Rustin L. Smith

Joining the firm in 2010, Rustin L. Smith is a partner in the firm’s civil litigation group. His practice focuses on complex disputes in business, real estate, and high-value collections matters. Rustin litigates in both federal and state courts, appearing in divisions of the U.S. District Court and counties throughout North Georgia. He has also handled appellate cases before the Georgia Supreme Court, Georgia Court of Appeals, and U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.

Representative Matters

  • Achieved jury verdict for defense on all counts at end of three-day trial where plaintiffs sought permanent injunction, $725,000 in diminished land value, plus punitive damages for alleged nuisance and zoning violations.
  • Defeated motion to set aside default judgment of over $1 million in personal liability for fraud, breaches of fiduciary duty, and attorney fees against officers and directors of office building’s corporate owner, and protected debt from bankruptcy discharge.
  • Represented poultry company in resolving federal court litigation involving more than $1 million in damages for alleged breaches of express warranties.
  • Defended general contractor in multiple lawsuits concerning three multi-million dollar construction projects in which landowner collectively demanded over $1 million for runoff and sediment damages allegedly caused by contractors and engineers.
  • Achieved trial court dismissal of federal lawsuit for violation of forum selection clause in lease dispute between landowner and restaurant developer, with case settling after briefs to the U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit.
  • Defeated motion for summary judgment in U.S. District Court on behalf of manufacturer faced with claims of conversion, injunctions, and receivership concerning equipment leases between suppliers for large retailers such as Walmart and Home Depot.
  • Obtained reversal from Georgia Court of Appeals to secure summary judgment on all claims against landowner who sought easements for access and utilities over residential lake property.
  • On behalf of government client, obtained reversal from Georgia Court of Appeals of trial court’s ruling in favor of taxpayer claiming exempt status for land held for future construction of medical facility.
  • Defended nurse in insurance coverage action in U.S. District Court where underlying lawsuit sought over $2 million in compensatory and punitive damages for alleged physical abuse and neglect of special needs patient.
  • Created account receivables strategies and litigated multiple collection lawsuits for heart surgery center now with 13 locations throughout Georgia, general medical practice in Gainesville with over 30 physicians, and funeral services provider with four locations.
  • Litigated quiet title action involving adverse possession, public dedication, and inverse condemnation to confidential settlement on behalf of landowner who asserted interest in property after government had developed and used the land as a public park for almost 40 years.
  • Resolved multiple title and boundary claims for resort property inherited by nine estate beneficiaries, and subsequently negotiated sale of land and corporate assets.
  • Represented trustee fraud victim in litigation resulting from real estate closing in which over $350,000 in funds were converted from lawyer’s trust account, and protected debt from bankruptcy discharge.
  • Represented landowners in zoning litigation with city and housing developer that resulted in sale of property to developer after resolving mineral rights issues.
  • Represented landowner in construction litigation involving fraud and negligence claims against property seller and engineer who designed retaining wall.
  • More than nine years after accident, obtained post-judgment collection of over $170,000 for employee of trucking company who lacked insurance coverage and claimed insufficient assets for payment.
  • Obtained summary judgment on all counts against heirs seeking over $165,000 in bank accounts and CDs held by deceased who changed beneficiary designations to leave funds to single heir before death.


Professional and Community Recognition

  • Emory University School of Law, J.D.
  • Dean’s List, Dean’s Award (Venture Capital), Recommended for Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques Scholarship, Emory’s Goizueta Business School Real Estate Competition.
  • University of Georgia, B.A., Magna Cum Laude
  • Hall County Dancing for a Cause 2018
  • Family Promise of Hall County – Board of Directors and Former President
  • Three Dimensional Life – Board of Directors and Former Chairman
  • Gainesville Jaycees – Board of Directors (2011-2015)
  • Georgia Jaycees – Board of Directors (2015)
  • State Bar of Georgia Young Lawyer’s Division – Leadership Academy 2016
  • Greater Chamber of Commerce – Leadership Hall County 2012
  • Free Chapel (Gainesville) – Member

Rustin L. Smith | In The News

Property Boundary Line Laws in Georgia

Most neighbors get along well but sometimes disputes arise over boundary lines when plants are planted or a fence is built along a boundary line. You want to be a good neighbor but you also want to project your rights so it’s important to understand laws concerning property boundaries.

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