This year’s speakers are dynamic and inspiring with diverse backgrounds. You’ll be informed and entertained while earning Free CLE Credits. Please note that this conference is for Alabama attorneys in private practice.
Speakers this year will include:
Jere L. Beasley – In January 1979, Jere Locke Beasley considered his options for making a future in Alabama’s Capital City, Montgomery. With a lifelong love of politics and a spirit for public service, he had served as Lieutenant Governor under Governor George Wallace, and had filled the Governor’s shoes briefly while Wallace recovered from an assassination attempt.
In 1978, Beasley made a bid for the Governor’s spot on a permanent basis, but was defeated in the race. He decided to hang out his shingle as a private practice lawyer. He believed working as a plaintiff’s lawyer would allow him to continue his mission of service. Today, the firm operates as Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., and is the largest plaintiff’s law firm in the country whose offices are located in one city, and a leader in civil litigation on behalf of claimants, having successfully represented hundreds of thousands of people. Beasley was recently named to the Lawdragon Hall of Fame.
Morris Dees – Morris Dees was born in 1936 at Shorter, Alabama, the son of cotton farmers. As a young boy he worked the fields with blacks, witnessing first-hand social and economic depravation and Jim Crow treatment at its worst.
While at the University of Alabama Law School, he formed a highly successful publishing company with Millard Fuller. Fuller left the company in 1965 while Mr. Dees continued the business until 1970 when he formed the Southern Poverty Law Center, along with Julian Bond and Joseph Levin. Early Center cases included integrating the Alabama State Troopers and desegregating the Montgomery YMCA. The Center, funded by donations from over 300,000 citizens across the nation, quickly grew into one of America’s most successful and innovative public interest law firms.
Under Mr. Dees leadership, the Center founded Teaching Tolerance in 1990 and has provided over 80,000 schools with free videos and teaching materials and over 400,000 teachers receive the award-winning Teaching Tolerance magazine. The Center has won two Oscars for its tolerance education films and received five Oscar nominations.
Mr. Dees has authored three books, A Lawyer’s Journey (autobiography); Hate on Trial; and Gathering Storm, America’s Militia Threat. He remains actively engaged in litigation and has received numerous awards in conjunction with his work including:
- The U.S. Jaycees Ten Outstanding Young Men of America (for early business success)
- 1987 –Trial Lawyers for Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year
- 2009 – National Trial Lawyers Association Trial Lawyers’ Hall of Fame Inductee
- 2012 – American Bar Association ABA Medal (ABA’s highest honor)
- 2015 – American Board of Trial Advocates Courageous Advocacy Award
- 2016 – The King Center in Atlanta’s Martin Luther King, Jr. Nonviolence Peace Prize
- 2016 – National Education Association President’s Award for Human and Civil Rights
- 2017 – Michigan Coalition for Human Rights’ Champion of Justice Award
- 2017 – National Trial Lawyers Association Lifetime Achievement Award
Alabama Attorney General Steve Marshall – Steve Marshall became Alabama’s 48th Attorney General on February 10, 2017. An Atmore native with roots in both ends of the state, Steve is a graduate of the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Alabama School of Law. He served as District Attorney of Marshall County for 16 years, earning the reputation of a tough, hands-on prosecutor and a tireless advocate for crime victims.
As District Attorney, Steve forged a strong record of fighting crime through partnerships and policies at the community and state level. He created a major crimes unit, a computer forensics lab and a crystal meth task force. He was also instrumental in promoting the passage of state legislation tracking the sale of ingredients used to manufacture crystal meth.
As District Attorney, Steve was an outspoken supporter of the Brody Act, which makes it possible to prosecute criminals for two crimes if they kill or injure an unborn baby in an attack on the mother. Steve was one of the first district attorneys in Alabama to use the Brody Act in prosecuting and securing a death sentence for a Marshall County man who murdered his pregnant wife. Steve has also been a champion for domestic violence victims. Under his leadership, the Marshall County District Attorney’s Office was recognized as a model domestic violence prosecution program. Steve successfully supported passage of “Kelley’s Law”- named for a Marshall County murder victim – which makes it a capital crime to murder someone who has a protective order against the offender.
As Alabama Attorney General, Steve Marshall continues to be extremely involved with victims of crime, domestic violence and human trafficking. He has increased cooperation between the Attorney General’s Office and law enforcement across the state in providing direct training and assistance in fighting crime. He has also pushed for the passage of legislation ensuring that those who commit capital murder cannot avoid punishment through endless appeals. And, under his watch, the Attorney General Office has also maintained its strong commitment to fighting public corruption.
Attorney General Marshall is also taking a leading role in addressing Alabama’s ongoing opioid crisis by serving as co-chair of Governor Kay Ivey’s Opioid Overdose and Addiction Council.
Steve and his wife, Bridgette have one daughter, Faith. They are members of LifePoint Church in Albertville, Alabama.
Douglas McElvy – Douglas McElvy, an AV Preeminent rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, is a 1967 graduate of the University of Alabama School of Commerce and Business Administration and earned his J.D. degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1971. Additionally, after being accredited by the American Academy of Attorney Mediators, he has been a certified mediator since 1995.
McElvy has been very involved in the Alabama State Bar and served on the Board of Bar Commissioners from 1991 to 2003, as well as serving four terms on the Executive Council. He was elected Vice President of the Bar in 2002, then served as its President for the 2004-2005 term, and was appointed General Counsel to the Alabama State Bar in March of 2017.
McElvy is the past Chair of the Chief Justice’s Commission on Professionalism and was presented the Chief Justice’s Award of Professionalism in 2010. He has also served as President of the Christian Legal Society of Alabama and was elected as a Trustee of the Alabama Law Foundation. McElvy was selected for Best Lawyers in America in 2005 and was named to Alabama Super Lawyers in 2009.
McElvy has served as a professor of alternative dispute resolution and trial advocacy at Oak Brook College of Law since 1998, and was appointed to the position of dean in 2014. He has also served as an adjunct professor of alternative dispute resolution, mediation, and negotiation at the University of Alabama School of Law. In addition, McElvy has lectured on ethics and professionalism at numerous seminars and law schools.
McElvy is involved in many community affairs. He is Vice President of the Kiwanis Club, a board member of YMCA Camp Chandler, and serves on the Executive Committee of Baptist Health Care Foundation. McElvy is also an active member and deacon at First Baptist Church.
McElvy practiced law in Tuscaloosa, Alabama for 25 years with the firm of McElvy & Ford, PC, which he co-founded in 1977. The McElvy family relocated to Montgomery, Alabama in 2003, where he is engaged in private practice that consists of handling civil litigation in both state and federal courts. Douglas and his wife, Eleanor, have five children and ten grandchildren.
Jabez LeBret – Jabez LeBret is co-author of the best-selling legal technology book Online Law Practice Strategies. He is an international technology expert who has delivered CLE presentations at the Alaska, Ohio, Florida, Wyoming, New Mexico, Colorado, Washington State, Maryland, and Indiana State Bar Associations, the ABA and LMA, plus more than 50 other bar associations. Jabez writes a regular business and technology column for Forbes and is also a contributor to the ABA Journal and NBC Chicago. He is also co-founder of the legal marketing agency GNGF, winner of the 2014 Best Places to Work by the Cincinnati Business Courier and runner-up for Business of the Year by the Cincinnati Chamber of Commerce. He loves coffee and is a craft beer enthusiast.
Robert Thornhill – Robert Thornhill received his BS degree in Psychology from Troy University Montgomery in 1983. He later returned to Troy University and received his Master’s Degree in Counseling and Human Development in 1992.
He has met all the standards of the Alabama Board of Examiners in Counseling and is a Licensed Professional Counselor (LPC). He is also a Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (CADC), an Internationally Certified Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICADC), and a Certified Adolescent Alcohol and Drug Counselor (ICAADC).
Mr. Thornhill has worked in the field of mental health and substance abuse for the past 20 years. He served as the Clinical Coordinator for the Alabama Physician Health Program from January of 2009 through September of 2012.
He was appointed Director of the Alabama Lawyer Assistance Program on October 1, 2012. Mr. Thornhill oversees program operations including coordinating evaluations, assessments and monitoring services.
Mr. Thornhill is very happily married to his wife of 34 years, Cindy Rose Thornhill, and is the proud father of their two grown children, John Taylor Thornhill and Robert Willis Thornhill. John is a Chiropractor and Professor at Life University in Marietta, GA and is married to Robin Steele Thornhill. They have two precious daughters, Willow Rose Thornhill and River Lee Thornhill. Robert Willis is a High School Teacher in Raleigh, NC.
Dr. David G. Bronner – Dr. David Bronner is the CEO of the Retirement Systems of Alabama, a public pension fund with assets in excess of $37 billion providing benefits for over 339,000 public employees and retirees. RSA is ranked 107th of the top 300 private/public pension funds in the world with the top three being sovereign wealth funds.
Dr. Bronner earned a Ph.D. and law degree from the University of Alabama where he taught in the Graduate Schools of Business and Education and served as Assistant Dean and Lecturer in the School of Law before coming to the RSA.
Dr. Bronner has been featured in Time, Governing magazine, The Institutional Investor, The Money Manager, Wall Street Journal, Business Week, Forbes Magazine, and Pension & Investment Age for his investment strategies and financial market decisions. In 2003, PlanSponsor magazine named the RSA “Plan Sponsor of the Year.”
High profile investments to help Alabama thrive are a hallmark of Dr. Bronner, including office buildings in Montgomery, Mobile and New York and the development of eight hotels and conference centers in Alabama. Other investments include Raycom Media with 53 TV stations, and Community Newspaper Holdings, Inc., with over 160 newspapers which provide free advertising for the state of Alabama.
The venture of which Dr. Bronner is most proud is the Alabama’s Robert Trent Jones Golf Trail, a collection of 26 championship golf courses at 11 sites that has put Alabama at the top of the list of golf destinations worldwide and helped increased tourism from a $1.8 billion industry to a yearly $13 billion industry.
Stephanie Monplaisir – Stephanie Monplaisir started as a Law Clerk in our Personal Injury/Products Liability Section in April 2011. She became a Personal Injury/Products Liability Staff Attorney after passing the Alabama Bar Exam in October 2011. Her practice in that section focused on complex litigation and appellate proceedings for the Personal Injury/Products Liability departments. In December 2012, Stephanie worked in the firm’s Toxic Torts section, handling cases related to the BP Oil Spill litigation and settlement. She has since rejoined the Personal Injury/Products Liability section. She is admitted to practice in Alabama state courts and the United States District Court for the Middle District of Alabama, and the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama. She is also a member of the Montgomery County Young Lawyer’s Association, the Montgomery County Association for Justice and the Women’s Section of the Montgomery County Bar Association. Stephanie is President of the Montgomery chapter of the Alabama Head Injury Foundation.
Thomas J. Methvin – Tom Methvin, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, earned his J.D. degree from Cumberland School of Law of Samford University in 1988. Since 1998, he has been the managing attorney of the firm. He was selected to Super Lawyers 2008 through 2012. Methvin is also a member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and was ranked Band 2 in Chambers USA Plaintiff Litigation section. He is Past President of the Alabama State Bar. Methvin helped organize the firm into sections based on types of cases. This has allowed our lawyers to concentrate in certain areas and to be on the cutting edge in their field. He has helped Beasley Allen become a national powerhouse in representing victims of wrongdoing. He was the lead lawyer in a landmark predatory lending case involving a door-to-door sales and finance scam. The verdict of $581 million is the largest predatory lending verdict in American history. In July of 2007, Methvin was featured in Fortune Magazine as one of America’s Premier Lawyers. He was named Beasley Allen’s Lawyer of the Year in 2009.
J. Greg Allen – Greg Allen earned his J.D. from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 1983. He was named to Super Lawyers in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012, and was named to the Law Dragon 500 in 2011. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell. In addition to his most recent success, he has tried cases which have resulted in verdicts of $114.5 million, $26.25 million, $13.5 million, $12 million and $11.75 million. He has had a number of eight-figure settlements and many seven-figure verdicts and settlements. In 2007 Allen settled two cases for severely injured clients where the total of the two settlements exceeded $30 million. Allen has taught products liability at a number of seminars and at his alma mater, Jones Law School. In 2011, Jones School of Law opened the newest addition to the law school named after him – the Allen Law Center.
LaBarron N. Boone – LaBarron joined the firm in 1995. He handles a wide variety of cases involving crashworthiness, seatbelt restraint systems, airbag deployments, tractor rollover litigation, and tire tread separation. In addition, he has successfully handled numerous consumer and insurance fraud cases for the firm. He was co-lead counsel in the landmark consumer fraud case Merriweather v. Whirlpool, which resulted in the largest predatory lending verdict in U.S. history, $581 million. LaBarron was also a member of the trial team that won the landmark $114 million verdict in the case of Aultman v. Terex Telelect. LaBarron’s most recent notable verdict was a $4 million verdict in the case of Carolyne Thorne v. Wal-Mart Stores. This verdict received coverage in the Wall Street Journal and other national media outlets. LaBarron has been included in the 2011 and 2012 editions of Best Lawyers in America, published by U.S. News & World Report. In 2016, LaBarron was selected to serve on the Beasley Allen Executive Board.
Benjamin L. Locklar – After working three years as a police officer with the Montgomery Police Department, Ben completed his undergraduate degree at Auburn University at Montgomery and later attended law school at Cumberland School of Law. While in law school, Ben served as an editor for The American Journal of Trial Advocacy. Ben has been published in that and other publications. Following his graduation from law school, Ben served one year as a law clerk to the Honorable John C. Tyson, III, on one of the Alabama appellate courts. In 1990, he began his law practice with a local firm in which he later became a partner. Ben handled several cases, ranging from products liability to medical malpractice to personal injury cases, many of which resulted in six- and seven-figure settlements and verdicts. Ben returned to work as a senior staff attorney with the appellate court for 2004 and part of 2005, before joining this firm. Ben is a Martindale-Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated attorney.
Chris Glover – Chris has dedicated his practice to protecting the rights of survivors of catastrophic personal injury and victims of wrongful death. He has represented injured individuals and their families in a wide range of serious injury and death claims, including those that were the result of defective products, car, commercial truck, and workplace accidents. He has litigated numerous cases that have resulted in verdicts or settlements in excess of one million dollars. Chris graduated from Cumberland School of Law and practiced law in Birmingham, Alabama, for a number of years prior to joining the firm in 2008. He has been recognized by his peers as a leader by being elected officer to numerous professional associations, including the Chair of the American Association for Justice New Lawyer’s Division, and Chair of the Emerging Leader’s Division of the Alabama Association for Justice. He is currently serving as President of the Southern Trial Lawyers Association, through March 2012. In 2011, Chris was selected as Beasley Allen’s Lawyer of the Year for the Product Liability section. He is a Martindale Hubbell AV Rated attorney, and was named to the Super Lawyers “Rising Stars” list, which recognizes the top up-and-coming attorneys. Chris recently authored a book about heavy truck litigation, An Introduction to Truck Accident Claims: A Guide to Getting Started. This book is available free to attorneys. Chris has moved to Atlanta, where he is working in Beasley Allen’s new Atlanta office, which opened in January.
Kendall Dunson – Kendall joined the firm in 1998. He is past president of the Montgomery County Bar Association, which was formed in 1915. He was the first African American to serve in this role. He is past president of the Alabama Lawyers Association, and has also served as president of the Capital City Bar Association. He recently completed a term as a Board Member for the National Bar Association. At Beasley Allen, Kendall practices in the areas of Product Liability, General Personal Injury, and Workers’ Compensation cases involving defective industrial machinery. Kendall has worked on numerous cases with goals of compensating clients for their losses and influencing corporations to design and manufacture safer products. Most recently, Kendall has been involved in several multimillion dollar lawsuits, including a $24.75 million verdict in a premises liability case; an $18.79 million verdict in a commercial truck product liability case; a $5.75 million verdict for the children who lost their father in a maritime lawsuit; and a $4.7 million verdict in a seat belt failure case. He and his Beasley Allen law partner Mike Andrews also recently secured an $8 million jury verdict on behalf of a woman serious injured when her Volkswagen suddenly accelerated out of her control and crashed.
W. Daniel (Dee) Miles – When Dee graduated from the University of Alabama at Birmingham, he served as a Corporate Internal Auditor for Amsouth Banc Corporation (now “Regions Bank”) from 1985-86. Dee then entered Cumberland School of Law where he was chosen to study “Comparative International Law” at the University Heidelberg in Heidelberg, Germany in 1988. Upon graduation from law school, Dee served as a law clerk to the Honorable John M. Patterson, Judge of the Alabama Court of Criminal Appeals from 1989-90. Dee was then asked to serve as a Staff Attorney for the Alabama Supreme Court under Justice Henry Steagall from 1990-91. Dee joined the firm in 1991 and has not only been a pioneer of consumer fraud and commercial litigation nationwide, he has demonstrated great leadership resulting in the firm’s numerous record-setting verdicts for clients in many areas of law. Currently his is working in particular on cases involving Medicaid Fraud. In addition to representing clients in litigation, Dee manages the entire Consumer Fraud / Commercial Litigation Section of the firm. He is involved in every case being litigated in this section and on a national level. Dee is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, and has been named to Super Lawyers, Best Lawyers, and was Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year in 2008.
Alison D. Hawthorne – Since joining Beasley Allen in November 2010 as an attorney in the Consumer Fraud Section, Ali has focused her practice primarily on complex litigation on a national level. Ali began her career at Beasley Allen working on the Average Wholesale Price (AWP) and McKesson litigations, which seek to recover millions of dollars lost by state Medicaid agencies as a result of fraudulent price reporting by the nation’s largest drug manufacturers. Since the beginning of the AWP and McKesson litigations, Beasley Allen has recovered more than a billion dollars for the states it represents and has made a tremendous positive impact on state agencies throughout the country. Most recently, Ali has been involved in litigation in multiple states that seeks to recover money on behalf of the states that was paid for pharmaceutical products and devices as a result of fraudulent and deceptive acts against the states. Additionally, Ali is involved in class action litigation involving consumer fraud within the health care and cosmetics industries. Ali received an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale-Hubbell. She was selected as the Beasley Allen Lawyer of the Year for the Fraud Section in 2014 and 2015.
Larry Golston – Larry joined Beasley Allen in 2000 and prior to working in the Fraud section he worked in the firm’s Business Litigation section and later the Environmental & Toxic Torts section. While working in Environmental & Toxic Torts, Larry was a part of the legal team that obtained a settlement of the largest toxic exposure claims in U.S. history. That case involved PCB contamination in Anniston, Ala., by Solutia, Monsanto and Pharmacia. The federal court settlement exceeded $700 million for more than 18,000 clients. Currently, Larry handles cases involving Fraud, Employment Law, and Business Litigation. Currently, Larry’s practice is focused on whistleblower litigation, retaliation, wage & hour litigation, sexual harassment, employment discrimination, business fraud and class actions. A particularly important area of the firm’s Fraud section work is whistleblower litigation. Under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, the whistleblower is entitled to receive up to 30 percent of any money the government recovers. This is both an incentive and a reward for the tremendous sacrifices – both personal and professional – whistleblowers often make by reporting the truth. Larry recently helped to secure a $30 million settlement agreement in cooperation with the U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) to settle whistleblower allegations that private contractor U.S. Investigations Services, Inc. (USIS), formerly the Federal Government’s largest provider of security background checks, violated the False Claims Act (FCA). Larry represented former USIS employee Blake Percival, who filed a whistleblower complaint in 2011 alleging USIS violated the FCA in performing a contract with the Office of Personnel Management (OPM) to perform background investigations of federal employees and those applying for federal service. USIS acknowledged that it was hired by the U.S. Government to conduct background checks for Edward Snowden, who leaked NSA surveillance documents to the public. USIS also performed the security background check for Aaron Alexis, a technology contractor who shot 12 people to death at the Washington Navy Yard last year. The Snowden and Alexis cases drew the USIS’s work, or lack thereof, into the spotlight and underscored Mr. Percival’s allegations.
C. Lance Gould – Lance began his legal career with Beasley Allen in 1997. Currently, Lance’s practice is focused on whistleblower litigation, wage & hour litigation, and class actions. Whistleblower litigation is a particularly important area of the firm’s Consumer Fraud Section work. Under the whistleblower provisions of the False Claims Act, the whistleblower is entitled to receive up to 30 percent of any money the government recovers. This is both an incentive and a reward for the tremendous sacrifices – both personal and professional – whistleblowers often make by reporting the truth. In 2016, Lance published a book on the topic of whistleblower law titled Whistleblowers: A Brief History & A Guide to Getting Started. Lance initially focused his practice in the area of consumer fraud litigation. He handled actions brought by individuals who were victims of Predatory Lending practices. Some of these deceptive practices included mortgage fraud, equity theft, loan flipping and insurance packing. Lance was a member of the trial team in a landmark case involving a door-to-door sales and finance scam, which resulted in a verdict of $581 million. As a result of this litigation, the finance company quit these types of activities in the state of Alabama. Also, Lance has represented thousands of clients at Beasley Allen resulting in multi-million dollar settlements, and influenced corporations to correct their improper practices. Lance is a co-chair of the Wage and Hour section of the Workers Injury Law and Advocacy Group. This section provides assistance and guidance to attorneys helping employees recover wages and benefits which they are entitled. Lance has authored publications on the Fair Labor Standards Act, False Claims Act and has been a guest speaker at both the state and national levels. Lance has earned a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating.
Navan Ward – Navan Ward, Jr., is a Principal at Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis and Miles, P.C. Currently, Navan is the firm’s lead attorney on the metal-on-metal hip implant litigation, which involves thousands of victims who have defective hip implants causing severe pain, metal poisoning, revision surgery, and in some cases permanent injury. These defective hip devices are manufactured by various companies, such as Johnson & Johnson and DePuy Orthopedics, among others. Navan was selected to a team of lead lawyers, called the Plaintiffs Steering Committee (PSC) for the DePuy “ASR” Hip Implant Recall Multi-District Litigation (MDL), as well as to the PSC for the DePuy “Pinnacle” hip replacement MDL. Navan also was appointed as Co-Lead Counsel for the Plaintiffs Executive Committee in the Biomet M2a Magnum Hip Implant Products Liability MDL. He has been instrumental in assisting with the recent global settlements against major hip implant manufacturers, including Johnson & Johnson / DePuy for $2.475 billion, Howmedica Osteonics Corporation / Stryker for over $1 billion, and Biomet Corporation for more than $200 million, as well as additional confidential settlements involving other metal-on-metal and/or modular-neck hip components. Navan has earned a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent rating. In 2013, he was selected as Beasley Allen’s Litigator of the Year. In 2011 and 2014, Navan was named Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts Section Lawyer of the Year. Navan has recently moved to Atlanta, where he is working at Beasley Allen’s new office, which opened in January.
J. Cole Portis – Cole, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, a “Super Lawyer,” and a “Best Lawyer,” serves as Section Head of our Product Liability / Personal Injury section. Cole is currently serving as President of the Alabama State Bar. Unreasonably dangerous and defective products caused these unnecessary deaths and injuries. Instead of placing profits above safety, Cole’s hope is that manufacturers of consumer products will safely engineer and manufacture products so that innocent victims won’t be hurt or killed. In order to encourage the safe engineering and manufacture of consumer products, Cole will continue to prosecute companies that manufacture defective automobiles, aircraft, ATVs, farm equipment, logging equipment, textile machines and other consumer products. Cole and his staff have successfully handled more than 100 cases that were tried or resolved for more than one million dollars. More importantly, Cole and his staff are blessed to be able to counsel and care for their clients. Cole is married to the former Joy Mikell of Millbrook, and they have four daughters and five sons. Cole and his wife are strong advocates for adoption. They have adopted six of their nine children. The couple also are foster parents.
Andy Birchfield – Andy Birchfield, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, earned his J.D. from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 1992, graduating magna cum laude. He exemplifies the values that have made Beasley Allen one of the country’s leading firms in civil litigation. Birchfield’s commitment to his clients, his indefatigable work ethic, his integrity, his honesty, and his excellent skills as a trial lawyer have resulted in extraordinary success since he launched Beasley Allen’s mass tort practice and was named Section Head. The section now consists of 11 lawyers and 60 support staff. To date, Andy has been involved in cases resulting in settlements and verdicts totaling in excess of $5.4 billion. Birchfield’s efforts have been indispensable in heading the firm’s Vioxx litigation. In April of 2005, Andy was chosen to co-lead the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee for the federal Vioxx Litigation MDL; and he has been lead counsel or co-lead counsel in five Vioxx trials, including one that resulted in a $51 million verdict against Merck. Following that verdict, Merck & Co. agreed to a $4.85 billion settlement for Vioxx litigation. In December 2010, he was named one of Beasley Allen’s Litigators of the Decade. Birchfield has been named to the Super Lawyers list and Chambers USA Product Liability nationwide section. In 2016, Andy was selected to serve on the Beasley Allen Executive Board. Andy is currently serving as co-lead counsel in the Xarelto multidistrict litigation. Xarelto is a blood thinner that has been linked to major bleeding events including gastrointestinal bleeds and brain hemorrhages.
Frank Woodson – Frank joined Beasley Allen in 2001, and his practice focuses on Mass Torts related to pharmaceuticals. In 2012, Frank has tried three of the firm’s hormone replacement therapy (HRT) breast cancer cases. The first was in Omaha, Neb., and the most recent was in Salt Lake City, Utah. After a four-week trial, the jury in Salt Lake returned a verdict in favor of the plaintiff for $5.1 million. The entire award was for compensatory damages. His most recent work is on behalf of individuals who have died or suffered a cardiac event after dialysis. Granuflo is a product used in the dialysis process manufactured by Fresenius Medical Care. This litigation was centered in Massachusetts Federal Court in Boston. The judge handling that litigation appointed Frank to be a member of the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC), which guides and directs the litigation nationally. A settlement was reached in 2016 and is being implemented. Frank also is investigating and filing claims for women who were prescribed brand-name Lipitor and later developed diabetes. This litigation has been consolidated into multidistrict litigation (MDL) in the United States District Court for the District of South Carolina Charleston Division. Frank has been appointed to the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for this MDL.
Ted Meadows – Ted became a principal at Beasley Allen in 2002. Since that time, he has been a leader at Beasley Allen with verdicts and settlements totaling more than $325 million, including a $72.6 million compensatory verdict in a hormone replacement therapy trial. This verdict was selected by the National Law Journal as No. 30 on its list of Top 100 Verdicts of 2011. Ted received the 2009 award for Beasley Allen Mass Torts Lawyer of the year, and the 2012 award for Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year. Ted is currently leading the charge in cases where talcum powder caused ovarian cancer. He helped lead the trial team that secured a $72 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson on Feb. 22, 2016. A jury in The City of St. Louis Circuit Court found Johnson & Johnson liable for injuries and death resulting from the use of its talc-containing products such as Johnson’s Baby Powder and Shower to Shower body powder for feminine hygiene. The jury awarded the family of Plaintiff Jacqueline Fox $72 million after agreeing the products contributed to the development of her ovarian cancer. The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. The jury found Johnson & Johnson liable for failure to warn, negligence and conspiracy. Fox passed away in Oct. 2015 at age 62. This verdict resulted in the Fox trial team being a finalist for the 2016 Public Justice Trial Lawyer of the Year. One month later, Ted returned to the courtroom where he helped lead another trial team to a $55 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson for injuries resulting from the use of Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. The jury awarded Gloria Ristesund $5 million in compensatory damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Five months later, Ted returned to the courtroom where he helped lead another trial team to a $70 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America for injuries resulting from the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. The jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $67.5 million in punitive damages. Six months later, Ted returned to the courtroom and helped lead a trial team to $110 million jury verdict against the same companies. The jury awarded Lois Slemp $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages. Ted continues to fight on behalf of thousands of women who have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, blaming the company for their ovarian cancer linked to use of talcum powder products. In May, Ted was named to the Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers in America.
David Byrne – David is a principal and trial attorney in Beasley Allen’s Mass Torts section, where he is assisting clients with claims against pharmaceutical and medical device companies. He is primarily working on litigation related to Xarelto blood thinner, Transvaginal Mesh injuries, as well as Hormone Replacement Therapy class action litigation in California. Prior to moving to Mass Torts, David practiced in the firm’s Environmental & Toxic Torts section, where he has handled numerous complex environmental cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. He has been actively involved in litigation related to the BP Oil Spill disaster. In addition, David recently served as co-lead counsel in the federal trial against the Tennessee Valley Authority over the company’s catastrophic release of more than 1 billion gallons of coal ash sludge from an impoundment at its Kingston Fossil Plant.
Roger Smith – Roger Smith is a leader in our Mass Torts section and practices exclusively in the areas of mass torts and products liability. Since joining Beasley Allen in 2001, Roger has focused his practice on complex litigation involving pharmaceutical and medical device litigation in our Mass Torts section, which is nationally recognized as a leader in drug litigation. While at Beasley Allen, Roger’s leadership has resulted in the successful resolution of thousands of pharmaceutical cases. Roger served on the teams that negotiated the $4.85-billion Vioxx and the $2.4-billion Actos global settlements. Roger has also served as Lead Attorney in numerous cases where he has negotiated multi-million dollar settlements for our clients, including Rezulin, Serzone, Ephedra, PPA, herbal supplements, Gadolinium, Yaz/Yasmin, and Fleet Oral Phosphosoda. Most recently, Roger was selected by Judge Cathy Seibel to serve as a member of the Plaintiff Steering Committee to lead the Mirena IUD litigation in the United States District Court for the Southern District of New York. Other current responsibilities include working with the Zoloft Executive and Steering Committees in prosecuting the Zoloft birth defect cases in the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania and overseeing all administrative aspects of the ongoing Actos global settlement. In 2015, he was named Beasley Allen Lawyer of the Year for the Mass Torts section.
Matt Teague – Matt joined Beasley Allen in 2011, focusing his practice on product liability cases involving dangerous and defective pharmaceutical drugs and medical devices. Matt is leading the firm’s Testosterone Replacement Therapy litigation, representing men who suffered significant injuries such as death, heart attack, stroke, blood clots and related conditions after use of the heavily marketed drugs designed to increase men’s testosterone levels. These drugs include AndroGel, Testim and Axiron, among others. Matt recently addressed a gathering of attorneys from across the nation on the subject of testosterone replacement drugs and their injuries at a roundtable in New Orleans, La. Matt is also involved in the firm’s Transvaginal Mesh (TVM) litigation, representing women who suffered significant injuries after surgical placement of mesh to treat prolapsed organs or stress urinary incontinence. Matt previously represented hundreds of women who developed breast cancer after taking certain hormone therapy drugs, including Premarin, Prempro, and Provera. Matt is an experienced Mass Tort litigator, who, in 2011, was part of the trial team that secured a $72.6 million compensatory damages verdict on behalf of three plaintiffs in Philadelphia who took hormone replacement drugs and later developed breast cancer. This verdict was selected by the National Law Journal as No. 30 on its list of Top 100 Verdicts of 2011. In 2012, Matt was one of three Beasley Allen attorneys representing Toshiko Okuda at trial in Salt Lake City, Utah, also related to hormone therapy drugs. After a four-week trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mrs. Okuda for $5.1 million. The entire award was for compensatory damages.
Beau Darley – Beau Darley joined Beasley Allen in August 2011, in the Mass Torts section, where he is working on cases involving metal-on-metal hip implants, including the DePuy ASR hip system, which was recalled in August 2010. Traditional hip implants are made with ceramic or plastic parts, but metal-on-metal implants were designed with all metal parts intended to be more durable and hold up better over time. However, that proved not to be the case. All-metal hip implants were failing at a higher than expected rate. Hip implants should last as long as 20 years or more. Many of the metal-on-metal hip implants being investigated in this litigation have been found to fail within as little as five years. Beau is a member of the Alabama State Bar, Alabama State Bar Young Lawyers Section, where he serves on the Executive Committee; and the Montgomery County Bar Association. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Montgomery County Bar Association Young Lawyers Section.
Danielle Ward Mason – Danielle Ward Mason was named at Principal at Beasley Allen in 2015. She is the first African-American woman to achieve that status with the firm. She joined the firm as an Associate in 2009 and has spent the past seven years in the firm’s Mass Torts section, investigating claims involving dangerous drugs and medical devices. Currently, Danielle is the lead attorney handling the firm’s Reglan litigation, where she has done extensive work in ensuring the survival of those claims despite the challenges created by the Supreme Court’s generic preemption decision, Pliva v. Mensing, in 2011. Reglan is associated with the development of uncontrolled muscle movements, a permanent and incurable condition known as Tardive Dyskinesia. In addition to being the lead attorney for Reglan claims, Danielle devotes the rest of her time to talcum powder litigation against defendants Johnson & Johnson, Johnson & Johnson Consumer Companies, Inc., and Imerys Talc America, Inc. In February 2016, Danielle, along with her law partners Jere Beasley, Ted Meadows and David Dearing secured a $72 million verdict against these defendants in St. Louis City Court on behalf of the family of Jackie Fox. The verdict includes $10 million in actual damages and $62 million in punitive damages. The jury found Johnson & Johnson guilty of negligence, conspiracy and fraud. The talc litigation trial team secured a second verdict in May, on behalf of plaintiff Gloria Ristesund. That jury awarded $55 million, which included $5 million in actual damages and $50 million in punitive damages. Five months later, the talc trial team returned to the courtroom where they secured a $70 million jury verdict against Johnson & Johnson and Imerys Talc America for injuries resulting from the use of Johnson & Johnson’s Baby Powder for feminine hygiene. The jury awarded Deborah Giannecchini $2.5 million in compensatory damages and $67.5 million in punitive damages. Six months later, the talc trial team secured a $110 million jury verdict against the same companies. The jury awarded Lois Slemp $5.4 million in compensatory damages and $105 million in punitive damages. Danielle continues to fight on behalf of thousands of women who have filed lawsuits against Johnson & Johnson, blaming the company for their ovarian cancer linked to use of talcum powder products.
James Lampkin – In April 2011, James joined Beasley, Allen and works in the Mass Tort section. He is currently handling cases related to transvaginal mesh (TVM) and Risperdal. Transvaginal mesh is used to repair conditions such as pelvic organ prolapse (POP) and stress urinary incontinence (SUI). The mesh is implanted through the vagina and is used to shore up pelvic organs that have become displaced due to age, childbirth, hysterectomy or obesity. Reported complications from of the transvaginal placement of the mesh include erosion of the mesh into the vaginal tissue, organ perforation, pain, infection, painful intercourse and urinary and fecal incontinence. Women may require multiple surgeries to remove the mesh, and sometimes it cannot be completely removed, leaving women in pain. Risperdal, known generically as risperidone, is approved to treat adults and children 5 years of age and older with schizophrenia, bipolar disorder and irritability with autism. The drug is sometimes prescribed by doctors for off-label uses such as attention deficient hyperactivity disorder (ADHD), attention deficit disorder (ADD), and other behavior problems. Risperdal has also been associated with gynecomastia, a condition in which boys grow breast tissue.
Rhon Jones – Rhon is head of the firm’s Toxic Torts Section. Rhon is arguably the top environmental attorney for plaintiffs in the entire country. It is easy to see why. Verdicts and settlements that he has participated in while at Beasley Allen are estimated at a remarkable 30 billion dollars. In a recent Alabama listing of “Super Lawyers” for environmental practice, he was the only lawyer listed that exclusively represents plaintiffs. Holding an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, Rhon has been named to the 2013-2014 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers, and consistently selected to Alabama Super Lawyers since 2008. He has regularly been selected for inclusion on both the Best Lawyers in America lists. Since early 2010, he has devoted his law practice to victims of the devastating BP Oil Spill. He currently serves on the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) for the BP Deepwater Horizon MDL, as well as class counsel in the economic and property class settlement against BP. He has served several roles on the PSC, including the negotiation of the method by which all business claims have been paid in the class settlement. That settlement has paid out more than $5 billion in claims to date and has been estimated to eventually pay out approximately $10 billion. Rhon was also heavily involved in the recently announced $18.5 billion agreement in principle to settle Federal, State and local government claims against BP, which will result in more than $2 billion for Alabama. In 2016, Rhon was selected to serve on Beasley Allen’s Executive Board.
John Tomlinson – John Tomlinson is a member of our Toxic Torts section. His practice focuses on litigating occupational and environmental toxic tort cases involving individuals who have sustained toxic injuries from chemical exposure. In particular, John is working on litigation involving cancer victims with occupational and environmental exposure to benzene. Exposure to toxic chemicals, including benzene, is a risk factor for the development of Myelodysplastic Syndrome (MDS) and Acute Myeloid Leukemia (AML). John has developed comprehensive and specific knowledge of the scientific and medical issues unique to this area of practice. John also handles cases involving environmental litigation. He has been a leader in the pursuit of claims against BP and other responsible parties as a result of the Gulf of Mexico oil spill in 2010. John played a significant part in assisting the Plaintiff’s Steering Committee (PSC) in its settlement negotiations with BP. As part of the PSC economic damages team, he personally helped negotiate all of the significant portions of the Business Economic Loss models for the Deepwater Horizon Class Settlement, which are estimated to ultimately result in multiple billions of dollars in compensation for class members. Leading up to and after the District Court’s final approval of the class settlement, John continued to assist Class Counsel in their efforts to monitor the implementation of the terms of the settlement agreement and assist class members with questions and concerns by serving on several class settlement support teams. His dedication and significant efforts have helped thousands of claimants in the Gulf Coast Areas receive compensation for their losses due to the oil spill. In 2010 and again in 2013, John was selected as Beasley Allen’s Lawyer of the Year for the Toxic Torts Section.
Chris Boutwell – Since joining Beasley Allen’s Toxic Tort section in 2008, Chris has devoted his practice to protecting the rights of those injured by exposure to toxic substances wrongfully placed in the environment by corporate giants and other polluters. Chris represents individuals, classes, and groups in individual lawsuits, as well as in complex, multi-party litigation in state and federal courts and Multi-District Litigation (MDL) throughout the United States. Chris, a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rated attorney, was named to the Super Lawyers “Alabama Rising Stars” list in 2013, 2014 and 2015. He has spoken at several seminars and CLE events on various topics, including: class action and complex litigation, environmental litigation, and the British Petroleum (BP) / Deepwater Horizon oil spill and Settlement Program. In 2011, and again in 2015, Chris was selected as Lawyer of the Year for Beasley Allen’s Toxic Torts Section.
Currently, Chris is the lead attorney in a class action pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida involving unfair and deceptive trade practices by the manufacturers and retailers of “flushable wipes.” In this case, the class includes Florida residents who purchased certain moist personal wipes that were falsely marketed to be safe for flushing. Chris is also the lead attorney in our cases involving leaking Underground Storage Tanks (USTs). In these cases, Chris represents people whose health or property is being injured by toxic petroleum contaminants, including benzene (known to cause cancer in humans), toluene, ethyl benzene, xylene, and MTBE, that leak from USTs, usually from a convenience store or other gasoline sales or storage facility. Chris’s UST clients include people who live or own property near leaking USTs, residents who obtain drinking water from wells near a leaking UST and nearby businesses affected by a UST leak.
Ben Baker – Although Ben’s practice has always focused on products liability and crashworthiness cases, his secondary specialties are in the areas of heavy truck defects and construction site injuries. In January 2017, Ben obtained a $16.8 million verdict in heavy truck cab guard defect case. Prior to that in the fall of 2014 Ben received a $10 million verdict against Mazda Motor Corporation from a Bessemer, Alabama, jury after a three-week trial related to a defective fuel system. The case involved a post-collision fuel-fed fire of a 2008 Mazda 3 vehicle that collided with a pole. Mazda had designed the vehicle inconsistent with industry standards by placing an unguarded muffler next to the fuel tank, which ruptured the tank during the impact. Ben was on the trial team that obtained a $3 million verdict against Toyota in Oklahoma City in 2013. The case was the first in the nation tried on the theory that Toyota’s throttle control software was defective and could cause unintended acceleration. The Oklahoma jury determined that punitive damages should also be awarded. Toyota settled the case before the punitive phase of the trial. Ben has been selected as a finalist for Public Justice’s 2014 Trial Lawyer of the Year, along with the other members of the trial team, for his work in the verdict against Toyota in Bookout, et al v. Toyota that was tried in Oklahoma City. This award is given by Public Justice to the lawyer or trial team making the most outstanding contribution to the public through precedent setting litigation in the past year. Ben has also obtained a $12 million verdict against a heavy truck cab guard manufacturer, which is the first known verdict in the United States involving a defectively designed heavy truck cab guard. In December 2008 and 2010, Ben was selected as Beasley Allen’s Lawyer of the Year for the Product Liability Section. In 2012 and 2014, Ben was selected as the firm’s Litigator of the Year. Ben recently published a book, Tire Litigation: A Primer, which helps lawyers identify and litigate cases involving tire failures.
Mike Andrews – Mike Andrews joined Beasley Allen in 1998, working in the Products Liability section. The majority of his practice deals with complex product liability cases involving serious injury or death. He has handled several cases against manufacturers of aircraft, light and heavy trucks, automobiles, and agricultural and construction equipment. He enjoys highly technical cases and has a particular passion for working on behalf of injured children. Several of his cases have resulted in seven-figure settlements. Mike is a Martindale Hubbell AV rated attorney. On Sept. 2, 2015, Mike and partner Kendall Dunson received an $8 million verdict on behalf of a nurse who was seriously injured in a crash involving a 2004 Volkswagen Passat. In that case, a Federal Court jury found that the Honeywell turbocharger in the Passat was defective and dangerous in that it allowed oil to leak through the turbocharger compressor seal. As a result, the diesel engine ingested the oil and resulted in an uncontrolled vehicle runaway. Medical expenses exceeded $650,000. The jury award included $1 million for the husband for loss of consortium. Mike is also heavily involved in litigation related to the General Motors (GM) defective ignition switch. The switch can move from the “run” to the “accessory” or “off” position while the vehicle is in operation, resulting in a loss of power. This disables power steering, brakes, and can disable the airbags, just when a motorist needs them most. Drivers may lose control of the vehicle and crash. GM began recalling cars in February 2014, although evidence indicated the manufacturer knew about the problem as early as 2001. Mike has a particular interest in cases involving Traumatic Brain Injury, or TBI. TBI results from a blow to the head. TBI can result from repeated concussions as well as severe head injuries.
Charlie Potts – Charlie earned his B.A. in English Literature from The University of the South (Sewanee) (C’79); his J.D. from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law (C’86); and is a member of the Briskman & Binion firm in Mobile, his hometown. Admitted to the Alabama and Mississippi State Bars, Charlie is also active with the Mobile Bar Association where he served as past chair of the Archives and History Committee and was instrumental in the publication of a history of the Mobile Bar titled Mobile’s Legal Legacy: 300 Years of Law in the Port City (Association Publishing Company 2008). An AV rated trial lawyer for both plaintiff and defense, Charlie has been representing his clients in the courtroom for over 30 years – approximately 75 to 100 civil trials, bench and jury, law and equity, in complex cases ranging from auto/trucking negligence, product liability, insurance fraud/bad faith, medical malpractice, Section 1983, and commercial/business litigation. Charlie has numerous reported decisions in both the state and federal reporters and has served as first chair in oral arguments before the Alabama Supreme Court and the 11th Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals. Charlie was recently recognized by the National Trial Lawyers as a member its “Top 100 Civil Plaintiff” lawyers. He is a trained mediator and is active in the South Alabama Volunteer Lawyers Program. When not at his desk, Charlie enjoys reading (history and science), travel, exercise, sports, sailing, and the arts, particularly the Mobile Symphony.
Augusta Dowd – Born and raised in Birmingham, Augusta graduated from the University of the South (“Sewanee”) and Vanderbilt University School of Law, where she served as Articles Editor for the Vanderbilt Law Review.
With over thirty years’ experience as a trial lawyer, primarily in civil and complex litigation and white collar criminal defense, Augusta practices in federal and state courts as well as in administrative and regulatory proceedings and arbitrations. Since 2003, she has served as the managing lawyer of the Birmingham firm of White Arnold & Dowd P.C.
Committed to our state bar’s ideal that “lawyers render service,” Augusta has been meaningfully involved in bar activities on both the local and state level. She currently serves as president of the Alabama State Bar and is a past member of the Birmingham Bar Association’s Executive Committee and also served on one of the BBA’s grievance panels and as one of the co-chairs of the BBA’s Grievance Committee. Augusta created the original course template for and led the inaugural class of the BBA’s Future Leaders Forum. She is a Fellow of both the Birmingham Bar Foundation and Alabama Law Foundation. Augusta served as an Alabama State Bar Commissioner representing the 10th Judicial Circuit (Jefferson County) and on a State Bar Disciplinary Committee from 2009-2016. In 2011, the Board of Bar Commissioners appointed Augusta to one of the two lawyer positions on the Judicial Inquiry Commission, where she served until 2017.
She is a member of the American Board of Trial Advocates, where she served as president (2015) of the Alabama Chapter. She is also a member of the International Academy of Trial Lawyers, a long-standing member of the American Bar Association, and a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. She and her husband David D. Dowd, III, a corporate attorney and partner at Burr & Forman LLP, have been married since 1982. They have three children: Bevan, Grace, and David IV.
Phillip McCallum – Phillip Mccallum became the executive director of the Alabama State Bar in June after practicing law for nearly 30 years. The Martindale-Hubbell AV rated lawyer was admitted to practice law in Alabama in 1988 and is also admitted to practice in Texas, Oklahoma and West Virginia. After graduating from Samford University’s Cumberland School of Law, Phillip served as a prosecutor in the Jefferson County, Alabama, District Attorney’s Office for three-and-a-half years before becoming a civil litigator and Shareholder at McCallum, Methvin & Terrell. The Birmingham, Alabama, native has served in various leadership roles throughout his career including serving three terms on the Alabama State Bar’s Board of Bar Commissioners representing the Tenth Judicial Circuit of Alabama; as Vice President and President of the Alabama State Bar 2009 – 2010 and 2012 – 2013 respectively; and currently as a member of the Alabama Supreme Court Chief Justice’s Commission for Professionalism. Phillip is a Fellow of the Alabama Law Foundation and is a member of the American Bar Association, the National Conference of Bar Presidents, the Southern Conference of Bar Presidents, and the National Association of Bar Executives. He and his wife Kelley have three children.