Billy Bates has been a partner at Starnes Davis Florie for over 25 years and served as the firm's Managing Partner from 2006 - 2016.
Billy's practice has been devoted to civil litigation to include healthcare litigation, professional medical liability, pharmaceutical liability and medical device litigation. He has tried in excess of 130 complex civil cases to a jury verdict, including cases in defense of product manufacturers, physicians, hospitals and corporations.
* Obtained a defense verdict for a general surgeon and surgical group in a wrongful death case involving an intra-abdominal abscess resulting in septic shock in Calhoun County.
* Obtained a defense verdict for an obstetrician and his practice in a case alleging malpractice related to gynecological surgery in Chambers County.
* Obtained a defense verdict for two general surgeons after a six day trial in Shelby County, in a wrongful death case involving the readmission of a patient to the hospital following recent hernia repair surgery.
* Obtained a defense verdict for an anesthesiologist in a wrongful death case alleging improper use of running the CODE resulting in the patient's death.
* Obtained a defense verdict, in Mobile, Alabama, for an OB/GYN in a case alleging misrepresentation of colposcopy findings as cancer resulting in an unnecessary hysterectomy.
* Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a Certified Registered Nurse Anesthetist following a four day trial in Tennessee stemming from the ordering of post anesthesia care unit pain medication that resulted in blindness.
* Successfully defended a psychiatrist in a wrongful death case before a Federal Court jury involving allegations of informed consent and failure to consult a specialist related to electroconvulsive therapy.
* Obtained a defense verdict on behalf of a radiologist in an eight day wrongful death trial arising from allegations of failure to diagnose a patient's brain aneurysm.
* Successfully defended an obstetrician against charges of medical malpractice in cases involving the deaths of an obstetrical patient and her 34 week old fetus for wrongful death in Jefferson County.
*Obtained a jury verdict for two surgeons arising out of allegations that a patient's death was the result of the first surgeon failing to timely place a thoracoscopy tube in a patient with a pneumothorax and the second surgeon failing to timely perform a thoracotomy to address a hemothorax.
* Represented a professional liability insurer in a complex reinsurance dispute before a three-member arbitration panel. The case tried for four days and ultimately resulted in a substantial recovery for the client.
* Obtained a jury verdict in favor of two emergency medicine physicians in a case, pending in Jefferson County-Birmingham Division, arising out of allegations by the plaintiff that the defendants failed to diagnose him with a myocardial infarction or impending infarction during their emergency room evaluation.
* Obtained declaratory judgment for General Motors allowing it to close car dealership under the Alabama Motor Vehicle Franchise Act and ruling that GM was not obligated to pay the dealer $1.2 million in alleged debt forgiveness and sales tax revenue relief offered by the City of Birmingham.
* Successfully defended an emergency physician in a wrongful death trial alleging failure to diagnosis a basilar artery stroke in the emergency department, and inappropriate discharge from the emergency department.
* Successfully defended two internal medicine specialists in a wrongful death case alleging inappropriate management of a patient's anticoagulation therapy subsequent to his diagnosis with deep vein thrombosis.
* Obtained a defense verdict in Federal Court in favor of a neurosurgeon in a spinal cord injury case arising from complications secondary to a foraminotomy.
* Obtained a defense verdict in favor of a surgeon in a personal injury case involving complications arising from a retained sponge following hernia surgery.
* Obtained a defense verdict in favor of a family practitioner and his professional corporation in a wrongful death case involving complications arising from an exercise stress test.
* Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a hospital in a wrongful death case involving complications arising from conscious sedation during a shoulder reduction procedure.
* Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a defendant surgeon in litigation stemming from a complication arising from surgery.
* Obtained a jury verdict in favor of defendant obstetrician for complications secondary to delivery of twins.
* Successfully defended product liability claims against a construction hoist manufacturer.
* Obtained a jury verdict in favor of defendant in combination medical malpractice/product liability case secondary to complication from use of laser machine during plastic surgery.
Honors And Awards
Billy is a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a past Chairman of the Outreach Committee. He has been inducted as a Diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and is a past President of the Alabama Chapter of ABOTA. He is a frequent speaker on litigation issues, including discovery and trial techniques.
Honored by his peers for his litigation skills, Billy was selected as a leading litigator by Chambers USA, he has been named one of the top attorneys in the state of Alabama by Mid-South Super Lawyers® magazine, has been named a "Litigation Star" for the state of Alabama in Benchmark Litigation, and was selected by his peers for inclusion in Best Lawyers in America®. In addition, Best Lawyers in America® has named Billy Bates the “Birmingham Best Lawyers Medical Malpractice Defense Lawyer of the Year” for 2015.
Speeches And Publications
* Walter W. Bates, R. Todd Huntley, William S. Starnes, Jr., “Ten Tips for Direct Examination and Cross-Examination,” 39:2 Am. J. Trial Advoc. 339 (2015).
* Overcoming Tensions Between Drug/Device Defendants and Treating Physicians, International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar (June 18, 2014)
* "Overcoming Tensions Between Drug/Device Defendants and Treating Physicians," International Association of Defense Counsel 2014 Mid-Year Meeting, Carlsbad, California (February 11, 2014)
* Warning! Slippery Experts Ahead: Tips for Dealing with the Professional (and Less Than Forthcoming) Expert Witness, International Association of Defense Counsel Webinar (May 13, 2013)
* Ethics and Professionalism for Litigators at the Defense Research Institute, DRI Medical Liability and Health Care Law Seminar in Miami Beach, Florida (March 22, 2013)
Bassie v. Obstetrics & Gynecology Associates of Northwest Alabama, P.C., 828 So. 2d 280 (Ala. 2002).
Ex Parte Qureshi, 768 So. 2d 374 (Ala. 2000).
Johnson v. Price, 743 So. 2d 436 (Ala. 1999).
Ex Parte Pfizer, Inc., 746 So. 2d 960 (Ala. 1999).
Bennett v. Brewer, 682 So. 2d 448 (Ala. 1996).
Floyd v. Broughton, 664 So. 2d 897 (Ala. 1995).
Ex Parte Main, 658 So. 2d 384 (Ala. 1995).
Patterson v. Hays, 623 So. 2d 1142 (Ala. 1993).
Thomas v. Baptist Medical Center-DeKalb, 614 So. 2d 997 (Ala. 1993).
Smith v. Medical Center East, 585 So. 2d 1325 (Ala. 1991).
Martin v. Phillips, 581 So. 2d 838 (Ala. 1991).
Black v. Baptist Medical Center, 575 So. 2d 1087 (Ala. 1991).
Beverly v. Chandler, 564 So. 2d 922 (Ala. 1990).
Humber v. B. F. Goodrich Co., 561 So. 2d 511 (Ala. 1990).
Independent Fire Ins. Co., Inc. v. Mutual Assurance, 553 So. 2d 115 (Ala. 1989).
Wood v. Shell Oil Co., 495 So. 2d 1034 (Ala. 1986).
Gregory v. Western World Ins. Co., Inc., 481 So. 2d 878 (Ala. 1985).
Fomby v. City of Calera, 575 F. Supp. 221 (N.D. Ala. 1983).