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Samuel Lanier Felker

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Sam Felker, managing shareholder in Baker Donelson's Fort Lauderdale office, is an experienced trial attorney who focuses his practice on complex litigation in state and federal courts.

Featured Experience

Represented a manufacturer in nationwide FDA recall of food products due to alleged contamination, including related insurance coverage issues.

Successfully served as lead defense counsel in a national class action suit involving allegedly defective roofing materials.

Advised a health care client regarding response to alleged data breaches and compromise of patient information.

Professional Biography

Overview

Sam represents clients in significant litigation, MDLs and class actions involving products liability, food safety, transportation, toxic torts, health care and commercial matters. Sam has tried cases throughout the United States in state and federal court and in arbitration proceedings. In complex pharmaceutical and medical device litigation, Sam has served as national, regional and local counsel in defending manufacturers in coordinated mass tort proceedings.

Recently, Sam has assisted clients in the food and manufacturing industries with issues related to the COVID-19 pandemic, including insurance coverage, compliance with state and local "stay in place" orders, and advising clients how various regulations will be interpreted and enforced during the pandemic.

In the area of commercial litigation, Sam represents clients in matters involving insurance coverage, data breach response, wills and trusts, real estate, breach of contract, theft of trade secrets, defamation and intellectual property. A trained mediator, Sam is well-versed in all forms of alternative dispute resolution and is a AAA Arbitrator. Sam is also a Certified Information and Privacy Specialist (CIPP/US), advising clients in various aspects of data security and privacy.

Representative Matters
  • Represented a manufacturer in nationwide FDA recall of food products due to alleged contamination, including related insurance coverage issues.

  • Successfully served as lead defense counsel in a national class action suit involving allegedly defective roofing materials.

  • Advised a health care client regarding response to alleged data breaches and compromise of patient information.

  • Assisted a major nationwide food chain with response to data breach involving customer's credit card information.

  • Defended a major manufacturer of pelvic mesh devices in multiple suits in federal court, and also served on the client's national expert witness team.

  • Successfully defended a transportation company in serious collision cases in Florida involving wrongful death, traumatic brain injury, and serious orthopedic injuries.

  • Secured a large arbitration award for a client in a suit against its former CFO, who was accused of embezzling company funds, breaching fiduciary duties, and failing to repay amounts owed to the company.

  • Successfully defended a Florida wrongful death case involving alleged exposure to asbestos in various construction products.

  • Represented a food company in recall of allegedly contaminated meat products, including dealings with USDA and the client's insurance company for recovery of the loss.

  • Led a team of more than 50 attorneys and legal professionals in defending a pharmaceutical company in diet drug litigation in Tennessee, consisting of more than 2,500 federal court cases throughout the state. Also served on the client’s national expert witness team deposing medical causation experts throughout the country.

  • Defended a Japanese insurance company in a significant insurance coverage dispute involving the cost of defending hundreds of suits filed over alleged defective products.

  • Represented clients in FDA food contamination recalls involving peanut butter products and ingredients.

  • Defended a smoke alarm manufacturer in a wrongful death case, and coordinated the national defense of similar products.

  • Defended a leading manufacturer of orthopedic knee and hip devices in multiple suits alleging product defect and failure.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in Best Lawyers in America® in areas of Commercial Litigation; Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants; Product Liability Litigation - Defendants; Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants; Bet-the-Company Litigation
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2020 Nashville Personal Injury Litigation - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Named the Best Lawyers' 2019 and 2016 Nashville Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions - Defendants "Lawyer of the Year"
  • Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers since 2006, Personal Injury Defense, Products
  • Named to Lawdragon Leading 3000 Lawyers in America
  • Listed as a 2017 Benchmark Litigation "Local Litigation Star" 
  • Trained Civil Mediator under Tennessee Supreme Court Rule 31
  • Member − Nashville Bar Association, Federal Courts Committee
  • Member – Tennessee Bar Association; former chair of Litigation Section
  • Member –  Broward County Bar Association
  • Co-Chair − American Bar Association, ABA Products Liability Committee
  • Member − Federation of Defense & Corporate Counsel; Drug, Device and Biotechnology and Product Liability Sections
  • President − Tennessee Stonewall Bar Association
  • Member − Metropolitan Nashville Board of Health
    • Past Chair (2014 − 2017)
  • Member − American Health Law Association
  • Member − DRI
  • Recipient − Human Rights Campaign's Community Leadership Award (2008)
  • Certified Information and Privacy Professional (CIPP/US) by the International Association of Privacy Professionals (IAPP)
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • "Drone On! Emerging Legal Issues for Commercial Use of Unmanned Aerial Vehicles: Will You and Your Clients Be Ready for the Invasion of American Airspace?," ABA Environmental, Mass Torts & Products Liability Joint CLE (Winter 2016)
  • Panelist – "Cyber Security Risks and Apportioning of Liability: What You Need to Know in 2016 and Beyond," webcast, The Knowledge Group (August 2016)
  • Panelist – "Send Me in Coach? the Business Case for Diversity in the Legal Profession," ABA Corporate Counsel CLE (Winter 2015)
  • "Practical Implications of the Recent Federal Rules Amendments - from Bench and Bar Perspectives," Tennessee Bar Association (December 2015)
  • Moderator – "When Good Lawyers Go Bad-Consequences of Rambo Litigation Tactics In Depositions and At Trial," ABA Section of Litigation Annual Conference (April 2015)
  • "Leading Through Public Service," Nashville Bar Association, Young Leader's Class (2015)
  • "The Costs of Leadership," Tennessee Bar Association Leadership Conference (Winter 2014)
  • "Products Liability Year in Review," ABA Joint CLE Conference, Products Liability Committee (Winter 2014)
  • Panelist – "Ebola and the Public Health System: Risk Management and Legal Duties in Fighting a Deadly Infectious Disease," ABA Health Law Committee Roundtable (October 2014)
  • Participant – "Criminal Prosecution of Food Companies," ABA Products Liability Committee, Food & Supplements Subcommittee Roundtable (December 2013)
  • "Does the Fall of DOMA Change the Lyrics to 'Love and Marriage Go Together Like a Horse and Carriage'?," Lawyers' Association for Women Monthly Meeting (September 2013)
  • "Effective Time Management and Stress Management," LCLD Mentoring Group, Vanderbilt Law School (October 2012)
  • "International Issues that Arise in Litigation of Pharmaceutical and Medical Device Cases," ABA Pharmaceutical/Medical Device Regional CLE Workshop (November 2011)

Education

  • University of Virginia, J.D., 1980
  • University of Tennessee School of Law, 1978
    • Torchbearer Award for Academic Excellence 
  • Mississippi State University, B.S., 1977 

Admissions

  • Florida, 2016
  • Tennessee, 1980
  • Tennessee Supreme Court, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Middle District of Tennessee, 1980
  • U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Tennessee, 2001
  • U.S. District Court, Western District of Tennessee, 2007
  • U.S. District Court, Southern District of Florida, 2016
  • U.S. Court of Appeals Sixth Circuit, 1987
  • U.S. Court of Appeals First Circuit, 1993 

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