Senior Member

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 (South Carolina); Reynolds v. Freightliner, 2006 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 97244 (Kentucky); Hayes v. MTD Products, 2007 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 66109 (Kentucky); Campos v. MTD Products, Inc., 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 12951 (Tennessee); Walker v. Louisville Ladder, 2009 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 9917 (Tennessee); Scarvelli v. Leatt Corporation, 2013 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 98366 (Ohio); Lyons v. Leatt Corp., 2017 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 148783 (Ohio); and Wilden v. Laury Transp., LLC, 901 F.3d 644 (6th Cir. 2018).

Recent News, Articles & Speaking Engagements

Corporate Depositions: The Sword and The Shield

33rd Annual Medical Device Seminar, Coeur d’Alene, ID, June 11, 2021

Combatting The Rise of Extreme Opinions in the Jury Room

co-speaker with A. Jabbour, Ph.D., and W. Ruskin, Esq., IADC Webinar, April 8, 2020

Seeing and Avoiding Ethical Pitfalls

Kentucky Paralegal Association Annual Convention, Lexington, KY, November 8, 2019

Effective Appellate Oral Advocacy

A joint project of ACTL, AAAL, and Access to Justice Commission, Chase School of Law, July 26, 2019

How Will BigLaw Sustain Revenue?

Law Practice Today Roundtable, June 14, 2019

Challenging Expert Testimony: What Works, What Doesn't

Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention, Louisville, KY, June 13, 2019

Products Liability Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium

co-author of Kentucky Chapter, 2019

Preparing and Presenting Witnesses in Civil Litigation

Kentucky Bar Association Annual Convention, Lexington, KY, June 14, 2018

Daubert Success and Practice Strategies

30th Annual Medical Device Seminar, Naples, FL, June 9, 2017


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

Extreme Sports Challenge the Courts

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'

Litigation Prevention: Using Litigation Experience to Help Reduce Product Risks

4th Annual Product Safety & Liability Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2011

Warnings & Instructions From A to Z

3d Annual Product Safety & Liability Conference, Washington, D.C., October 2010

Expert Reports

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
Recent Assignments
Bar Admissions
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 11th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 4th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 7th Circuit
U.S. Court of Appeals for the 8th Circuit
U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
U.S. Supreme Court
Firm Leadership

Torts & Insurance Practice Group, Former Co-Chair

Stites University

Diversity Committee, Member

Product Liability Advisory Council
Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel
International Association of Defense Counsel
Defense Research Institute
Lawyers for Civil Justice
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 served multiple terms as a director of the Louisville Bar Foundation, the philanthropic arm of the Louisville Bar Association, culminating in 2016 with service as the foundation's president.

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 (1995-2022)

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

Kentucky Super Lawyers® (2007-21)

Kentucky Super Lawyers®, Top 50 Lawyers in Kentucky (2007, 2010-17, 2019-20)

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, 2013-22)


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 lacrème of attorneys I have known in my 30+ years of claims experience.

- LinkedIn
M Hicon 2020
Tate Best Law2022
Tate Bestlawloy2012
Tatesuperlaw Top50
Benchmark Litigation Star 2019
Iadc Member Logo Color Sm
See more related to John L. Tate