Lightfoot partner Terry McCarthy co-authors
the 2013 supplement to McElroy's Alabama Evidence.
Lightfoot attorneys successfully defended one of three pharmaceutical companies sued by the State of Alabama. The State alleged that Novartis Pharmaceuticals Corporation, along with dozens of other drug manufacturers, had reported false and inflated pricing terms, which caused the State to over-reimburse pharmacists who dispensed drugs pursuant to Alabama's Medicaid System. A Montgomery County jury found Novartis liable for fraud and awarded $33,257,694 in damages. On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment in favor of Novartis, holding that one of the essential elements of a fraud claim—reliance—was missing from the State's case.
Courage to try the tough cases — when it matters
Lightfoot attorneys took the initiative to advise a long standing client of an option to remove a liability/toxic tort suit to a federal forum. Before being contacted about the suit by our client, Lightfoot uncovered that the plaintiff had failed to serve the Alabama defendants, and then removed the case under the federal removal statute which permits a removal where the resident defendant has not been "properly joined and served." Plaintiff's counsel filed a Motion to Remand, which the District Court denied. The quick thinking by Lightfoot attorneys resulted in their client's case being defended in a better federal forum.
Looking out for our clients — when it matters
Lightfoot attorneys successfully prosecuted Alabama's first case under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act for a major satellite television provider. The defendant was found guilty of statutory violations under the Act relating to satellite piracy, and was held liable for the requested statutory damages after two days of trial in the United States District Court for the Southern District of Alabama. The case was one of more than 400 cases Lightfoot successfully handled in the ongoing effort to stop people from stealing its client's satellite TV signal.
Protecting your intellectual property — when it matters.
Plaintiff contended that an allegedly defective latch on the rear hatch allowed the child to be ejected from the vehicle. Lightfoot attorneys proved that the plaintiff was actually ejected through a window and that the injuries had nothing to do with the latch. The jury returned a unanimous defense verdict in favor of Lightfoot's client.
Proving your case — when it matters
ExxonMobil Corporation retained Lightfoot to handle the appeal of a jury verdict against it for $3.4 billion in compensatory and punitive damages in a dispute with the State of Alabama over the payment of royalties from natural gas production in Mobile Bay. The appeal was successful, and a new trial was ordered. After a retrial and a second appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court threw out the punitive damages completely, finding that the State had failed to prove the elements of any tort claim which would support an award of punitive damages, and reduced the compensatory damages to approximately 1.5% of the original verdict amount.
Appellate expertise — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended an aircraft manufacturer in a product liability case arising from an allegedly defectively designed aircraft. Plaintiffs claimed that their decedent died in a plane crash due to problems with the aircraft's fuel pump and airframe design led to an in-flight fire that filled the plane's cabin with smoke, disorienting the pilot and causing a fatal crash.
The trial court granted two crucial evidentiary motions that excluded the plaintiff's expert and exposed serious flaws in the chain of custody and the handling of the blood samples, which rendered them inadmissible. The trial court granted summary judgment in the defendant's favor, dismissing all Plaintiffs' claims.
Attention to detail — when it matters.
In a massive asbestos case, a plaintiff claimed that her cancer was caused by exposure to asbestos aboard a vessel, owned by our client, that had been torpedoed in 1944. Reasoning that any vessel in 1944 large enough to carry men and worthy of being torpedoed may be a vessel that the United States needed for war, our team hunted down registry documents stored in an obscure federal agency — proving that the government had seized the vessel from our client at the beginning of World War II and took complete control and ownership. When the plaintiff realized she would have to pursue the United States of America if she wished to pursue us, she dismissed our client.
Creativity — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys successfully defended an air bag case for a European automobile manufacturer in federal court in Mobile, Alabama. The matter related to alleged neurological injuries to a three-year-old child due to contact with a deploying air bag. Plaintiffs claimed that the child, who was restrained in a forward-facing car seat in the front passenger seat, suffered learning disabilities, behavioral problems and a severe gait deficit due to "bag slap." In addition to design defect claims, plaintiffs also made warning claims related to the operator's manual and visor warnings. After five days of trial, the jury returned a defense verdict.
Defending your design — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys represented the defendants in a toxic tort case involving PCB contamination, which resulted in the largest and longest-running trial in Alabama history. The case involved over 3,500 plaintiffs, many claiming both personal injury and property damage. The case went before the Alabama Supreme Court on three separate occasions before and during trial, and the jury trial lasted over nineteen months. Over 500 separate verdicts were returned during the course of the trial, and with 3,000 claims still being tried, the case settled for an amount significantly less than the plaintiffs' pretrial demand.
Able to try the largest cases — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended a national pest control company in a lawsuit alleging fraudulent performance of termite protection services in 25 apartment buildings. The trial judge directed a verdict in favor of the plaintiffs on the contract claim, so the jury had to decide the amount of compensatory damages and the fraud and punitive damages claims. Plaintiffs requested $850,000 in compensatory damages and $640 million in punitive damages. After a four week trial, the jury found for the defendant on all fraud claims and awarded $150,000 on the contract claim, an amount which was significantly less than the offer of judgment made by Lightfoot two months before trial.
Limiting your exposure — when it matters.
Lightfoot defended a rollover case in South Alabama in which the plaintiff claimed that the vehicle's allegedly defective seat belt system and side door glass caused the ejection and death of the plaintiff. Lightfoot attorneys proved that the side door glass was not defective and that vehicle's seat belt system was safe and would have prevented the injuries if it had been used. Plaintiff asked the jury for up to 7 million dollars in damages, but the jury returned a defense verdict.
Proving your product is safe — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended a major motion picture studio, television network and studio executive in a case filed by a civil rights activist who took issue with her portrayal in a television movie based on the civil rights struggle in Selma, Alabama during the 1960s. The plaintiff claimed that the movie portrayed her in a false light and seriously damaged her reputation. The studio admitted at trial that it had knowledge prior to production that its depiction of the plaintiff was inaccurate, and the plaintiff sought $10 million in compensatory and punitive damages. The jury returned with a unanimous defense verdict.
Standing up for the First Amendment — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended a valve manufacturer in a South Carolina product liability case arising from an LP gas explosion. The Plaintiffs claimed that their severe burns and over $2.7 million in economic damages were the result of an explosion caused by an allegedly defective valve. The first trial resulted in the jury being deadlocked 10-1 in favor of Lightfoot's client. After the second trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of our client.
Persevering until victory — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended an Alabama fraud and negligence action against a major life insurer that was accused of selling a worthless medical policy to a mentally disabled Medicaid recipient. After a week-long trial, the plaintiff's lawyers asked the jury to award $8.5 million dollars. Lightfoot's client got a defense verdict against the fraud claims. The jury found for the plaintiff on negligence but awarded no damages.
Getting the right result — when it matters.
Lightfoot was retained after a Bullock County, Alabama jury returned a verdict of $122 million against an automobile manufacturer in a vehicle crashworthiness case. The verdict involved catastrophic injuries to the teenage son of a prominent local official, and it included a $100 million punitive component. Lightfoot argued in the Alabama Supreme Court that the trial court had committed a number of legal errors during the trial, some of which involved the selection of the jury. After briefing and oral argument, the Court reversed the entire award and ordered a new trial. Lightfoot was then able to negotiate a favorable settlement.
Solving your problems — when it matters.
Lightfoot was retained after a jury returned a $52 million verdict against the operator of a manufacturing facility. A group of plaintiffs had accused the facility of causing both personal injuries and property damage by discharging pollutants into Alabama's Lake Martin. After post-trial hearings did not result in any relief, Lightfoot filed an appeal in the Alabama Supreme Court. The appeal involved how common law trespass and nuisance remedies should be applied in light of modern technology and attitudes about pollution. After extensive briefing and two oral arguments, the Court reversed and rendered the case in favor of the defendant as a matter of law.
Post-verdict relief — when it matters.
Lightfoot attorneys defended a Mississippi product liability case brought by two men who were badly burned by sulfuric acid while working at a chemical plant. Plaintiffs claimed that their accident was caused by a design defect in a valve that allegedly allowed acid to be released from a pipeline at the plant. One plaintiff had second and third degree burns over 45 percent of his body and the other plaintiff suffered second and third degree burns over 21 percent of his body. Plaintiffs' counsel asked for $9 million in closing argument. The Jackson County, Mississippi jury returned a defense verdict.
Trying and winning tough cases — when it matters.
Lightfoot was retained to handle a major life insurer's first-ever trial involving allegations of fraud and breach of contract relating to the sale of one of the company's universal life insurance policies. The plaintiff sought compensatory and punitive damages, but the Lightfoot trial team proved that the agent and paperwork fully and completely informed the plaintiff how the policy would perform over time. After a five-day trial, the jury returned a unanimous defense verdict.
Paving the way for our clients — when it matters.