Areas of Emphasis
  • Intellectual Property Law
  • Drug and Medical Device
  • Product Liability Law
Distinctions
  • AV-rated, Martindale-Hubbell
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers®, Personal Injury Defense: Products
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Mississippi Law School, “How To Do The Film Deal”
  • Adjunct Professor, University of Mississippi School of Law, Contract Drafting and Negotiations
  • Professional Skills Fellow, University of Mississippi School of Law
  • Trial Attorneys of America Worker Achievement Award (2012)
  • Adjunct Professor, Mississippi College School of Law, Oral Advocacy
  • Instructor, Tulane University, Media and the Law
  • Executive Leadership Program, Harvard University
  • Technology and Intellectual Property Study Group, Mississippi Secretary of State
  • 50 Leading Business Women, Mississippi Business Journal, 2002
  • Graduate, International Association of Defense Council Trial Academy
Education & Honors
  • Loyola University Chicago School of Law, J.D., Loyola Law Journal, Student Articles Editor, National Moot Court Team, National Mock Trial Team, Regional Champion, 1987
  • Lewis F. Powell Medal for Excellence in Advocacy, American College of Trial Lawyers
  • Leadership and Service Award
  • Dean's List
  • Gustavus Adolphus College, B.A., History, cum laude, 1984
Associations
  • Trial Attorneys of America
    • Board of Directors Secretary
  • Litigation Counsel of America
    • Fellow
    • The Trial Law Institute Advisory Board
  • Defense Research Institute
    • IP Litigation Committee
    • Commercial Litigation Committee
    • Copyright Specialized Litigation Group Chair
  • Media Law Resource Center
    • Estate Planning and Probate Section
  • Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute
    • Advisory Board Member
  • American Bar Association
    • Intellectual Property Law Section
    • Minority Counsel Program
  • Mississippi Bar Association
    • Intellectual Property Law Section
      • Former Chair
  • Tennessee Bar Association
    • Intellectual Property Law Section
    • Entertainment and Sports Law Section
  • Tennessee Intellectual Property Association Board of Directors
  • Tennessee Volunteer Lawyers and Professionals for the Arts
  • Fifth Circuit Bar Association
Bar Admissions
  • Illinois, 1987
  • Mississippi, 1999
  • Tennessee, 2014
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Illinois: Northern District
    • Mississippi: Northern and Southern Districts
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit
    • 7th Circuit
  • Mississippi Band of Choctaw Indians Tribal Court
  • U.S. Supreme Court
Experience
  • Tried over 100 cases in state and federal courts, from simple prosecutions to complex litigation, including:
  • Obtained defense verdict for chemical supplier in multi-million dollar litigation involving commercial and product liability claims by Canadian manufacturing company.
  • Obtained a multi-million dollar verdict for plaintiffs in wrongful death action involving railroad negligence.
  • Successfully struck venire in Propulsid bellwether trial pending in Claiborne County, Mississippi.
  • Obtained defense verdict on design and construction claims concerning Chicago's former State Street Mall.
  • Tried high-profile matter involving First Amendment and national security issues concerning the 1996 Democratic National Convention in Chicago.
  • Tried Commerce Clause challenge to Chicago spray paint ban, which was upheld by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit in National Spray Paint & Coatings Assn. v. City of Chicago, 45 F.3d 1124 (7th Cir. 1995).
  • Obtained defense verdict in negligent police pursuit action.
  • Obtained judgment notwithstanding the verdict in policy matter involving firearms.
  • Successfully tried personal injury, zoning and other claims.
  • Experienced appellate litigator, including:
  • Anderson v. LaVere, 2014 Miss. LEXIS 119 (Miss. 2014) (briefed and argued for Sony Music Entertainment). Mississippi Supreme Court upheld summary judgment in favor of defendants on statute of limitations in an ownership claim involving photographs of blues musician, Robert Johnson
  • Bryant v. Wyeth, 816 F. Supp. 2d 329 (S.D. Miss. 2011), aff’d, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 18657 (5th Cir. Sept. 5, 2012) (briefed for defense). Fifth Circuit upheld summary judgment in manufacturer’s favor in Prempro litigation because the plaintiff filed the action more than three years after wife’s cancer diagnosis, the discovery rule did not apply and fraudulent concealment statute did not toll the limitations period.
  • Smith v. Johnson & Johnson, Civil Action No. 3:08cv245, 2011 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98719 (S.D. Miss. Aug. 31, 2011), aff’d, 2012 U.S. App. LEXIS 16000 (5th Cir. Aug. 2, 2012) (briefed & argued for defense). The Fifth Circuit upheld summary judgment in manufacturer’s favor in a vaginal mesh user's suit seeking $20 million for injuries allegedly caused by the product, ruling her surgeon admitted he knew of the risks involved. The appeals court also found the lower court was not wrong to strike two of plaintiff’s expert reports and to deny the inclusion of another physician as an expert in the case.
  • Travis v. Irby, 326 F.3d 644 (5th Cir. 2003) (briefed & argued). Fifth Circuit vacated the district court’s entry of summary judgment in favor of railroad, because court lacked subject matter jurisdiction.
  • Ayres v. City of Chicago, 125 F.3d 1010 (7th Cir. 1997) (briefed & argued for defense). Judge Posner, writing for the Seventh Circuit, upheld First Amendment challenge to Chicago’s Peddlers’ Ordinance, which prevented plaintiff from advocating the legalization of marijuana by selling T-shirts conveying her message at festivals such as the "Taste of Chicago" that the City sponsors in Grant Park.
  • Schilling v. City of Chicago, 1 F.3d 494 (7th Cir. 1993) (briefed & argued for defense). Seventh Circuit rejected due process and equal protection challenge to landscaping ordinance brought by residents claiming constitutional rights in natural landscapes.
  • Representing pharmaceutical and medical device manufacturers in mass tort and individual cases pending in various state and federal venues, including Alabama, California, Florida, Illinois, Louisiana, Mississippi, New Jersey, New Mexico, Tennessee, Texas, Utah and West Virginia.
  • Responsible for coordination of case specific work in mass tort actions involving, pharmaceutical and medical device products.
  • Successfully briefed and argued motion for summary judgment for Sony Music Entertainment in copyright litigation involving royalties and photographs of blues singer Robert Johnson.
  • Counseling and representing film and major recorded music companies in commercial and intellectual property matters, including negotiating and drafting production, distribution, literary option, franchise and other agreements.
  • Counseling start-up companies on intellectual property matters and working with state agencies to promote growth of local businesses.
  • Producing, directing and writing legal documentaries for high-stakes mass tort and commercial litigation.
Papers, Presentations & Publications
  • Panelist, “Interactions Among Physicians and Lawyers,” Vanderbilt Medical Center, Nashville, TN (April 2014).
  • Moderator, “Robert Johnson and the Legal Blues of Celebrity Estates,” Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute, Oxford, MS (Feb. 2014).
  • Author, “Tipping the Scales of Fair Use to Serve the Purpose of the Copyright Act,” For The Defense 66-70 (Jan. 2014).
  • Speaker, “Transformative Use: More Than Meets the Eye,” The DRI Annual Meeting, Chicago, IL (Oct. 2013).
  • Speaker, “What I Learned at the Movies on Trials, Legal Ethics and Professionalism,” The Trial Law Institute, Chicago, IL (Sept. 2013).
  • Author, "Taking a Stand on the Right of Publicity," The MDLA Quarterly at 4-6 (Summer 2013), reprinted in the MS Bar Intellectual Property Newsletter (Fall 2013).
  • Guest Commentator, "Intellectual Property & Entertainment Law" for MPB's "In Legal Terms" (July 16, 2013).
  • Presenter, "Pi, Cannibalism and Ethics," Bioethics Fellowship Program, University of Mississippi Medical Center, Jackson, MS (July 2013).
  • Presenter, "Fifth Circuit's Approach to Daubert," Trial Attorney of America Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (June 2013).
  • Author, “Attorney Advertising in a Viral Age: Slowing the Electronic Tide of Misinformation,” Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 6, No. 2 at 15-19 (May 2013).
  • Speaker, “What’s So Fair About Transformative Use,” Mississippi Bar Intellectual Property Symposium, Mississippi Sports Hall of Fame, Jackson, MS (May 2013).
  • Speaker, “Transformative Use Meets the Eye of Copyright Law,” Tennessee Intellectual Property Association, Music Row, Nashville, TN (May 2013).
  • Speaker, “The Perfect Storm: Shattering the Myth of the Work-Life Balance,” Mississippi Women’s Bar Association, Jackson Convention Center, Jackson, MS (May 2013).
  • Speaker, “The Art of the Deal,” Mississippi Bar Intellectual Property Section at the Crossroads Film Festival, Madison, MS (Apr. 2013).
  • Moderator, “Literature Rights and More,” Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute, Oxford, MS (Feb. 2013).
  • Panelist, "A Legal Toolkit for Filmmakers," Mississippi Bar, Intellectual Property Section at MIFF, Jackson, MS (2012).
  • Presenter, "What I Learned at the Movies on Legal Ethics and Professionalism," Litigation Counsel of America Fellows Conference, Palm Beach, Florida (2012).
  • Author, "Dissecting Intellectual Property Issues in Motion Pictures," The Mississippi Lawyer, Vol. LVIII, No. 4:25-28 (Summer 2012).
  • Author, “What I learned at the Movies on Legal Ethics and Professionalism,” Mississippi Bar Litigation Section E-Newsletter, Vol. 2, Issue 1, pg. 2-3 (May 2012).
  • Panelist, “Motion Picture Incentives and the Movie Deal From Music, Film and Television Arts to Sports: Hot Issues and Disputes in Entertainment," Mississippi Bar Intellectual Property Section, Jackson, MS (May 2012).
  • Panelist, "Filmmakers and the Legal World," Crossroads Film Festival, Jackson, MS (April 2012).
  • Author, "Part 1: A Federal Survey on Protecting Confidential Information," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 5, No. 1, 12-15 (February 2012).
  • Presenter, "Film and Ethics," Mid-South Intellectual Property Institute Conference, Oxford, MS (February 2012).
  • Presenter, "Celebrity Images in the Public Domain," (approved CLE program) Tennessee Intellectual Property Law Association, Nashville, TN (2011).
  • Moderator, "Patent Law Reform Applied to Small Business," 12th Annual Conference on Technology Innovation, Jackson Convention Complex, Jackson, MS (2011).
  • Panelist, "Intellectual Property Clinic for Filmmakers," Mississippi International Film Festival, Jackson, MS (2011).
  • Co-Author, "State Security Breach Notification Laws," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 4 No. 2, (May 2011).
  • Presenter, "Practical Advice for Trial Preparation," Mississippi Bar, Criminal Law Section, Biloxi, Mississippi (2011).
  • Project Director, Editor and Co-Producer, "Code of Pretrial and Trial Conduct," American College of Trial Lawyers video series (2011).
  • Presenter, "Expert Disclosure Changes in Fed. R. Civ. P. 26(a)(2)(B)," Trial Attorneys of America Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (2011).
  • Presenter, "Drawing the Line Between Fair Use and Copyright Infringement in the Digital Age," Mississippi Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section (2011).
  • Moderator, "What the Recent Patent Law Changes Really Mean for Small Businesses," Mississippi Technology Alliance 12th Annual Conference, Jackson Convention Center, Jackson, MS (2011).
  • Presenter, "Mississippi Bar's Intellectual Property Legal Clinic," Mississippi International Film Festival (2011).
  • Author, "My Cousin Vinny: Trial and Error," Mississippi Bar Litigation Section E-Newsletter, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (Dec. 2010).
  • Presenter, "Notice Pleading After Ashcroft v. Iqbal," Trial Attorneys of America Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (2010).
  • Author, "An Updated Guide on Managing Risks and Enhancing Prescription Drug Safety after Product Launch," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 3 No. 2, 14-19 (May 2010).
  • Presenter, "Risk Management: A Review of FDA s Regulatory Guidance for the Pharmaceutical Industry," (approved for multi-state CLE credits) Boehringer Ingelheim, Ridgefield, CT (2010).
  • Presenter, "Successfully Navigating Through the Myriad of Legal Issues Confronting Journalists," 12th Annual HBCU Student News Media Conference, Jackson State University, Jackson, MS (2010).
  • Co-Author, "Mississippi Jury Instructions for Product Liability Claims and Defenses," PLAC Handbook of Jury Instructions (2009).
  • Author," On-Line Images: A Thumbnail Sketch of Potential Legal Issues," MTA Pointe Innovation Magazine, 73-75 (Winter 2009).
  • Presenter, "Copyrights and On-Line Images," TIPLA, Nashville, TN (2009).
  • Presenter, "First Amendments Issues Relating to Citizen Journalism," NBPC New Media Institute, New York, NY (2009).
  • Author, "Wyeth v. Levine: A Showdown Between the State Jury System and Federal Preemption," ABA Litigation Section Mass Torts Newsletter, Vol. 8, No. 1, 6-9, 20 (Fall 2009).
  • Author, "Using E-Discovery to Pop the Hot Air from Plaintiff’s Case," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 2 No. 3, 14-16 (July 2009).
  • Presenter, "Corporate Counsel Issues: Privilege & Confidentiality," Trial Attorneys of American Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (2009).
  • Presenter, "The Medical Peer Review Privilege," Trial Attorneys of America Annual Conference, Chicago, IL (2008).
  • Presenter, "From Page to Film," Mississippi Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, Oxford, MS (2008).
  • Presenter, "Wrangling Entertainment Issues," Mississippi College of Law, Jackson, MS (2008).
  • Co-Presenter, "To Kill A Mockingbird: The Atticus Finch Professional Model," (approved for CLE ethics and professionalism credits) Capital Area Bar Association, Jackson, MS (2008).
  • Author, "Case Law: A Fifty State Survey of the Medical Peer Review Privilege," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 1 No. 4, 14-17 (October 2008).
  • Author, "Exhibit A," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 1 No. 2, 16 (April 2008).
  • Author, "Exhibit A," Pro Te: Solutio, Vol. 1 No. 1, 16 (January 2008).
  • Presenter, "The Physicians Role in Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Litigation," University of Mississippi Medical Center, The Winfred L. Wiser Conference, Negril, Jamaica (2007).
  • Presenter, "Communicating Medical Care To a Jury," University of Mississippi Medical Center, The Winfred L. Wiser Conference, Negril, Jamaica (2007).
  • Panelist, "Film and Literature with Morgan Freeman, Lorian Hemingway, Anita Modak-Truran and Ward Emling," TYCA-Southeast, Jackson, MS (2005).
  • Presenter, "The State of Copyright Law in Music," Mississippi Bar Association, Intellectual Property Section, Oxford, MS (2004).
  • Regular commentator for WAPT News (ABC affiliate).
  • Regular commentator for Mississippi Public Broadcasting.
  • Published over 400 times in newspapers and magazines.
  • Recipient of numerous grants and awards for independent filmmaking.

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