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William W. Watts, III

Member of the Firm

Martindale-Hubbell Rating:
AV Preeminent

William W. Watts, III

Intro

A fifth-generation attorney with 40 years of legal experience, Bill’s practice at Helmsing Leach is focused on civil litigation with an emphasis on appellate advocacy. He has handled numerous appeals in state and federal courts resulting in more than one hundred published decisions. Bill’s practice also includes environmental law and insurance litigation, and he has represented clients in a variety of civil disputes in product liability, construction litigation and more.

In addition to being a seasoned attorney, Bill is actively involved in the Mobile community. He is passionate about the theater and has been performing in, writing, and directing theater productions for over 50 years. Bill’s other community involvement includes prison ministry at Loxley Correctional Center, mentoring at Big Brothers Big Sisters of South Alabama, and serving on boards of local nonprofit organizations. Bill is a member of Covenant Church of Mobile.

Practice Area(s) Focus

Bill’s experience in appellate advocacy has afforded him the opportunity to learn about many areas of the law throughout his career. He enjoys presenting cases before appellate judges and winning favorable outcomes for his clients. Bill’s legal practice also encompasses environmental law and insurance litigation. He has represented clients in a variety of civil disputes including intellectual property litigation, products liability, banking litigation, construction litigation, and personal injury litigation.

Bill was named 2019’s Lawyer of the for the State of Alabama in the field of Appellate Law by Best Lawyers, and Lawyer of the Year in Appellate Law for Mobile Alabama in 2012, 2015, and 2022. He is listed in Super Lawyers Alabama and Mid-South Region in the field of appellate law.

Significant Cases

  • O’Brien v. Mobile Public Library, 2022 WL 829245 (Ala. Civ. App. March 11, 2022) (reversing trial court’s judgment in favor of insurer for reimbursement of workman’s compensation benefits from proceeds collected from judgment for underinsured motorist benefits)
  • Ex parte Mobile Infirmary Association, ___ So.3d ____, 2021 WL 4129400 (Ala. S. Ct. Sept. 10, 2021) (reversing trial court’s denial of motion to dismiss claims for medical malpractice on statute of limitation grounds)
  • Mitchell v. City of Mobile, 744 Fed. Appx. 687 (11th Cir. 2018) (affirming summary judgment for client in §1983 action for violation of alleged civil rights in use of deadly force)
  • McCants v. City of Mobile, 752 Fed. Appx. 744, (11th Cir.) (affirming dismissal of §1983 action against client for alleged use of excessive force, in violation of substantive due process and equal protection)
  • Simpson v. Mobile Infirmary, Case Nos. 1160761 and 1160797 (Ala. S. Ct. August 10, 2018) (affirming trial court’s order granting directed verdict in favor of client and reversing jury verdict of $2,000,000 in medical malpractice action).
  • Cleveland v. Mobile Infirmary, Case No. 1160322 (Feb. 17, 2018) (affirming defense verdict for client in medical malpractice action).
  • Rochester-Mobile, LLC v. C&S Wholesale Grocers, Inc., 239 So.3d 1139 (Ala. 2017) (in case of first impression, Court construes the term “lease,” as used in statute requiring recording of leases with terms longer than 20 years, as not including a sublease; reversing a judgment on the pleadings and remanding with instructions to enter judgment in favor of firm’s client).
  • Ex parte State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co., 207 So. 3d 734 (Ala. 2016) (obtaining writ of certiorari on behalf of client from Alabama Supreme Court, which reversed Court of Civil Appeals decision and established new rule of law on application of common fund doctrine to recovery of Lambert advance by underinsured motorist insurers)
  • State Farm Mut. Auto. Ins. Co. v. Brown, 195 So. 3d 295 (Ala. Civ. App. 2015) (reversing trial court’s decision against client and holding that insureds were not entitled to UIM benefits for tortfeasor’s liability for $10,000 in punitive damages where they received excess UIM benefits)
  • Ex parte State Farm Mut. Auto Ins. Co., 108 So. 3d 1008 (Ala. 2012) (obtaining reversal of judgment against client and luring that it was entitled to reimbursement of full amount of UIM benefits mistakenly paid to insured rather than amount less attorney fees).
  • Brannon v. BankTrust, Inc., 50 So. 3d 397 (Ala. 2010) (obtaining reversal of judgment as a matter of law against client in action against it for allegedly unauthorized credit transfer)

Speeches & Presentations

  • Appellate Practice Seminar, Mobile and Baldwin County Bar Associations, “Panel Discussion: Does and Don’ts of Appellate Advocacy” (November 2021)
  • Appellate Practice Seminar, Mobile Bar Association, co-moderator/presenter “The Anatomy of a Model USSC Brief” (April 2015)
  • Environmental Law Seminar, Mobile Bar Association, “Hazardous Waste for Dummies” (December 2009)
  • Alabama Land Use Seminar, National Business Institute, “Environmental Concerns for Developers” (December 2003)
  • Appellate Practice Seminar, Mobile Bar Association, coordinater/moderator (February 2002)
  • CLE By the Hour, Mobile Bar Association, “ABC of Underinsured Motorist Insurance” (January 2002)
  • Appellate Practice Seminar, Mobile Bar Association, Moderator for Panel of Appellate Judges from State and Federal Courts (January 2000)
  • Environmental Law Seminar, Baldwin County Bar Association, “Common Law Remedies for Contamination of Land” (September 1999)
  • Appellate Practice Seminar, Mobile Bar Association, “The Appellate Brief” (October 1992)
  • Recent Developments for the Civil Litigators Seminar, Cumberland Institute for CLE, “Recent Development in Underinsured Motorist Coverage Cases” (December 1991)