Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC

Advocates. Advisors. Counselors. We are graduates of top undergraduate universities and law schools, with, collectively, nearly one hundred years of legal work between us, representing clients ranging from small towns to international insurance conglomerates, and from family-owned businesses to major industrial manufacturers. We have a synergistic legal practice focused on litigation, insurance coverage issues, and environmental challenges and opportunities. We’ve been recognized by peers in The Best Lawyers in America, Chambers USA, Mid-South Super Lawyers, Benchmark Litigation, and other, similar publications. We have an implacable commitment to represent clients zealously, ethically, and honorably, to tell hard truths, to return phone calls, and keep a sense of humor day in and day out. That's us. That’s Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC.

Practice Areas

COMMERCIAL LITIGATION

We regularly handle jury trials, bench trials, arbitrations, mediations and administrative and regulatory proceedings for all manner of business disputes. We also counsel clients on how to avoid litigation and resolve business disputes without litigation. Our experience combined with our technology and attention to cost-effective litigation translate to favorable and prompt results for our clients.

Examples of our work in this area include:

  • Obtained $11.1 million jury verdict on behalf of a corporate client in a breach of contract lawsuit in Missouri federal court.
  • Defense verdict at trial for bank in breach of contract and conversion action alleging amounts unlawfully withdrawn from account due to identity theft.
  • Defense verdict for insurance company in action by executive alleging breach of stock option agreements.
  • Defense verdict for utility company in case filed by insurance agent alleging fraud with respect to sale of group life and AD&D policies.
  • Obtained a $2.09 million jury verdict for a corporate client in a commercial dispute tried in federal court in Tennessee. Following an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, we tried the case a second time and obtained a $4.711 million jury verdict for our client.
  • Negotiated six-figure settlement in a trademark infringement/deceptive trade practices lawsuit in Ohio on behalf of one of the world's largest electrical engineering companies.
  • Obtained arbitration award for utility finding indemnity was owed in underlying wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Obtained defense verdict for part owner of a hotel sued for shareholder oppression and fraud by a minority shareholder.
  • Obtained favorable jury verdict for construction client in dispute with geotechnical contractor.
  • Successfully represented a venture capital company in a dispute with a developer of a multi-million dollar Florida waterfront community and marina. Following a bench trial, the Court entered judgment for our client on all claims, including an award of attorneys’ fees.
  • Obtained summary judgment for individual in suit claiming fraud in sale of an illegal debenture.
  • Represented dissolved corporation in managing insurance litigation issues arising from over 2,000 asbestos claims.
  • Representation of electric utilities in disputes involving power purchase agreements, supplier agreements, and other contracts.

DRUG AND MEDICAL DEVICE LITIGATION

Over the last twenty years our lawyers have handled a broad range of pharmaceutical and medical device litigation involving serious personal injury or wrongful death arising out of the use or misuse of a wide variety of drugs, medicines, therapies, and medical devices. One of our senior partners, Bruce Barze, served as national counsel in the fen-phen litigation, and we regularly serve as regional and local counsel for pharmaceutical and device manufacturers and distributors. Bruce also is recognized by his peers as one of the world’s leading practitioners in the life sciences field with his inclusion in Who’s Who Legal: Life Sciences.

In addition to litigating drug and device cases, our lawyers are skilled in the multi-district litigation (MDL) treatment of claims, both in terms of opposing MDL certification and in coordinating MDL proceedings with pending state court litigation.

REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE

  • Served as national coordinating counsel for a pharmaceutical company in the phen-fen litigation, managing hundreds of cases nationwide and coordinating MDL proceedings and a network of local counsel in several states.
  • National representation of French manufacturer of natural products used in the food, beverage, flavor, nutraceutical, pharmaceutical, and cosmetics industries in commercial disputes and tort claims around the United States.
  • Representation of European insurance carrier in analysis, evaluation, and settlement of hundreds of high-exposure medical device claims.
  • Defense of Belgian company recognized as a leader in additive manufacturing (also known as 3D printing) in a medical device product liability case.
  • Served as Alabama state counsel in the defense of numerous lawsuits following the worldwide recall of an atrial pacemaker lead.

REPRESENTATIVE PRODUCTS

  • Amiodarone
  • PPA (Phenylpropanolamine)
  • Fenfluramine and Phentermine (Fen-Phen)
  • Ephedrine
  • IVC filters
  • Pacemakers and Pacemaker Leads
  • Respirators
  • Total Hip Replacement and Hip Resurfacing Devices
  • Latex Gloves
  • Hormone Replacement Therapy
  • Nutritional and Dietary Supplements

ENVIRONMENTAL LAW AND LITIGATION​​​

It is an easy thing to add a bullet to one’s website that reads “Environmental Law” or “Environmental Litigation.”

It is something quite different to be able to justify that bullet by having developed, day in and day out, over twenty years of experience at one of the South’s leading law firms in such complex, challenging, and, at times, confrontational topics as brownfields redevelopment, environmental due diligence, landfill siting, environmental justice, the Endangered Species Act (ESA), the Comprehensive Environmental Response, Compensation, and Liability Act (CERCLA), the Resource Conservation and Recovery Act (RCRA), the Emergency Planning and Community Right-to-Know Act (EPCRKA), the Clean Water Act (CWA), the Clean Air Act (CAA) wetlands permitting, and the National Environmental Policy Act (NEPA).

The body of work of the lawyers at Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC provides such justification . . . and then some. It is a rare for a firm of our size, for example, that that can claim to routinely handle matters arising under the National Historic Preservation Act and associated federal and state historical and cultural resource laws. But that is one of the areas of practice that makes us unique.

It is also rare for a firm our size to be able to seamlessly synergize environmental counseling with environmental litigation. Here, our abilities and expertise are equally compelling. We received our training and significant experience in a large law firm environment representing some of the country’s largest electric utility companies. As a result, we have national experience defending and advising clients with regard to their environmental exposures. We have extensive experience in all federal environmental regimes. Our experience also extends to the defense of common law trespass and nuisance claims pursued against manufacturing and utility clients.

But don’t take our word for it. Consider the body of evidence.

OUR REPRESENTATIVE EXPERIENCE INCLUDES:

Environmental Counseling and Compliance

  • Served as counsel to the Local Redevelopment Authority overseeing the environmental remediation and re-development of property formerly comprising the U.S. Army's Fort McClellan.
  • Counseled city in strategic effort to work with U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to reach completion of a National Environmental Policy Act Environmental Assessment and obtain issuance of CWA Section 404 permit for construction of dam and 650-acre drinking water reservoir.
  • Directed and oversaw client’s successful efforts to implement National Historic Preservation Act obligations associated with economic incentives required of construction of steel mill complex in southern Alabama.
  • Successfully resolved impasse associated with negotiation of National Historic Preservation Act Memorandum of Agreement to enable issuance of critical permits and financing for major energy development in Mississippi.
  • Negotiated, with federal, state, and Native American parties, National Historic Preservation Act Memorandum of Agreement to permit development of municipal park in archaeologically and cultural sensitive area.
  • Negotiated settlements with U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for facilities in inadvertent violation of Emergency Planning and Community Right to Know Act.
  • Represented property owner in the course of assessing and placing former industrial facility in downtown Birmingham into ADEM’s Voluntary Cleanup Program (Brownfields) and its subsequent sale to a third party).
  • Represented city, as host government, in negotiating host government agreement with landfill operator.
  • Represented landfill owner in efforts to obtain host government approvals for new and modified landfills.
  • Counseled national solid waste company in association with the environmental due diligence component of its transfer of multiple solid waste facilities in Alabama to new owner.
  • Successfully guided completion of completion of environmental due diligence measures and/or completion of Alabama Voluntary Cleanup Program (Brownfields) for various owners and prospective owners of environmentally impacted properties.
  • Successsfully negotiated resolution of National Historic Preservation Act compliance issues on behalf of railroad company in support of permitting of intermodal facility.
  • Successfully guided foreign client in completion of Section 404 permitting process to enable construction of manufacturing facility in southwestern Alabama.
  • Successfully resolved time-critical dispute involving National Historic Preservation Act obligations incurred by developer of large-scale solar farm in eastern Alabama.
  • Developed and oversaw submittal of comments successfully opposing listing of Eastern diamondback rattlesnake as threatened species under Endangered Species Act.
  • Successfully counseled client in environmental due diligence matters associated with purchase of natural gas facility and teamed with transactional team to resolve key contractual issues.

Environmental Litigation

  • Obtained a multi-million dollar settlement for commercial nursery in a Clean Water Act lawsuit filed against neighboring business who were contaminating our client’s irrigation pond with agricultural pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Defended company against Clean Air Act citizen suit resulting in its voluntary dismissal with prejudice.
  • Successfully negotiated settlements with Alabama Department of Environmental Management for municipalities accused of violation state and federal water pollution regulations.
  • Represented company in opposing citizens’ mandamus proceeding under Clean Water Act (NPDES) resulting in denial of petition.
  • Defended fertilizer processor against environmental claims asserted by adjacent property owner (and related EPA claims) in federal court in Virginia.
  • Obtained dismissal of Clean Water Act lawsuit alleging that construction company contaminated the Cahaba River.
  • Obtained dismissal of a toxic tort exposure case alleging exposure to formaldehyde at manufacturing facility.
  • Represented utility companies in asbestos premises liability lawsuits filed by former contractors and their families seeking damages for mesothelioma, lung cancer and asbestosis.
  • Represented commercial developer, as defendant-intervenor, in litigation in district court in Alabama defending issuance of a CWA Section 404 permit to it.
  • Represented host government city in challenging transfer of permit to new owner in violation of Alabama law and host government agreement.
  • Successfully negotiated with federally-recognized Native American tribes on a number of National Historic Preservation Act (NHPA) and Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA) matters sited in the southeastern United States.
  • Represented commercial developer in intervention in litigation in which environmental group alleged improper permitting associated with Clean Water Act and Endangered Species Act in endangered Perdido Key Beach Mouse habitat in federal court in Florida.
  • Represented owner and operator of regional landfill against allegations of trespass, nuisance, environmental injustice, and violations of the SWDA and CAA.
  • Represented county, as defendant-intervenor, in defense of CWA Section 404 permit issued by Corps of Engineers for large-scale county road project.
  • Represented city, as defendant-intervenor, in defense of National Environmental Policy Act findings and related issuance of CWA Section 404 permit for construction of dam and drinking water reservoir.
  • Obtained summary judgment for refractory company in asbestos litigation and successfully litigated appeal in which plaintiffs sought to circumvent the Alabama personal injury statute of limitations by arguing CERCLA preemption.
  • After a week of jury trial, successfully resolved lawsuit filed against major nationwide retailer by adjacent property owner claiming property damage as a result of leaking underground gasoline storage tanks.
  • Resolved, for a nominal amount, a case filed against one of North America's largest producers of oriented strand board in which plaintiff claimed damage to his pond and property from storm water runoff and other alleged contaminants.
  • Defended German supplier of mining and tunneling equipment and safety systems in a class action (AL) and a mass action (WV) purportedly involving over 30,000 plaintiffs alleging exposure to polymeric diphenyl methane diisocyanate.
  • Successfully negotiated deferred prosecution of forester accused of illegal take of endangered red-cockaded woodpeckers.
  • Successfully negotiated settlement for landowner accused of violating CWA Section 404 by building unpermitted pond on hunting preserve.

INSURANCE COVERAGE​​​

We know insurance. We daily represent clients with respect to their coverage matters and risk management, ranging from coverage opinions and analyses to all types of coverage litigation. We’ve tried coverage cases to judges, juries, and arbitrators on subjects including contingent business interruption coverage, general liability, Directors and Officers liability, indemnity cost recovery, and extracontractual litigation. We’ve sought coverage determinations under the National Flood Insurance Program and handled catastrophic loss claims resulting from natural disasters. We proudly and regularly represent syndicates and insurers in the London market, as well as other European insurers.

Our lawyers regularly provide coverage advice and prosecute and defend coverage litigation involving numerous types of insurance products, including Commercial General Liability, Commercial Property, Professional Liability, Directors & Officers Liability, Errors and Omissions, Employers Practices Liability, Pollution Legal Liability, and fidelity bonds, to name a few. We are called on to represent clients from the start of a claim to its conclusion, advising as to insurance practices, coverage rights and obligations, and risk allocation. We are experienced in preparing coverage opinions, reservation of rights correspondence, and claims submissions. Several of our attorneys serve on insurance company panels of coverage lawyers. We are recognized in The Best Lawyers in America in the field of Insurance and are one of only two Alabama firms with an attorney selected as a Fellow in the American College of Coverage Counsel, the preeminent association of U.S. and Canadian lawyers who represent the interests of insurers and policyholders.

The following is a listing of representative matters handled by our attorneys and categorized by risk.

COMMERCIAL GENERAL LIABILITY AND CONSTRUCTION DEFECT

  • Served as coverage counsel for an insurer, helping it settle a dangerous wrongful death case and seeking reimbursement of the settlement amount from a company that agreed to indemnify our client’s insured and that company’s insurer. Following aggressive discovery and briefing and argument of several dispositive motions, we settled the case and recovered nearly $1.6 million for our client.
  • Defended general liability insurer and obtained summary judgment dismissing claims against it for breach of contract and bad faith following trial of underlying wrongful death lawsuit.
  • Regularly represent insurers in analyzing coverage under primary, umbrella and excess policies for wrongful death and personal injury lawsuits and in filing and defending lawsuits seeking declaratory judgment as to the applicability of the relevant policies.
  • Represented international valve and fittings supplier in securing insurance coverage for 2000+ asbestos claims, including “drop down” coverage under umbrella insurance policies and relief from state guaranty association for liabilities of insolvent insurer.
  • Represented manufacturing facility in pursuing liability insurance coverage for long-tail environmental liabilities in toxic tort litigation filed by over 300 claimants after shutdown of plant.
  • Represent insurers in settling claims and filing subsequent lawsuits seeking indemnity, reimbursement and/or contribution for settlement and defense costs.
  • Represent liability insurance carrier in coverage analyses and litigation involving commercial liability insurance policies issued to contractors, including analyses and litigation involving the business risk exclusions, the contractual liability exclusion, and “occurrence” and additional insured/indemnity issues.
  • Represented insurance carrier in indemnity action against contractor and other insurers to recover approximately $800,000 paid to settle a case brought by an injured worker. Following a bench trial, we recovered nearly $700,000 for our client.
  • Represented general liability insurer in defense of coverage liability and bad faith litigation brought by engineer seeking coverage as indemnitee and additional insured under insured contractor’s liability policy.

COMMERCIAL PROPERTY

  • Successfully represented client in trial of dependent time element claim under commercial property insurance policy resulting from property damage losses at indirect supplier’s facilities in waters outside of the United States.
  • Represented manufacturing facility in securing recovery for catastrophic losses resulting from 2011 tornadoes, including coverage for real estate (increased cost of improvements), personal property, and business interruption losses.
  • Represented client in pursuing coverage under installation/builder’s risk policy for damage to property during installation activities.
  • Represented insurers in business insurance disputes over hurricane damage and recovery of remediation/clean-up costs.
  • Represented Florida property owner in securing opinion that condominiums were covered under National Flood Insurance Program.

CLAIMS MADE - DIRECTORS & OFFICERS, ERRORS & OMISSIONS, AND PROFESSIONAL LIABILITY

  • Represented insurer in defense of coverage and bad faith litigation arising from claims made under Employers Liability Policy during prior insurer’s policy filed after prior, surplus lines insurer became insolvent.
  • Represented insured officer of Enron affiliate in insurance interpleader action involving Directors and Officers liability coverage.
  • Represented client in arbitration seeking to recover attorney fees in responding to subpoena under D&O policy.
  • Represented insurer in coverage analysis of fee dispute between attorneys under legal professional liability policy.
  • Represented realtors in seeking coverage under E&O policies, including oral argument before the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

ENVIRONMENTAL AND DISASTER LIABILITIES

  • Successfully represented buyer of manufacturing facility in pursuing contractual indemnification for property contaminated with chlorinated solvents, resulting in sale-back of property to original seller.
  • Represented manufacturer client in negotiations and agreement selling back liability insurance policies to insurer for substantial sum following claims alleging property damage from predecessor’s operations.
  • Represented insurers in business insurance disputes over hurricane damage and recovery of remediation/clean-up costs.
  • Represented insurer in negotiating with, and obtaining contribution towards settlement and defense costs from, other insurance carriers that also issued policies potentially applicable to an alleged toxic tort.
  • Represented residential and commercial property insurer in its claims handling practices for property damage claims arising from Hurricanes Katrina and Rita.

EMPLOYER’S LIABILITY AND WORKER’S COMPENSATION

  • Represent insurers in coverage analysis of worker's compensation and employer's liability policies.
  • Represented insurer in Georgia wrongful death case filed directly against carrier.
  • Represented insurer in coverage analysis and litigation arising from claims of employment discrimination and retaliation under EPL policy.
  • Represent insurers in coverage analysis of co-employee personal injury claims.

FIDELITY

  • Represented bank in recovering $5.5 million under computer fraud clause of fidelity bond.
  • Represented valve company in recovering close to $1 million in pension plan squandered by provider.
  • Represented bank in obtaining insurance coverage under fidelity bond for losses resulting from employee and third-party dishonesty.
  • Represented financial institution in obtaining insurance coverage under fidelity bond for forgery and alteration committed in connection with timber deeds securing loans.

PRODUCT LIABILITY AND CASUALTY LITIGATION​​​

We have more than fifty years of combined experience handling lawsuits involving product liability, electrocution and electrical contact, premises liability, toxic torts, and vehicular/trucking accidents. These cases often involve catastrophic injuries and loss such as paralysis, loss of limbs, disfigurement, and death, making them extremely challenging and at times, high profile litigation for the client.

We have significant trial experience in this area and handle cases around the country. Our experience includes:

  • Representation of one of the world’s largest electrical engineering companies in:
    • Lawsuit seeking damages for fire at electric power station in Pennsylvania;
    • Three-week jury trial arising from serious personal injury case during use of cargo gantry crane at port in New Jersey;
    • Fire claims arising from burned luxury yachts in South Florida;
    • Wrongful death product liability case in Georgia involving hollow composite insulator;
    • Serious arc flash burn injury lawsuits in Georgia and Pennsylvania;
    • Personal injury cases involving electrical cabinets in motor control rooms at Alabama and Georgia steel mills; and
    • Personal injury case involving pulp dryer at Alabama paper mill.
  • Representation of a leading German diesel engine manufacturer in commercial and product liability litigation matters in Alabama, Georgia, and Mississippi.
  • Defense of personal injury and wrongful death cases in Alabama and Mississippi filed against manufacturers of agricultural tractors and implements, heavy trucks, and construction equipment.
  • Attained summary judgment in wrongful death case filed against a heavy truck manufacturer. Plaintiff’s decedent was killed after he fell off the rear riding step on a refuse truck. The court dismissed Plaintiff’s claims following a successful Daubertchallenge of Plaintiff’s expert’s qualifications. Beam v. McNeilus Truck and Manufacturing, Inc., 2010 WL 1069616 (N.D. Ala. March 24, 2010).
  • Achieved favorable jury verdict in serious personal injury case in Louisiana federal court in case where paramedic plaintiff claimed soft-tissue back injury, sexual dysfunction, and neurogenic bladder.
  • Obtained summary judgment for electric utility in case where two construction workers were killed when their crane made contact with a power line. McGregory v. Lloyd Wood Const. Co., 736 So. 2d 571 (Ala. 1999).
  • Gained dismissal of a Swiss automation system manufacturer in a significant product liability lawsuit in Alabama. Ex parte Güdel AG, 183 So. 3d 147 (Ala. 2015).
  • Obtained summary judgment for electric utility in a wrongful death case where plaintiff contacted an energized power line with a cotton picker.
  • Defense of a personal injury lawsuit against the Swiss global leader in the manufacturer of looms and other equipment for the ribbon and narrow fabric industry.
  • Defense of a leading isotank container operator from Germany in a serious chemical burn injury case in Georgia.

Contact Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC

Barze Taylor Noles Lowther LLC

Bruce Barze - Email: bbarze@btnllaw.com
Todd Lowther - Email: tlowther@btnllaw.com
Phone: 205.872.1015
Fax: 205.872.0339
Website: https://www.btnllaw.com/
Address: Lakeshore Park Plaza 2204 Lakeshore Drive, Suite 330
Birmingham, Alabama 35209
Country: UNITED STATES

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