R. Bruce Barze, Jr.


About Bruce

Bruce has a national litigation practice, and over the last twenty-eight years he has acquired substantial experience in business, insurance, and environmental litigation, as well as the defense of high-stakes personal injury and wrongful death cases. He has litigated matters 20 states and territories, and Canada. Several clients also call on him regularly to work on a variety of insurance coverage matters and risk management issues, ranging from coverage opinions and analyses to all types of coverage litigation. Bruce places a high premium on providing excellent client satisfaction, problem solving, and preemptive legal work.

Bruce served as national coordinating counsel for a pharmaceutical company in the fen-phen litigation and serves as state or regional trial counsel for a number of companies, including a global leader in power and automation technologies, syndicates and insurers in the London insurance market, various European manufacturers, and market leaders that design, produce, and sell agricultural vehicles and implements, construction equipment, and industrial machinery.

Select Matters:

  • Product liability: Served as lead counsel for a global electrical automation company in a New Jersey state court personal injury case alleging negligence. The plaintiff was a crane mechanic injured by the sudden movement of a power cable reel on a massive ship-to-shore gantry container crane. The crane had been serviced by our client one month prior to his accident, and the plaintiff claimed it left the crane in an unsafe condition, proximately causing millions of dollars of injuries. After a jury trial lasting 10 days over three weeks with 13 witnesses, the plaintiff opted to settle the case for a confidential sum satisfactory to our client immediately prior to closing arguments.
  • Product Liability: Served as lead counsel for an Italian manufacturer of industrial machinery that makes plastic netting for use in erosion control, construction projects, and agriculture. Plaintiff got his arm stuck in the rollers of a machine and sought damages for personal injury. After a week of trial, Plaintiff obtained a verdict for approximately half of the damages requested in closing argument. Following an appeal, the case was settled for a confidential amount significantly below the jury verdict.
  • Commercial litigation: Obtained a $2.09 million jury verdict for a corporate client in a commercial dispute tried to a jury in federal court in Tennessee. Following an appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, we tried the case a second time and obtained a $4.711 million jury verdict for our client.
  • Product liability: Obtained a defense verdict for a well-known manufacturer of agricultural and construction equipment in a case filed by an Alabama farmer claiming breach of various warranties relating to his farm tractor. The jury deliberated for a little over an hour.
  • Environmental litigation: Obtained a multi-million-dollar settlement for the client, a commercial nursery, in a Clean Water Act (CWA) lawsuit filed against a neighboring business. The client’s nursery crops and business were damaged as a result of the defendant’s contamination of an irrigation pond with agricultural pesticides and other chemicals.
  • Insurance litigation: Served as coverage counsel for an insurer, helping it settle a dangerous wrongful death case and seeking reimbursement of the settlement amount from a company that agreed to indemnify the client’s insured and that company’s insurer. Following aggressive discovery and briefing, and argument of several dispositive motions, we settled the case and recovered nearly $1.6 million for the client.
  • Commercial litigation: Represented India’s oldest generic pharmaceutical manufacturer in a case filed by one of the world’s largest generic pharmaceutical companies claiming nine-figure damages and alleging intentional interference with contract, breach of contract, and deceptive trade practices. Following extensive motion practice and discovery, the case was resolved on favorable terms satisfactory to our client.
  • Product liability: Obtained dismissal of a Swiss global provider in the field of mechanical and system engineering following a successful personal jurisdiction challenge in a serious personal injury case. Ex parte Güdel AG, 2015 Ala. LEXIS 66.
  • Insurance: Representation of a European insurance carrier in analysis, evaluation, and settlement of hundreds of high-exposure medical device product liability claims pending around the United States.
  • Product liability: Defense of a major German supplier of mining and tunneling equipment and safety systems in a class action (Alabama) and a mass action (West Virginia) purportedly involving more than 30,000 plaintiffs alleging exposure to polymeric diphenyl methane diisocyanate.
  • Commercial litigation: Obtained six-figure settlement in a trademark infringement/deceptive trade practices lawsuit in Ohio on behalf of one of the world's largest electrical engineering companies.

When I started practicing law in the early 1990s, Alabama had a reputation as a ‘tort hell.’ As a consequence, I was able to acquire valuable experience defending high-exposure cases in difficult venues against confident opponents. Using this experience today helps me achieve successful outcomes for clients facing demanding situations.”

R. Bruce Barze, Jr.
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Education

  • The University of Alabama School of Law, Tuscaloosa, AL, J.D., 1992, summa cum laude; Alabama Law Review; Order of the Coif; M. Leigh Harrison Scholar; Hugo Black Scholar
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN, B.A., Political Science, 1987

Admitted to Practice

  • Alabama, 1992

Awards & Accolades

  • Chambers USA, General Commercial Litigation, Ranked Individual
  • The Best Lawyers in America, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Insurance Law, Environmental Litigation, Product Liability Litigation-Defendants, 2010-present
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2019 “Lawyer of the Year,” Insurance Law in Birmingham, Alabama
  • The Best Lawyers in America, 2020 “Lawyer of the Year,” Product Liability Litigation-Defendants in Birmingham, Alabama
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, 2008-present
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Top 50 Alabama Lawyers, 2017
  • Benchmark Litigation, Local Litigation Star
  • Who’s Who Legal, Product Liability Defense, 2011- present
  • American Bar Foundation, Fellow
  • AV (Preeminent rating) Peer Review Rated, Martindale-Hubbell

Memberships & Activities

  • Appointed by Supreme Court to Advisory Committee on the Alabama Rules of Evidence, 2009- present
  • International Association of Defense Counsel
  • Alabama Defense Lawyers Association, President, 2007-2008
  • DRI, Board of Directors, 2011-2014
  • Association of Defense Trial Attorneys, Executive Council, 2021-present
  • Fellow, Litigation Counsel of America
    • Member, Diversity Law Institute
    • Member, Trial Law Institute
  • British Insurance Law Association
  • Boy Scout Troop 28, Assistant Scoutmaster
  • Former Member, Mountain Brook School System, Early Warning Panel

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