Practice Areas

Four Attorneys Join Firm’s Professional Liability Practice Group


Eastman & Smith  is pleased to announce the expansion of the Firm’s medical malpractice and professional liability practices with the addition of Elizabeth (Lisa) E. Baer, Laurie J. Avery, Garrick O. White and Charles E. Hatch III in the Firm’s Toledo office. Ms. Baer, Mr. White and Mr. Hatch joined effective September 1, 2021; Ms. Avery will join effective October 1, 2021. 

“We are excited to welcome Lisa, Laurie, Garrick and Charles to the Firm,” said Fadi V. Nahhas, chair of Eastman & Smith’s Executive Committee. “They will help the Firm to continue to provide our health care and other professional services clients with the highest level of legal services and contribute to a substantial expansion of our Professional Liability Group. These additions are a direct result of the Firm’s strategic focus on improving and expanding our full-service market capabilities and enhancing the depth and breadth of our market reach.” 

With more than 25 years of experience, primarily in the area of medical malpractice defense, Ms. Baer focuses her practice on litigation, claims management and insurance defense for physicians of varying specialties, nurses, hospitals, rehabilitation facilities and nursing homes. Ms. Baer received her law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and her bachelor's degree from Michigan State University. 

Ms. Avery has successfully defended clients in matters including employment discrimination, legal and medical malpractice, and commercial premises liability, among others. She also frequently lectures on employment law, professional liability and technology topics. She received her law degree from Case Western Reserve University School of Law and her bachelor's degree from the University of Rochester. 

Mr. White focuses his practice on civil litigation involving claims of medical malpractice in federal and state courts throughout Ohio and Michigan. For more than 20 years, he also has represented clients in the transportation, insurance and construction industries. His experience includes handling complex and sensitive matters such as wrongful death, employment injuries and sexual misconduct. Prior to joining the Firm, Mr. White worked in-house at an insurance company. He obtained his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and his bachelor's degree from Albion College. 

Mr. Hatch focuses his practice on the defense of professional, product and general liability claims and commercial litigation. He clerked for Judge Stacy L. Cook of the Lucas County Court of Common Pleas. Prior to his law career, Mr. Hatch worked in the criminal justice system as a corrections officer and a probation officer. He received his law degree from the University of Toledo College of Law and his bachelor's degree from the University of Toledo. 

The Firm’s medical malpractice and professional liability attorneys, including Stephen E. Chappelear, M. Charles Collins, Robert J. Gilmer, Jr., Reginald S. Jackson, Jr., Jared J. Lefevre, Adam S. Nightingale, James F. Nooney, Rudolph A. Peckinpaugh, Jr., Michael W. Regnier and Mark W. Sandretto, serve clients throughout Ohio and Southeast Michigan in state and federal courts, administrative agencies and the licensing boards of both states. They regularly defend physicians of all specialties and other health care practitioners against malpractice and wrongful death actions, as well as before state boards in licensing and disciplinary matters. The attorneys also defend health care institutions – including hospitals, nursing homes and mental health providers – against medical and general negligence claims and advise these institutions on a variety of risk management issues, ranging from best practices to peer review to credentialing activities. In addition, the group defends attorneys and other non-health care professionals against professional negligence claims.  For more information regarding Eastman & Smith's professional liability services, please contact one of these attorneys.