One of the leading litigators and university and corporate advisers in the southeast, Jay has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies, universities, and individuals through “bet the company” litigations, internal investigations, and public relations crises.
Numerous publications have identified Jay Ezelle as a leading lawyer. According to Chambers USA, Jay is “intelligent, savvy and a tireless worker . . . one of the smartest lawyers I have ever met. When he is in the room, everyone listens.” Jay has been selected multiple times as Lawyer of the Year by Best Lawyers®. His work has been recognized in the Wall Street Journal, New York Times, NPR, Sports Illustrated, and ESPN.
Jay has experience in a variety of high-profile litigation including national class actions and multidistrict litigation. He has also represented clients involved in mass shootings, infectious disease outbreaks, and nationally publicized disputes ranging from sexual assaults, workplace indiscretions, student suicide, and intellectual property battles. He also regularly provides guidance to hospitals, academic medical centers, and healthcare providers on a variety of compliance and risk-avoidance measures. He also has vast experience in advising universities, administrators, and coaches in high-profile matters ranging from NCAA investigations, name, image & likeness, campus safety, employment issues, and Title IX.
Within the firm, Jay has served in numerous leadership roles for the firm, including Managing Partner, Chief Strategy Partner, Hiring Partner, member of the Executive Committee, and Head of the Higher Education, Commercial Litigation, and IP Litigation Practice Groups.
- AV Preeminent® Rated
- Top Leading Litigator by Chambers USA
- Named a "Litigation Star" in Benchmark Litigation
- Named “Birmingham Best Lawyers - 2024 Lawyer of the Year” for Intellectual Property Litigation
- Named “Birmingham Best Lawyers - 2023 Lawyer of the Year” for Securities Litigation
- Best Lawyers in America®
- Alabama and Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Intellectual Property Star by IP Stars
- "Top 40 Under 40" for 2012 by the Birmingham Business Journal
Jay is actively involved at the Cathedral Church of the Advent where he served as Senior Warden.
He currently serves on the board of the United Ability Foundation, the Advisory Board of the O’Neal Comprehensive Cancer Center, the UAB Arts Advisory Board, and is Chairman of the Board for Covenant Counseling and Education Center.
Jay previously served as the Chairman of the Board of United Ability, a non-profit providing innovative services connecting people with disabilities to their communities and empowering individuals to live full and meaningful lives.
- Currently representing approximately 50 corporate entities and their affiliates, including multiple Fortune 100 companies, that are pursuing federal antitrust claims after opting out of a $2.7 billion class action settlement in In re: Blue Cross and Blue Shield Antitrust Litigation (MDL No.: 2406), 2:13-cv-20000-RDP (N.D. Ala.).
- Represented numerous entities in compliance, regulatory, and pre-suit investigations by using the firm’s litigation experience to conduct a systematic inquiry into practices creating potential exposure and the advising clients on the best practices to minimize those risks. For example, early involvement in a deadly Legionella outbreak at a hospital helped the hospital to manage the response and press coverage and allowed early resolution of all potential claims without a single lawsuit being filed.
- Represented numerous companies in trade secret matters ranging from high-stakes litigation involving corporate espionage to advising small companies on how to avoid liability for trade secret misappropriation when hiring or firing employees.
- Represented public and private companies, as well as universities, in trade secret disputes, including representing The University of Alabama in a trademark dispute with sports artist Daniel A. Moore that was the subject of press coverage by numerous news outlets including The New York Times, NPR and ESPN.
- Represented public and private companies, universities, and individual inventors in patent infringement litigation including Sony, Procter & Gamble, The University of Alabama System, UAB Research Foundation, UAHuntsville, Rice University, and Emory University.
- Represented and helped obtain dismissals and/or favorable settlements for numerous global financial institutions in the highly-publicized Enron, HealthSouth, WorldCom, Just for Feet, Walter Energy, and ProAssurance securities litigations.
- Defended Universities from claims for alleged violations of Title IX as well as advised universities on best practices for compliance with Title IX.
- Successfully obtained a complete dismissal for university officials sued in a wrongful death actions involving a highly-publicized mass shootings at a university and academic medical center.
- Successfully obtained full summary judgment for academic medical center institutional review board and investigator in class action relating to alleged ethical violations in human research trials that was the subject of extensive news coverage and academic commentary, including in the New England Journal of Medicine.
- Obtained favorable settlement for a Voice Over Internet Provider in lawsuit filed by Alabama Statewide 911 Board.
- Obtained a favorable settlement for a large government contractor in a fraud and breach of contract case with a former employee.
- Obtained dismissal and favorable settlement for KKR in numerous litigation filed following the leveraged recapitalization of Bruno’s grocery chain.
- Represented an NFL player in a civil case alleging assault and battery.
- 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.
- Obtained a complete dismissal for The University of Alabama and its President in litigation stemming from the termination of Mike Price, the former head football coach, in what USA Today described as one of the “top 25 biggest sports scandals”.
- Obtained dismissal of a class action alleging inadequate Medicare reimbursement by a long term care management company.
- Obtained favorable ruling for a university in a First Amendment case alleging that the school improperly limited the free speech rights of non-sponsored speakers.
- Successfully represented a lender in the establishment of a receivership of a regional healthcare company and the successful liquidation of the debtor’s assets.
- Obtained order compelling class action against insurance carrier to arbitration, where the class claims were completely dismissed.
Presentations and Publications
- A Ballpark Overview: The Field of Sports Law, NCAA Compliance Panel, October 13, 2017
- Jay M. Ezelle, “Insights to Litigation,” The Birmingham Business Journal, August 18, 2017
- Jay M. Ezelle and Cole R. Gresham, “Big Verdicts, Limited Discovery: The Rising Importance of Trade Secrets in Alabama,” in the Cumberland Law Review, Vol. 44 at 55 – 77 (2014).
- Jay M. Ezelle and C. Clayton Bromberg, Jr., “The Internal Affairs Doctrine in Alabama”, The Alabama Lawyer, Vol. 72, No. 2, at 143 – 147 (March 2011).
- Potential Liability Arising from Mass Epidemics, International Association of Defense Counsel Seminar in Scottsdale, AZ (February 21, 2017).
- Don’t Be Fumbled or Be Intercepted: Legal Observations from the Sidelines, Birmingham Bar Association CLE (September 8, 2016).
- Sports Law CLE, Birmingham Bar Association CLE (March 5, 2016).
- Compliance Under the NCAA’s New Enforcement Model, Alabama Chapter – Association of Corporate Counsel Seminar in Birmingham, AL (September 20, 2013).
News & Insights
- Starnes Davis Florie Ranked as a “Highly Recommended Litigation Firm” in the 2024 Edition of Benchmark Litigation
- SDF’s Davis, Eagan & Ezelle Named Best Lawyers “2024 Lawyer of the Year”
- 30 Starnes Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2024
- Starnes Davis Florie Ranked a Top Law Firm by Chambers USA 2023
- 16 Starnes Attorneys Listed in the 2022 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Starnes Davis Florie Highly Ranked in Benchmark Litigation 2023
- SDF’S AXON, EZELLE & HINES NAMED BEST LAWYERS “2023 LAWYER OF THE YEAR”
- 30 SDF ATTORNEYS LISTED IN BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA 2023
- STARNES DAVIS FLORIE RANKED A TOP FIRM BY CHAMBERS USA 2022
- TWENTY-TWO ATTORNEYS NAMED TO THE 2021 EDITION OF MID-SOUTH SUPER LAWYERS
- DOJ Announces Renewed, Enhanced Focus on Corporate Crime
- STARNES RANKED AS A “HIGHLY RECOMMENDED FIRM” IN THE 2022 EDITION OF BENCHMARK LITIGATION
- 29 SDF ATTORNEYS LISTED IN BEST LAWYERS IN AMERICA 2022
- STARNES DAVIS FLORIE RANKED A TOP FIRM BY CHAMBERS USA 2021
- Starnes Ranked as a “Highly Recommended Firm” in the 2021 Edition of Benchmark Litigation
- Corporate Transparency Act Requires Identification of Owners and Control of Shell Companies and Imposes Civil and Criminal Liability for Non-Compliance
- Twenty-Six Attorneys Named to the 2020 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Twenty-Six SDF Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2021
- PPP Amendments Loosen Restrictions, Provide Additional Relief to Businesses
- With Benefits Come Responsibility: Businesses Should Expect Sharp Scrutiny for Covid-19 Relief