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Sara M. Turner

Shareholder

Sara M. Turner is a shareholder in the Birmingham, Alabama, office and serves as co-chair of Baker Donelson's Hospitality Industry Service Team.

Featured Experience

Obtained summary judgment for a franchisor in a vicarious liability case the morning of trial, successfully avoiding a $4.5 million verdict which was awarded against the co-defendants.

Negotiated a favorable settlement for one of the nation's largest independently owned petroleum marketing companies in a complex commercial transaction involving biodiesel and other natural fuels.

Represented a large franchisor in a high dollar hospitality-related franchise dispute.

Professional Biography

Overview

Sara's trial experience includes product liability, drug and medical device, hospitality, timeshare, complex commercial litigation, class action and franchise claims. She regularly serves as outside general counsel and coordinates her clients' defense of claims nationwide.

Sara is licensed in both Alabama and Minnesota, but litigates cases both nationally and internationally. In addition, her background includes reinsurance and complex insurance coverage matters. When a matter cannot be resolved, she puts her trial experience and her background's breadth to work in front of arbitrators, judges and juries on behalf of her clients.

Representative Matters
  • Obtained summary judgment for a franchisor in a vicarious liability case the morning of trial, successfully avoiding a $4.5 million verdict which was awarded against the co-defendants.

  • Negotiated a favorable settlement for one of the nation's largest independently owned petroleum marketing companies in a complex commercial transaction involving biodiesel and other natural fuels.

  • Represented a large franchisor in a high dollar hospitality-related franchise dispute.
  • Represented a U.S.-based manufacturer in a lengthy international arbitration proceeding in Mexico City.
  • Successfully defended a products manufacturer in the accidental choking death of a three-year-old child.
  • Defended a catastrophic personal injury case involving a forklift manufacturer and a major trucking company.
  • Represented a fertilizer manufacturer in a commercial dispute involving major crop loss damages.
  • Defended various nursing homes in cases ranging from sexual abuse allegations to wrongful death matters.

  • Handled a number of toxic exposure cases acting as counsel for both chemical corporations and heavy machinery manufacturers.

Professional Honors & Activities
  • AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers, Personal Injury - Products: Defense (2014 – 2016)
  • Named by B-Metro magazine as one of "Birmingham's Top Women Lawyers" (2016, 2017)
  • Named "Top 40 Professional Under 40," Birmingham Business Journal (2013)
  • Listed in Alabama Rising Stars, Personal Injury - Products: Defense (2011 – 2013)
  • Recognized as a "Client Service All Star" by BTI Consulting Group (2017)
  • Member – Defense Research Institute (DRI), (Chair, Technology Committee; Social Networking Taskforce; Membership Chair, Products Liability Steering Committee; Seminar Vice Chair, Young Lawyer's Steering Committee)
  • Vice Chair – Defense Research Institute (DRI) Retail and Hospitality Committee (2017)
  • Former Chair – Steering Committee, DRI Trucking Law Committee (Chair, Teleconference Subcommittee)
  • Former Chair – Steering Committee, DRI Young Lawyers Committee (SLDO Subcommittee; Teleconference Subcommittee, Annual Meeting Subcommittee)
  • Former Substantive Liaison between the DRI Young Lawyers Committee and the DRI Trucking Law Committee
  • Former Committee Liaison between the DRI Young Lawyers Section and the Minnesota Defense Lawyers Association
  • Member – Federal, American, Alabama and Minnesota Bar Associations
  • Member – International Association of Defense Counsel (IADC)
  • Member – Board of Directors, Homewood Youth Cheerleading
  • Member – Homewood Industrial Development Board
  • Participant – Illinois Association of Defense Trial Counsel, Trial Academy
  • Former Chair – Minnesota Defense Lawyers, Products Liability Committee
  • Former Chair – Minnesota Defense Lawyers, New Lawyers Committee
Publications
Speaking Engagements
  • "Retail and Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar" (May 2015)
  • "Negotiate Your Way to Success: Best Practices for Women Rainmakers (Birmingham)" (May 2014)
  • "Beyond Voir Dire: Extra Tools for Getting Inside the Mind of a Juror: Mock Trials, Jury Consultants and More," CLE for Barristers Educational Services (December, 2013)
  • "Understanding the Reach of the 'Long Arm' of the Law," DRI's Retail and Hospitality Litigation and Claims Management Seminar (May, 2013)
  • "Ethics: Tripartite Relationship," Cumberland Insurance Coverage Seminar, Cumberland School of Law (December, 2012)
  • Chair – "DRI annual Young Lawyers Seminar," Miami Beach, Florida (June, 2012)
  • "Old Wine in a New Bottle: Successful Use of Social Media and Technology Tools to Generate New Business," DRI Rainmaking Seminar (March, 2012)
  • "Law Firm Profitability," Tennessee Defense Lawyers Association 2011 Spring Seminar, Sandestin Golf & Beach Resort, Florida (June, 2011)
  • "You've Been Invited to Be Someone's Friend: The Impact of Social Networking on the Attorney-Client Relationship," Defense Research Institute Product Liability Conference, New Orleans, Louisiana (April, 2011)

Awards

Education

  • University of Minnesota School of Law, J.D., 2003, cum laude
  • Augustana College, B. A., Government/International Affairs, 1999, cum laude
  • University of Economics, Prague, Czech Republic, 1998

Admissions

  • Alabama, 2006
  • U.S. District Courts for the Northern, Middle and Southern Districts of Alabama, 2006
  • Minnesota, 2003
  • U.S. District Court, District of Minnesota, 2004
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Michigan, 2014
  • 8th Circuit, 2004

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