Gary C. Shockley

Baker Donelson Center
Suite 800
211 Commerce Street
Nashville, Tennessee 37201
T: 615.726.5704
F: 615.744.5704

Gary Shockley, shareholder in the Nashville office and leader of the Firm's former Government Regulatory Actions Group (2008 – 2014), has tried a wide variety of complex cases to judges and juries in more than 25 state and federal courts, as well as before administrative agencies and arbitrators. He has been certified as a Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy. His experience includes environmental, personal injury, class action, antitrust, health care and construction cases. In addition, he has represented businesses and individuals in white collar criminal investigations and prosecutions and conducted numerous internal investigations. His extensive pro bono practice has included representation of inmates on Tennessee's death row, veterans, battered women, children and immigrants. He has served in various leadership positions in the Tennessee Bar Association, including on its Board of Governors and as chair of its Litigation and Environmental Law Sections, and as a character and fitness investigator for the Tennessee Board of Law Examiners and a District Hearing Committee officer for the Board of Professional Responsibility. A frequent speaker and author, Gary has published more than 35 articles on evidence, civil and criminal procedure, legal history and related topics.

Representative Matters

  • Defended food processing facility in Clean Water Act citizen suit and common law nuisance action by 45 neighbors complaining of alleged odors and overflow from discharge to city sewer system; three-week federal jury trial resulted in jury verdict awarding no damages against client and favorable post-trial settlement on remaining CWA claims.
  • Represented quarry operator in action alleging nuisance from quarry operations, including property damage, noise, and dust from controlled blasting; defense verdict following two-week jury trial.
  • Represented TVA engineering contractor in putative class action arising out of collapse of Kingston Fossil Plant ash pond. Successfully opposed certification of proposed class of 5,000 property owners seeking over $900 million in alleged lost property value from spill and subsequently secured dismissal on derivative immunity grounds in issue of first impression.
  • Defended pesticide manufacturer in opposing certification of proposed class of property owners affected by historic wastewater discharges to creek. Following Rule 23 certification hearing, class certification was denied by U.S. Magistrate Judge and, on appeal, by U.S. District Court Judge (federal court).
  • Represented health insurer in putative class action on behalf of state medical association member-physicians, alleging breach of contract, unjust enrichment, and violation of Tennessee Consumer Protection Act; secured order compelling arbitration from trial court and affirmance on appeal (state court).
  • Represented convenience store chain in state and federal civil litigation arising out of alleged improper sales of discounted and untaxed cigarettes; successfully defended federal RICO action and motion for preliminary injunction and secured favorable settlement (state and federal court).
  • Represented Tennessee Death Row inmate in twelve years of state post-conviction and federal habeas corpus actions, including multi-day evidentiary hearing in U.S. District Court; secured reversal of death sentence in Sixth Circuit Court of Appeals and favorable plea agreement on remand to state court
  • Conducted numerous internal investigations for manufacturers and private correctional facilities
  • Secured dismissal of $50 million tort and punitive damages claims for malicious prosecution against health insurer by former network provider, resolving issue of first impression under Tennessee statute. Following remand, represented insurer in twelve-day jury trial on remaining breach of contract claim, resulting in jury verdict of zero.
  • Represented purchaser under long-term output agreement in breach of contract claim against operator of zinc mines in Bankruptcy Court for the Southern District of Texas. Secured multi-million dollar settlement shortly before trial.

Publications & Speaking Engagements

  • Book Review, "Days of Rage: America's Radical Underground, the FBI, and the Forgotten Age of Revolutionary Violence" (2015), 51 Tennessee Bar Journal 31 (October 2015)
  • Book Review, "The Other Fellow May be Right: The Civility of Howard Baker" (2014), 51 Tennessee Bar Journal 32 (January 2015)
  • Book Review, "The Nixon Defense: What He Knew and When He Knew It," 50 Tennessee Bar Journal 32 (December 2014)
  • Book Review, "The Snowden Files: The Inside Story of the World's Most Wanted Man," 50 Tennessee Bar Journal 9 (September 2014)
  • "Grand Jury Subpoenas and The Crime-Fraud Exception," Law360 (February 11, 2013)
  • Book Review, "The Years of Lyndon Johnson: The Passage of Power" (2012), 48 Tennessee Bar Journal 23 (November 2012)
  • "Case Study: US V. Kernell," White Collar Section, Law360 (March 13, 2012)
  • "Facing The Music: Luthiers And The Lacey Act," Environmental Section, Law360 (November 8, 2011)
  • "Family, Fraud And Forfeiture: US V. Warshak," White Collar Section, Law360 (February 16, 2011)
  • "Snake Oil And Search Warrants," White Collar Section, Law360 (January 24, 2011)
  • "Tired of Waiting: A Dramatization of the Nashville Sit-In Trials," performed as part of Nashville Bar Association Law Day, Winner ABA 2010 National Law Day Outstanding Activity Award (June 15, 2010)
  • "Counsel for the Children: Defending Freedom in the Nashville Sit-in Trials," 10 Nashville Bar Journal 6 (April 2010); Nashville Bar Journal Article of the Year Award (2010) 
  • Panelist – Nashville Bar Association, "Lincoln on Professionalism" (December 2009)
  • "Sixth Circuit Straddles Rapanos Split," TBA Environmental Law Section E-News (April 2009)  
  • "Railroaded by Superfund? Supreme Court to Review CERCLA Liability Cases in 2008 Term," TBA Environmental Law Section E-News (November 2008)
  • "Why Should Lawyers be Involved in Politics?" 8 Nashville Bar Journal 18 (October 2008)
  • Book Review, Tim Weiner, "Legacy of Ashes: The History of the CIA" (2007), 44 Tennessee Bar Journal 33 (July 2008)
  • Book Review, Jeffrey Toobin, "The Nine: Inside the Secret World of the Supreme Court" (2007), 44 Tennessee Bar Journal 32 (June 2008)
  • "The Union Legal Response to Hood's Invasion of Tennessee," LXVI Tennessee Historical Quarterly Q.20 (2007)
  • Speaker – Tennessee Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Division, "Voir Dire: The Law, Science, and Art of Jury Selection" (February 2007)
  • Speaker – Tennessee Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Division, "Introduction to State and Federal Courts" (January 2007)
  • "Confidentiality and Choice: The Attorney-Client Privilege and Work Product Doctrine in the Sixth Circuit," BDBC Litigation Newsletter (December 2006)
  • Book review, Doris Kearns Goodwin, "Team of Rivals: The Political Genius of Abraham Lincoln" (2005), 42 Tennessee Bar Journal 36 (September 2006)
  • Speaker and co-producer – Tennessee Bar Association, Litigation Section, "The Unwritten Rules: Inside Tips for Tennessee Trial Lawyers," (May 2006)
  • "Letter from the Chair: Learning the Unwritten Rules," TBA Litigation Newsletter (Spring 2006)
  • "Estoppel and Empty Chairs: Comparing Fault with Dismissed Defendants," TBA Litigation Newsletter (Spring 2006)
  • Speaker – Tennessee Bar Association, Young Lawyers' Division, "Introduction to Federal Courts" (December 2005)
  • Speaker – Tennessee Historical Society, Battle of Nashville 140th Anniversary Symposium, "The Union Legal Response to Hood's Invasion of Tennessee" (December 2004)
  • "Environmental Consultants and the Work Product Doctrine: Dual Roles or Rolling the Dice?" TBA Environmental Law Newsletter (July 2004)
  • "The Attorney Work Product Doctrine and Trial Consultants: Discovering Dr. Phil," TBA Litigation Newsletter (Spring 2004)
  • Speaker – National Business Institutes, "Toxic Torts in Tennessee" (January 2004)
  • "Sixth Circuit Reverses Lenient Sentence in Environmental Crimes Case," TBA Environmental Law Newsletter (November 2003)
  • Book Review, John Keegan, Winston Churchill (2002), 39 Tennessee Bar Journal 23 (October 2003)
  • Book Review, Ken Auletta, World War 3.0: Microsoft and its Enemies (2001) , and Joel Brinkley and Steve Lohr, U.S. v. Microsoft (2001), 37 Tennessee Bar Journal 22 (June 2001)
  • "Sixth Circuit Rejects Superfund Challenges, " BDBC Litigation News (Spring 2001)
  • Book review, Kurt Eichenwald, The Informant (2000), 37 Tennessee Bar Journal 28 (February 2001)
  • Book review, James Stewart, Blood Sport: The President and His Adversaries (1996), 32 Tennessee Bar Journal 34 (July/August 1996)
  • Book review, Helen Prejean, Dead Man Walking (1993); and Stephen Trombley, The Execution Protocol (1992), 30 Tennessee Bar Journal 26 (March/April 1994)
  • "The OSHA Hazard Communication Standard," 25 Tennessee Bar Journal 22 (1989)
  • "A History of the Incarceration of Juveniles in Tennessee," 43 Tennessee Historical Quarterly 229 (1984)
  • "New Evidence and New Trials," 19 Tennessee Bar Journal 23 (1983)
  • "Defining Interrogation for Miranda Purposes," 48 Tennessee Law Review 785 (1981)    

Professional Honors & Activities

  • Certified Civil Trial Specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Listed in The Best Lawyers in America® in the areas of Environmental Law, Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions, Construction Litigation, Antitrust Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Bet-the-Company Litigation and White-Collar Criminal Defense (since 1995)  
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2013 and 2010 Nashville Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year;" 2012 Nashville Litigation - Environmental Law "Lawyer of the Year;" only a single lawyer in each specialty in each community is honored 
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers (since 2006); listed as one of the top 100 attorneys in Tennessee (2011 – 2015); listed as one of the top 50 Nashville attorneys (2012 – 2015) 
  • Listed since 2010 in Chambers USA: America's Leading Business Lawyers as a leading environment and litigation lawyer in Tennessee
  • Named "Best of the Bar," Nashville Business Journal (2011, 2012)
  • Fellow – American Bar Foundation
  • Fellow – Nashville Bar Foundation
  • Recipient – Howard H. Baker Award for Service to the Profession (2011)
  • Tennessee Bar Association Board of Governors, Middle Tennessee Grand Division (2013 – 2015)
  • Chair – TBA Litigation Section (2005 – 2006)
  • Member – American (member Litigation, Environmental and Antitrust Sections), Tennessee (Chair, Litigation Section (2004 – 2005), Chair, Environmental Law Section (1994 – 1995); House of Delegates, 1987 – 1996) and Nashville Bar Associations
  • Recipient – Nashville Bar Association's President's Award for Service (2010)
  • Member – American Health Lawyers Association
  • Recipient – Baker Donelson's 2009 Nashville Office Pro Bono Award
  • Member – District 5 Investigating Committee, Tennessee Board of Law Examiners (2002 – 2008)
  • Member – Tennessee Department of Environment and Conservation Committee on Environmental Permitting (1996 – 1997)
  • Member – Phi Beta Kappa
  • Member – Order of the Coif
  • Student Materials Editor – Tennessee Law Review
  • Seminar speaker for American and Tennessee Bar Associations, Tennessee Association of Business and others


  • Tennessee (1982)
  • United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle, and Western Districts of Tennessee
  • United States Court of Appeals for the Third, Sixth, and Seventh Circuits


  • University of Tennessee, J.D., with high honors (1982)
  • University of Tennessee, B.A., with highest honors (1979)