Beasley Allen is blessed to have more than 70 lawyers who are dedicated to the firm’s ideal of “helping those who need it most.” In order to recognize some of these outstanding lawyers, we present a number of awards at the end of each year, which are based on their performance over the course of the year.
Beginning in 2014, the firm began presenting one very special lawyer in our firm with “The Chad Stewart Award.” This honor was created in memory of Beasley Allen lawyer Chad Stewart, who passed away unexpectedly at the very young age of 41. In addition to being a dedicated lawyer who worked extremely hard for his clients, Chad truly modeled Jesus Christ in his daily walk. The Chad Stewart Award was created to recognize one lawyer each year who best exemplifies Chad’s spirit of service to God, his family and the practice of law in the task of “helping those who need it most.” The Chad Stewart Award for 2015 went to Leigh O’Dell, a worthy recipient.
Our Litigator of the Year for 2015 is Kendall Dunson. Kendall has worked tirelessly on a number of different cases in which he sought to obtain justice for his clients. He is dedicated to seeing that corporations develop safer products. In September of this year, Kendall worked with fellow Beasley Allen lawyer Mike Andrews to secure an $8 million verdict in a Volkswagen sudden unintended acceleration case that left our client severely and permanently injured.
Kendall was also involved in another case involving a negligent vehicle repair causing his client to become paralyzed in a vehicle crash. The jury returned a $18.79 million verdict for our client in that case. A third case resulted in a $24 million verdict in a balcony collapse case at an apartment complex in Montgomery. Kendall is an exceptionally talented lawyer who had a tremendous year in 2015. We are blessed to have him with the firm.
The Board and Section Heads at Beasley Allen also selected Lawyers of the Year in each of the firm’s four sections. The lawyers selected were:
Mike Andrews, Products Liability Section Lawyer of the Year – Mike has handled cases involving aircraft (both civilian and military), heavy equipment, military arms and weapons systems, agricultural equipment and automobiles and heavy trucks. Specific defects have included GM ignitions, faulty airbags, defective seat belts, fuel systems, seats, roof and door structures. In 2015, Mike was part of trial teams responsible for more than $30 million in verdicts with the most recent being an $8 million dollar verdict against Volkswagen and Honeywell in Federal Court in Columbus, Ga. He is currently handling a wrongful death case for the family of a Marine killed in a V-22 Osprey crash in Hawaii, a heavy truck design defect case in Missouri, a civilian aircraft crash off the coast of Georgia, several state court GM ignition cases and is investigating a number of death and serious injury cases around the country.
Chris Glover, Personal Injury Section Lawyer of the Year – In conjunction with writing his first book on heavy truck litigation, Chris has dedicated his practice to protecting the rights of survivors of catastrophic personal injury and victims of wrongful death. He has represented injured individuals and their families in a wide range of serious injury and death claims, including those that were the result of defective products; car, commercial truck and workplace accidents; and aviation accidents. He has litigated numerous cases that have resulted in verdicts or settlements in excess of $1 million. Chris was lead counsel in a case resulting in $4.7 million verdict against seatbelt manufacturer Key Safety Systems. The verdict was significant because it is one of the only verdicts of its type against an automobile component manufacturer.
Alison Hawthorne, Consumer Fraud and Commercial Litigation Section Lawyer of the Year – Ali is focused on complex litigation on a national level. Ali began her career working on the Average Wholesale Price and McKesson litigations, which seek to recover millions of dollars lost by state Medicaid agencies as a result of price reporting by the nation’s largest drug manufacturers. She was a part of the trial team working with Louisiana Attorney General Buddy Caldwell that recently reached an $88.4 million settlement with 25 pharmaceutical companies in that state’s ongoing Medicaid Fraud litigation.
Roger Smith, Mass Torts Section Lawyer of the Year – Roger was recently selected to serve on the Plaintiffs Steering Committee for multidistrict litigation surrounding the Mirena IUD, manufactured by Bayer. The Mirena IUD is an intrauterine device used to prevent pregnancy. It is also used to treat heavy menstrual bleeding. It is a small, T-shaped device made of flexible plastic that is inserted into the uterine cavity by a trained health care provider. Since it was approved in 2000, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration has received numerous reports of adverse events associated with the device, including the IUD becoming imbedded, migrating and/or perforating the uterine wall.
Chris Boutwell, Toxic Torts Section Lawyer of the Year – Chris has devoted his practice to protecting the rights of those injured by exposure to toxic substances wrongfully placed in the environment by corporate giants and other polluters. Currently, Chris is the lead lawyer in a class action pending in the United States District Court for the Middle District of Florida involving unfair and deceptive trade practices by the manufacturers and retailers of “flushable wipes.” In this case, the class includes Florida residents who purchased certain moist personal wipes that were falsely marketed to be safe for flushing.
We have so many outstanding lawyers in our firm that it’s always difficult to make the selections for the awards. However, the lawyers selected for 2015 are all worthy recipients. Each of them had a body of work that was special over the past year.
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