About Rhon

Rhon heads up the firm’s Toxic Torts Section and oversees nursing home abuse and neglect cases. He is arguably the top environmental attorney for plaintiffs in the entire country. Verdicts and settlements that he has participated in while at Beasley Allen Law Firm are estimated at $30 billion. He has handled environmental or toxic exposure cases in 14 different states to date. Since early 2010, Rhon has devoted his law practice to victims of the devastating BP Oil Spill. Most recently, Rhon has taken on the issue of seeking justice for those harmed by the nation’s opioid epidemic. In particular, Rhon is working on behalf of local governments suffering economic losses as a result of devoting resources to address the opioid problem, including providing police, medical and social services.

Notable Cases

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 $6 billion in claims to date and has been estimated to eventually pay out approximately $12 billion.

Rhon was also heavily involved in the $18.5 billion agreement to settle federal, state and local government claims against BP, which will result in more than $2 billion for Alabama. He represented Gov. Robert Bentley in the economic losses suffered by the state of Alabama from the oil spill, and has worked cooperatively with Attorney General Luther Strange, who represented the state of Alabama. This work resulted in Rhon being appointed a deputy attorney general for the state of Alabama in that case.

His environmental experience is much more than BP litigation, as historic and groundbreaking as that has been. Representative work includes:

  • Rhon represented plaintiffs damaged by a massive coal ash spill that decimated the area around the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston, Tennessee, Fossil Plant, resulting in a 2014 settlement agreement to pay $27.8 million to victims.
  • A $700 million settlement for thousands of Alabama victims of PCB contamination, the largest environmental settlement in the country at the time.
  • Resolution of a class action involving groundwater contamination against a large industrial company in Alabama.
  • A $20 million-plus verdict and other settlements over carbon black pollution in Alabama and Oklahoma.
  • Successful resolution of class action regarding contaminated drinking water in New Jersey.
  • Lead trial counsel in jury verdict of more than $11 million.
  • Trial counsel in jury verdict of more than $2 million.
  • Lead counsel in arbitration award of $1.9 million.
  • Trial counsel in verdict of $1.7 million.

Awards

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 the Best Lawyers in America list, including the most recent edition, and has received Beasley Allen’s 2016 Litigator of the Year Award. In a recent Alabama listing of “Super Lawyers” for environmental practice, he was the only lawyer listed that exclusively represents plaintiffs.

Professional Associations

Rhon currently serves as president of the Montgomery County Bar Association. In 2007, Rhon received a Certificate of Recognition from the Alabama State Bar in tribute to his nomination for the 2007 Alabama State Bar Pro Bono Award. He remains active in the American Association for Justice, where he has co-chaired two different litigation groups and is currently a member of the Section on Toxic, Environmental and Pharmaceutical Torts Executive Committee.

He is also currently an adjunct professor at the University of Alabama School of Law and has taught Torts at Faulkner University’s Thomas Goode Jones School of Law. At UA, he will teach “Advanced Torts: Complex Environmental Litigation – A Case Study of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill” with Cooper Shattuck through April 2017 and taught the same course in Spring 2016.

Background

Obtaining his B.A. from Auburn University and his J.D. from the University of Alabama, Rhon served as a law clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert Varner and later began trial practice in Birmingham, Alabama, with the law firm of Starnes & Atchison. Rhon joined Beasley Allen in 1994 and now manages the firm’s environmental cases.

Community Involvement

He is also an Advisory Board Member of the Family Sunshine Center, whose mission is to prevent domestic abuse. He is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Janice Capilouto Center for the Deaf, which fills needs for the hearing impaired. He continues to actively support both as well as multiple ministry organizations in Montgomery and beyond.

He is a deacon at First Baptist Church of Montgomery, where he teaches Sunday school and facilitates a men’s bible study.

Publicity

In addition, he is a regular speaker at national, regional and state seminars on various subjects for both plaintiff and defense counsel and has authored more than 30 articles and papers for publication.

  • AAJ Annual Convention 2017 – Rhon spoke to the Mediation for Mass Torts group regarding Mediation of Mass Torts Cases from the Plaintiffs’ Perspective and to the Mass Torts Round Table regarding benzene exposure and e-cigarette explosions on July 23-24, 2017, in Boston, Massachusetts.
  • AAJ Annual Convention 2015– Rhon provided a BP Oil Spill Updateand served as an event faculty member; Montreal, July 2015.
  • Rhon spoke at the 2014 Trial Skills seminarfor CLE Alabama on Dec. 19, 2014, on the topic of Closing Arguments.
  • Rhon was a featured speaker at the AAJ Education’s Plaintiff-Only Hot Topics and Trends in Litigation Seminar, held in Charleston, South Carolina, Dec. 2-3, 2014. He spoke on the topic Lessons Learned from the BP Oil Spill.
  • Rhon was a featured speaker at the 2014 Business Law seminarpresented by CLEalabama on Oct. 10, 2014, at the Harbert Center in Birmingham, Alabama, where he presented an update on the BP Oil Spill litigation.
  • Participated as a speaker in a webinar titled The BP Settlement Program – A Legal, Economic and Environmental Perspective of the Disaster and Resulting Landmark Agreementthat took place Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.
  • Rhon was invited to speak at the CLE Alabama Damages Seminar, Birmingham, Alabama, September 21, 2012.
  • Rhon spoke at the BP Economic & Property Damages Settlement Class Seminar, Montgomery County Bar Association, Montgomery , Alabama, August 30, 2012. (view the powerpoint presentation)
  • Rhon was invited to speak at the Alabama Travel Council Annual Meetingat the Alabama Governor’s Conference on Tourism regarding the BP Oil Spill settlement. The meeting was in Point Clear, Alabama, August 19, 2012.
  • State Bar of Georgia, Toxic Torts Seminar– Atlanta, September 30, 2011; Rhon spoke on the BP Oil Spill Litigation.
  • Rhon participated in a panel discussion on “Deepwater Horizon Disaster – One Year Later,” at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting, Point Clear, Alabama, July 15, 2011.
  • American Association for Justice Annual Meeting– New York City, July 10, 2011; Rhon spoke to the Gulf Coast Oil Spill Litigation Group on environmental impacts of the BP oil spill disaster.
  • Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Environmental Law Program– June 17, 2011, Sandestin, Florida. Rhon spoke on the topic “BP Oil Spill Update.”
  • Rhon was invited to speak on the topic “Causation Issues under the Oil Protection Act” at the 2011 ABA Section of Litigation and Criminal Justice Joint Annual Conference held April 15, 2011, at Miami Beach, Florida.
  • American Association for Justice 2011 Winter Meeting– Rhon presented remarks on the topic “Update on State/Government Claims” related to the Deepwater Horizon oil spill disaster. The meeting was held Feb. 5-9, 2011, in Miami.
  • 15th Annual CLE by the Hour– Rhon spoke on “BP MDL Litigation.” Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Alabama, December 29, 2010.
  • The Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill Disaster– Rhon spoke on “The Oil Spill MDL Process – An Update.” Mobile Bar Association, Mobile, Alabama, November 12, 2010.
  • Oil in the Gulf – Litigation and Insurance Coverage– Rhon was invited to participate in a panel discussion on “The Oil Spill and Related Health Impacts on the General Population and Workers.” HB Litigation Conference, Miami, November 4, 2010.
  • Chemical Products and Toxic Torts: From Crisis to Mass Litigation; Starting Smart and Finishing Strong– Rhon was invited to participate on a panel discussion on “Jury Themes and Effective Communication,” American Bar Association, Houston, October 8, 2010.
  • Deepwater Horizon: Legal Challenges & Environmental Consequences– Rhon addressed the topic “Private Recovery Litigation.” Environmental Law Section of the Alabama State Bar, Environmental Law Section of the Louisiana State Bar Association, and the Section on Natural Resources, Energy and Environmental Law of the Mississippi State Bar. Biloxi, Mississippi, July 30, 2010.
  • Gulf Coast Oil Spill Litigation Group– Rhon addressed “Governmental Claims from AGs to Parish Presidents,” American Association for Justice, Vancouver, British Columbia, July 14, 2010.
  • Oil in the Gulf-Litigation and Insurance Coverage– He addressed the topic “Filing Claims Against BP vs. Filing a Claim with the Oil Spill Liability Trust Fund.” HB Litigation conference, Atlanta, Georgia, June 24, 2010.
  • The Gulf Coast Disaster: Representing the Plaintiffs – Individuals to Institutions- Rhon spoke on Forecasting the Damage from the Gulf Oil Spill, 360 Advocacy Group, Orlando, Florida, May 21, 2010.

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Education

  • University of Alabama (J.D., 1990)
  • Auburn University (B.A., 1986)

Recognitions & Awards

  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Rated
  • Best Lawyers
  • Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year Award (2016)

Admissions

  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Third Circuit (2010)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Sixth Circuit (2009)
  • U.S. District Court, Northern District of Florida (2008)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit (2008)
  • U.S. Supreme Court (1997)
  • U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit (1993)
  • U.S. District Court, Middle, Northern and Southern Districts of Alabama (1991)
  • Alabama (1990)

Memberships

  • American Association for Justice, Co-Chair, Gulf Coast Oil Spill Litigation Group
  • Alabama Association for Justice, Executive Committee
  • Montgomery County Association for Justice
  • Alabama Bar Association; Executive Committee; Judicial Liaison Committee
  • Montgomery County Bar Association, Secretary/Treasurer 
  • Federal Bar Association

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A positive manner

Several years ago my brother and sister -in-law were in a terrible car accident. My sister in-law was paralyzed from her neck down. Beasley Allen handled the case for my brother to see to it that my sister-in-law received the proper and necessary care she needed. I appreciate the attorneys and staff of Beasley Allen in handling this matter quickly and in a positive manner. Good job Beasley Allen!!

—Joan