LaBarron Boone was awarded the 2020 “Chad Stewart Award.” This honor was created in memory of Beasley Allen lawyer Chad Stewart, who passed away unexpectedly in 2014 at the very young age of 41. The firm established the award to honor Chad’s spirit of service to God, his family and the practice of law in the task of “helping those who need it most.” Each year, the firm recognizes one of its lawyers who best exemplifies those qualities Chad demonstrated in his life and his law practice.
“I’m very glad to present this award to LaBarron and I can think of no one more deserving in the firm to receive this award,” said Tom Methvin, Beasley Allen’s Managing Attorney while presenting the award to LaBarron. Tom reflected on Chad’s life saying, “This award is about how Chad prioritized his life, which was faith, family and firm, in that order. LaBarron lives his life in the same way. It is a pattern demonstrated from the top leadership and encouraged across the firm. We appreciate LaBarron keeping Chad’s spirit alive in his life and in his own law practice.”
LaBarron Boone joined the firm more than 25 years ago and since then he has been instrumental in presenting product liability, consumer fraud and personal injury cases. He is a member of the firm’s five-person Executive Board and as a Beasley Allen attorney for more than 20 years, he has handled an array of cases.
LaBarron said, “From day one in my time with the firm, the leadership has stressed the importance of keeping our priorities in the right order. Keeping God first, family second and the firm third, demonstrates that you are approaching your calling – in my case the practice of law – with God’s will in mind and a heart for serving him.”
Although he never intended to become an attorney, LaBarron has said that God had other plans and led him to the practice of law. Initially, LaBarron earned his B.S. from Auburn University in Industrial Engineering. He explained that while working as a project manager at an engineering firm, board discussions centered on the money the engineering firm spent on outside legal counsel. Those cost-control discussions created an opportunity for LaBarron to attend law school. One of his best friends and fellow industrial engineer, the president’s son, also returned to school for his MBA. The company paid for both young engineers to attend the University of Alabama for their post-graduate degrees. The company believed the investments better positioned it for future success. He attributes his readiness to represent regular people who have been harmed needlessly by others to his mother, who always asked him to “make the world a better place.” He was also influenced by the esteemed Justice Thurgood Marshall, whom LaBarron revered. As an attorney, Justice Marshall dealt a death blow to school segregation and later became the first African American to serve on the U.S. Supreme Court.
Now, LaBarron’s background and experience as an industrial engineer as well as his mother’s urging him to “make this world a better place” help guide his advocacy for his clients. He strives to be a gatekeeper for fairness, justice and equality when it comes to consumer safety.
One of the cases LaBarron worked on that made an impact on his life was the Ford/Firestone tire recall case. Firestone tires were detreading on vehicles at highway speeds, causing serious injuries and deaths to the occupants of those vehicles and, on some occasions, to other unsuspecting people on the roadway, when these out-of-control vehicles slammed into their vehicles. In approximately August 2000, the largest recall in U.S. history at that time occurred and involved Firestone tires. Despite the recall, tires continued to detread on highways, causing hundreds of thousands of unnecessary deaths around the country. The circumstances surrounding the defective tires remained a mystery until LaBarron learned while taking a deposition that Ford/Firestone chose not to replace the spare tire on the subject vehicle. Because the spare tires were not part of the recall, senseless deaths continued. Further, notices of the spare tire recall were sent third-class mail, limiting the number of people who received the notice and the warning to replace the defective tire. Tragically, Ford/Firestone’s decision to place profits over safety caused needless suffering to families all over this country. The Ford/Firestone tire recall eventually led to the discovery that certain Ford Explorers are defective in design, causing thousands of needless deaths and injuries. Firestone agreed, later testifying to Congress about the defect in the Explorer that the firm helped expose. It was the Explorer defect that was at the center of LaBarron’s most recent notable case.
As the lead attorney, LaBarron secured a $151 million verdict on behalf of Travaris “Tre” Smith who was left paralyzed after the 1998 Ford Explorer he was riding in rolled over in the middle of the road after an emergency avoidance steer to avoid an animal. The jury found Ford failed to meet its own safety guidelines for the Explorer’s rollover resistance requirement and attempted to cover up the vehicle’s defective design.
LaBarron was also the lead attorney in a case that resulted in a Georgia jury finding in favor of the family of Alfred Holt. Holt was killed after a Michelin Pilot tire failed on the recreational vehicle he was driving, and the RV crashed into a tree. The case was brought against Southland Motor Home Center, which provided maintenance and service on the RV and had refused to take any responsibility for his death. In 2017, LaBarron led a trial team in a successful defective cab guard case, resulting in an award of $16.8 million. The jury found the cab guard failed to protect a log truck driver from being killed by logs that broke through the truck’s cab when the load shifted.
Among his other notable courtroom successes are the cases of Merriweather v. Whirlpool and Aultman v. Terex Telelect, which resulted in respective verdicts of $581 million and $116 million. He was featured in the Dec. 13, 1999, issue of Jet magazine for his work on those cases, as well as in the Houston Chronicle for his work with Johnny Cochran on suits concerning Enron’s role in one of America’s largest financial scandals and in The Wall Street Journal for a case highlighting the danger of recalled, defective tires.
In addition to LaBarron’s casework, he currently serves on the executive committee for The National Trial Lawyers – Top 100 Civil Plaintiff, the executive committee for the National Black Lawyers Top 100, and the Attorneys Information Exchange Group (AIEG) Board of Directors. Previously, LaBarron served on the Alabama State Bar President’s Executive Council from 2013 to 2014 and served as the liaison for its Access to Justice initiative. LaBarron was the first Beasley Allen attorney to serve as President of the Alabama Lawyers Association and the Capital City Bar Association.
LaBarron holds a Martindale Hubbell AV Preeminent Rating. He is an award-winning attorney who has been regularly selected by his peers for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America. He was named Marquis Who’s Who in America 2020 Entrepreneurs and Business Owners from the State of Alabama. In Spring 2019, LaBarron was selected to The National Trial Lawyers Top 100, an invitation-only organization composed of the premier trial lawyers from each state or region who meet stringent qualifications as civil Plaintiff and/or criminal Defense trial lawyers. He has also been named to the LawDragon 500 Leading Plaintiff Consumer Lawyers, which is the 500 best attorneys across the nation in this category. LaBarron was recognized as Beasley Allen Litigator of the Year in 2007 and is especially proud to have been selected as Beasley Allen’s 2016 & 2017 Product Liability Lawyer of the Year. In 2009, he was given the Resurrection Catholic Mission’s Truth & Charity Award for his exemplary and extraordinary support of the Mission Center. On Sept. 22, 2005, LaBarron was the first recipient of the Hands for Children Award, presented to him at the Children’s Advocacy Center in Montgomery, Alabama.
LaBarron is also actively involved in many community and social activities, such as serving on the Cleveland Avenue YMCA Board of Management, Resurrection Catholic Church Board of Trustees, Child Protect Board of Trustees, the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Foundation, and serving on the board of Medical Outreach Ministries (MOM). He also served on the Central Alabama Community Foundation Board of Trustees (CACF), one of the largest charitable foundations in the state of Alabama with assets exceeding $27 million. This year, LaBarron co-chaired the Montgomery Area Chamber of Commerce Ad Valorem Initiative Committee to improve funding for the Montgomery County (Alabama) Public Schools System. The committee encouraged voters to support an increase in the local property tax, which was successfully approved by Montgomery voters in the November 2020 general election. In December, he joined the Chamber’s Board of Directors. Previously, he was also selected to serve on the Alabama State University 2011 and 2013 Presidential Search Committees. He is married to Lori David Boone and they have two children, Micah and Logan.