Attorney

Rhon E. Jones

Principal & Toxic Torts Section Head | Environmental
Phone:+1-800-898-2034
Fax:+1-334-954-7555
Biography

Rhon is one of the top environmental attorneys for plaintiffs in the entire country. 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 for the BP Deepwater Horizon MDL. He also serves as class counsel for plaintiffs in the private economic and property class settlement against BP, having played a crucial role in the negotiation for the settlement for all business claims. That settlement, while not capped, has been conservatively estimated to be worth more than $8 billion dollars.

Rhon has also played a major role for the State of Alabama in the BP oil spill. He represents Governor Robert Bentley regarding the economic losses for the State of Alabama from the oil spill, and he will be lead trial counsel for the State of Alabama for all natural resource losses (NRDA) the state has suffered. Finally, he has worked cooperatively with Attorney General Luther Strange, who is representing the State of Alabama in the ongoing trial in New Orleans to determine the fault of BP and other defendants.

In addition to his work on BP litigation, Rhon represented plaintiffs damaged by a massive coal ash spill that decimated the area around the Tennessee Valley Authority (TVA) Kingston Fossil Plant in December 2008. In August 2014, U.S. District Judge Thomas Varlan approved a settlement agreement in which TVA has agreed to pay $27.8 million to victims. This settlement comes on the heels of a 2012 ruling by Judge Varlan that TVA was liable for the spill, which occurred when a dike burst at a coal ash containment pond. The resulting deluge of more than a billion gallons of toxic sludge knocked homes from their foundations and contaminated the Emory and Clinch rivers.

Holding an AV rating from Martindale Hubbell, Rhon has been named to the 2013-2014 Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers, and selected to Alabama Super Lawyers in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012, 2013 and 2014. He has regularly been selected for inclusion on both the Best Lawyers in America lists. Additionally, he was named the Best Lawyers’ 2012 Montgomery Litigation – Environmental Lawyer of the Year. Only a single lawyer in each specific area of law in each community is honored as “Lawyer of the Year.” Rhon also was selected to the 2014 Lawdragon 500 list.

Rhon has been involved in cases at Beasley Allen where the total verdicts or settlements are almost $10 billion dollars. He has played a major role in many of the most significant environmental cases in the United States, including the above mentioned work on the BP oil spill MDL, a $700 million dollar settlement for thousands of Alabama victims for PCB contamination, continuing work as a Plaintiff Steering Committee member in the Hot Fuel MDL litigation against major oil companies, resolution of a class action involving groundwater contamination against McWane industries in Alabama, a $20 million dollar plus verdict and other settlements over carbon black pollution in Alabama and Oklahoma, continuing litigation against TVA over the breach of a coal ash impoundment, and successful resolution of class action allegations of contaminated drinking water in New Jersey.

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 with the law firm of Starnes & Atchison. Rhon joined Beasley Allen in 1994 and now manages the firm’s environmental cases. He has handled environmental or toxic exposure cases in Alabama, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Kansas, Missouri, New Jersey, Tennessee, Georgia, Colorado, West Virginia, Oklahoma, Ohio, and Minnesota.

Cases/Clients of note:

  • Class Counsel for plaintiffs in Economic and Personal Injury Class Action Settlement against BP re Oil Spill. The Economic Settlement has no cap but BP has valued it at $7.8 billion.
  • Clients represented but not included in the BP Class Settlement include the Governor of Alabama and several coastal Counties and Cities.
  • Settlement of the largest toxic exposure claims in U.S. history in Anniston, Alabama, regarding PCB contamination by Solutia, Monsanto and Pharmacia. The federal court settlement exceeded $700 million for more than 18,000 clients.
  • Certification of class action by New Jersey federal court relating to PFOA drinking water contamination of an estimated 5,000 water customers.
  • Settlement of class action against McWane, Inc. in Birmingham, Alabama, for property owners impacted by air and water discharge.
  • United States Supreme Court affirms federal jury award of $20.7 million to individual, business and municipal clients over air emissions of carbon black from the Continental Carbon plant in Phenix City, Alabama. This is believed to be the largest verdict for an air emission case in Alabama history.
  • Resolution of mass tort air emission case on a confidential basis in Oklahoma for hundreds of property owners.
  • A jury verdict in excess of $11 million in federal court in Huntsville, Alabama, for Theft of Trade Secrets.
  • A $1.7 million verdict for a small business client involving a contract dispute in Perry County, Alabama.
  • Resolution of numerous individual securities fraud claims.
  • Jury verdict of $2.6 million for timber business in dispute with paper company.
  • Arbitration award of $1.9 million for a farm in dispute with the animal supplier.
  • Resolution of air emission claims on a confidential basis for multiple homeowners in Alabama.

Rhon has taught Torts at Jones School of Law in Montgomery, and he is a regular speaker at national, regional and state seminars on various subjects for both plaintiff and defense counsel. He has authored more than 30 articles and papers for publication.

Rhon is an Advisory Board Member of the Family Sunshine Center, whose mission is to prevent domestic abuse. Rhon is also a former member of the Board of Directors of the Janice Capilouto Center for the Deaf, which fills special needs for the hearing impaired. He continues to actively support both as well as multiple ministry organizations in Montgomery and beyond. In July 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 is a member of the First Baptist Church in Montgomery, where he teaches Sunday school. Rhon is married to the former Deanne Rawls, and they have four children.

Recent Speaking Engagements:

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

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

Gulf Coast Oil Spill Litigation Group. Rhon addressed "Governmental Claims from AGs to Parish Presidents," American Association for Justice, Vancouver, BC, July 14, 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

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, Texas, October 8, 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, Florida, November 4, 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.

15th Annual CLE by the Hour. Rhon spoke on "BP MDL Litigation." Samford University, Cumberland School of Law, Birmingham, Ala., December 29, 2010.

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.

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.

Alabama, Louisiana and Mississippi Environmental Law Program - June 17, 2011, Sandestin, Fla. Rhon spoke on the topic "BP Oil Spill Update."

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.

Rhon participated in a panel discussion on "Deepwater Horizon Disaster - One Year Later," at the Alabama State Bar Annual Meeting, Point Clear, Ala., July 15, 2011.

State Bar of Georgia, Toxic Torts Seminar - Atlanta, Ga., September 30, 2011; Rhon spoke on the BP Oil Spill Litigation.

Rhon was invited to speak at the Alabama Travel Council Annual Meeting at the Alabama Governor's Conference on Tourism regarding the BP Oil Spill settlement. The meeting was in Point Clear, Ala., August 19, 2012.

Rhon spoke at the BP Economic & Property Damages Settlement Class Seminar, Montgomery County Bar Association, Montgomery , Ala., August 30, 2012. (view the powerpoint presentation)

Rhon was invited to speak at the CLE Alabama Damages Seminar, Birmingham, Ala., September 21, 2012.

Particpated as a speaker in a webinar titled The BP Settlement Program - A Legal, Economic and Environmental Perspective of the Disaster and Resulting Landmark Agreement that took place Tuesday, Feb. 11, 2014.

Rhon was a featured speaker at the 2014 Business Law seminar presented by CLEalabama on Oct. 10, 2014, at the Harbert Center in Birmingham, Ala., where he presented an update on the BP Oil Spill litigation.

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, 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, Board of Directors (2010) 
Awards
  • Lawdragon 500 Leading Lawyers
  • Super Lawyers
  • AV Rated
  • Best Lawyers


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