Kat specializes in personal injury and product liability litigation related to recalled products and allegations of product defect. She represents clients in a wide range of industries, including manufacturers of recreational vehicles, industrial machinery, and automobiles.  She has experience serving as lead trial counsel and as a key member of the trial team in several significant trials.  She also maintains an active appellate practice in both state and federal courts across the United States after having served as a law clerk to the Honorable Rhesa Hawkins Barksdale, United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit. 

Biography – View PDF Bio

Narrative Bio

Kat’s recent experience includes serving as lead counsel in a jury trial in damages-only uninsured motorist jury trial in May 2019 in which Plaintiffs asked the jury for several million dollars for past and future medicals, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium, but were awarded only $37,000. Rose Mary Smith, et al. v. Jose D. Ramirez and Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, Case No. 2:17-cv-164-KS-MTP, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Eastern Division. She also served as a key member of trial teams defending a Japanese multi-national automotive manufacturer. She participated in two trials in 2018, with the most recent resulting in a defense verdict in December of 2018 following a five-week trial.

Kat has served as a key member of the Butler Snow team in obtaining several significant results on behalf of her clients. She has been recognized by Law360 for her representation in a contractual dispute in which the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals upheld a decision enforcing an arbitration clause in the parties’ agreement. “Fifth Circ. Backs Deere Arbitration Bid in Contract Dispute,” Law360, August 14, 2018. She also obtained a defense verdict in 2016 in a wage-and-hour matter on behalf of a private correctional institution in Walker, et al. v. Corrections Corporation of America, Case No. 4:14cv142-SA-SAA, 2016 WL 3087834 (N.D. Miss. Mar. 22, 2016). She obtained a directed verdict in 2015 in favor of the defense in an election contest challenging the results of the general election for the office of Mayor in Perkins v. McAdams, Case No. 2013-0047CICI, Circuit Court of Leflore County. The Perkins verdict was appealed and resulted in a favorable ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court. Perkins v. McAdams, 234 So. 3d 413 (Miss. 2017).

Additional examples of her appellate representations include serving as a key member of the team defending two justice court judges in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit involving allegations of violations of the Fourth, Fifth, and Fourteenth Amendments in United States v. Lauderdale County, Mississippi, 914 F.3d 960 (5th Cir. 2019) and obtaining a decision reversing a $1.95 million in Johnson & Johnson, Inc. v. Fortenberry, Case No. 2015-CA-01369-SCT, Mississippi Supreme Court. “Miss. High Court Tosses $2M Risperdal Verdict Against J&J,” Law360, October 20, 2017.

Active in a number of professional organizations, Kat served as the Marketing Chair for DRI’s Product Liability Conference – Scaffolds, Cranes and Aerial Devices (SCAD) Group and will serve as the Vice President of the SCAD Group for the 2020 Conference. She is representing Butler Snow as the firm’s 2019-2020 Fellow for the Leadership Council on Legal Diversity (LCLD.) In 2019, Kat also represented the firm as a student at the International Association of Defense Counsel’s (IADC) annual Trial Academy at Stanford University.

She is a frequent speaker and author. In 2017, she spoke at the DRI Products Liability Seminar in Las Vegas, NV. She has authored publications for the American Bar Association and Butler Snow’s Product Lines.

Associations

Bar Admissions

  • Mississippi, 2012
  • U.S. District Courts
    • Mississippi: Northern, Southern
  • U.S. Court of Appeals
    • 5th Circuit

Distinctions

  • Fellow, Leadership Counsel on Legal Diversity (LCLD), 2010-2019
  • Student, International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC) Trial Academy, 2019
  • Benchmark Litigation
    • Member of the team selected as nationwide Product Liability Firm of the Year, 2018

Education & Honors

  • University of Mississippi, J.D., magna cum laude, 2012
    • Assistant Articles Editor, Mississippi Law Journal, 2011-12
    • Outstanding Student Award, Sports Law, Spring 2011
    • Dean’s Leadership Council
    • Phi Alpha Delta
  • Louisiana State University, B.A., Mass Communication: Public Relations, 2009
  • Clerkship, Honorable Rhesa H. Barksdale, U.S. Court of Appeals, 5th Circuit

Experience

  • Served as lead counsel in a jury trial in May 2019 in which Plaintiffs asked the jury for several million dollars for past and future medicals, lost wages, pain and suffering, and loss of consortium but were awarded only $37,000. Rose Mary Smith, et al. v. Jose D. Ramirez and Starr Indemnity & Liability Company, Case No. 2:17-cv-164-KS-MTP, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Eastern Division.
  • Obtained an order in May of 2019 granting a petition for interlocutory appeal (rarely granted) to the Mississippi Supreme Court. David Blue v. State if Mississippi, In Re: Petition to Appeal Interlocutory Order of the Leflore County Circuit Court, Case No. 2019-M-462.
  • Defended two justice court judges in an appeal to the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals. United States v. Lauderdale County, Mississippi, 914 F.3d 960 (5th Cir. 2019).
  • Served as a key member of the trial team in a product liability case and obtained a defense verdict in December of 2018 after a five-week trial in Stubblefield v. Suzuki Motor Company, Case No 3:15-CV-18 –HTW-LRA, United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi, Northern Division.
  • Obtained an order, upheld on appeal, enforcing an arbitration provision in a contractual dispute in Richland Equipment Co. Inc. v. Deere & Co., Case No. 17-60631, United States Court of Appeal for the Fifth Circuit. “Fifth Circ. Backs Deere Arbitration Bid in Contract Dispute,” Law360, August 14, 2018.
  • Obtained a decision reversing a $1.95 million verdict in Johnson & Johnson, Inc. v. Fortenberry, Case No. 2015-CA-01369-SCT, Mississippi Supreme Court. “Miss. High Court Tosses $2M Risperdal Verdict Against J&J,” October 20, 2017.
  • Obtained a directed verdict in favor of the defense in an election contest challenging the results of the general election for the office of Mayor. Perkins v. McAdams, Case No. 2013-0047CIC, Circuit Court of Leflore County, Mississippi. On appeal, served as a key member of the appellate team in obtaining a favorable ruling from the Mississippi Supreme Court. Perkins v. McAdams, 234 So. 3d 413 (Miss. 2017). 
  • Obtained a defense verdict in wage-and-hour matter on behalf of a private correctional institution. Walker, et. al. v. Corrections Corporation of America, No. 4:14cv142-SA-SAA, 2016 WL 3087834 (N.D. Miss. Mar. 22, 2016).

Papers, Presentations, & Publications

  • Speaker, Case Law Update for Scaffolds, Cranes and Aerial Devices (SCAD) Group, DRI Products Liability Seminar, San Diego Calif., 2018.
  • Co-Speaker, “Are Confidential Pre-Suit Investigations Actually Confidential?  Understanding the Unsettled Privilege of Self-Critical Analysis,” 2017 DRI Products Liability Seminar, Las Vegas, Nevada
  • Author, “The Confidentiality of Pre-Suit Investigations,” Am. Bar Assoc., Products Liability Litigation (Jan. 30, 2017), available at http://www.americanbar.org.
  • Author, “Are Confidential Pre-Suit Investigations Actually Confidential?  Understanding the Unsettled Privilege of Self-Critical Analysis,” Butler Snow Product Liability & Complex Litigation Update (Mar. 29, 2017), available at https://www.butlersnow.com/2017/03/product-liability-complex-litigation-vol-1-no-1/
  • Co-Author, "Noneconomic Damages: A State-By-State Survey of Limiting Caps and Their Constitutionality," IADC Committee Newsletter, Product Liability, June 2014
  • Author, "Hats, Bats, and Antitrust: An Analysis of American Needle and the Major League Baseball Antitrust Exemption," 1 Mississippi Sports Law Review 131 (2012).