Starnes Davis Florie

Sybil Vogtle Newton

Partner

Sybil Vogtle Newton

Sybil Vogtle Newton

Partner

100 Brookwood Place
7th Floor
Birmingham, AL 35209

Sybil Newton is a partner at Starnes Davis Florie and has practiced with the firm for over twenty-five years. She currently heads the firm’s Appellate Law and Written Advocacy Group. Prior to her position with the firm’s Appellate Group, Sybil had an active trial practice, participating in over twenty jury trials, defending primarily medical malpractice actions across the state. She has handled a variety of appeals on behalf of litigants and has been retained by non-litigants to intervene as amicus curiae as well. Sybil previously served as the Firm’s Administrative Partner for six years.

Professional Recognition

  • Appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court in 2015 to serve a third term as a member of the Standing Committee on Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure until October 2018.
  • Recognized as a leading Appellate practitioner in the Eleventh Circuit Benchmark: Appellate
  • AV Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers® magazine as one of the top attorneys in the state of Alabama.
  • Member of The American Society of Legal Advocates, which selects less than 1.5% of lawyers nationwide for membership.

Community Involvement

  • Sybil is a volunteer for CASA (court appointed special advocate for children). As a CASA volunteer, Sybil was appointed by a judge to advocate for the best interests of abused and neglected children in court and other settings.
  • Sybil is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, which she attends with her husband and their five children.
  • She has served as a volunteer in the children’s Christian Education Program at the Church of the Advent and as a United Way Allocation Team Member.

Highlights

  • Obtained a favorable opinion from the Supreme Court of Alabama reversing and remanding a trial court’s denial of a client’s request to compel arbitration of claims filed against his business in Baldwin County, Alabama.
  • In June 2015, Sybil Newton, along with Jay Ezelle and Randy Sellers, obtained favorable ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court on behalf of a university provost in a suit involving an on-campus shooting of six faculty members. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed all of the decisions of the trial court and rejected plaintiffs’ request for a rehearing.
  • In February of 2015, Sybil Newton, along with Gray Stiff, and Scott Stevens, obtained a favorable ruling from the 11th Circuit in a holding which affirmed the District Court’s (Southern District of Alabama) grant of summary judgment to insurance carrier in a case brought by an Alabama bank seeking payment under a financial institution bond. The bank alleged breach of contract and bad faith and sought over $1,000,000 from the carrier after a customer of the Bank defaulted on loans secured, in part, by a stock certificate which he had obtained fraudulently.  The primary issue on appeal was whether the fraudulently obtained stock certificate met the definition of a “counterfeit” under the terms of the bond.  The trial court held, and the 11th Circuit agreed, that the stock certificate at issue was an authentic document, even if procured under false pretenses, and does not meet the definition of “counterfeit” or trigger coverage under the bond.  The Bank’s application for rehearing en banc was denied by the 11th Circuit on April 20, 2015. The opinion issued by the 11th Circuit was the subject of several articles in Appellate Law 360.
  • In August of 2014, obtained favorable ruling from the 11th Circuit Court in favor of a national grocery store chain, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in this premises liability/slip and fall case.  Warren Butler and Scott Stevens successfully obtained summary judgment for our Defendant, and Sybil Newton handled the briefing before the 11th Circuit following the Plaintiff’s appeal.  The case contains helpful language regarding the Plaintiff’s burden on causation, the need for expert testimony on issues outside of a layperson’s understanding, and the impropriety of basing a theory upon speculation.
  • In August of 2014, obtained ruling from The Alabama Supreme Court overruling Boudreaux v. Pettaway, 108 So.3d 486 (Ala. 2012), and expressly rejecting  the  prior holding in Boudreaux  that a potential bad faith claim against a defendant  physician ’s insurer should be considered as a  present  asset in determining whether a judgment should be remitted.
  • In July of 2014, Obtained favorable ruling  for a Defendant/coal mining company from the Alabama Supreme Court in a case which arose from a claim for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act .   The Alabama Supreme Court  affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the case and held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider this issue outside of the federal framework for BLBA actions.

Fun Facts

Sybil is the mother of five children. Her eldest, Adair is married and resides in Mobile, Alabama with her husband. Her second, Richard, is an architect in Atlanta, Georgia. Her twin boys, Ross and William are students at Auburn University. Her son Lucas is a student at Altamont high school.

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