Nicole Girard 0000-00-00 00:00:00
Harris Powers & Cunningham, PLLC Harris, Powers & Cunningham (“HPC”) is one of the premier medical malpractice law firms in the state of Arizona, having been designated as such by many professional legal organizations. Frank I. Powers, Shawn M. Cunningham and Joseph D’Aguanno - the attorneys of HPC - devote 100 percent of their law practice to representing clients who have been seriously injured or have lost loved ones due to the wrongful conduct and negligence of others. Together, the three lawyers function as a single-minded, determined and powerful legal unit. These medical malpractice and personal injury attorneys at Harris, Powers & Cunningham in Phoenix, Arizona, let their collective conscience be their guide in their law practice. Powers, Cunningham and D’Aguanno take pride not just in their impressive track record, but also in the more meaningful elements of their practice - the reputable and respectful manner in which they conduct themselves and their law practice. Throughout their many years of experience, it has been the mission of the HPC lawyers to provide the highest level of legal counseling and services to all of their clients, regardless of the type or size of their particular case. The product of this aggressive pursuit of justice for their clients by these highly-skilled medical malpractice and personal injury lawyers at HPC is the realization of exceptional case results. Exceptional case results are the product of victories for their clients and serve further to fulfill the mission of the lawyers of HPC - security, peace and justice for their clients. With tort reform ever “looming” like a dark cloud over the judicial process these past several years, Powers and Cunningham have made a combined personal commitment to work diligently to protect the 7th Amendment rights of their clients, potential clients and all victims of the negligence of others which are under constant attack by the so-called “tort reformers.” No person should be precluded by any legislative body from exercising their Constitutional right to pursue their claim for injury or the loss of a loved one due to the wrongful conduct and negligence of others and have their day in court. Powers and Cunningham revealed that one of the foremost issues of the tort reform movement is the “fixing” of the value of any negligence claim by setting of a “cap” of somewhere between $200,000 to $300,000 on all claims. They explained that the end result of this is to negate, virtually completely, the ability of potential plaintiffs who are the victims of the more serious and egregious negligence of others to pursue their claims purely due to economics. The question then is: How does one place a “fixed” cost - a “one-size-fits-all” value - on the permanent damage to, or complete loss of, a spouse, child, parent or other loved one resulting from so many different types of circumstances and negligence? Powers and Cunningham are fervently committed to the position that, certainly, no one should be placed in the position of having to tell a victim or be told as a victim that their loved one has a “fixed” value and, as a result, any claim against the negligent party or parties is not economically feasible. Powers and Cunningham have devoted their time, effort and finances to defeat any type of tort reform that eliminates the 7th Amendment rights of victims of the wrongful conduct and negligence of others. Regardless of outcome, no injured victim should have their rights to pursue their claims taken away by the legislative body of the state of Arizona or anyone else. Highly Awarded The combined efforts of the HPC attorneys and their achievements have brought them recognition as a force with which to be reckoned by their peers within the legal community. Their efforts have resulted in multiple awards to the law firm of Harris, Powers & Cunningham, as well as to the individual lawyers. One of the many outcomes of achieving tens of millions of dollars in verdicts and settlements has been the induction of Powers and Cunningham into the coveted Million and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forums for attorneys. Another is the consistent nomination over the past several years by their respective legal peers, for selection to the professional legal organization of Best Lawyers in America. Powers and Cunningham have been humbled by this consistent recognition by their peers. Harris, Powers & Cunningham, also for the past several years, has been honored to be named in Best Lawyers in America as one of the best medical malpractice law firms in America. The firm of Harris, Powers and Cunningham and its shareholder-owners, Frank I. Powers and Shawn M. Cunningham, have each received an “AV Preeminent” rating under the Martindale-Hubbell peer rating system. Powers and Cunningham each received the highest 5.0 out of a possible 5.0 score under the rating system, and are also listed in the Martindale-Hubbell Bar Registry of Preeminent Attorneys. A “Serendipitous” History Powers and Cunningham have long enjoyed a close working relationship based on a mutual level of respect and admiration. They worked together as colleagues at a previous firm doing defense work “on the other side.” Cunningham interjected that while he was doing defense work for this previous firm, he defended a case against one of the original founders of Harris & Palumbo, P.C. - John David (“Chip”) Harris. After the case, Cunningham said he spoke with Harris. It was during that conversation that Harris told Cunningham that he was working on the “wrong side of the law.” The history of the forming of Harris, Powers & Cunningham is not without some humor and “serendipitous” events. In 1993, Harris & Palumbo, P.C., then one of the most premier and respected medical malpractice law firms in the state of Arizona and the predecessor of sorts to HPC, was searching for a new associate. Unbeknownst to Powers and Cunningham, they were both recruited for an associate position at Harris & Palumbo, P.C. As it turned out, two positions were created such that both Frank Powers and Shawn Cunningham were hired. Over the next several years of working together, Powers and Cunningham were mentored by the well-known and well-respected owners who, like their premier firm, were premier medical malpractice trial attorneys. This provided both Powers and Cunningham the amazing opportunity to further hone their attorney skills, but, perhaps much more important, their courtroom and trial skills. While working together on the “right side of the law,” representing plaintiffs in many medical malpractice, wrongful death and serious personal injury cases resulting from the wrongful conduct and egregious negligence of others, Powers and Cunningham realized they had similar professional goals and commitments rooted in fairness, civility and an uncompromising concern and care for clients. In 1999, Harris chose to retire from the practice of law to spend more time with his family, continue acting as a part-time pro tempore judge and continue to teach at the Arizona State University College of Law. Thus, this history became the groundwork and foundation through which Powers and Cunningham could realize one of their many long-term goals - own and operate a law firm according to their professional style and personal commitment to their clients. A Healthy Partnership Shawn M. Cunningham obtained his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from Arizona State University College of Law where he was named to the Dean’s List. While in law school, Cunningham was named to the Order of Barristers and served as chairman of the Executive Moot Court Board. He has more than 20 years of trial experience. Cunningham is also a frequent presenter at seminars and active in several professional and civic organizations. Frank I. Powers obtained his Juris Doctor degree, cum laude, from The John Marshall Law School in Chicago, Illinois, where he also served as an executive editor of the Law Review. Powers is a certified specialist in injury and wrongful death litigation by the State Bar of Arizona. He has more than 20 years of trial experience. Powers is active in several professional and civic organizations. “We all three have very unique talents,” Cunningham said as he described his stellar rapport with his colleagues. Cunningham went on to say that, “It is the synergy of those talents that helps us work so well together. Each case is a joint effort for the whole firm. It is customary for the firm to have two attorneys on each case at all times to ‘brainstorm’ the case as we work together, share ideas and give input. We all three meet together at least once a month to review our respective, as well as prospective, cases and as part of that whole working-together process.” Joe D’Aguanno joined the firm in 2011 as an associate. D’Aguanno has more than 10 years of experience. He obtained his Juris Doctor degree in 2000 from the Arizona State University College of Law where he was production editor of Jurimetrics: The Journal of Law, Science and Technology. While in law school, Mr. D’Aguanno earned the Outstanding Pro Bono Award and the American Bar Association’s Section of Science and Technology Award for Outstanding Senior Editor. D’Aguanno explained he had always admired Powers and Cunningham from afar. He stated he was impressed with their impenetrable posture of decorum, civility and basic good manners. “There are no ‘shenanigans’ by Frank Powers and Shawn Cunningham,” D’Aguanno explained. “They are ‘straight up.’ Their code of conduct is best defined as: professionalism, ethics and integrity. Their integrity and honor is extended not only to their plaintiff-clients and the justice system, but equally to the defense bar and their defendant-clients.” D’Aguanno went on to describe his former experience as a defense lawyer: “I was doing defense work on the other side. I was hired by the insurance companies to defend the ‘wrongdoers.’ John David (“Chip”) Harris was an instructor of mine at Arizona State University College of Law. I was very impressed with his energy and enthusiasm for what he was doing. It was then that I discovered my law career ‘home,’ and I have never looked back. It sounds cliché, but I really love what I do. Potential clients come in and you do not just get a sense of their loss, but you see and feel it firsthand. They are not only suffering from whatever their personal loss or injury may be, but are completely and totally at a loss - without a clue - as to how to move forward. As one would expect, they are consumed by all of those issues that are present because of a death or a severe injury. They are filled with questions that need answers.” Growth and Gain Harris, Powers and Cunningham quickly grew and became more prosperous over the years. “Bottom-line thinkers,” would consider this fortunate and advantageous. Powers and Cunningham, as very principled attorneys however, took a step back, revisited their initial professional goals and commitments and came to the conclusion: “It was time to effectuate change - a time to renovate.” Cunningham explained that, “Frank Powers and I felt the tremendous growth hindered our ability to serve our clients in the manner to which we had committed in the beginning. We realized that you risk, and oftentimes experience, greater inefficiency as an unintended result of such growth. Frank and I met, planned and agreed that we would make the concerted effort and decisions necessary to reduce the firm back to the smaller, ‘boutique-firm-type’ atmosphere we had previously enjoyed. Those efforts and decisions have effectuated the very beneficial and healthy change we desired.” A Calling Medical malpractice and severe personal injury law are not just occupations for these highly-skilled and successful attorneys. According to Frank Powers, “It is a ‘calling’.” Powers put it in these words: “We want to try to help people who are suffering as a result of their particular injury or circumstance and are truly not equipped to help themselves. The desire to try to help people is what motivates us and is, I believe, ingrained in our personalities. It is not just the work we do - it is a part of our everyday lives. I think that goes a long way to explain the philosophy with which we approach things.” Cunningham added that, “Very often, it does take an emotional toll on you, but one absolutely cannot let that affect one’s ability to represent their clients in any way. Instead, it should be one’s ‘inspiration’ in the representation of clients.” Powers went on to say that over and above any awards or accolades one might ever receive, it is the personal experiences involving clients he holds most dear. Powers spoke of one particular case he recalled with ease. “I have one case I will always remember. Every year, without fail, the little girl brings me a plate of homemade cookies at Christmas. She was catastrophically injured and not supposed to live past the age of 10. Through the settlement we recovered for her, she continues to be able to receive the services and resources she so desperately needed to survive. She is now 18 years old and living the best quality of life she could possibly live.” In an effortless and grateful manner, Powers gave honor to the support staff at Harris, Powers & Cunningham stating that, “We are blessed with the people with whom we work who are very loyal to us and most of whom have been with us for 10 or more years.” Powers added that, “We are all blessed to be able to do what we do. When it comes to the integrity of our practice and caring for our clients, nothing stands in the way. We are not here just to get a paycheck.”
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