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John L. Tate

John L. Tate

As co-chair 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 admiralty claims, construction and insurance disputes, intellectual property, and a variety of personal injury matters. John has tried cases to jury verdicts in eight states.

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

One of John's special interests is the application of Daubert criteria to exclude substandard opinion testimony.  Reported 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); and Scarvelli v. Leatt Corporation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98366 (July 15, 2013).

Recent Assignments

  • In the past five years, lead counsel in jury trials in Ohio, Virginia, Tennessee, Kentucky, and Florida 
  • As appellate counsel for a steel products manufacturer, obtained ruling overturning a $5.9 million compensatory and punitive damage verdict arising from alleged metallurgical defects in an agricultural implement
  • 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, 2010

Recent Articles and 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 is a member of 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.

Besides Stites & Harbison

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

Professional Accolades

Fellow, American College of Trial Lawyers

Martindale-Hubbell® AV-rated

Best Lawyers in America®, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants and Product Liability Litigation - Defendants (1995-2014)

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

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2007-14)

Kentucky Super Lawyers®, Top 50 Lawyers in Kentucky (2007, 2010-14)

Louisville Magazine "Top Lawyer" (2014)

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

Benchmark: Litigation Magazine, "Litigation Star" (2008, 2009, 2013, 2014)