950 East Paces Ferry Road
Atlanta, Georgia 30326
Speakers at the GDLA 2011 Product Liability 360 Continuing Legal Education Seminar. Mr. Melnick is third from the right standing next to Gwinnett County State Court Judge Pamela South.
Mr. Melnick presenting Preparing Your Witness: Rules to Surviving Depositionland as “Huntington” at the 2010 GLDA Deposition Boot Camp
Mr. Melnick moderating the 2012 Skits and Suds Continuing Legal Education Seminar.
Mr. Melnick (Center) along with Fulton County State Court Judge Jay Roth at the 2012 GDLA Skits and Suds Continuing Legal Education Seminar along with Education Committee Vice-Chair Brett Miller.
Mr. Melnick addressing the audience at the Georgia Defense Lawyers’ Association Skits and Suds On the Road: Professionalism and Ethics Uncorked Seminar.
Mr. Melnick speaking at the Georgia Defense Lawyers’ Association Bankruptcy for the Civil Defense Litigator Continuing Legal Education Seminar.
Wayne S. Melnick litigates and tries cases in both state and federal courts throughout the state of Georgia and has been doing so for over 19 years. Mr. Melnick was chosen as one of Atlanta Magazine’s Rising Stars among Super Lawyers for 2006 and 2009 and became a partner at Gray, Rust, St. Amand, Moffett and Brieske in 2012.
Serving as panel counsel for insurers and third-party administrators all over the United States, Mr. Melnick’s civil defense practice involves property and casualty claims litigated in state and federal courts, including products liability, premises liability and automobile and motor carrier accidents. He further handles multi-district litigation involving toxic tort claims. In the last three years, Mr. Melnick has tried several major cases and received defense verdicts on behalf of his clients. Two of these cases involved contended wrongful death where each plaintiff’s attorney asked the jury to award up to $5 million dollars in damages. Another case involved an employment action wherein Mr. Melnick attained a defense verdict for a religious institution sued for over a million dollars in damages.
In 2010, Mr. Melnick wrote the winning brief that prevailed in the Georgia Supreme Court affirming the right of public officials to qualified immunity in cases involving serious injury. In 2011, Mr. Melnick wrote the winning brief that created new law in Georgia confirming the ability of the defense to make nominal Rule 68 Offers of Settlement on perceived frivolous cases and to be able to later recoup attorney’s fees and expenses of litigation that are tens of thousands of dollars more than the rejected Offer. Mr. Melnick then won the case again when it was appealed to both the Georgia Supreme Court and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Melnick’s civil litigation defense practice also involves the following fields:
- Advising and representing insurers on matters of insurance coverage;
- Prosecuting declaratory judgment actions for insurers and defending actions filed against insurers in both state and federal courts;
- Representing insurers in large and complex subrogation cases;
- Counseling and representing public and private employers in employment and constitutional based cases. He has and continues to represent many county and municipal school systems, independent and charter schools in Georgia in cases involving student supervision and discipline and teacher and administrator employment practices;
- Property and Casualty Claims (defense of serious injury and wrongful death claims in a variety of fields including motor carrier, premises liability and product liability cases);
- Professional Liability (defense of claimed errors and omissions).
As noted above, Mr. Melnick has handled many appellate cases at the state and federal levels. Please refer to the cases listed under Representative Published Opinions section in the sidebar. He is admitted to practice law in the following jurisdictions: all Superior and State Courts in Georgia, the Georgia Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court, the Northern District of Georgia, the Middle District of Georgia, the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals, all Circuit and County Courts in Florida, all Florida District Courts of Appeals, the Florida Supreme Court, and the United States Supreme Court.
Mr. Melnick graduated from Emory University in 1990, and received his law degree from the Emory University School of Law in 1993. Mr. Melnick was awarded many honors while in law school, including winning the American Jurisprudence Awards for both Contracts and Entertainment Law. He was also on the Dean’s List multiple times and was a Notes and Comments Editor for the Emory Bankruptcy Developments Journal.
After graduating from Emory Law, Mr. Melnick served as a law clerk with the Bankruptcy Court for the Northern District of Georgia serving as clerk to both The Honorable W. Homer Drake, Jr., Bankruptcy Judge and The Honorable A. David Kahn, Chief Bankruptcy Judge. He has also served as a litigation instructor at Emory University School of Law in the Kessler-Eidson Trial Techniques Program.
Following his time as a federal law clerk, Mr. Melnick maintained an active practice in criminal defense in which he acted as lead defense counsel in over fifty jury trials throughout Georgia and Florida. Mr. Melnick has defended all levels of criminal cases from misdemeanors through capital crimes. He still maintains an active criminal defense practice.
Mr. Melnick is the author of Suppression of Identity: Has the Supreme Court Carved Yet Another Exception to the Exclusionary Rule?, 9 Fla. Defender 24 (1997) which was cited by the Florida Supreme Court as the basis for its opinion in State v. Perkins, 760 So. 2d 85 (Fla. 2000). He has also authored numerous seminar papers presented at legal seminars on a variety of legal topics.
Mr. Melnick is a member of the State Bar of Georgia and the Florida Bar Association. He also belongs to the Counsel on Litigation Management Alliance which is comprised of risk managers, claims managers and adjusters, general counsel, insurance company executives, attorneys, brokers and service providers dedicated to the principles and practices of litigation management and the Defense Research Institute. In 2012, he was elected as a State-at-Large Representative to the Board of Directors of the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association which is dedicated to enhance the knowledge and improve the skills of defense lawyers. He has been the chairperson of the GDLA Education Committee since 2010. In the time that Mr. Melnick has been the Education Committee chair, he has overseen the successful presentation of many Continuing Legal Education seminars (see sidebar).
The importance of teaching and the advancement of the legal profession is in addition to Mr. Melnick’s efforts organizing and supervising CLE programs. Mr. Melnick has also presented papers or lectures at a number of CLEs. In 2011, he was a featured speaker at the annual meeting of the GDLA as well as at the GDLA’s Deposition Boot Camp where he presented a Zombieland-inspired interactive lecture entitled Preparing Your Witness: Rules for Surviving in Depositionland.
Mr. Melnick was born in Southampton, NY and raised in Dix Hills, NY before he moved to Atlanta at age 18. Wayne is married to the former Laura Bush and has two sons, Xander and Joss who both attend The Walker School. The Melnicks are members of and attend Temple Kol Emeth in Marietta, Georgia where they are active members in the temple’s Torah study. Wayne served as TKE’s Director of Long Range Planning helping develop the temple’s Strategic Plan in 2011-2012 and was recently elected by the congregation membership to serve as the Senior Vice-President for Programming for 2012-2013. In the past, Mr. Melnick has also served as the Chairperson for his subdivision’s Architectural Control Committee.