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Blocks for Bucks: End-of-season check presentation to Thunder Cares for over $20,000!

Blocks for Bucks image(April 9, 2019) – Tonight is the final home game of the regular season, and that means it’s time, once again, to tally up the blocks and present a giant check (literally!)

Phillips Murrah Directors present Blocks for Bucks check.

Directors from Phillips Murrah present our Blocks for Bucks donation to Thunder Cares.

Just before tip-off at tonight’s Oklahoma City Thunder game against the Houston Rockets, Phillips Murrah Directors G. Calvin Sharpe, Nikki Edwards and Marc Edwards will participate in the check presentation ceremony at mid-court. The amount is for $20,600, which reflects the amount our Firm has donated thus far in the 2018-2019 regular season, prior to tonight’s action. For the final tally, blocks from tonight’s game will be added to the final amount, which will go directly to the Thunder Cares Foundation.

“Our Firm likes being involved in the Oklahoma City community, and The Thunder Cares Foundation is a great way for us to do that,” said G. Calvin, whose litigation practice focuses mainly on matters involving medical malpractice, products liability and insurance.

“We are huge Thunder fans and take great pride in partnering with Thunder Cares and all they do in the community,” said Marc, who represents both private business and public entities in a broad range of litigation with an emphasis on public utility, public pension, governmental and administrative laws.

This is the second year that Phillips Murrah has partnered with the OKC Thunder with the Blocks for Bucks campaign. The check presentation from the 2017-2018 season can be seen here.

What is Blocks for Bucks?

Russell Westbrook Phillips Murrah

Russell Westbrook on @okcthunder Instagram with Phillips Murrah logo.

Attorneys and staff at Phillips Murrah are huge Thunder fans, and to recognize our home team’s accomplishments in blocking shots, the Firm is donating $100 to Thunder Cares for each blocked shot that the Thunder forces at home games during the regular season.

Blocks for Bucks began in November of 2017, when Phillips Murrah initiated our partnership with the Thunder organization. Helping to improve the community is at the heart of of our Firm’s mission, and the prospect of achieving that through the Thunder Cares Foundation with such an exciting and entertaining campaign was irresistible.

“Phillips Murrah is proud to partner with the Thunder Cares Foundation,” said Phillips Murrah President and Managing Partner, Thomas G. Wolfe. “The Thunder has done so much in Oklahoma. We’re glad to join in their efforts.”

As the Thunder team racked up blocks throughout the season, video highlights were posted at the Blocks for Bucks page on the Thunder’s website, along with a blocks counter and a running donation amount tally.

“Working with the Thunder is an absolute pleasure,” said Phillips Murrah Marketing Director, Dave Rhea. “Being able to support Thunder Cares with this blocks campaign allows us to give back to the community while also driving home the point that, at the end of the day, we’re also huge Thunder fans!”

The Thunder Cares Foundation helps support the team’s community outreach projects, including Thunder-themed basketball courts in parks, schools and community centers across Oklahoma, as well as learning labs and activity rooms at organizations like the Boys and Girls Club of Oklahoma County, City Rescue Mission, and Positive Tomorrows, a school that serves homeless children in Oklahoma City. In celebration of the Thunder’s 10th season, the Thunder Cares Foundation is funding a matching grant through

Phillips Murrah looks forward to continuing to partner with the Oklahoma City Thunder and The Thunder Cares Foundation in the years to come.

Phillips Murrah rowing team competes 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival

Law & Oarder, Phillips Murrah’s rowing team, stands with the medals they won after competing in the 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival.

Phillips Murrah’s rowing team Law & Oarder completed the Fall 2017 season by placing third in the annual regatta competition.

The team competed on Oct. 6 at the 2017 Oklahoma Regatta Festival held at the OKC Boathouse District in the advanced league and achieved a 500-meter run of 2:16.688.

“It’s always a great way to make sure I get outside and enjoy my co-workers,” said Melissa R. Gardner, Director and Law & Oarder team leader. “We were so excited to place in an Intermediate category when almost half of our boat was novice!”

In all seven seasons the Firm’s rowing team has competed, team members consisted of both attorneys and staff members.

“The best part about rowing is seeing all the hard work come together on race day,” said Samuel R. Lincoln, Director of Information Technology. “It is the most exhilarating and exhausting 2 minutes of your life!”

The team will resume practice in the Spring for the Stars & Stripes Festival in June 2018.


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as one of the Best Places to Work in Oklahoma in 2017 and an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Phillips Murrah attorneys selected as 2017 Super Lawyers

Phillips Murrah P.C._Logo_Color_emblemTwenty Phillips Murrah Attorneys have been selected for inclusion in the 2017 edition of Thomson Reuters’ Super Lawyers for their excellence in their respective practice areas. Seven attorneys of them under the age of 40 were recognized as Rising Stars.

Super Lawyers is a research-driven, peer influenced rating service of outstanding lawyers who have attained a high degree of peer recognition and professional achievement. The Super Lawyers lists are published in Super Lawyers Magazines and in leading city and regional magazines across the country. Using the same patented process for selecting Super Lawyers, Rising Stars recognizes up and coming lawyers who are 40 years old or younger and have been in practice for 10 years or less.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2017’s Super Lawyers:

Directors G. Calvin Sharpe and Lyndon W. Whitmire were among the Top 50 Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017. Directors Shannon K. Emmons and Sally A. Hasenfratz were listed on the Top 25 Women Oklahoma Super Lawyers for 2017.

The following Phillips Murrah attorneys are included in 2017’s Oklahoma Rising Stars:

Phillips Murrah announces 37 attorneys named to 2018 Best Lawyers list

Phillips Murrah is proud to announce that 37 of our attorneys have been named to The Best Lawyers in America© 2018 list in Oklahoma City.

The Best Lawyers in America 2018

Jennifer Ivester Berry – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Real Estate Law

Douglas A. Branch – Securities / Capital Markets Law; Venture Capital Law

Elizabeth K. Brown – Litigation – Trusts and Estates; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Michael D. Carter – Workers’ Compensation Law – Employers

Rodney L. Cook – Insurance Law

Bobby Dolatabadi – Corporate Law; Mergers and Acquisitions Law

Jason A. Dunn – Commercial Litigation

Joshua L. Edwards – Real Estate Law

Marc Edwards – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Commercial Litigation; Government Relations Practice

Nicholle Jones Edwards – Family Law

Shannon K. Emmons – Commercial Litigation; Employment Law – Management; Employment Law – Individuals

Juston R. Givens – Commercial Litigation

Sally A. Hasenfratz – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Construction Law; Land Use and Zoning Law; Real Estate Law

Terry L. Hawkins – Public Finance Law

Heather L. Hintz – Commercial Litigation

Timothy D. Kline – Bankruptcy and Creditor Debtor Rights / Insolvency and Reorganization Law; Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation – Bankruptcy

Fred A. Leibrock – Commercial Litigation; Insurance Law; Litigation – Antitrust; Litigation – ERISA; Litigation – Real Estate

Candace Williams Lisle – Commercial Litigation

Mark Lovelace – Banking and Finance Law; Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Commercial Transactions / UCC Law

Melvin R. McVay, Jr. – Banking and Finance Law; Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Banking and Finance; Litigation – Bankruptcy; Litigation – Real Estate

Andrew S. Mildren – Administrative / Regulatory Law; Government Relations Practice

Jennifer L. Miller – Commercial Litigation

Cindy H. Murray – Real Estate Law

Robert O. O’Bannon – Business Organizations (including LLCs and Partnerships); Tax Law

Martin G. Ozinga – Commercial Litigation

Donald A. Pape – Banking and Finance Law

Michael R. Perri – Commercial Litigation; Energy Law; Natural Resources Law; Oil and Gas Law

William S. Price – Government Relations Practice

Dawn M. Rahme – Commercial Transactions / UCC Law; Litigation and Controversy – Tax; Tax Law; Trusts and Estates

Mary Holloway Richard – Health Care Law

Jim A. Roth – Energy Law; Energy Regulatory Law; Environmental Law; Government Relations Practice; Natural Resources Law

G. Calvin Sharpe – Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation – Defendants

Robert N. Sheets – Commercial Litigation; Litigation – Land Use and Zoning; Litigation – Real Estate

Ellen K. Spiropoulos – Corporate Law

Lyndon W. Whitmire – Commercial Litigation; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Thomas G. Wolfe – Bet-the-Company Litigation; Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Raymond E. Zschiesche – Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation / Class Actions – Defendants; Product Liability Litigation – Defendants

Phillips Murrah rowing team competes in Summer 2017 season

Molly Tipton, G. Calvin Sharpe, Melissa Gardner, Jennifer Miller, Tyler Sullivan, Monica Ball, Deann Aderholt, Sam Lincoln, and Deena Baker stand with their bronze medals after racing at the Stars and Stripes River Festival on June 24.

Phillips Murrah’s rowing team Law & Oarder completed the Summer 2017 season by placing third in the annual regatta competition.

The team competed on June 24 at the Stars and Stripes River Festival held at the OKC Boathouse District in the advanced league and achieved a 500-meter run of 2:02.

“Rowing is a team effort much like the work we do at Phillips Murrah,” said G. Calvin Sharpe, Director and Law & Oarder team leader. “Our team improved over the season, and we all worked together to have a great season that culminated Saturday night.”

In all six seasons the Firm’s rowing team has competed, team members consisted of both attorneys and staff members.

“I decided to join the rowing team because I wanted to try something that was completely new to me” Attorney Molly E. Tipton said. “Not only was it something I had never done, but I also had the opportunity spend time with people at Phillips Murrah that I don’t often see, which ended up being my favorite part!

“I feel lucky to call these people my co-workers, my teammates and my friends!”

The team will continue their practices through the summer and into the fall, leading into the final regatta, which will be held in October.

“I absolutely love the opportunity Phillips Murrah has given us to get out there and work as a team outside of the office,” Legal Assistant Deena Baker said. “Even though we’ve been up against some pretty elite teams these last three seasons, it just gives us more to strive for in the end.

“Being on the corporate rowing team has personally given me something I never even dreamed of doing and plan to continue as long as I can!”


Phillips Murrah has been recognized as an Oklahoma Top Work Place by The Oklahoman/WorkplaceDynamics two years in a row. Our Firm strives to recognize and reward our employees for excellence.

Office Visit: Taming the Reptile lawyer

By Director G. Calvin Sharpe. This guest column was originally published in The Journal Record on November 29, 2016.


G. Calvin Sharpe has 30 years of experience in Oklahoma courtrooms, representing a diverse list of business clients in matters relating to medical malpractice, medical devices, products liability, insurance and commercial litigation.

Office Visit: Taming the Reptile lawyer

The Reptile Theory is a legal trend that has recently gained popularity with the plaintiff’s bar. It is a strategy used to shift jury attention from considering complex trial details typical of a medical malpractice case, to reaction-driven responses that arise from the reptilian portion of the brain. The most primitive cognitive functions, such as breathing, hunger and survival, are generated from this inner portion of the brain, called the basal ganglia or the reptilian complex.

With the common assumption that jurors want to expose and punish the existence of danger, Reptile attorneys seek to establish the defendant doctor or health care provider as careless, indifferent or even malicious in their disregard for safety. The jury’s perception that the defendant endangered the plaintiff will stimulate the survival mechanism deep in their reptile complex. Thus, the jury will act to protect themselves and the community by awarding a substantial verdict in favor of the plaintiff.

As a health care defense litigator in Oklahoma, I have experienced this method firsthand. The Reptile Theory is successfully utilized to secure favorable verdicts and high damage awards. However, just as trends ascend, so do counterstrategies. The Reptile strategy is not the Jedi Mind Trick, and with proper preparation, defense lawyers can derail Reptile attorneys’ efforts before they can derail the jury.

A critical part of defending the Reptile method is to spend adequate time preparing witnesses for deposition, and subsequently, trial cross-examination. During deposition, the Reptile attorney will likely begin the process of establishing a collection of artificial safety rules that exceed the degree of prudence and caution required by law, known as Standard of Care.

For example, a deposed physician may be asked, “Is the ultimate safety of a patient the most important consideration in medical care?” An unprepared defendant would naturally want to say, “yes, of course.” However, this can be used during trial to characterize the physician as careless and unsafe when artificial safety rules established in deposition are contradicted, even if they exceed the legal standard of care required for a physician or health care provider.

Understanding of Reptile Theory within the legal community is still evolving. Defense lawyers are well-advised to educate themselves, their clients and the judge prior to squaring off against a Reptile lawyer.

G. Calvin Sharpe is a trial lawyer at Phillips Murrah law firm in Oklahoma City.

NewsOK Q&A: High court’s tie in assault affirms tribe’s self-determination right

From NewsOK / by Paula Burkes
Published: June 30, 2016
Click to see full story – High court’s tie in assault affirms tribe’s self-determination right

Click to see G. Calvin Sharpe’s attorney profile

G. Calvin Sharpe has 30 of years of experience in Oklahoma courtrooms, representing a diverse list of business clients in matters relating to medical malpractice, medical devices, products liability, insurance and commercial litigation.

Q: Generally speaking, what was the Dollar General case about, originally?

A: In the original case, there was a Dollar General store operating within the Reservation of the Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians. A 13-year-old boy, a tribal member, was working at the store as a part of a youth opportunity program. In 2005, a suit was brought by the boy’s parents that alleged that the boy was sexually assaulted by the store’s nontribal manager in the summer of 2003. In the binding contract with the tribe to operate on tribal land, Dollar General agreed to tribal court civil jurisdiction, so the case went to a tribal court. The Choctaw courts denied a motion to dismiss the case due to lack of jurisdiction citing a 1981 Supreme Court Case, Montana v. United States, which held that a “tribe may regulate, through taxation, licensing, or other means, the activities of nonmembers who enter consensual relationships with the tribe or its members.” Dollar General subsequently sued in federal court to clarify the terminology, “other means.” (Dollar General Corp. v. Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians)

Q: The Supreme Court decision was tied, 4-to-4, which means that the lower court decision of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit is upheld. What was that Fifth Circuit’s upheld decision?

A: At the heart of this decision is the question of whether tribal courts have the right to exercise civil authority over people who are operating within tribe’s jurisdiction, but who aren’t tribal members. In the federal case subsequent to the tribal rulings in Choctaw courts, Dollar General petitioned for certiorari, which means they asked a higher court to review the determination of a lower court. In the judgment of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, Indian tribal courts have jurisdiction to adjudicate civil tort claims against nonmembers, including as a means of regulating the conduct of nonmembers who enter into consensual relationships with a tribe or its members.

Q: How has this Supreme Court ruling, essentially allowing the lower court decision to stay, changed the nature of tribal jurisdictional authority?

A: In the decision of the appeal to the Supreme Court of the United States of America, the high court was deadlocked, which allows the decision of the U.S. Court of the Appeals for the Fifth Circuit to stand. The judgment is affirmed by an equally divided court, (which) allows the case to proceed to resolution in tribal court without further appeals regarding authority. However, there’s the likelihood that, in a similar case, the Supreme Court would grant another certiorari when the Senate confirms a replacement for Justice Scalia.

Q: Why is this viewed as a success for tribal sovereignty and tribal governmental authority?

A: Thursday’s Supreme Court ruling served as a significant win in the fight for native tribal court authority. The Supreme Court tie affirms native groups’ right to self-determination. This allows federally recognized tribes to continue developing their own governmental bodies.

 

Phillips Murrah rowing team, Law & Oarder, completes 2015 season

Phillips Murrah rowing team on the course

Phillips Murrah’s corporate rowing team, Law & Oarder, was featured on the cover of the Saturday, Oklahoman on Oct. 3.

rowing group

Getting ready for the race, Oct 2 at the Oklahoma Boathouse District. From left: Nathan Hatcher, Debra Tyler, Jennifer Miller, Jason Kreth, Dave Rhea, Melissa Gardner, G. Calvin Sharpe.

The Phillips Murrah rowing team, Law & Oarder, completed the 2015 season on Friday with a solid, 500-meter run of 1:52.818.

“It has been amazing to see how wholeheartedly the firm supports our team,” said Phillips Murrah attorney and L&O team leader, Melissa Gardner. “I definitely think rowing is an outlet to build relationships outside of those you’d normally build in the firm.”

Over the two seasons during the summer of 2015, the rowing team has consisted of Firm Shareholders, attorneys, non-attorney directors in marketing and IT, legal secretaries and accountants.

“Rowing gives me a sense of commitment and accountability to our team and it brings our ‘work family’ together in a vastly different environment,” said Marketing Director, Dave Rhea. “It’s a very interesting activity. This is my first year, and I am hooked.”

PM rowing tshirts for 2015

PM rowing t shirts for 2015

“Plus, I think the regattas are a great way for the firm to build morale,” Melissa added. “As someone who started at the firm within the last two years, it was a great way to speed up relationship building within the firm – both with those who are on the team and all those who are just interested!”

G rowing

Practice: G. Calvin and Monica Ball preparing to “put foot to strip.”

“Having the opportunity to be a part of the Phillips Murrah rowing team has been an awesome experience,” said Deena Baker, a Legal Secretary at Phillips Murrah. “I have accomplished something I never dreamed of even attempting, but was determined to try after watching last October’s race!  Had the time of my life and am ready to jump back in next year!”

You can see more coverage about the regatta in The Oklahoman – Oklahoma Regatta Festival: Premier fall rowing event keeps growing by Ed Godfrey.

 

Affordable Care Act changes affect physicians

Gavel to Gavel, appears in The Journal Record.
Originally published in The Journal Record on Apr. 22, 2015.
View G. Calvin Sharpe’s attorney profile here.


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G. Calvin Sharpe is a trial attorney who represents a diverse list of business clients in matters relating to medical malpractice, medical devices, medical licensure boards,products liability, insurance and commercial litigation.

The Affordable Care Act brought fundamental changes to the American health care system.

One called evidenced-based care significantly affects how physicians are paid. I’ve represented many providers in malpractice actions and before professional licensure boards, but now I must also be as proficient in regulatory law.

The ACA’s value-based care replaces traditional fee for service. In the traditional model, a patient visit is followed by a bill paid by the patient or insurer, and providers are rewarded for a higher-volume practice. One of the stated goals of the ACA is to eliminate care and decision making that could be financially motivated.

The value-based pay-for-performance compensation model that reimburses physicians based upon achievement of measurable objectives or metrics is replacing that traditional model. Evidenced-based guidelines focus on outcomes and will seek to eliminate unnecessary procedures, and compensation will be based upon performance.

Examples would be patient readmission following hospital discharge and so-called never events, defined by the National Quality Form’s list of Serious Reportable Events as events that should never have happened.

Changes in evidenced-based care practice guidelines and how medical malpractice claims are brought generally attempt to measure a provider’s performance against a legal standard. This means the performance is evaluated according to that of a prudent professional in the same or similar circumstances.

Read the entire column here.