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Mr. Custer has extensive experience representing corporate clients in a wide range of complex commercial litigation including disputes involving banking, insurance, and a variety of corporate transactions. Mr. Custer has been ranked by his peers in one widely-published poll as one of the top 100 lawyers in Georgia.

Commercial and Fiduciary Litigation

As a result of the firm's considerable base of banking clients, Mr. Custer represents regional, national and international banks in cases involving such matters as lender liability, RICO, Truth in Lending, the False Claims Act, the Fair Housing Act, participation agreements, and fiduciary liability. With respect to trusts and estates litigation, in particular, Mr. Custer has extensive experience in such litigation throughout his career. He represents both fiduciaries and beneficiaries in many different and complex litigated matters including will caveats, petitions for equitable direction, disputes over the appointment of fiduciaries, disputes over the interpretation of instruments, and the defense of suits alleging breach of fiduciary duty. He currently serves as co-leader of the firm’s fiduciary litigation team.

Product Liability and National Litigation Management

Mr. Custer's practice has also involved the management and coordination of multi-jurisdictional litigation and national product liability litigation. By way of example, Mr. Custer has acted as national class action counsel for one corporate client, national discovery counsel for one of the country's largest retail companies, national coordinating counsel for product liability claims against a Fortune 500 manufacturing company, national Daubert counsel for another Fortune 500 manufacturing corporation.

Appeals

Mr. Custer routinely appears in the appellate courts and is called upon frequently to express the views of the business and banking community on important legal issues pending in the appellate courts through amicus curiae briefs. Among the cases in which Mr. Custer has authored briefs on behalf of either the Georgia Chamber of Commerce or the Georgia Banking Association in recent years are: Cavalier Convenience, Inc. v. Sarvis, 305 Ga. App. 141 (2010); Smith v. Baptiste, 287 Ga. 23 (2010); State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Co. v. Hernandez Auto Painting and Body Work, Inc., 312 Ga. App. 756 (2011); Nat'l Federation of Indep. Bus. v. Sebelius, 132 S. Ct. 2566, 183 L. Ed. 2d 450 (2012); Synovus Bank v. Griner, 321 Ga. App. 359 (2013); Scapa Dryer Fabrics, Inc., v. Roy Knight, Case No. S15C1278 (2015); and Certainteed Corporation v. Marcella Fletcher, S15G1903 (2016).

Professional Activities

Mr. Custer has also been active during his career in the State Bar of Georgia having served as a Director of and member of the Executive Council of the Younger Lawyers Section in the early years of his practice, a member of the Board of Governors between 1998 and 2016, Chair of the Products Liability Law Section, as a Special Master in lawyer disciplinary proceedings, and as a member of various other committees.

Mr. Custer is a frequent speaker on legal issues and over the last several years has given seminars on such diverse topics as developments in Georgia evidence law, cybersecurity, social media evidence, the attorney-client privilege, e-discovery, and the art of negotiation.

Mr. Custer is also a consulting author of the LexisNexis Guide: Georgia Personal Injury (2015).

Pro Bono Activities

Mr. Custer has participated as counsel in a number of high profile pro bono matters before the Georgia and federal courts including Garner v. Jones, 529 U.S. 244, 120 S. Ct. 1362, 146 L. Ed. 2d 236 (2000)(challenging changes in state parole procedures as a violation of the ex post facto clause); Henderson v. Hames, 287 Ga. 534, 697 S.E.2d 798, 800 (2010)(successful habeas corpus action overturning murder conviction); and Inniss v. Aderhold, 80 F. Supp. 3d 1335 (N.D. Ga. 2015)(successful challenge of state prohibition on same sex marriages).

Civic Involvement & Honors

    • Benchmark Litigation (Litigation Star, 2014)
    • Best Lawyers (Commercial Litigation, 2007-2014)
    • Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyers (2011-2013)
    • Georgia Super Lawyer (2004-2016)
    • Top 100 Georgia Super Lawyers (2011-2013)
    • Georgia Super Lawyer (2004-2016)
    • Georgia Super Lawyer (2004-2016)
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Professional Affiliations

    • Georgia Chamber - Board Member
    • Lawyers Foundation of Georgia
    • State Bar of Georgia 
    • State Bar of Georgia - Trial Practice Section
    • State Bar of Georgia - Products Liability Section
    • State Bar of Georgia 
    • State Bar of Georgia - Trial Practice Section
    • State Bar of Georgia - Products Liability Section
    • State Bar of Georgia - Products Liability Section
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Representative Experience

  • Represented a large building products conglomerate in litigation with former shareholders involving claims in excess of $100 million
  • Represented a national bank in the defense of claims brought under the False Claims Act alleging tens of millions of dollars in damages stemming from fees charged in connection with mortgage originations
  • Represented a major league baseball team in litigation with its landlord over a change in the team’s name in which the landlord sought over $300 million in damages
  • Represented over fifty banks in a loan participation in their claims against a developer involving an $89 million revolving line of credit and subsequent fraudulent transfer litigation
  • Represented national credit card processor in the defense of tortious interference with contract claim arising out of acquisition of competing company and alleging over $100 million in damages
  • Represented national outdoor advertising company in defending a multi-million dollar verdict on appeal to the Georgia Court of Appeals and Georgia Supreme Court
  • Represented seller of national security company in multi-million dollar purchase price dispute with purchaser
  • Represented over sixty individual bottlers and an associated trade group in claims against a national beverage concern alleging violations of a national beverage distribution agreement
  • Represented a national big box retailer in dispute with contractor over the construction of multiple stores in the southeast
  • Represented a national military contractor in its defense of claims brought under the False Claims Act alleging tens of millions of dollars in damages arising from a contract to maintain military vehicles
  • Represented a bankruptcy trustee in fraudulent transfer claim against sellers of stock in a leveraged buyout transaction
  • Represented a national insurance company in multiple cases alleging bad faith failure to settle underlying claims
  • Represented multiple banks in class actions alleging violations of the Electronic Funds Transfer Act
  • Represented both originating banks and participant banks in numerous disputes over participation agreements relating to real estate loans
  • Represented the Chambers of Commerce for the States of Georgia, Arkansas, Florida, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin as an amicus curiae in proceedings before the United States Supreme Court challenging the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”)
  • Represented the Georgia Chamber of Commerce as an amicus curiae in various proceedings before the Georgia Supreme Court, the Georgia Court of Appeals and the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit involving tort reform issues
  • Represented the Georgia Bankers Association as an amicus curiae in various proceedings before the Georgia Supreme Court and the Georgia Court of Appeals involving disputes over fees and foreclosure requirements
  • Represented the beneficiaries in various disputes involving a complex estate of an internationally known recording artist
  • Represented a trust company in disputes involving the distribution of assets from a trust established for the benefit of descendants of Asa Candler, the founder of the Coca-Cola Company
  • Represented a trust department in a suit alleging breach of fiduciary duty involving the investment choices made in a large common trust fund
  • Represented beneficiaries in dispute over distribution of assets involving the estate of the former Governor of Ohio
  • Represented corporate trust department accused of breaching fiduciary duty imposed under trust indenture by disposing of certain trust property

Publications

  • "Lessons Learned in Recent Participation Agreement Litigation," The Banking Law Journal, co-authored with Jennifer Dempsey, November/December 2014
  • "The Development of Judicial Policy on the Phenomenon of Multiple Chemical Sensitivity in the Post-Daubert Era," 15 Journal of Toxicology and Industrial Health 428, co-authored with E. Kertscher, 1999
  • "Tainted Imports Require Refresher On CPSC Reporting Requirements; Companies Must Report a Product if a Defect Constitutes a Substantial Product Hazard," Industry Week, co-authored with Adwoa Ghartey-Tahoe Seymour, August 2007
  • "Multiple Chemical Sensitivity Syndrome: The Wavering Influence of the Courts on Public Policy," 24 Regulatory Toxicology and Pharmacology S182, 1996

Speaking Engagements

  • "Ethical Issues in Bank Representation," Georgia Bankers Association, Bank Counsel Conference, Greensboro, Georgia, October 2016
  • "Social Media Evidence," Bench and Bar Seminar, Annual Meeting of the State Bar of Georgia, June 2016
  • “The Current Crisis in Civil Justice Reform,”  The Georgia Chamber of Commerce, Government Affairs Council, St. Simons Island, Georgia, June 2016
  • “Hot Topics for In-House Counsel,” Client Seminar, New York, New York, May 2016
  • “Trial Advocacy:  Opening Statements and Closing Arguments,” Bryan Cave In-House Seminar, Atlanta, Georgia, April 2016
  • “Update on Social Media Law,” Client Seminar, Alpharetta, Georgia, April 2016
  • "Cybersecurity – Threats from Nation States to Hackers in the Basement – How to Minimize Liability to Customers and Third Parties," ICLE Banking Law Seminar, Atlanta, GA, February 2016