Kelly M Telfeyan

Kelly M. Telfeyan

Kelly Telfeyan joined Dickinson Wright in November 2009 after starting her practice working for a boutique litigation firm in Colorado.  In March 2018, Kelly joined the firm’s construction group, where her litigation practice is focused on various types of construction-related disputes involving issues such as construction and design defects, scheduling, disruption and delay claims, codes violations, licensing requirements, payment claims, mechanics’ and materialmen’s liens, prompt pay claims, lease disputes, copyright infringement, and property tax appeals.

Prior to joining the construction group, Kelly focused her litigation and appellate practice on civil rights and governmental liability, representing various governmental entities and their employees in lawsuits asserting violations of the United States Constitution.  Because a majority of the cases on which Kelly served as lead counsel involved claims of alleged constitutional violations, Kelly has significant experience litigating in federal court.  

While managing to obtain successful resolutions of most cases through dispositive motion practice, Kelly is very comfortable in a courtroom. While serving as first chair, Kelly achieved a defense verdict in a 2-week jury trial for a case pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee.  Kelly has also won an arbitration proceeding, numerous bench trials, and argued successfully before both the Tennessee Court of Appeals and the Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals.  In fact, in her 14 years as a litigator, Kelly has an undefeated trial, arbitration, and appellate record.  

Furthermore, while practicing in Colorado, the Colorado Supreme Court, in a case of first impression, adopted Kelly and her colleagues’ argument (in their representation of a surviving spouse) that evidence concerning a decedent’s future income tax liability is inadmissible for purposes of calculating the net pecuniary loss to a plaintiff in a wrongful death suit brought pursuant to Colorado’s Wrongful Death Act.  The decision has been widely recognized and is cited in support of the Colorado Jury Instruction addressing the damages available for wrongful death.  Hoyal v. Pioneer Sand Co., Inc., 188 P.3d 716 (Colo. 2008).

Kelly is excited to use her extensive analytical, research, negotiation, litigation, and appellate skills to serve the firm’s construction group clients.  

 

Education & Credentials

Education

University of Notre Dame

B.B.A, 2001 (graduated a semester early)
  • magna cum laude
  • Notre Dame Accounting Excellence Scholarship

University of Tennessee College of Law

J.D., 2005
  • Member, Tennessee Law Review

Bar Admission

  • Colorado
  • Tennessee

Prominent Assignments

Representing the owner of a large manufacturing plant in Tennessee in disputes with the general contractor regarding change orders, non-payment, non-conforming work, defective work, and claims in excess of $30M.

Represented a newspaper company in a complex personal property tax appeal and secured a significant refund.

Served as lead counsel in multiple bench trials with successful results.

Involved in the representation of large financial and banking institutions, mortgage servicers, and corporations in all aspects of litigation, including adversary proceedings in bankruptcy court.

Considerable experience in defending governmental entities in Section 1983 claims, Governmental Tort Liability Act claims, and claims alleging retaliatory discharge/discharge in violation of the ADA, the TDA, the FMLA, the TPPA, the TPEPFA.

Involved in the representation of private employers in claims alleging age discrimination and discrimination based on national origin.

Drafted appellate briefs and successfully argued appeals before the United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit and the Tennessee Court of Appeals.

Drafted Motion to Dismiss and successfully argued that clients were entitled to the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims pursuant to the doctrine of quasi-judicial immunity and the Tennessee Governmental Tort Liability Act.

Drafted Motion to Dismiss and successfully argued that clients were entitled to the dismissal of the plaintiff's claims for negligence and false light invasion of privacy.

Drafted Motion in Limine and successfully argued that the doctrine of collateral estoppel applied to the plaintiff's claim for defamation in light of decisions reached by the ALJ and the Chancery Court for Davidson County, Tennessee.

Drafted Appellate Briefs and successfully argued appeals before the United States District Court for the Sixth Circuit and the Court of Appeals of Tennessee at Nashville.

Drafted Appellate Brief for a case appealed to the Court of Appeals of Colorado in which the Court of Appeals affirmed the district court's grant of summary judgment in favor of client.

Drafted Response to a Rule to Show Cause in a matter of first impression in which the Supreme Court of Colorado adopted the position argued in Response brief.   

Professional Involvement

  • Tennessee Association of Construction Counsel
  • Fellow of the Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Nashville Bar Association
    • Co-Chair of the Appellate Practice Committee (January 2017-present)

Court Admissions

  • Tennessee State Courts
  • United States District Court for the Middle District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Western District of Tennessee
  • United States District Court for the Eastern District of Tennessee
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit
  • Colorado State Courts
  • United States District Court for the District of Colorado

Publications/Presentations

  • Presented at a continuing legal education course entitled “Police Liability in Tennessee” sponsored by Lorman Education Services.
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