John Watson is the firm’s General Counsel. He joined Bradley in 1984, and practices in general litigation handling a wide variety of complex cases in both state and federal courts. He has substantial experience in products liability, personal injury defense, consumer class action, general commercial, bankruptcy and securities fraud cases. John is also interested in technology and professional responsibility matters, and has served as head of Bradley’s technology committee and for many years as one of the firm's loss prevention counsel.
John's clients include several tire, juvenile products, pharmaceutical, agricultural, chemical, and heavy industrial products manufacturers. In the course of representing these clients, he has been lead counsel on various serious injury cases involving multiple deaths, brain injury and paralysis. Some of these matters are national in scope, including several matters involved in federal multi-district litigation.
Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® Commercial Litigation, 2016-2022 Product Liability Litigation, 2010 Product Liability Litigation – Defendants, 2011-2022 Martindale-Hubbell® AV Preeminent Rated Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2022 Business Litigation, 2016-2021 Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers, Business Litigation, 2012-2015 United American Resources, Inc. v. United Land and Jim Walter Resources, No. 1100539 (Ala. Feb. 28, 2012) This commercial litigation case involved allegations of tortious interference, wantonness, and unjust enrichment and arose from a failed attempt by the plaintiff to purchase coal mining companies. The plaintiff ultimately claimed over $50 million in damages. Following extensive discovery, summary judgment was obtained from the trial court and affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court on February 10, 2012. Ex Parte Jim Walter Resources, Inc., --- So.3d ----, 2012 WL 29187 (Ala. Sup. Ct., Jan. 6, 2012). Lead litigation counsel in a complex real estate / tax matter involving significant mortgage filing fees attempted to be assessed on a guarantor of indebtedness. Clarified Alabama law and successfully obtained a Writ of Mandamus from the Alabama Supreme Court requiring that mortgages securing a guaranty be filed without payment of filing fees. Parr v. The Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. Property owners adjacent to Etowah County landfill sued Goodyear and others alleging carbon black disposed of in landfill had trespassed on their property and caused health problems. Case tried to a jury against Goodyear alone and defendant's verdict obtained. Drummond Co., Inc. v. Walter Industries, Inc., 962 So.2d 753, 166 Oil & Gas Rep. 695, (Ala. 2006) Lead counsel in this complex coal lease dispute involving rights to over $350 million in coal reserves. After several years of litigation, including a jury trial, the Firm was able to secure clear title to those mineral rights for its client. Non-File Insurance Multi-District Litigation (MDL-1130) Served as lead national counsel for one of the defendants in these multidistrict litigation class actions. The allegations in over forty separate complaints included Truth in Lending Act, RICO, state-law fraud and misrepresentation and breach of contract counts. The claims also involved complex insurance and bankruptcy issues. In the course of this MDL proceeding, John argued before the Judicial Panel on Multi-District litigation, handled appeals to the Eleventh Circuit and Fifth Circuit Courts of Appeal, and participated in multiple class certification hearings before negotiating a favorable nationwide class settlement for the Firm’s client. Crum v. SouthTrust Bank of Alabama, 698 So.2d 867, UCC Rep. Serv. 2d 762 (Ala. 1992) Summary judgment for the Firm’s client was upheld in this case, in which a used car dealer had attempted to establish a security interest in used cars sold to a dealer by retaining certificates of title to the cars. Dickens v. SouthTrust Bank of Alabama, N.A., 570 So.2d 610 (Ala. 1990) Elicted deposition testimony from plaintiffs in this fraud case which established that the statute of limitations had run before they filed their lawsuit. Summary judgment for the Firm’s client was upheld on appeal. Ex parte SouthTrust Bank of Alabama, N.A., 523 So.2d 407 (Ala. 1988) John convinced the Alabama Supreme Court to reverse the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals in this case involving an accidental entry into a safe deposit box. Goodyear Tire & Rubber Co. v. Tull Metals, 629 So.2d 633 (Ala. 1993) John was lead counsel in this case which overturned preexisting law and established that a contractual indemnity provision is enforceable against an injured party’s employer, notwithstanding Alabama’s workman’s compensation exclusive remedy provision. Thompson Tractor Co. v. Fair Contracting Co., Inc., 757 So.2d 396 This successful appeal on behalf of the Firm’s client established that arbitration clauses in leases mandated arbitration of disputes arising from earlier leases between the parties, even though the earlier leases did not contain arbitration clauses. Triple E. Transport v. U.S. Pipe & Foundry Co., 732 So.2d 290 (Ala. 1999) After obtaining a jury verdict based on a contractual indemnity clause, John prevailed on the Alabama Supreme Court to uphold the verdict in the face of arguments that enforcement of the clause was in violation of interstate commerce laws and regulations. Complicated trust litigation A trial and multi-million dollar recovery for a major out-of-state university in a complicated trust matter. Defense win in trucking dispute Successful defense of a major trucking company in a complicated dispute with another trucking company, including jury trial and multiple appeals. Personal injury claims Defense of a child restraint manufacturer in several cases involving serious brain injury, paralysis, and deaths to children. Products liability litigation Defense of a major tire manufacturer in a products liability matter involving multiple deaths, brain damage and serious personal injury.