MONTGOMERY, ALA. (September 14, 2011) – Seventeen Beasley Allen attorneys were selected for inclusion in the 2012 edition of Best Lawyers in America®. Best Lawyers is the oldest and most respected peer-review publication in the legal profession, and appears as the exclusive lawyer list on U.S. News & World Report website www.USNews.com. Included on the list are the firm’s founding shareholder, Jere L. Beasley, as well as shareholders J. Greg Allen, Thomas J. Methvin, J. Cole Portis, W. Daniel “Dee” Miles III, Michael J. Crow, Andy D. Birchfield, Jr., Rhon E. Jones, Roman A. Shaul, P. Leigh O’Dell, Julia Anne Beasley, LaBarron N. Boone and R. Graham Esdale, Jr., David B. Byrne, W. Roger Smith, III, C. Gibson Vance and Of Counsel attorney William E. Hopkins, Jr.
Because Best Lawyers is based on an exhaustive peer-review survey in which more than 41,000 leading attorneys cast almost 3.9 million votes on the legal abilities of other lawyers in their practice areas, and because lawyers are not required or allowed to pay a fee to be listed, inclusion in Best Lawyers is considered a singular honor. Corporate Counsel magazine has called Best Lawyers “the most respected referral list of attorneys in practice.”
Beasley Allen Best Lawyers 2012 are:
Jere L. Beasley, Founding Shareholder – The impact that Jere Locke Beasley has had on the profession of law, not to mention politics, governmental affairs and public opinion in the state of Alabama and beyond, cannot be underestimated. Consistently regarded among the “Top” in his profession, Mr. Beasley has practiced law as an advocate for victims of wrongdoing since 1962, after earning his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law. In 1979, he founded the firm that is now known as Beasley, Allen, Crow, Methvin, Portis & Miles, P.C., in Montgomery, Alabama. Beasley Allen is one of the country’s leading firms involved in civil litigation on behalf of claimants, having represented hundreds of thousands of people, and Jere Beasley is arguably the most successful trial attorney in the country. Beasley also has been named to Super Lawyers in 2008 and 2009 in the Top 10, as well as in 2010 and 2011 among the Top 50. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, and was named to Law Dragon 500 in 2011.
J. Greg Allen, Shareholder – Allen earned his J.D. from Thomas Goode Jones School of Law in 1983. He was named to Super Lawyers in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011, 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 October 2010, Jones School of Law announced it would name a new addition to the law school after him – the Allen Law Center. The Center is scheduled to open in the fall of 2011.
Thomas J. Methvin, Managing Shareholder – 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 shareholder of the firm. He was selected to Super Lawyers in 2008, 2009, 2010 and 2011. 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. Cole Portis, Shareholder – Portis, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, earned his J.D. from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1990. He serves as Section Head of our Product Liability/Personal Injury Section. He represents mothers who lost their daughters, spouses who lost their life-long mates, and injured children who will never be able to care for themselves as they grow into adulthood. 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 carefully engineer and manufacture safe products so that innocent victims won’t be hurt or killed. Among the cases currently being investigated in this section are single vehicle accidents resulting from defective products, 18-wheeler crashes, and roof-crush cases.
W. Daniel “Dee” Miles, III, Shareholder – Miles earned his J.D. from Cumberland School of Law of Samford University in 1989. He joined Beasley Allen 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. In addition to representing clients in litigation, he manages the entire Consumer Fraud / Commercial Litigation Section of the firm. He is currently serving as lead counsel against 73 pharmaceutical companies accused of defrauding state Medicaid systems. Miles is representing eight states in this litigation. Dee has also been appointed by Federal District Judge James V. Selna to serve in a leadership role on the Plaintiffs Liaison counsel in the Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration MDL Litigation in the California U.S. District Court. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Michael J. Crow, Shareholder – Mike Crow, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, is in our Personal Injury section and mainly handles car and truck litigation, premise liability cases, and has special interest in brain injury cases. Mike has been successful in litigating against the “Big Box Stores,” i.e. Wal-Mart, Home Depot and others, and he has a wealth of knowledge of their practices and procedures. Mike is currently handling several cases against a local School Board for section 1983 violations and Title IX violations. These cases range from young females students being sexually assaulted by a substitute teacher to the local school board failing to have and implement a Title IX policy. Mike is a current and past member of the Montgomery County Bar Association grievance committee and has served on the committee for the past 10 years. In 2009 he was appointed to serve on the Alabama State Bar committee Disciplinary Commission. He is a member of the American Association for Justice (AAJ) Interstate Trucking Litigation Group, and the Plaintiffs Interstate Trucking Lawyers of America.
Andy D. Birchfield, Jr., Shareholder – 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. The award was created to recognize the attorney or attorneys who have demonstrated consistent excellence on behalf of their clients and the firm.
C. Gibson Vance, Shareholder – Vance practices in the firm’s Consumer Fraud section. He is heavily involved in the American Association for Justice, and recently completed his term as President, representing AAJ’s 60,000 members nationwide. He has served on a number of committees including the National Finance Committee, Budget Committee, Legal Affairs, Marketing-Client Services, Membership Oversight, Public Affairs and Key Person Committee. Gibson was recently presented with The Joe Tonahill Award by the AAJ’s New Lawyers Division. He received this award for his outstanding, dedicated services to and support of consumers and the trial bar. Vance also serves as host of the weekly “The Beasley Allen Report” program on WSFA-TV. In 2010, Vance was named one of two Beasley Allen Litigators of the Year. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Rhon E. Jones, Shareholder – Jones earned his J.D. degree from the University of Alabama School of Law in 1990. After serving as law clerk for U.S. District Judge Robert Varner, Jones began practice in Birmingham with the firm of Starnes & Atchison. He joined Beasley Allen in 1994 and now manages the Toxic Torts section of the firm, as well as maintaining an active practice in predatory lending and class action litigation. Rhon is one of 15 attorneys chosen for the Plaintiffs’ Steering Committee (PSC) in the multi-district litigation (MDL) related to the BP Oil Spill filed in New Orleans. After sinking, the spill caused the largest oil leak in U.S. history, creating an environmental and economic disaster affecting the entire Gulf Coast region. Beasley Allen currently represents thousands of businesses and individuals harmed by the disaster. Clients of Beasley Allen include counties and cities in Alabama and the Florida panhandle, commercial fishermen, restaurants, real estate management companies, commercial charter fishing guides, commercial fishing deckhands, SCUBA diving businesses, property owners whose investments have lost value as a result of the oil spill, and personal injury victims. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
David B. Byrne, Shareholder – David is a shareholder and trial attorney in Beasley Allen’s Environmental & Toxic Torts section, where he has handled numerous complex environmental cases in state and federal courts throughout the United States. David’s cases have involved such wide-ranging topics as drinking water contamination, toxic air emissions, contaminated waste water discharges, toxic exposure, improper landfill activities, petroleum spills, medical monitoring claims and soil and groundwater contamination. During the course of his environmental practice, David has represented individuals, businesses and municipalities, and assisted numerous clients in obtaining multi-million dollar settlements or verdicts. In 2003, David was involved in the landmark $700-million toxic tort settlement with Solutia, Monsanto and Pharmacia over PCB contamination in Anniston, Alabama. He is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
W. Roger Smith, III, Shareholder – Roger is a Shareholder at Beasley Allen. He has been a member of our Mass Torts Division for 10 years. While at Beasley Allen, Roger has served as Lead Attorney in numerous cases and has worked to achieve the successful resolution of thousands of pharmaceutical cases. In his short 10 years at Beasley Allen, Roger has overseen litigations involving Rezulin, Serzone, Ephedra, PPA, various herbal supplements, Vioxx, Gadolinium, and Fleet Oral Phosphosoda. For many years, Roger’s primary focus was the Vioxx litigation, where he served as a member of the Vioxx team that successfully negotiated the $4.85 billion Vioxx global settlement. Roger currently oversees our Actos litigation involving claims of bladder cancer resulting from Actos use. Roger also oversees our Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella oral birth control litigation involving claims of pulmonary embolism, deep vein thrombosis or other VTE, and gall bladder disease. In his capacity as our Yaz lead attorney, Roger is serving on the Trial Selection Committee for the Pennsylvania Coordinated Yaz/Yasmin/Ocella Litigation, where he works closely with attorneys nationally to prosecute Yaz claims in the Philadelphia Court of Common Pleas.
Roman A. Shaul, Shareholder – Roman Shaul, an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell, joined Beasley Allen law firm in 2000 and practices in the Consumer Fraud section. He has handled many complex litigation matters including national Class Actions and mass actions (individual cases with hundreds and often thousands of individual plaintiffs). He has been lead counsel in a large number of national Class Actions. Roman’s practice areas include Appellate Advocacy, the fair labor standards act, Civil Fraud, Predatory Lending and Finance. He has successfully handled cases in over 15 states and litigated in over 30 federal jurisdictions around the country. Currently, Roman is involved in Medicaid Fraud litigation, which is pending in 22 states. Roman is very active in the Alabama State Bar (ASB). He is a graduate of the ASB Leadership Forum program, and has been fortunate enough to accept the Bar’s Pro Bono Award twice, on behalf of work his committees have done in their efforts to help Hurricane Katrina victims and also law enforcement personnel with their wills.
P. Leigh O’Dell, Shareholder – Leigh O’Dell returned to the firm in May of 2005 to work in our Mass Torts section. Though Leigh was a lawyer with the firm from 1994 through 1998, she left in 1998 to take a position with Focus on the Family. Under the leadership of Dr. James C. Dobson, Leigh served Focus on the Family as Director of Women’s Ministries; and in that capacity, she was responsible for Renewing the Heart, a nation-wide series of one-day arena events designed to encourage and refresh women through worship and the Word of God. Leigh came back to the firm for a short time in 2000, before joining Angel Ministries, the ministry of Anne Graham Lotz, daughter of Dr. Billy Graham. As Director of Events, Leigh was responsible for the development and execution of Just Give Me Jesus, a series of free, two-day revivals. Since the year 2000, twenty-three revivals have taken place throughout the United States and the world. Currently, Leigh is involved in litigation against drugmaker Merck & Co. on behalf of young women who claim to have been injured by the vaccination Gardasil. She is an AV rated lawyer by Martindale-Hubbell.
Julia Anne Beasley, Shareholder – Julie Beasley practices in the firm’s Personal Injury section. Recently, Julie has settled many cases for clients, including a case against a trucking company whose driver was traveling at an excessive speed, causing a collision so horrific that it tore the car in half, killing the driver and its passenger; a case involving a permanent injury to a construction worker who fell in a hole (leading to a 21 foot concrete shaft) which had no warning and no secure cover; a case against a beer company in a wrongful death action when its driver negligently ran over a 5 year old boy on a bicycle after making a delivery at a convenience store; and a case in Tennessee against a day care owner for negligent supervision of an 18 month old child which led to the child’s death after she was left unattended in a highchair. A forensic medical expert confirmed that the child suffocated after becoming stuck between the tray and the highchair. She is a member of the Montgomery County and American Bar Associations, American Association for Justice, and the Alabama State Bar, where she participates in the Volunteer Lawyer Program.
LaBarron N. Boone, Shareholder – LaBarron joined the firm in 1995 and has been instrumental in presenting cases involving product liability, consumer fraud and personal injury. His wide-ranging experience is evident, as he has handled a wide variety of cases involving: crashworthiness, seatbelt restraint systems, inadvertent airbag deployments, tractor rollover litigation, tire tread separation (Ford/Firestone), insurance and finance fraud, etc. In addition, he has successfully handled numerous consumer and insurance fraud cases for the firm. One of LaBarron’s most recent notable verdicts was a $4 million verdict in the case of Carolyne Thorne v. Wal-Mart Stores received coverage in the Wall Street Journal and other national media outlets. Locally, LaBarron hosts a weekly radio show called The Law & You on WVAS 90.7 FM each Tuesday at 6 p.m. LaBarron’s guests take calls from listeners, answer questions, and address a variety of legal issues.
R. Graham Esdale, Jr., Shareholder – Prior to attending law school, Graham was a District Manager with Fram Corp. and Gates Rubber Co. Graham started his law career with the Jefferson County District Attorney’s office, where he was involved in over 150 trials. He was a member of the homicide and sex abuse division, which focused on the prosecution of these complicated and sensitive crimes. Graham left the District Attorney’s office in 1994 to enter civil practice where he chose to focus on products liability and workplace litigation. Graham left Birmingham in the fall of 1996 to join Beasley Allen. His primary responsibilities have been in the area of products liability and workplace injuries. Graham has been a leader in the investigation of claims of personal injury and death related to Toyota Sudden Unintended Acceleration (SUA). Graham had been actively investigating SUA problems for about two years prior to the first recall, which happened in September 2009. He filed two wrongful death lawsuits related to these claims, in Alabama and Oklahoma. In February and March 2010 Graham traveled to Washington, D.C., to attend the Congressional hearings on this issue.
William E. Hopkins, Jr., Of Counsel – Upon graduating from law school at the University of South Carolina, Bill Hopkins joined the law firm of Whaley, McCutchen, Blanton & Rhodes, LLP, one of the oldest and most prestigious litigation firms in South Carolina. He ultimately became a partner in the firm and then was elected Managing Partner in 2005. Bill and the firm were selected by South Carolina Attorney General Henry McMaster to represent the State of South Carolina in lawsuits brought against several pharmaceutical companies regarding their reporting of false and inflated prices for drugs which resulted in overpayments by the State Medicaid and State Health Plan programs, known as the AWP litigation. Bill remained as the Managing Partner until December 31, 2007 when the firm dissolved after 71 years of continuous practice. Bill founded and started a new law firm called McCutchen Blanton Hopkins & Campbell, LLP, where he continued to practice with Thomas McCutchen and Hoover Blanton, two of the most well known and respected leaders of the South Carolina Bar. Bill ran this law firm until November 1, 2010, when he joined Beasley Allen in the Consumer Fraud section with an emphasis on class action litigation.