Barry B. SuttonBarry Sutton Clark Hill
Barry B. Sutton
Barry B. Sutton is a Member in the Birmingham office of Clark Hill, practicing in the firm’s Litigation group.
Barry specializes in product liability, and serves as national trial counsel for over a dozen companies throughout the United States. In this capacity, Barry regularly handles cases in all jurisdictions throughout the country, helping to provide a consistent defense to those companies faced with product liability suits. He has spent over two decades defending clients nationally against coordinated product liability suits, and has been repeatedly successful in obtaining both appellate and trial judgments on behalf of those clients. He is a pioneer of the national counsel defense program, helping small, mid-sized and large corporations spearhead a consistent defense in multiple jurisdictions against claims made relating to their products. Barry routinely counsels companies relating to marketing and sale of products throughout the United States. Barry also confers with clients relating to consumer claims, consumer disputes, CPSC regulations, and other Federal Regulations and requirements. Barry's involvement in the defense of hunting product manufacturers and automotive companies on a national basis has allowed him to help shape the trends in product liability throughout the United States.
Barry has argued and/or briefed cases before the federal district and appellate courts and the Michigan Court of Appeals, the Supreme Court of Michigan, and the United States Supreme Court. As a specialist in complex, national, product liability cases, Barry has handled cases throughout the country including Florida, New York, Louisiana, California, Ohio, South Dakota, New Mexico, Texas, Alabama, Mississippi, Georgia, South Carolina, West Virginia, Maine, Wisconsin, Montana, Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland, Pennsylvania, Colorado, Massachusetts, and Illinois. As a solo and lead trial attorney, Barry has won each of the cases he tried. He has litigated cases involving product liability, breach of contract, misrepresentation, fraud, false imprisonment, false arrest, automobile liability, conversion, bad faith, violation of the consumer protection act and negligence. As principle drafter of the successful appellate briefs in Gregory v. Cincinnati, Peck v. Bridgeport Machines and Hollister v. Dayton Hudson Corporation, Barry has helped to define and structure the risk-utility test in product liability.
Barry also specializes in commercial litigation, and currently serves several clients in commercial disputes arising within the automotive field. Barry has successfully defended companies in commercial disputes alleging breach of contract, intentional interference with business relations, breach of warranty, misrepresentation, failure to compensate for sales commissions and breach of exclusive sales contracts. In addition, Barry has obtained numerous restraining orders in cases preventing sub-component manufacturers from refusing to ship on “just in time” requirements contracts due to the alleged rise in raw material costs.
Barry also handles complex litigation and insurance coverage. Barry was one of the lead trial counsel in the Dow Corning Breast Implant Coverage Litigation, an over $2 Billion dispute that still stands as one of the largest and most complex insurance coverage dispute in American History.
Barry was named a Rising Star in Super Lawyers in 2008. Barry is active in his community; he volunteers as a coach and Board Member for the Birmingham Patriots Youth Football Organization. In addition, he enjoys hunting and fishing.
Mel Karfis, Stephanie Anderson, Bishop Bartoni & Barry Sutton won a victory for their clients in a products liability case in Mississippi. The Plaintiffs filed their Complaint in the Circuit Court of Jasper County, Mississippi, one of the most plaintiff friendly jurisdictions in the South, for injuries resulting from a fall while using the subject treestand and full body safety harness. The Plaintiffs filed suit against the manufacturer, retailer, as well as the Treestand Manufacturers Association (TMA), which is a Mississippi voluntary non-profit trade association. Mel Karfis, Stephanie Anderson and Bishop Bartoni defended the manufacturer and removed this case to United States District Court for the Southern District of Mississippi based on fraudulent joinder of the non-diverse TMA. Plaintiffs filed a motion to remand the case back to state court. Sutton joined in opposition to the remand and filed a Motion to Dismiss on behalf of our other client, the TMA.
The Federal District Court, noting the heavy burden in establishing fraudulent joinder, held that Plaintiffs could not establish a viable claim against the TMA because the TMA was not a manufacturer, designer or seller and could not be liable under the Mississippi Product Liability Act. The Federal District Court further noted that Plaintiffs failed to plead any factual allegations that the TMA took any action or made any representations that resulted in the injury. Plaintiffs Motion for Remand was denied and the District Court properly found that the TMA was improperly joined for the sole purpose of defeating diversity jurisdiction. As such, the District Court further dismissed the TMA with prejudice from the suit and Clark Hill will continue to defend its clients in Federal Court, escaping the very dangerous local state court.
Barry Sutton, Bishop Bartoni and Stephanie Anderson won a victory for their client in a product liability case pending in Federal Court in Philadelphia. The Plaintiff sued an alleged successor in interest to the manufacturer and the retailer in a product liability treestand case. The incident rendered him a paraplegic. Plaintiff sought recovery against the purported successor under the Pennsylvania product line exception to successor liability. In a case in which the demand was well in excess of ten million dollars, the Plaintiff’s counsel voluntarily dismissed the Plaintiff’s case against our client because he did not want Clark Hill counsel at trial conducting examinations of his experts. Clark Hill then sought and obtained a motion for summary judgment on the cross claims from the retailer, resulting in judgment in favor of our client.
Barry Sutton and Stephanie Anderson won a victory for their client in a product liablity trial in Federal Court for the Northern District of Ohio in Cleveland. The Plaintiff sued a distributor of archery products, demanding close to a million dollars due to an injury he suffered while using an arrow. The Plaintiff argued that the arrow was defective and caused his injury. Following the trial, the jury returned a quick verdict in favor of the distributor finding no defect in the product. The verdict, which followed summary judgment in favor of the defendant on all claims of design and warning, vindicated the design and warnings provided with the product, as well as the manufacturing and quality control process used in the production of the product.
Barry Sutton, Bishop Bartoni and Stephanie Anderson won summary judgment on behalf of our clients, Bass Pro Shops, American Sportsman’s Holdings, Bass Pro, LLC and Bass Pro Outdoors Online, LLC in Federal Court in the Southern District of Mississippi. In this emotionally charged case highlighted by multiple, national media reports, our client Bass Pro Shops was accused of selling hunting equipment that was allegedly subject to recalls issued by the United States Consumer Product Safety Commission. The Plaintiff’s adult son died in connection with a treestand accident, and, although no products sold by our clients were involved in that accident, Plaintiff sought out and attempted to purchase numerous other hunting products not involved in her accident that she claimed had been recalled. She alleged a conspiracy to sell and/or recycle recalled products by the hunting industry and retailers.
The Federal District Court dismissed the case against our clients. The Court found that Plaintiff was unable to prove that the products she purchased were actually subject to any recall. Since this was an essential allegation to each of her multiple counts, the Court granted summary judgment.