Scott Burnett Smith is the founder and chair of Bradley’s Appellate Litigation Practice Group. His practice covers class actions, ERISA litigation, complex litigation, and appeals. Scott has been involved in dozens of nationwide class actions in state and federal courts and has handled over 40 class action appeals. He is also regularly involved as the appellate lawyer embedded with a trial team in complex civil litigation. In that role, he has succeeded in having several multimillion-dollar injury verdicts, including punitive damages, remitted by the trial court or reversed and rendered by the appellate court.
Scott is a Fellow in the American Academy of Appellate Lawyers. He has been involved in 28 cases (two on the merits) before the U.S. Supreme Court. He has also been involved in over 230 appeals to the U.S. Courts of Appeals for the Second, Third, Fourth, Fifth, Sixth, Ninth, Tenth, Eleventh, and D.C. Circuits, the Alabama Supreme Court and Court of Civil Appeals, the Arkansas Supreme Court, the California Court of Appeals, the Georgia Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Minnesota Supreme Court and Court of Appeals, the Nevada Supreme Court, and the Texas Court of Appeals. Scott has presented oral arguments 30 times before appellate courts, including the Alabama Supreme Court and six federal courts of appeals.
Active in DRI - The Voice of the Defense Bar, Scott is a former national director on DRI’s Board of Directors. He is also the former chair of DRI’s Amicus Committee and former chair of DRI’s Appellate Advocacy Committee. In addition, he has served as chair of the DRI’s national Class Action seminar and writes and speaks regularly on class actions and appellate practice.
American Academy of Appellate Lawyers, Fellow Listed in Chambers USA, Litigation: Appellate, 2021-2023 Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, Appellate, 2016-2021 Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers "Top 50," 2015 Appellate, 2011-2015 Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® "Lawyer of the Year," Huntsville, Appellate Practice, 2022, 2024 Appellate Practice, 2007-2024 Bet-the-Company Litigation, 2018-2024 Commercial Litigation, 2015-2024 Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions – Defendants, 2021-2024 Litigation – ERISA, 2022-2024 Listed in Benchmark Litigation, "Appellate Star," Alabama, 2012-2013 DRI Tom Segalla Excellence in Education Award, 2016 AIG Baker Sterling Heights, LLC v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., 130 S. Ct. 3287 (2010). Bradley Arant represented American Multi-Cinema in the trial court and on appeal in this Federal Arbitration Act case. Mr. Smith was counsel of record and wrote the opposition to the certiorari petition. AIG Baker Sterling Heights, LLC v. American Multi-Cinema, Inc., 579 F.3d 1268 (11th Cir. 2009), cert. denied, 130 S. Ct. 3287 (2010). The Eleventh Circuit in this case affirmed the district court’s ability to grant American Multi-Cinema Rule 60(b)(5) relief from a judgment on an arbitration award. Mr. Smith successfully briefed and argued the case on appeal. Mr. Smith also successfully opposed certiorari to the U.S. Supreme Court. Alabama Dept. of Transp. v. Land Energy, Ltd., 886 So. 2d 787 (Ala. 2004). In this inverse condemnation case, the Alabama Supreme Court affirmed a $650,000 jury verdict awarded to Land Energy because the State had trapped its mineral interests under an interstate highway. Land Energy retained Bradley Arant to represent it on appeal. Mr. Smith and Matt Lembke wrote Land Energy’s brief in the Alabama Supreme Court. Alabama Municipal Insurance Corp. v. Alabama, 528 U.S. 823 (1999). The Supreme Court denied certiorari in this constitutional challenge to Alabama’s insurance premium tax. The State of Alabama hired Bradley Arant to represent it in the Supreme Court after the Alabama Supreme Court upheld the tax as constitutional. Mr. Smith assisted in writing the opposition to certiorari. The denial of certiorari in this case preserved $150 million in tax revenues per year to the State’s general fund. Atlanta Cas. Co. v. Russell, 798 So.2d 664 (Ala. 2001). This appeal was the first class action certification appeal decided by the Alabama Supreme Court pursuant to Ala. Code § 6-5-642. Bradley Arant was hired to represent Atlanta Casualty on appeal. Mr. Smith, Mike Pennington, and Matt Lembke briefed the case. The Court unanimously decertified a nationwide class without oral argument. Birmingham Fire Fighters Ass’n. 117 v. Jefferson County, 290 F.3d 1250 (11th Cir. 2002), and 280 F.3d 1289 (11th Cir. 2002). The Eleventh Circuit dismissed two interlocutory appeals from a comprehensive employment consent decree for lack of appellate jurisdiction. Mr. Smith wrote the motions to dismiss and briefed the cases on behalf of the City of Birmingham. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co. v. Farese, 423 F.3d 446 (5th Cir. 2005). Cooper Tire retained Bradley Arant to appeal summary judgment for the defendant in this case to enforce a corporate nondisparagement agreement. Mr. Smith wrote the winning brief in the Fifth Circuit. Cordoza v. Pacific States Steel Corp., 320 F.3d 989 (9th Cir. 2003). Bradley Arant represented Rust International in this complex ERISA dispute over funding for former steelworker’s medical plan. Mr. Smith wrote the brief defending the district court’s orders terminating a special master and cutting his pay. The Ninth Circuit affirmed the district court’s decision. Dominguez-Cota v. Cooper Tire & Rubber Co., 396 F.3d 650 (5th Cir. 2005). Bradley Arant represented Cooper Tire in this wrongful death products liability suit brought by Mexican nationals arising from a car accident in Mexico. Mr. Smith briefed and argued the case in the Fifth Circuit, which reversed dismissal on forum non conveniens grounds. The Supreme Court ultimately overruled the Fifth Circuit’s opinion in Sinochem Int’l v. Malaysia Int’l Shipping, 549 U.S. 422 (2007). Ellis v. Louisiana Pacific, 699 F.3d 778 (4th Cir. 2012). Louisiana Pacific hired Bradley Arant to defend the district court’s dismissal of this products liability class action. The Fourth Circuit affirmed dismissal of the class action as barred by the economic loss doctrine. Assisted by lawyers at Cranfill, Sumner & Hartzog, Mr. Smith and Thomas Richie wrote the winning brief in the Fourth Circuit. Ex parte Liberty National Life Insurance Co., 825 So. 2d 758 (Ala. 2002). The Alabama Supreme Court in this case clarified the law concerning Alabama’s common law rule of repose, which sets an absolute 20-year limit on the litigation of claims. Mr. Smith wrote the petition for writ of mandamus and briefed the merits in the Supreme Court. Family Dollar Stores, Inc. v. Morgan, 130 S. Ct. 59 (2009). Bradley Arant, along with appellate lawyers from Covington & Burling and Littler Mendleson, represented Family Dollar Stores in this FLSA collective action for overtime wages brought by over 1,400 store managers nationwide. Mr. Smith was counsel of record for Family Dollar and took the lead in writing the petition for certiorari challenging the Eleventh Circuit’s decision affirming certification of a collective action under 29 U.S.C. § 216(b). Faught v. American Home Shield, Corp., 668 F.3d 1233 (11th Cir. 2011). Bradley Arant represented American Home Shield in this nationwide class action challenging home warranties. The parties reached a global class action settlement, which the district court approved. On appeal, Mr. Smith wrote the brief on the merits with John Goodman, assisted by lawyers at Sidley Austin. The Eleventh Circuit upheld the settlement as fair and reasonable. Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta v. Thomas, 220 F.3d 1235 (11th Cir. 2000). In this case of precedential import throughout the Federal Reserve System, the Eleventh Circuit held the Federal Reserve Act’s jurisdictional statute gives a Federal Reserve Bank the exclusive right to a federal forum in all civil actions to which it is a party. The Federal Reserve Bank of Atlanta retained Bradley Arant to represent it on appeal. Mr. Smith wrote the briefs on the merits in the Eleventh Circuit. Foster v. United States, 249 F.3d 1275 (11th Cir. 2001). In this tax appeal, the Eleventh Circuit reversed the District Court’s assessment of taxes on the portion of a jury verdict that Mattie Foster paid to another firm as an appellate contingency fee in a previous state court lawsuit. The Court also awarded litigation expenses because the IRS’s position was substantially unjustified. Bradley Arant represented Ms. Foster at trial and on appeal. Mr. Smith successfully briefed and argued the case before the Eleventh Circuit. Hanna Steel Corp. v. Lowery, 128 S. Ct. 2877 (2008). Bradley Arant represented Hanna Steel in this toxic tort mass action governed by the Class Action Fairness Act. Mr. Smith was counsel of record and wrote the certiorari petition challenging the Eleventh Circuit’s standard for proving the amount in controversy in removals to federal court under diversity jurisdiction. In re Consolidated Non-Filing Ins. Fee Litig., 431 Fed. Appx. 835 (11th Cir. 2011). Bradley Arant represented Security Finance of Georgia at the trial level and on appeal in this nationwide TILA class action. Mr. Smith wrote the brief on the merits and argued the appeal before the Eleventh Circuit. The Eleventh Circuit held that the circumstances did not warrant modification of the district court’s consent decree under Federal Rule of Civil Procedure 60(b)(5). In re HealthSouth Corp. Securities Litigation, 572 F.3d 854 (11th Cir. 2009). In this case of first impression under the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act, the Eleventh Circuit barred former CEO Richard Scrushy’s claims for indemnification and advancement of his attorney’s fees as part of a $445 million securities class action settlement. Mr. Smith successfully briefed and argued this case before the Eleventh Circuit. Johnson v. Stewart, 854 So. 2d 544 (Ala. 2002). The Alabama Supreme Court reversed an $850,000 judgment for the plaintiffs on their invasion of privacy claim in this case and rendered judgment for the defendants. Mr. Smith represented the defendants in this appeal and wrote the brief that prompted the Supreme Court’s decision. Kiker v. Community Health Systems Professional Services Corp., 484 Fed. Appx. 215 (10th Cir. 2012). Community Health Systems retained Bradley Arant to appeal the award of fees under 28 U.S.C. § 1447(c) in this ERISA removal case. Mr. Smith briefed and argued the case in the Tenth Circuit. Kohl v. American Home Shield Corp., No. 11-80309. American Home Shield hired Bradley Arant’s appellate litigation group to appeal the remand of a class action removed to federal court under CAFA. Along with lawyers at Sidley Austin, Mr. Smith and John Goodman wrote the petition for permission to appeal in the Ninth Circuit. Legal Environmental Assistance Foundation, Inc. v. U.S.E.P.A., 276 F.3d 1253 (11th Cir. 2001). In this environmental regulatory case, the Eleventh Circuit upheld the EPA’s approval of Alabama’s underground injection control program governing hydraulic fracturing of coal. Mr. Smith wrote an amicus brief on behalf of the Coalbed Methane Association in the Eleventh Circuit, explaining the geology of coalbed methane extraction. Liberty Nat. Life Ins. Co. v. Ingram, 887 So. 2d 222 (Ala. 2004). The jury in this insurance fraud case had awarded the plaintiff $200,000 in compensatory damages and $3 million in punitive damages. On appeal, the Alabama Supreme Court reversed and rendered judgment for Liberty National Life Insurance Company, holding the plaintiff’s claims were barred by the statute of limitations and not supported by sufficient evidence of reliance. Bradley Arant represented Liberty National at trial on appeal, and Mr. Smith wrote the brief on the merits in the Supreme Court. Matthews v. Sun Life Assurance, 345 Fed. Appx. 161 (6th Cir. 2009). Bradley Arant represented Jefferson Pilot in this case over death benefits under an ERISA plan. Mr. Smith briefed and argued the case before the Sixth Circuit. Menkes v. Prudential Ins. Co., --- F.3d ---, 2014 WL 3843969 (3d Cir. 2014) Bradley Arant represented QinetiQ North America in this class action brought by private employees injured while working on military bases overseas. Along with Kim Martin and Edmund Sauer, Mr. Smith wrote the winning brief in the district court, which dismissed the class action as preempted by ERISA and the Defense Base Act. On appeal, the Third Circuit affirmed based on ERISA preemption. Mr. Smith argued the case before the Third Circuit. Metric/Kvaerner Fayetteville v. Federal Ins. Co., 403 F.3d 188 (4th Cir. 2005). Bradley Arant represented the general contractor in this insurance dispute over insurance coverage for a $58 million construction project in North Carolina. Mr. Smith and David Hymer wrote the winning brief on appeal to the Fourth Circuit, which reversed summary judgment for the insurance company. Milan Express, Inc. v. Averitt Express, Inc., 254 F.3d 966 (11th Cir. 2001). In this interstate trucking dispute, the Eleventh Circuit reversed and rendered a $1.87 million jury verdict against Bradley Arant’s client, Averitt Express. The court held neither Alabama nor federal law recognizes a cause of action for petitioning the ICC in bad faith. Mr. Smith wrote the briefs on the merits and argued the case before the Eleventh Circuit. Moore v. Liberty National Life Insurance Co., 276 F.3d 1209 (11th Cir. 2001). In this nationwide civil rights class action, the Eleventh Circuit decided as a matter of first impression that Alabama’s 20-year rule of repose does not apply to federal civil rights claims. Mr. Smith represented Liberty National at trial and on appeal. He wrote the briefs and argued the case before the Eleventh Circuit. Murphy Brothers, Inc. v. Michetti Pipe Stringing, Inc., 526 U.S. 344 (1999). The Supreme Court’s opinion in this case set the national standard for when a defendant’s 30-day removal period begins to run. Bradley Arant represented the respondent on the merits, and Mr. Smith, as a first-year associate, wrote the merits brief in the Supreme Court. Oak Grove Resources, LLC v. White, 86 So. 3d 963 (Ala. 2011). Bradley Arant represented Oak Grove Resources in the toxic tort class action. Mr. Smith and Anna Manasco successfully petitioned the Alabama Supreme Court to enforce the underlying class action settlement. Peat, Inc. v. Vanguard Research, Inc., 378 F.3d 1154 (11th Cir. July 2003). The Eleventh Circuit granted Vanguard Research a new trial in this complex trade secrets case that had resulted in an $11 million jury verdict at trial. The Court held that the district court’s admission of an exhibit summarizing the plaintiff’s trade secrets was so prejudicial to Vanguard that a new trial was warranted. Mr. Smith wrote the merits brief on Vanguard’s behalf in the Eleventh Circuit. Pharmacia Corp. v. Suggs, 932 So. 2d 95 (Ala. 2005). Bradley Arant represented Pharmacia in this global settlement of a PCB class action litigation. Mr. Smith won reversal by the Alabama Supreme Court of a trial court order allowing post-settlement substitution of class representatives. Phillips v. Gaston County, N.C., 129 S. Ct. 764 (2008). Respondent Gaston County, N.C. hired Mr. Smith to oppose certiorari in this public employment case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. The Supreme Court denied certiorari. Southeastern Federal Power Customers v. Geren, 514 F.3d 1316 (D.C. Cir. 2008). The D.C. Circuit reversed the State of Georgia’s secret settlement agreement with the Army Corps of Engineers in this case arising from the interstate water dispute over the rivers shared by the States of Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. Bradley Arant represented the State of Alabama at trial and on appeal. Mr. Smith assisted with the joint brief written by Alabama and Florida in the D.C. Circuit. T-Mobile South, LLC v. Bonet, 85 So. 3d 963 (Ala. 2011). Bradley Arant represented the Alabama 911 Board in this litigation seeking to collect 911 fees on prepaid cellular phones. Mr. Smith was appointed a deputy attorney general and, along with Anna Manasco, successfully briefed and argued the case on behalf of the State. This litigation resulted in over $8 million to Alabama’s 911 system. United Pet Supply v. City of Chattanooga, No. 13-5181. Bradley Arant was retained by animal control officers of the City of Chattanooga, Tennessee to appeal the denial of qualified immunity in the constitutional tort case under 42 U.S.C. § 1983. Mr. Smith and Edmund Sauer briefed the appeal on behalf of the appellants. The appeal is currently pending in the Sixth Circuit. United States v. Robison, 505 F.3d 1208 (11th Cir. 2007). The Eleventh Circuit reversed the defendants’ convictions in this criminal environmental prosecution under the Clean Water Act. Mr. Smith successfully briefed the case on behalf of McWane.