Johnstone Adams attorneys have successful defended insureds in more than 1,000 matters in all manner of cases, including motor vehicle accidents, construction, forestry , agricultural products, seismic testing, municipal liability, premises liability, and medical prostheses. Attorneys in this practice area also have years of experience in representing insurance carriers on a first party basis and are skilled at coverage analysis and opinions.
We currently represent two of the largest carriers in Alabama; our clients also include personal lines, commercial general liability, excess carriers, title insurers, third-party administrators and independent brokers. We have represented healthcare companies, retail stores, restaurants, architects, engineers, contractors, foresters, loggers and controlled burn managers, just to name a few.
Our experience allows us to determine which matters should be resolved quickly to prevent wasting client dollars on unnecessary litigation costs. However, when necessary, our litigators have tried more than one hundred jury cases to conclusion and are prepared to take any case to trial.
Our attorneys are responsive, sensitive to staffing level considerations and experienced at compliance with litigation guidelines and reporting requirements.
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Snapshot of Strengths
Our strengths in this practice area are derived from experience in thousands of matters, including:
Coverage analysis and opinions
Motor vehicle accidents, including underinsured and uninsured matters
Professional liability (breach of professional standard of care)
Pro ami settlements
Featured Client Stories
We Didn’t Start the Fire. We Put it Out.
Our client was a commercial liability insurer. Its insured was a business that suffered a catastrophic and total fire loss. A separate insurer provided the property insurance for the building. After an extended claim process broke down between the business and the property insurer, the business sued the property insurer for breach of contract and bad faith. The building itself was owned by another small corporation that rented it to the business, and when the property loss claim came to a standstill, the building owner sued the business for negligently causing the loss of the building.
What made this interesting was that the corporation that owned the building was wholly-owned and controlled by the same individual who wholly-owned and controlled the business insured by our client. He was essentially suing himself.
Our client was now faced with whether and how to go about carrying out its duty to properly defend an insured whose decision-maker was the same individual that made the decisions for the entity asserting the claims being defended.
Johnstone Adams approach and solution
Our approach was two-pronged. First, we intervened in the insured’s case against the property insurer and asked the court for a declaratory judgment on whether our client had any obligation to defend the insured under these unique circumstances. Second, we filed a limited intervention in the negligence case against the insured for the purpose only of asking the court to appoint a temporary receiver for the insured. The receiver’s only function would be to communicate with the insured’s appointed defense counsel and make decisions for the insured as to defense strategy. The court agreed and appointed the receiver.
Shortly thereafter, we were able to settle all claims and threats against our client’s insured and our client. The bad faith case against the property insurer went forward and has yet to be resolved.
BEST LAWYERS - BEST LAW FIRMS AWARD 2021
Johnstone Adams insurance defense attorneys stay abreast of horizon issues in their practice areas and are at the forefront of coverage issues currently being decided at the highest court levels. Whether you are an insurer looking for defense counsel for your insured, self-insured for all or part of your liability or loss, or have questions regarding coverage , we are the attorneys of choice for your insurance needs in Alabama, Florida and Mississippi.
Practice Group Attorneys
- Defense of insureds in numerous motor vehicle accident cases, including those involving the simplest of facts as well as death cases and cases involving intoxication.
- Defense of pharmacists in cases involving alleged medication errors and in FenPhen litigation.
- Representation of insurers on personal lines coverage issues, including opinions of counsel and declaratory judgment coverage litigation.
- Defense of insureds in fraud and malfeasance suits, including the defense of real estate companies, agents and brokers.
Defense of EIFS manufacturer in connection with alleged underperformance of product.
- Representation of national title insurance companies in the defense of claims and potential claims relating to title insurance policies.
- Defense of numerous insurance companies in contract, bad faith and fraud cases, involving issues as diverse as preexisting conditions, misrepresentation, suicide, aggressor doctrine, intentional acts and arson defenses.
- Defense of insureds in a broad variety of household accident cases, including cases involving noncriminal assault, alleged sexual misconduct, animals causing injury, accidental injury from firearms and alleged failure of household security.
- Defense of uninsured and underinsured motorist claims, including application of the various “opt out” procedures.
- Defense of attorneys, physicians and nurses in cases involving allegations of professional negligence.
- Defense of insured chemical manufacturer in alleged underperformance of agricultural products, defense of valve manufacturer in liquid fertilizer accidental eye injury case, and defense of land owners in controlled burning and hunting club accident cases.
- Defense of general contractor sued by municipality for alleged defects in construction of sewer system, in which more than 100 residents joined, all alleging claims for personal injury and property damage.
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.”