Ms. Celia J. Collins
Phone : (251) 441-9297
Law degree, Vanderbilt
University School of Law (1980)
Celia J. Collins Named 2021 Best Lawyers Lawyer of the Year in the Mobile Area
Celia Collins is sought after by company CEOs, owners and general counsel for comprehensive labor and employment services from advisory, policy design and training to litigation. Known for going above and beyond for every client – unionized or not – she has a broad range of industry experience, including healthcare, shipbuilding, fast food/service, prisons, manufacturing and others.
On the ground in South Alabama, Celia represents clients on their most challenging issues, such as Affordable Care Act compliance, terminating employees in a protected class, discrimination and harassment claims, union attacks and return to work issues. Such matters often don’t surface during business hours; Celia is known for being available around the clock.
Other important areas where Celia’s assistance proves invaluable include the Family Medical Leave Act (FMLA), FLSA/wage and hour, internal investigations, EEOC, OSHA and NLRB administrative matters, executive severance issues, and non-compete agreements. Celia is also known for her civil rights work related to Fair Housing Discrimination Claims.
Celia has extensive experience litigating in all areas of employment law, including Title VII, ADEA, ADA, FMLA, NLRA, state law contract and tort claims, FLSA, ERISA, workers’ compensation, and unemployment.
Celia is a Past Chair of the Alabama State Bar Labor and Employment Section and is recognized by Best Lawyers and Super Lawyers in Employment Law, Labor Law and Workers’ Compensation Law. Celia has been recognized by Best Lawyers as 2018 Mobile Labor Law – Management “Lawyer of the Year” and has been previously recognized by Best Lawyers as Mobile “Lawyer of the Year” in Management Employment Law and Employment Litigation Defense.
Representation of health-care client and its managers in defending termination/harassment case filed by 20-year employee. Individual managers dismissed early in the action. Employer dismissed on summary judgment.
Representation of manufacturing client in sexual harassment case arising in a production line setting. Case voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff.
Representation of hospital in race discrimination claim filed by 20-year employee terminated for performance. Case voluntarily dismissed by plaintiff.
Representation of hospital in cases alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by employee suffering on-the-job injury and companion workers’ compensation action. She was unable to return to prior position and terminated when not placed in a different position within the leave of absence period. Motion for summary judgment granted in favor of employer. Case appealed by plaintiff to the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals where summary judgment was affirmed. Companion workers’ compensation action settled favorably.
Representation of financial institution in defending Equal Pay Act claim by female manager paid a lower salary than the supervisor she succeeded. Summary judgment granted for defendant.
Representation of national hotel chain in connection with race discrimination claim by terminated security guard. Judgment for employer after trial on the merits.
Representation of hospital in pregnancy discrimination case by nurse terminated when physical restrictions placed on her due to pregnancy prevented her from performing job. Case voluntarily dismissed in return for promise of neutral reference.
Representation of employer in defending simultaneous claims for workers’ compensation, unemployment compensation and discrimination. Workers’ compensation claim favorably settled. Unemployment compensation claim resolved in favor of employer. EEOC charge dismissed.
Representation of employer in case alleging race discrimination, breach of contract, tort of outrage and slander by terminated LPN against home health care agency. Summary judgment rendered in favor of employer.
Representation of group health plan in action alleging age and sex discrimination by employee denied promotion. Summary judgment granted for employer.
Representation of retail client in sexual harassment case. Motion for summary judgment granted in favor of employer.
Representation of retail client in case alleging violation of the Americans with Disabilities Act by employee claiming employer failed to accommodate his requests for certain lunch breaks necessary in connection with his alleged condition of diabetes. Case settled for $500.00 while motion for summary judgment was pending.
Assistance provided to a number of employers in reviewing and revising employment policies to conform with recent changes in State and Federal law.
Assistance provided to a number of employers in planning and conducting training on sexual harassment, FMLA and other matters.
Service as Arbitrator on the American Arbitration Association Panel of Employment Law Arbitrators.
Other Employment Matters
Retained to assist largest private employer in Mobile County in connection with total overhaul of its personnel policies and procedures.
Retained by national management training company to conduct all-day workshops in areas of internal investigation and administering Family and Medical Leave Act.
Retained by various commercial training companies to provide training to personnel specialists in all areas of employment law.
Representation of employer in pro-active strategy of obtaining court approval of mass lump sum settlements with approximately 150 employees suffering hearing loss in order to avoid the expense of anticipated separate litigation.
Representation of manufacturing client in workers’ compensation action in which plaintiff claimed permanent total disability arising from neck surgery allegedly resulting from repetitive action on production line. Award for employer after bench trial. Plaintiff appealed award to the Court of Civil Appeals which affirmed the award for employer. Plaintiff further petitioned for certiorari with the Alabama Supreme Court. Certiorari was denied.
Assistance provided in defense of alleged Fair Housing violations made by Department of Justice against local company owning several apartment complexes. Case reached favorable settlement prior to suit being filed.
Service as local counsel in anti-trust action against top Fortune 500 company. Case reached favorable settlement shortly before trial scheduled.
Representation of ship owner in action arising under admiralty laws involving attempted sexual assault of client’s employee by third party on-board ship. Case reached favorable settlement.
Representation of major medical supplier in breast implant litigation.
Representation of major retailer in diet drug litigation pending in Mobile, Alabama.
Honors and Awards
Fellow of the American Bar Foundation
Designated by Super Lawyers in the areas of Employment and Labor and Workers’ Compensation
2014, Designated by Best Lawyers as Mobile Lawyer of the Year in Workers’ Compensation – Employers
2016, Mobile Bar Association Women Lawyers Trailblazer Award
2017, Designated by Best Lawyers as Mobile Lawyer of the Year in Employment Law – Management
2018, Designated by Best Lawyers as Mobile Lawyer of the Year in Labor Law – Management
Professional and Community Involvement
Member, Board of Trustees of the United Way of South Alabama
Member, Employment Law Section, American Bar Association and Alabama Bar Association
Member, Workers’ Compensation Section, Alabama Bar Association
Served on Alabama State Bar Board of Bar Examiners as examiner in area of Federal Pleading and Practice
Served as elected Member of Alabama State Bar Board of Bar Commissioners
Secretary, National Conference of Women’s Bar Associations
Seminars / Presentations
“The #MeToo Movement and the Law of Sexual Harassment” (Alabama State Bar Labor and Employment Law Section – 2018).
“Disability Dilemmas” (Mobile SHRM – 2018).
“Current State of Employment Law under the New Administration” (Mobile SHRM – 2017).
“White Collar Overtime Exemption” (United Way Agency Roundtable, Women’s Business Center, Mobile Chamber of Commerce Executive Roundtable – 2016).
“The Unemployment Benefits Process” (Mobile SHRM – 2016).
“Where or When Is Affordable Care?” (Mobile Chamber of Commerce – February 2014).
“An Interactive Look at the Interactive Process” (Mobile SHRM – April 2014).
“Time to Reform Your Health Care Policies: What You Need to Be Doing Now” (Estate Planning Council of Mobile – 2013).
“Discipline and Termination Panel Discussion” (Alabama Self-Insured Association Annual Seminar – 2012).
“Introducing GINA” (ASIA Summer 2011 Newsletter).
“Employee Discipline and Termination Advice in the Social Media Age” (Mobile Chamber of Commerce – 2011).
Chapter Author, “Employment Law 2015, Top Lawyers on Trends and Key Strategies for the Upcoming Year” (Thompson Reuters / Aspatore 2015).
Alabama Contributor, “Defending Workplace Injury Cases” (Thompson Reuters 2013).
“What CEO’s Need to Know Before Firing an Employee: Legal Do’s and Don’ts” (CD-Rom ExecSense Webinars 2010).
1980, Alabama State Bar
1981, U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth and Eleventh Circuits
What Our Clients are Saying
“My husband and I were referred to Johnstone Adams in the spring of last year. We are working very closely with Jessica Welch and Greg Watts on an ongoing and unwanted family estate matter. Ms. Welch and Mr. Watts have been so professional and knowledgeable.
In addition, considering the nature of the suit, Jessica has provided my husband and I with a peace of mind we didn"t think was possible during this extremely stressful time of our lives. She is an amazing trial attorney. They have gone above and beyond. To sum it up, I have nothing but the utmost respect and appreciation for them. I would strongly reccomend either of them to my dearest friends and family members. I'm so thankful that we stumbled upon them. I'm actually going to miss Jessica Welch when this is all over.”
“I am currently using this law firm and they are informative, keeping me up to date with my case, and they return your calls/emails immediately. I am very satisfied.”
“My wife and I approached Johnstone Adams to help us make a better informed decision regarding her immigration. They have been a truly invaluable asset. They brought their knowledge, experience, confidence, and calm demeanor to the process, which put our minds at ease. The worry and anxiety that we were facing melted away, and we have been, literally, hand-held during this daunting process. We can’t thank or recommend Johnstone Adams enough and look forward to continuing to use their services in the future.”
“Johnstone Adams was a great help when it came to drawing up our family’s will and advanced directives prior to the birth of our first son. These are certainly things that no one wants to think about, but the process was easy. They were professional and knowledgeable, answering all of our questions along the way with compassion and sensitivity. Johnstone Adams responded quickly to any questions and was easy to get in touch with! We would highly recommend them for any legal work!!”
“Jessica’s advice and assistance with our family's interests in a probate matter was exceptional from beginning to end-- always thoughtful, responsive and efficient, and focused and timely.
It was a genuine pleasure for the doubtless incorrigibly demanding old lawyer that I am to have a professional of her outstanding caliber assisting me on this matter—both generally and in my role as executor in particular—in a jurisdiction unfamiliar to me and on a matter completely outside of my own experience and expertise.
I might also point out that she was really excellent in interfacing, always in a timely and solution-oriented manner, with other parties involved in our matter to help keep our initiatives on track—including attorneys dealing with the disposition of residential real estate and financial assets.
Jessica and her excellent assistant, Shelly Perrone, also offered and provided pragmatic and efficient solutions to logistical and execution issues made significantly more challenging than usual given the COVID-19 crisis and my own location far from Mobile-- in Paris, France.”
“I highly recommend attorney Rick La Trace. Aside from being professional, polite, and yet firm, Rick is a combination of knowledge, detail, and responsiveness. (In my opinion, there are very few professionals who have ALL three qualities. Rick is one of the very few.) What makes him stand apart from the rest, is that he takes the time to listen to his client's concerns (no matter how "trivial"). He educates client’s on how the law works, shares his opinions, including the pros and cons of each. We would definitely use Rick's services again, and highly recommend him for anyone who wants a lawyer that they can trust to thoroughly handle their case from start to finish, even down to the small details. You can tell from working with Rick that he's not just about getting paid for his services, but that he enjoys working through problems and finding creative solutions for his clients. Also, I highly recommend the Johnstone Adams, LLC systems and processes. Shelly and Cathy were on top of things. I give Rick and Johnstone Adams more than five stars.”