Sharon Stuart devotes her practice to civil trial work and arbitration. Focusing on complex commercial and insurance litigation, Sharon also handles a variety of pharmaceutical and medical device products liability litigation as national, regional or local counsel. Her trial experience includes a wide range of business tort claims, contract disputes, commercial and insurance fraud and bad faith suits, and wrongful death cases. She has defended dozens of class action lawsuits in areas as diverse as financial products, insurance, product liability/toxic tort and employment law.
Sharon is active in local and state bar organizations, having served on numerous bar committees. She previously chaired the Civil Courts Procedures and Ethics committees of the Birmingham Bar Association, and currently serves on the Long Range Planning Committee. Sharon is chair of the Amicus Curiae committee of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, and serves on the board of directors of Attorneys Insurance Mutual of the South, an attorney malpractice insurance company. Sharon is also an active member of the community, serving on the board of directors of the Literacy Council of Central Alabama and is vice-chair of the WBHM Public Radio Community Advisory Board. She teaches an adult Sunday school class at Dawson Memorial Baptist Church.
- Obtained summary judgment on behalf of a defendant hospital in a hard-fought discrimination case filed by a surgeon who claimed his privileges were revoked based on race, national origin and religion. The court’s 108 page opinion was filed under seal.
- Defended a major international pharmaceutical company in the first of numerous “Average Wholesale Pricing” cases filed by Alabama’s Attorney General. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed a jury verdict for the State, resulting in a total victory for the defendant. AstraZeneca LP v. State, 41 So. 3d 15 (Ala. 2009). The national press reported the Supreme Court’s decision, and it became the year’s most significant decision according to the Drug and Device Law blog.
- Served as national coordinating counsel, with specific responsibility for Alabama state court litigation, in multi-jurisdictional products liability actions arising from the sale of a dietary supplement.
- Obtained summary judgment in favor of insurer in two consecutive fidelity bond cases where the insured corporation alleged breach of contract and bad faith in connection with multimillion dollar employee theft claims.
- Obtained summary judgment in federal court for a pharmaceutical manufacturer in a products liability case where plaintiff alleged that an antibiotic caused her to lose her vision.
- Obtained summary judgment in large coverage case involving application of a pollution exclusion to claims of hundreds of landowner plaintiffs.
- Obtained an order dismissing a putative class action relating to the Jefferson County, Alabama sewer bond default.
- Obtained summary judgment in a case in which plaintiff claimed breach of a life insurance contract, bad faith and fraud.
- Secured dismissal of suit against a life insurer. Plaintiffs claimed that insurer’s agent conspired with two brothers to take in homeless individuals, take out life insurance on them, and then murder them. Case received national notoriety.
- Tried and obtained an appellate ruling for the defendant in the first punitive damages case decided by the Alabama Supreme Court following the U.S. Supreme Court decision BMW v. Gore, 517 U.S. 559 (1996).
- AstraZeneca LP v. State, 41 So. 3d 15 (Ala. 2009).
- Ex parte Novartis Pharms. Corp., 991 So. 2d 1263 (Ala. 2008).
- Hawk v. Roger Watts Ins. Agency, 989 So. 2d 584 (Ala. Civ. App. 2008).
- Vulcan Materials Co. v. Ala. Ins. Guar. Ass’n, 985 So. 2d 376 (Ala. 2007).
- Alabama v. Abbott Labs., Inc., No. 2:06-CV-920-MHT, 2006 WL 3170553 (M.D. Ala. Nov. 2, 2006).
- Cent. Ala. Comprehensive Health Car, Inc. v. Aventis Pharms., Inc., 427 F. Supp. 2d 1129 (M.D. Ala. 2006).
- Ex parte Nat’l W. Life Ins. Co., 899 So. 2d 218 (Ala. 2004).
- Legg v. Wyeth, 428 F.3d 1317 (11th Cir. 2005).
- Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co. v. Comm’r Soc. Sec. Admin., 216 F.R.D. 681 (S.D. Ala. Aug. 12, 2003).
- Tucker v. Taco Bell Corp., No. CV-00-S-1848-NE, 2001 WL 36102289 (N.D. Ala. Nov. 30, 2001).
- Ex parte Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co., 750 So. 2d 578 (Ala. 1999).
- In re Diet Drugs, No. Civ. A. 98-20478-1203, 1999 WL 554584 (E.D. Pa. July 16, 1999).
- Richardson v. Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co., 750 So. 2d 575 (Ala. Civ. App. 1999).
- Liberty Nat’l Life Ins. Co. v. Allen, 699 So. 2d 138 (Ala. 1997).
- Sullivan, Long & Hagerty, Inc. v. Goodwin, 658 So. 2d 493 (Ala. Civ. App. 1994).
Professional and Community Involvment
- Leadership Birmingham: 2011-2012
- Cumberland School of Law: Dean’s Advisory Board
- International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC): Vice-Chair of Newsletter, Co-Vice Chair of Diversity, Insurance and Reinsurance Committee
- Alabama Defense Lawyers Association (ADLA): Chair, Amicus Curiae Committee
- Birmingham Bar Association: Member, Long Range Planning Committee
- Defense Research Institute (DRI): Member; Women in the Law Committee
- Master Bencher, American Inns of Court - Birmingham, Alabama
- Master Bencher, Judge James Edwin Horton American Inns of Court
- Attorneys Insurance Mutual of the South, RRG: Member, Board of Directors
- American Bar Association (ABA): Member
- Literacy Council of Central Alabama: Member, Board of Directors
- WBHM Public Radio, Vice-Chair, Community Advisory Board
Awards and Recognition
- AV® Preeminent Peer Review Rating from Martindale-Hubbell*
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America® 2009 – 2012 in the categories of commercial litigation, labor & employment, litigation-securities, product liability litigation and product liability litigation – defendants.
- Selected for inclusion in The Best Lawyers in America ® 2013 in the categories of commercial litigation, labor & employment litigation, mass tort/class action defense, product liability litigation defense, and insurance law.
- Selected for inclusion in Alabama Super Lawyers® 2010 in the field of business litigation. Selected for inclusion in Alabama Super Lawyers ® 2011 in the fields of business litigation, insurance coverage and personal injury defense (products) and 2012 and 2013 in the field of business litigation.
- Selected for inclusion in Top 25 Women Alabama Super Lawyers ® 2010-2013.
- Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Litigation’s list of Alabama Future Litigation Stars 2010-2011.
- Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Appellate as Eleventh Circuit Litigation Star in Alabama 2012-2013
- Selected for inclusion in Benchmark Top 250 Women in Litigation – 2012
- Listed in the Birmingham Business Journal’s “Best of the Birmingham Bar.”
Publications and Presentations
- “How Lawyers Use Financial Information,” in Basics of Accounting & Finance: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know (PLI Corp. Law & Practice, Course Handbook Ser. No. B-1406, 2004).
- “Making Sure It All Adds Up: Preventing, Indentifying, and Litigating Financial Fraud Cases,” in Basics of Accounting & Finance: What Every Practicing Lawyer Needs to Know (PLI Corp. Law & Practice, Course Handbook Ser. No. B-1354, 2003).
- Sharon Donaldson Stuart & James R. Bussian, Civil Procedure Update: A Survey of Recent Case Law Interpreting the Rules, 58 The Alabama Lawyer (March 1997).
- Michael V. Abcarian & Sharon A. Donaldson, The Battle Against Substance Abuse in the Workplace: A Survey of Current Regulatory Issues, 11 Miss. C. L. Rev. 201 (1991).
- Comment, Section Six of the Office of Federal Procurement Policy Act Amendments of 1988: A New Ethical Standard in Government Contracting?, 20 Cumb. L. Rev. 421 (1990), reprinted in 21-90, Government Contracts Service, F-1 (1990).