Jay has practiced with Starnes since 1999 and is the Managing Partner for the firm. Jay has served in numerous leadership roles for the firm, including Chief Strategy Partner, Hiring Partner, member of the Executive Committee, and Head of the Commercial Litigation and IP Litigation Practice Groups. As Managing Partner, Jay is responsible for the execution of firm’s strategy and managing the operations of the firm’s expanding regional footprint.
Jay also maintains an active legal practice providing counsel and solutions for clients with complex and high-risk problems. He has represented numerous Fortune 500 companies in a variety of 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 in high-profile matters ranging from Clery Act, campus safety, employment issues, Title IX, and NCAA investigations.
Numerous publications have identified Jay Ezelle as a leading lawyer. According to Chambers USA, “his ability to quickly comprehend a situation and devise a strategy for moving forward is extraordinary. He has a keen attention to detail and works well with everyone.”
- AV Preeminent® Rated
- Top Leading Litigator by Chambers USA
- Litigation Star by Benchmark 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 serves as a member of the vestry.
He currently serves on the board of the United Ability Foundation, serves on the Advisory Board of the UAB Comprehensive Cancer Center, and is the 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.
- 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, and Walter Energy 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 action involving a highly-publicized mass shooting at an 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
- Jay Ezelle, Breanna Young, and Michael Lasserre Obtain Dismissal of University Employees in Wrongful Death Action
- THIRTY-ONE SDF ATTORNEYS NAMED TO THE 2019 EDITION OF MID-SOUTH SUPER LAWYERS
- Thirty SDF Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers 2020
- Starnes Davis Florie Ranked A Top Firm By Chambers USA 2019
- Jay Ezelle Named Managing Partner of Starnes Davis Florie LLP
- Eight Starnes Attorneys Named Leaders in their Field in Chambers USA 2019
- Starnes Davis Florie Ranked in the 2019 Edition of Benchmark Litigation
- THIRTY-ONE SDF ATTORNEYS NAMED TO THE 2018 EDITION OF MID-SOUTH SUPER LAWYERS
- Twenty-Seven SDF Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2019
- SDF Ranked A Top Firm by Chambers USA 2018
- 8 SDF Partners Named “Leaders in their Field” in Chambers USA 2018
- Twenty-Eight SDF Attorneys Named to the 2017 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Twenty-Six SDF Lawyers Listed in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
- Starnes Davis Florie Named a Highly Recommended Litigation Firm in the 2018 Edition of Benchmark Litigation
- SDF and Jay Ezelle Featured in Birmingham Business Journal’s Insights to Litigation
- Starnes Davis Florie Receives Top Tier Ranking in Chambers USA 2017
- Seven Starnes Davis Florie Attorneys Named “Leaders in their Field” in Chambers USA 2017
- Twenty-Six SDF Attorneys Named to the 2016 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
- Twenty Starnes Davis Florie Attorneys Named to the 2017 Edition of Best Lawyers®
- Starnes Davis Florie Receives Top Tier Ranking in Chambers USA 2016