Melody Kiella is an experienced civil litigator specializing in all aspects of complex civil litigation, including trucking/transportation law, catastrophic personal injury defense, premises liability, and negligent security. She has extensive experience in managing high-volume and high-profile cases from the pre-litigation stages through trial.
Melody is a zealous and loyal advocate for her clients, which include motor carriers, logistics and supply chain companies, commercial motor vehicle drivers, a national rideshare company, a Southeast real estate investment trust involved in multifamily and residential development and management, national and local retailers, and insurers. Melody prides herself on her ability to establish a trust relationship with her clients, which includes ensuring that she knows how their businesses operate and any short-term and long-term strategic goals her clients have that may impact litigation and/or trial strategy.
Melody is the Chair of the Drew Eckl & Farnham Association of Women Lawyers and also serves on the firm’s Diversity Committee, Transportation Industry Committee, and Marketing Committee. Additionally, she is active in the Defense Research Institute (“DRI”), the American Bar Association (“ABA”), and is a member of the Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel (an invite-only organization composed of recognized leaders in the legal community who have achieved professional distinction). Specifically, Melody serves as the Online Programming Chair and the 2021 Trucking Law Primer Vice Chair for DRI’s Trucking Law Committee; the Publications Chair for DRI For Life; and was selected to participate in the 2021-2022 ABA Tort Trial & Insurance Practice Leadership Academy.
Melody graduated summa cum laude from Michigan State University College of Law (graduating 13/313 overall), was a Dean King Scholar during her 2nd and 3rd years, acted as a teaching assistant for Contracts I and II, Civil Procedure I and II, and Torts, and was an editor of the MSU Law Review.
Michigan State University, College of Law, J.D., summa cum laude
California State Polytechnic University, B.A.
All State and Superior Courts of Georgia
United States District Court, Northern District of Georgia
DRI’s Trucking Law Committee
ABA, Tort Trial & Insurance Section
Georgia Defense Lawyers Association
State Bar of Georgia
In January 2021, Melody successfully drafted and argued in support of a motion or summary judgment, which resulted in the Court agreeing that her client’s employee was not acting in the course and scope of his employment at the time of the subject accident because he was operating the employer’s vehicle while intoxicated.
In January 2021, Melody assisted her client in obtaining an Order from the State Court of Fulton County compelling Plaintiffs’ claims to binding arbitration in accordance with the Lease signed by one of the named Plaintiffs. While the other named Plaintiff did not sign the Lease containing the arbitration agreement, the Court found that this Plaintiff’s act of applying to reside inside the leased premises and his acknowledgement that he was a “tenant” of the apartment complex resulted in his claims being subject to the arbitration agreement.
In November 2019, Melody obtained an Order granting a motion for summary judgment filed on behalf of a large grocery store chain in a trip-and-fall case where the Plaintiff alleged that she fell on a crack in the parking lot but was unable to identify what portion of the crack allegedly caused her to fall.
Related News, Publications & Presentations
THIRD-PARTY LITIGATION FUNDERS: THE "PARTY" YOU DIDN'T KNOW WAS EXERCISING CONTROL OVER YOUR LITIGATION AND WHAT YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT. Drew Eckl & Farnham Journal, Vol. 32, No. 191. January 2020.
Attorneys Jennifer Parrott, Melody Kiella, and Whitney Greene Present at Women in Trucking Accelerate! Conference. Publications and Presentations. October 2019.
Attorney Melody Kiella Published in the 2019 GDLA Law Journal. Drew Eckl & Farnham. Publications and Presentations. May 2019.
Distracted Driving and Trucking Litigation: Best Practices When Defending Against or Asserting Claims That a Driver’s Distraction Caused an Accident, Strafford Webinar, November 8, 2018.
Reflections from the Past: Things I Wish I Would Have Known in My First Few Years of Practice. DRI Raising the Bar, Volume 15, Issue 9. October 2018.
DEF Attorneys Appointed to Leadership for ABA TIPS Committees. Firm News. September 2018.
My Thoughts on “Having it All” As a Working Mother. DRI For the Defense, Volume 60, Number 8, August 2018.
Tips for Facilitating Collaboration Among In-House, National, and Local Counsel in Multijurisdictional Litigation, DRI For The Defense, Volume 60, Number 7, July 2018.
Law360 Spotlight: How the ELD Mandate will Feed Reptilian Tactics. Law360 Expert Analysis. May 2018.
Slaying Your Reptile Opponent Through Narrowly Tailored Pre-Trial Motions in Limine. Drew Eckl & Farnham Journal. Volume 30 No. 175 January 2018.
Slaying Your Reptile Opponent Through Narrowly Tailored Pre-Trial Motions in Limine. DRI Young Lawyers Committee: Raising the Bar. Volume 14, Issue 1.
Congratulations to DEF attorney Melody Kiella for her appointment to ABA TIPS. Firm News. November 2017.
“The ELD Mandate: Feeding the Reptile With Voluminous Electronic Data.” DRI Trucking Law Committee: In Transit. Volume 20, Issue 3.
The Electronic Logging Device Mandate and Effect on Future Trucking Litigation. Jennifer Parrott and Melody Kiella. Podcasts. October 2017.
"Understanding the Basics of the FMCSA Rules and Regulations." Melody Kiella and Mike Woolley. DRI's Trucking Law Committee. June 27, 2017.
"Failure to Take "Reasonable Steps" to Preserve Electronically Stored Information May Cost Your Client." Drew Eckl & Farnham Journal. Volume 29, No. 170, March 2017.
"Georgia Premises Liability." Melody Kiella. Georgia Hispanic Chamber of Commerce Business Expo. November 2016.
"Ethics in Claims Management." Melody Kiella and Karen Karabinos. AIG. October 2016.
"Preserving Electronically Stored Information Under Amended Federal Rule 37(e)." DRI The Voice. Volume 15 Issue 38.
"Driving While Drowsy: How to Defend Against a Claim Your Driver's Sleep Apnea Caused the Accident." DRI Trucking Law Committee: In Transit. Volume 19 Issue 2. July 2016.
“10 Pitfalls in Defending a Personal Injury Action.” Melody Kiella. Seminar on Defending Against a Personal Injury Action. January 22, 2016.
"Sleep Apnea: What Is It? Why Should You Be Concerned? And How Can You Defend Against A Claim That Your Driver's Sleep Apnea Caused The Accident?" Drew Eckl & Farnham Journal.Volume 28, No. 163, January 2016.