Starnes Davis Florie

Walter William Bates (Billy)


Walter William Bates

Walter William Bates (Billy)


100 Brookwood Place
7th Floor
Birmingham, AL 35209

Billy Bates has been a partner at Starnes Davis Florie for over 30 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 135 complex civil cases to a jury verdict, including cases in defense of product manufacturers, physicians, hospitals and corporations.

Professional Recognition

  • Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers and is a past Chairman of the Outreach Committee
  • Diplomate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA) and is a past President of the Alabama Chapter of ABOTA.
  • Top Leading Litigator by Chambers USA
  • Super Lawyer in Alabama by Mid-South Super Lawyers® magazine.
  • "Litigation Star" for the state of Alabama in Benchmark Litigation
  • Listed 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.

Community Involvement

  • Billy is actively involved in his church where he currently serves as Chairman of the Board of Deacons.
  • Billy has served as a Board Member of the Mountain Brook City Schools Foundation and as an Advisory Board Member for Cumberland School of Law.
  • He has been active in both coaching youth sports and has participated in a leadership role with high school students on mission trips to South America.


  • Obtained a defense verdict  in favor of an urologist in a suit alleging negligence in the performance of an adult circumcision.
  • Obtained a jury verdict in favor of a general surgeon charged with medical negligence in the performance of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy (minimally invasive surgery to remove the gallbladder).
  • 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.
  • Obtained a defense verdict for two general surgeons after a six day trial 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 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.
  • 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.
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Presentations 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)

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