • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Georgia, 2005
        • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Georgia, 2005
        • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Georgia, 2011
        • State Courts of Georgia, 2005
        Bar Admissions
        • Georgia, 2005
        Professional Affiliations
        • Mercer University School of Law Alumni Board, President Elect
        • Women’s Energy Network, Sponsorship Director
        • Georgia Electric Membership Corporation Counsel Association
        • State Bar of Georgia
          • Georgia Commission on Continuing Lawyer Competence, 2017-2019
          • Bench and Bar Committee, 2017-2018
          • YLD Executive Committee, Director of Leadership Development, 2014-2016
          • Leadership Academy, co-chair, 2014-2016
          • YLD Northern District Representative to Executive Council, 2010-2012
          • YLD Rules, Bylaw and Procedures Committee, chair, 2011-2012
        • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
        • DRI
        • American Bar Association
        Awards & Accolades
        • State Bar of Georgia, Young Lawyers Division 2016, Award of Achievement for Service to the YLD
        • Georgia Super Lawyers, “Rising Star” 2012, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2017
        • YLD Leadership Academy Class, 2008
        • Benchmark Litigation Under 40 Hot List, 2017