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BRET R. SMITH

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BIO

Bret R. Smith has a background and experience unique to the practice of law.

A 1991 graduate of the United States Air Force Academy, Bret served the United States as an Air Force officer and jet pilot before attending law school at the University of Alabama.

Although it would appear that the cockpit of a Boeing B-1 Lancer and a courtroom do not have much in common, Bret has found that professionalism, preparation, and attention to detail have been vital to success in both places.

Bret R. Smith is a member of the Alabama State Bar, Tuscaloosa County Bar Association, and is licensed to practice law in State and Federal Courts across Alabama.

In addition to obtaining the rank of Major while in the Air Force, Bret was appointed by Governor Robert Bentley as an Honorary Admiral in the State of Alabama.

State and Counties served: All of West Alabama including Tuscaloosa, Pickens, Hale, Marion, Lamar, and Fayette Counties

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Family Law

  • Divorce
  • High Asset Divorce
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Alimony/Spousal Support
  • Child Support
  • Paternity
  • Visitation/Co-Parenting Plan

Domestic Violence

  • Estate Planning
  • Wills
  • Advanced Directive for Healthcare
  • Power of Attorney

Probate

  • Estate Cases
  • Guardianship
  • Conservatorship

DANIEL F. PRUET

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BIO

My name is Daniel Pruet and I am an attorney based in Tuscaloosa, AL. Though I was raised in Tuscaloosa, I have lived all over the country. I earned my undergraduate degree from the University of Alabama and I spent seven years working in the restaurant business. In 2005, I obtained my Juris Doctor from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. In addition to graduating first in my class, I won multiple trial competitions and competed against other law students from across the country.

After graduating from law school, I worked as an appellate law clerk for the Honorable William C. Thompson, Presiding Judge, at the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals. Working for the Court allowed me to hone my research skills and, most importantly, gain a better understanding of the “big picture” in regard to how the appellate system works.

This insight has helped me better serve my clients by allowing to me understand the importance of preserving objections for the record in order to ensure that my clients do not win at trial only to lose on appeal because something was not done correctly. My time working in the appellate system has made me a better litigator because I have experience in both levels of Alabama’s legal system – the trial level and the appellate level.

In 2006, I returned to Tuscaloosa to work at the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office. In my five years at the DA’s Office, I tried approximately 30 cases to a jury verdict and I managed a case load of approximately 800 cases. I prosecuted misdemeanors such as Domestic Violence and DUI, and I spent one year prosecuting nothing but drug cases. For almost three years, I served as one of four attorneys assigned to the Violent Crimes Unit. During my time with the Violent Crimes Unit, I prosecuted all types of violent felonies, from Rape to Capital Murder.

My time at the DA Office has helped me in several ways. First, it gave me the opportunity to learn how to try a case. Simply put, I know my way around a courtroom. It also enabled me to hone my negotiating skills because I had the opportunity to work with attorneys and judges on hundreds of cases. Working at the DA’s Office also allowed me to develop personal relationships with prosecutors, private attorneys, judges, and police officers.

Knowing the people working in the legal system helps me help my clients because I know how the people have handled situations in the past, thereby reducing the guesswork inherent in any litigious situation.

In 2011, I opened my own firm with the desire to focus solely on litigation in a setting that allows me to provide sound counsel and individualized representation to my clients. To achieve that goal, I keep a relatively low number of active cases so that I can better serve my clients by having the time to meet with them and understand their unique situation. My diverse background, coupled with hard work and a desire to focus only on litigation has enabled me to serve my clients well.

In 2017, I helped found the Browne House Law Group, LLC. Being at BHLG has allowed me to continue working closely with my clients while getting the benefit of being able to draw from the experience and resources of the other member firms.

When not practicing law, I enjoy working on my family’s farm, coaching youth baseball, and traveling. I am a elder at Trinity Presbyterian Church, PCA. I am married to Caryn Pruet, and we have three wonderful children.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Tuscaloosa Criminal Law

  • Civil Law
  • Criminal Law
  • DUI Law
  • Domestic Violence Law
  • Drug Crime Law
  • Litigation Law
  • Juvenile Crime Law

Criminal Defense

  • Homicide
  • Sex Offenses
  • Alcohol Offenses
  • White Collar Crimes
  • Domestic Violence
  • Violent Crimes
  • Criminal Record Expungement
  • Vehicular Homicide / Vehicular Manslaughter / Vehicular Murder
  • Federal and State Drug Charges
  • Firearms Possession / Weapons Violations

KIM BAWGUS

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BIO

Kim Bawgus spent the first five years of her career representing clients involved in civil litigation, including products and medical liability lawsuits, wrongful death cases, and banking fraud.

Kim also has substantial experience in negotiating insurance claims. In 2011, she helped a Tuscaloosa factory negotiate with its insurance company so that it could rebuild its facility after it was hit by a tornado.

​Kim spent the next four and a half years with the Tuscaloosa County District Attorney’s Office where she was involved in the trial of dozens of cases, allowing her to gain valuable courtroom experience. Kim handles matters involving criminal law, civil litigation, and estate administration.

She earned her B.A. from Rhodes College in 2005 and earned her J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 2008. Her hobbies include scuba diving and spending time with her four dogs.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Civil Practice

  • Crimial
  • DUI
  • Drug Possession
  • Felony
  • Misdemeanor
  • Juvenile
  • Theft of Property
  • Defense
  • Car Accident
  • Insurance
  • Probate
  • Wills
  • Estate
  • Lawsuit
  • Advanced Directive for Healthcare
  • Power of Attorney

Family Law

  • Divorce
  • High Asset Divorce
  • Uncontested Divorce
  • Child Custody
  • Alimony/Spousal Support
  • Child Support
  • Paternity
  • Visitation/Co-Parenting Plan

Domestic Violence

  • Estate Planning
  • Wills
  • Advanced Directive for Healthcare
  • Power of Attorney

HUDSON CHESHIRE

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BIO

Hudson Cheshire is from Dothan, Alabama.

He received his Juris Doctorate from The University of Alabama School of Law, where he served as a published contributor and the Executive Articles Editor of the Law and Psychology Review.

Prior to law school, Hudson graduated summa cum laude from Auburn University with a bachelors degree in English and a business minor. While there he was inducted into the Phi Beta Kappa Society.

Hudson is a member of the Alabama State Bar, the Tuscaloosa County Bar Association and the Alabama Criminal Defense Lawyer’s Association. He practices in criminal defense and juvenile law.


JASON P. BAILEY

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BIO

Jason practices, teaches, and writes about the law. Before moving to Tuscaloosa, Alabama, Jason was a lawyer in Kentucky and Colorado where he represented the interests of consumers and small businesses. In Alabama, he has used his experience and knowledge of the law in different states and across several disciplines to build a dedicated and broad legal practice.

Jason tries cases. He has litigated in the federal courts cases involving retirement benefits, foreclosure, bankruptcy, and social security. He has litigated state cases on behalf of individuals, families, and businesses. The types of civil cases he has worked include the litigation of family trust, employment disputes, slip and falls, car accidents, and contract disputes. Jason has experience with real estate cases including those involving easements, adverse possession, home owner associations, boundary disputes, foreclosure, landlord-tenant, and purchase and sale of property. And in the domestic arena he has assisted scores of clients with divorces, alimony, child custody, and property division – including victims of domestic violence. If you think you have a case, Jason wants to help you.

Jason looks for solutions. He has written and revised contracts, helped clients sell their business, formed and dissolved small businesses, drafted wills and trusts, prepared leases, and provided advice to countless clients. If you have questions about what to do next, Jason wants to help you.

The benefit of practicing several areas of law is that it allows a lawyer to pull rules and experiences from the various disciplines. Legal concepts encountered in one area often help in another because areas of law overlap. Jason believes his experience litigating and teaching in different areas of law gives him a unique perspective on his clients’ cases.

AREAS OF PRACTICE

Wills, Trusts, Estates & Probate

Every adult should have a will. Every family should have a plan. Through wills, trusts, and other devices you can and should plan ahead to protect your family and to protect your assets. Probate is the process through which the directions in a will are carried out, under court supervision. Contact Jason about preparing a will or to help you carry out your obligations as a personal representative in probate.

Property & Real Estate

Real estate disputes are among the most common disputes Jason has seen. Property and the right to possess and use property are valuable assets to be protected. Jason has represented all sides in lawsuits involving boundaries, rentals, easements, sale of property, foreclosure, mechanics liens, and others.

Small Business

Businesses go through several phases over their life cycle: the beginning and incorporation, the operation, and the sale or dissolution. In the beginning you need not only to file the right forms for the state to recognize your business, but you need to create the operating documents that direct how it should run as well. Once a business is running there are issues of employment, contracts, and collection to be dealt with. Eventually, or in parts a business might dissolve, split in two, or need to be sold or passed on to family. Jason has dealt with small businesses at all phases of their existence. Contact him to help you with yours.

Bankruptcy and Consumer Protection

Bankruptcy is the process through which individuals and businesses can reorganize and sometimes wipe the slate clean of past debts and obligations. Consumer protection is the area of law that deals with issues of debt collection, credit reporting, foreclosure and others. Over his career Jason has represented all sides in conflicts between those that borrowed money and those that are owed money. He has helped banks collect money and fought against them in cases of unjust foreclosure and violations of debt collection laws.

Social Security

The Social Security Administration has a robust and complex system for reviewing and deciding claims. A disability claim does not end with the first denial of a claim. If you are unable to work, you may eligible for benefits despite what the Social Security Administration initially tells you.

Civil Trials

Civil trials include everything from contract disputes with contractors – to employment disputes over termination, non-competes, and trade secrets – to discrimination claims – to personal injury for car accidents and slip-and-falls – and lots more. Jason has worked on large personal injury cases, disputes over small home remodeling jobs, fights between employers and employees, and other civil cases.

Family Law

Family law cases are often the most difficult for clients both to get started and to settle. Jason has over a dozen years representing husbands and wives, mothers and fathers in domestic cases. He has represented victims of domestic violence, married persons without children, and individuals with lots of kids. He’s represented those whose only assets are the house and retirement, and those with millions in assets to be protected.

Appeals

After your trial or hearing has ended, a new phase of your case is just beginning, the appeal. Not all cases should be appealed, but if the trial or hearing didn’t go as planned contact Jason about the appeal, including post-conviction work in a criminal case. Jason has a particular interest in appeals and may be able to take you appeal on a fixed fee. He follows appellate decisions and writes about some of them on his Alabama Appeals blog.

Teaching

In the year before moving to Tuscaloosa, Jason was a visiting assistant professor in the Legal Studies Program at Morehead State University where he taught a variety of classes those pertaining to: Real Estate, Contracts, Family Law, Employment, Torts (personal injury), and Trial Skills.

Accolades

Jason is a Colorado Bar Fellow and winner of the 2014 American Bar Association Journal’s Ross Writing Contest for Short Legal Fiction. He has served on the boards of several non-profits and is been a member of Rotary. He has been active in and served bar organizations including the American Bar Association, the Colorado Bar Association, and the Mesa County Bar Association. Jason is a member of the Tuscaloosa Bar Association and is active in the Alabama State Bar’s Volunteer Lawyers Program.


SELECTED CASES

Each case is different, and the results obtained in the cases listed above may not be possible in your particular case.The cases are listed not to imply that a particular result is achievable in your case, rather they are intended to show some of the types of cases this lawyer has handled in the past.The following describes some of Jason’s experience:

  • In trial, Jason litigated the rights of homeowners in their boundary dispute over an old easement and claims of adverse possession and prescription.
  • Schandel v. Siebert, 175 F.Supp.3d 1238 (D.Colo. 2016) Helped an ex-spouse keep retirement benefits against claim for reduction in benefits.
  • Nodland v. Murphy, 2011 WL 5984863 (D.Colo. Nov. 30, 2011) and Nodland v. Murphy, 2011 WL 4843317 (D.Colo. June 30, 2011) In a dispute where homeowners defended against foreclosure on the basis of a valid modification, the cited cases show their successful fight to keep the case in local state court rather than a distant federal court.
  • On appeal Jason successfully argued for a creditor against a property developer’s alleged $900,000 mechanics lien claim.
  • Litigated an insurance company’s breach of their title policy after they refused to pay out on a claim involving the victim of a Ponzi scheme.
  • Litigated several cases involving the possession and rightful owners of heavy equipment or aircraft.
  • Authored motion for summary judgment against property developer that resulted in a judgment in excess of $1M.
  • Through difficult negotiation, Jason helped dissolve an internet company when the conflict between its owners could not be solved.
  • Jason has litigated and mediated countless divorce and post-divorce fights over alimony, property division, and custody.
  • Jason has helped former employees obtain unemployment benefits and has helped employers draft policies and protect their trade secrets.