Wayne S. Melnick


Atlanta, GA | Tampa, FL
D 770.818.4256


Wayne Melnick is a Partner, Co-Chair of the firm's On Call Trial team, Chair of the FMG Trial Committee, and former Vice-Chair of the firm’s Government Law practice section. He is also a member of the firm’s Tort and Catastrophic Loss practice section where he Chairs FMG’s Media law practice team as well as being Vice-Chair of FMG’s Transportation practice team. Mr. Melnick is an extremely accomplished trial attorney and has tried over 100 jury trials to verdict in cases throughout the country. Based on his extensive trial experience and track record of success, Mr. Melnick is often called in at the 11th hour to “parachute” in and take over as lead trial counsel for high risk high exposure cases as Co-Chair of FMG’s On Call Trial Team. As one of FMG’s most accomplished trial attorneys, Mr. Melnick also Chairs FMG’s Trial Committee which is responsible for reviewing every case across the nation that an FMG attorney will take to trial or arbitration to ensure that it is properly prepared and the best arguments are put forth on behalf of FMG’s clients.

For every year since 2013, Mr. Melnick has been named a "Georgia Super Lawyer" in the areas of civil law defense and prior to that was selected multiple times as a “Rising Star.” He is also continuously recognized as one of America’s “Best Lawyers.” Mr. Melnick previously served as one of only three Northern District of Georgia Representatives on the Board of Directors for the Georgia Defense Lawyers Association where he chaired various committees.

Read More

Bar Admissions

All Florida Circuit and County Courts

All Florida District Courts of Appeal

All Georgia State and Superior Courts

Florida Supreme Court

Georgia Court of Appeals

Supreme Court of Georgia

U.S. Court of Appeals 11th Circuit

U.S. District Court Middle District of Georgia

U.S. District Court Northern District of Georgia

U.S. District Court Southern District of Georgia

United States Supreme Court

Publications & Engagements
Representative Cases & Clients
  • A.P. v. Fayette County School District, et al., 2023 WL 4174070 (11th Cir., Case No. 21-12562, June 26, 2023) [Title IX (Sex Discrimination and Retaliation), Section 1983 (Equal Protection)]
  • Lemontree Properties, LLC v. Samples, 357 Ga. App. 410, 850 S.E.2d 849 (2020) [Civil Procedure, premises liability, Dog Bite]
  • YES Companies, Exp2, LLC v. Rodriguez, Georgia Court of Appeals Case No. A20A1522 (2020) (unreported) [Civil Procedure, premises liability, Dog Bite]
  • Shields v. RDM, LLC, 355 Ga. App. 409, 844 S.E.2d 297 (2020) [Civil Procedure, premises liability, Recreational Properties Act]
  • Camelot Club Condominium Assoc., Inc. v. Afari-Opoku, 340 Ga. App. 618, 798 S.E.2d 241 (2017) [Civil Procedure, apportionment]
  • Dukes v. Deaton and Branham, 852 F.3d 1035 (11th Cir. 2017), cert. denied (2017) [Section 1983, excessive force, qualified immunity]
  • Long v. Murray County School District and Linder, 522 Fed. Appx. 576 (11th Cir. 2013) [Section 1983, deliberate indifference, qualified immunity]
  • Cohen v. Davis Academy, 310 Ga. App. 761, 714 S.E. 3d 350 (2011) cert denied, 714 S.E. 2d 350 (2011), cert. denied, 132 S. Ct. 2106 (2012), reh’g denied (2012) [Civil Procedure, Rule 68 offers of settlement]
  • Raines v. Maughan, 312 Ga. App. 303, 718 S.E. 2d 135 (2011) [Civil Procedure, jury selection, premises liability
  • Grammens v. Dollar, 287 Ga. 618, 697 S.E. 2d 775 (2010) [Official immunity]
  • Wilbourne v. Forsyth County School District, 306 Fed. Appx. 473 (11th Cir. 2009) [Section 1983, retaliation, ADA]
  • Palmer v. Stewart County School District, 215 Fed. Appx. 822 (11th Cir. 2007) [Section 1981, public employment, statutes of limitations]
  • Dennis v. Putnam County Board of Education, 260 Fed. Appx. 171 (11th Cir. 2007) [Section 1983, public employment, freedom of speech]
  • Duffy v. Lyles, 281 Ga. App. 377, 636 S.E. 2d 91 (2006) [Civil Procedure, statutes of limitations, insufficiency of service of process]
  • AEW # 2 Corp. v. Federal Ins. Company, 268 Ga. App. 740 (2004) [Civil Procedure, subrogation, insurance]
  • American Bar Association (ABA)
    • Torts Trial and Insurance Practice Section, Member
  • American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
    • Associate Membership Level
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys (ADTA)
  • Atlanta Claims Association (ACA)
  • Claims & Litigation Management Alliance (CLM)
    • Municipal Law Committee, Co-Lead Chairperson
  • ClaimsXChange
  • Defense Research Institute (DRI)
    • Transportation Law Committee, Member
    • Civil Rights and Government Tort Committee, Member
    • Trial Tactics Committee, Member
  • Georgia Defense Lawyers Association (GDLA)
    • Northern District of Georgia Representative to Board of Directors;
    • Education Committee, Chairperson;
    • Pre-Trial Discovery and Deposition Bootcamp, Chairperson;
    • Sponsorship Committee, Chairperson;
    • Logo Committee, Member;
    • Strategy Planning Committee, Member
  • National Retail and Restaurant Defense Association (NRRDA)
  • Florida Bar Association
  • State Bar of Georgia
Client Successes
Awards and Recognition

  •  2023-2024 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®
  • Recognized by Best Lawyers in America®, 2021- 2023 Edition in the field of Litigation – Insurance
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, 2013, 2014, 2015, 2016, 2017, 2018, 2019, 2020, 2021, 2022
  • Georgia Super Lawyers, Rising Star, 2006, 2009
Classes/Seminars Taught
  • “Perspectives on Professional Conduct: A Panel Discussion with Cobb County Judiciary” Moderator (2024)
  • “Lightning Round: Hot Topics in Restaurant and Retail Claims” (2024)
  • “Strategies for Responding to Time Limited Demands: What You Need to Know in FL, GA & CA” (2024)
  • “Tick Tick Boom: Recent Developments Regarding Time-Limited, Policy-Limit Demands in Georgia” (2023)
  • “Best Practices for Claims Handling and Defending Georgia Dram Shop Act cases” (2023)
  • “Defending Federal and State Education Law Claims and Cases Based on Allegations of Sexual Assault or Sexual Harassment” (2023)
  • “The Latest Developments on Title IX and Section 1983 claims in Education Law” (2022)
  • “Defusing Potential Nuclear Verdicts and Vanquishing the Reptile” (2022)
  • “A Primer on Common Non-Employment Public Entity Claims” (2022)
  • “Responding to Time-Limited Demands and Offers of Judgment” (2022)
  • “Adjusting and Defending Claims Against Public Employees in Light of New SCOTUS Qualified Immunity Case Law” (2022)
  • “SCOTUS’s latest word on qualified immunity: an analysis of two new cases” (2021)
  • “Understanding and Best Practices for Handling and Defending Georgia Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Claims and Cases ” (2021)
  • “Hot Topics in Georgia Premises Liability, Negligent Security, Dram Shop Act cases” (2021)
  • “Caught on Video: Strategies for defending the public employee captured doing bad things on camera” (2021)
  • “Comparing Time-Limited Demand Requirements in Massachusetts, Georgia, and California and Best Practices for Responding in Each Jurisdiction” (2021)
  • “Requirements for Time-Limited, Policy Limits ‘Holt’ Demands and Best Practices for Responding to Same” (2021)
  • “How to Spot Liability When Fido Bites: Recent Developments in Georgia Dog Bite Law” (2020)
  • “Strategies for Handling Claims and Defending Tort Litigation in Georgia” (2020)
  • “The New Normal: Defending Transportation Litigation in a COVID-19 World” Moderator (2020)
  • “Education Claims in the Wake of COVID-19” (2020)
  • “The Role of Coordinating Counsel in the Coronavirus Environment – Protecting Your Business Interests” (2020)
  • “Lessons Learned in Trial: Successful Storytelling of the Truck Driver’s Point of View in Tractor-Trailer Accident Cases” (2019)
  • “Lost in the Maze? A Map to Understanding Georgia Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist Insurance” (2019)
  • “Interlocutory Lockout: When the Court Prevents an Immediate Appeal of Qualified Immunity” (2019)
  • “Litigation and Medical Funding Roundtable: More Evidence of Backroom Dealings Come to Light” (2019)
  • “Welcome to the New Normal: Synthetic Drugs of Abuse and Defending Related Municipal Claims” (2019)
  • “Medical Litigation Funding: What You Need To Know About The Scourge Of Modern Litigation” (2019)
  • “Civil Prosecution of DUI and Dram Shop Cases, Defense Attorney’s Perspective, Panelist and Speaker” (2018)
  • “Claims Investigations and Insurance Coverage Issues” (2018)
  • “Litigation and Medical Funding Roundtable: What You Don’t Know Can Hurt You” (2018)
  • “Say What?  Limits on Municipal Restrictions of Speech,” (2018)
  • “Expert Cross-Examination: Treating Orthopedic Surgeon,” Moderator (2018)
  • “There’s Gold in Them Thar E-Hills: Mining for and Using Social Media” (2018)
  • “An Update on Bad Faith Resulting From Holt Demands in Georgia” (2018)
  • “It Ain’t Me Babe!  Climbing the Rungs of the Monell ladder” (2017)
  • “Reptile Roundtable: Lessons Shared From Attorneys Who Have Faced and Defeated The Reptile In Discovery And At Trial” (2017)
  • “Shock and Awe: A Year in Review of High Verdicts and Settlements in Georgia,” (2017)
  • “Legacy and Future Claims in Municipal Law due to Emerging Technologies” (2017)
  • “Vicarious Liability: Emerging Defense and Coverage Issues in Georgia and Florida” (2017)
  • “One for the Road: Comparing Georgia’s and Florida’s Dram Shop Acts,” (2017)
  • “Third-Party Homeowner’s Liability Under Georgia Law,” (2016)
  • “Understanding ADA-based Law Enforcement Claims,” (2016)
  • “Defending Cases Brought Under Georgia’s Dram Shop Act,” (2016)
  • “Law Enforcement Liability Update,” (2016)
  • “Lessons Learned From The Silver Screen: Cross-Examination, Hollywood-Style,” (2016)
  • “Complications Arising from Multi-Jurisdictional Task Forces,” (2016)
  • “New Rules, New Roles: How Changes to the Federal Rules Present Opportunities for Associates,” (2016)
  • “Law Enforcement Liability: Legacy Issues and the Long View,” (2016)
  • “Professionalism in the Appellate Process,” Moderator, (2016)
  • “Issues and Strategies for Municipal Liability Claims Involving Physical, Sexual, and Hazing Injuries in Team Sports,” (2015)
  • “Avoiding Large Verdicts: Lesons Learned from Recent Awards,” (2015)
  • “A Review of Recent Supreme Court Opinions Regarding Qualified Immunity in Police Chase Cases,” (2015)
  • “The Legal and Insurance Ramifications of the Militarization of Local Police Department,” (2015)
  • “Using Technology to Document Difficult to Access Information,” (2015)
  • “Legal Issues Arising as a Result of Moonlighting Police Officers,” (2014)
  • “Revised Rules for Preparing Your Witness for Surviving in Depositionland,” (2014)
  • “Understanding the Effects of Plumhoff on Qualified Immunity,” (2014)
  • “Pools, Tools, and Beer- Serving Fools: A Georgia Homeowner’s Liability Claims Review,” (2014)
  • “Preparing Your Witness: More Updated Rules to Surviving Depositionland,” (2013)
  • “One For the Road: Liability for Acts of Intoxicated Persons in Georgia,” (2013)
  • “Sauce for the Goose: Using Plaintiffs’ Spoliation of Evidence Against Them,” (2013)
  • “Skits and Suds On the Road, Ethics Uncorked,” Moderator, (2013)
  • “Everything You Want And Need to Know as a Car and Home Owner About the Law and Insurance,” (2012)
  • “Preparing Your Witness: Updated Rules to Surviving Depositionland,” (2012)
  • “Skits and Suds, Ethics Uncorked,” Moderator, (2012)
  • “Fire Damage Claims: A Glimpse into the Attorney’s Perspective,” (2012)
  • “Skits and Suds, Ethics Uncorked, Moderator,” (2011)
  • “Understanding the Medicare Secondary Payer Act,” (2011)
  • “Premises Liability 360°, Dissecting a Real Life Trial from Complaint to Verdict: Building Manager’s Strategy,” (2011)
  • “Preparing Your Witness: Rules to Surviving Depositionland,” (2010)
  • “The Good, the Bad and the Ugly of Emerging Technology – What You, Your Faculty & Staff Must Know to Keep Students Safe,” (2010)
  • “Medicare’s New Mandatory Reporting,” (2009)
  • “Yes We Can! Tendering Defense and Indemnity,” (2009)
  • “Excluding Experts Under Daubert,” (2008)
  • “Understanding the Implications of Thurman v. State Farm on Available UM/UIM Coverage Calculations in GA,”  (2008)
  • “Deal or No Deal: Avoiding the Bad Faith Briefcase,” (2007)
  • “How to Try and Lose Your Case in the Media,” (2006)
  • “Insurance Bad Faith in Georgia: A Review of Existing Law and the Changes Georgia’s New Tort Reform Bring to the Table,” (2005)
  • “Mediation: Tips and Tools,” (2005)
  • “Expectations on Referrals in New Cases,” (2004)
  • “Federal Removal Strategies,” (2004)
  • “Adjunct Professor of Law, Emory University School of Law,” (1995 – 2000)