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John L. Tate

John L. Tate

A senior member of the firm's Torts & Insurance Practice Group, John's national and regional litigation practice focuses on defending complex product liability lawsuits and managing serial litigation. His extensive trial experience includes medical devices, pharmaceuticals, intellectual property, and a variety of personal injury matters. John has tried product liability cases to jury verdicts in eight states.

John also maintains an active appellate practice, representing appellees, appellants, and amici curiae in state and federal courts.

One of John's long-standing interests is the application of Daubert criteria to exclude substandard opinion testimony.  Decisions on this topic include Morehouse v. Louisville Ladder, 2004 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 21766 (June 28, 2004); Reynolds v. Freightliner, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97244 (June 21, 2006); Hayes v. MTD Products, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66109 (Sept. 6, 2007); Walker v. Louisville Ladder, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9917 (Feb. 9, 2009);  Scarvelli v. Leatt Corporation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98366 (July 15, 2013); Wilden v. Laury Transp., LLC, 2016 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 115476 (August 29, 2016); and Lyons v. Leatt Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148783 (Sept. 14, 2017).

Recent Assignments

  • In recent years, lead counsel in jury trials in Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida 
  • Appellate victory for automobile manufacturer vacating a $2.5 million punitive damage verdict
  • Defense verdict for Leatt Corporation in federal court in Cleveland (OH) in claim by teenaged paraplegic and his parents
  • Briefed and argued Giddings & Lewis v. IRI, 348 S.W.3d 729 (2011), the Kentucky Supreme Court decision adopting the Economic Loss Doctrine

What Clients Say

John Tate is one of the best trial lawyers I have worked with.
- Best Lawyers
John's litigation experience and his ability to spot potential liability issues is exceptional.
- LinkedIn
He is among the crème de la crème of attorneys I have known in my 30+ years of claims experience.
- LinkedIn

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

Before Stites & Harbison

John's first career was teaching high school and college students in history, English literature, and rhetoric.  He later spent seven years in an environmental regulatory agency before going into private practice.

More Than Stites & Harbison

A long-time supporter of the arts, John served for 12 years on the board of directors of Actors Theatre of Louisville. He was previously a member of the board of directors of the American Lung Association of Kentucky and served as board president in 1994-96. John also served as trustee of St. Francis School in Goshen and on the board of the Louisville Audubon Society. John is the Immediate Past President of the Louisville Bar Foundation.

Besides Stites & Harbison

John and his wife, Phyllis, live on a working farm outside of Louisville, raise, rescue, and board horses, and clean lots of stalls.

Professional Accolades

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Martindale-Hubbell® AV-Preeminent® Peer Review Rated

Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (1995-2019)

Best Lawyers in America®, Louisville Area Lawyer of the Year for Defense of Product Liability Litigation (2012)

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2007-18)

Kentucky Super Lawyers®, Top 50 Lawyers in Kentucky (2007, 2010-17)

Louisville Magazine "Top Lawyer" (2014, 2016)

Brandeis School of Law at the University of Louisville, Distinguished Alumnus award (2011)

Benchmark Litigation magazine, Litigation Star (2008, 2009, 2013-19)

Press Releases