John L. Tate
Location: Louisville, KY
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).
- 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.
John's litigation experience and his ability to spot potential liability issues is exceptional.
He is among the crème de la crème of attorneys I have known in my 30+ years of claims experience.
Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements
- "Getting to $75,000 and One Penny: Sixth Circuit Disapproves of Plaintiffs’ Evasion," with Robin E. McGuffin, Stites & Harbison Client Alert, November 16, 2018
- "Preparing and Presenting Witnesses in Civil Litigation," Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention, Lexington, KY, June 14, 2018
- "Leatt Corportation notches another product liability victory with help of Stites & Harbison, PLLC," with Bruce B. Paul, Robin E. McGuffin, Stites & Harbison Client Alert, September 26, 2017
- "Products Liability Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium," with J. Brittany Cross Carlson, co-author of Kentucky Chapter, 2017
- "Daubert Success and Practice Strategies," 30th Annual Medical Device Seminar, Naples, FL, June 9, 2017
- "Sixth Circuit Rules Kentucky’s Economic Loss Doctrine: Inapplicable to Consumer Transactions," with Robin E. McGuffin, Stites & Harbison Legal Update, March 6, 2017
- "Witnesses," Chapter 8, Kentucky Civil Practice at Trial (4th ed., 2017)
- "Do Daubert Motions Really Work?," Inside Counsel, December 29, 2016
- "Cross-Examination Using Learned Treatises," Products Liability Law & Strategy, January 2016
- "Kentucky Supreme Court vacates $2.5 million punitive damages verdict ," with Bethany A. Breetz, Stites & Harbison, PLLC, Client Alert, October 14, 2015
- "Extreme Sports Challenge the Courts," with Emily Larish Startsman, Product Liability Law & Strategy, August 2015
- "Evidentiary Objections at Trial," LBA Trial Academy, August 2014
- "Fire and Explosion Litigation Strategies," DRI Product Liability Conference, National Harbor, Md., April 2013
- "Federal Jurisdiction and Venue," Product Liability Law & Strategy, v. 31, no. 1, July 2012
- "The ‘Firefighter’s Rule’," Stites & Harbison PLLC, Client Alert, November 2, 2011
- "Litigation Prevention: Using Litigation Experience to Help Reduce Product Risks," 4th Annual Product Safety & Liability Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2011
- "Expert Reports," in Litigators on Experts, American Bar Association, Section of Litigation, October 2010
- "Warnings & Instructions From A to Z," 3d Annual Product Safety & Liability Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2010
- "How to Survive a Daubert Challenge," AICPA National Conference on Forensic Accounting, Boston, Mass., September 2010
- "Establishing Diversity in Medical Device Litigation," Product Liability Law & Strategy, v. 29, no. 2, August 2010
- "Daubert and Rule 702: Effectively Presenting and Challenging Experts in Federal Court," ALM Webinar, January 2010
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.
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)
- Kentucky Super Lawyers Honors 42 Stites & Harbison Attorneys for 2019
- Benchmark Litigation 2019 Honors 15 Stites & Harbison Attorneys
- Best Lawyers in America honors 72 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2019
- Benchmark Litigation honors 16 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2018
- Kentucky Super Lawyers honors 51 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2018
- Best Lawyers in America honors 79 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2018
- Kentucky Super Lawyers honors 55 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2017
- Benchmark Litigation honors 14 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2017
- Best Lawyers in America honors 74 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2017
- Kentucky Super Lawyers honors 64 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2016
- Benchmark Litigation names 14 Stites & Harbison Litigation Stars and Two Future Stars for 2016
- Best Lawyers honors 72 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2016
- Super Lawyers honor Stites & Harbison’s Kentucky Attorneys
- Benchmark Litigation names 15 Stites & Harbison Litigation Stars and two Future Stars
- Best Lawyers honors 89 Stites & Harbison attorneys for 2015
- Super Lawyers honors Stites & Harbison’s Kentucky attorneys for 2013-14
- Eighty-nine Stites & Harbison attorneys honored by Best Lawyers in America for 2014
- Super Lawyers honors Stites & Harbison’s Kentucky attorneys
- Best Lawyers names Stites & Harbison attorneys as 2012 Lawyers of the Year
- Seventy-five Stites & Harbison attorneys honored in Best Lawyers in America
- Thirty-five Stites & Harbison attorneys selected for inclusion on Kentucky Super Lawyers for 2001
- Seventy-two Stites & Harbison attorneys honored in “Best Lawyers in America”