For Jerome Tapley, the decision to become a lawyer was a deeply personal one. When he was a boy, a family member died in a workplace accident. Jerome witnessed first-hand how lawyers could make a difference in people’s lives. The trial lawyers who represented his family successfully held the responsible party accountable for the tragedy, and he knew then that he wanted to be a trial lawyer. His road toward achieving that goal was not easy, but hard work has never been an obstacle for him.
Jerome was born in Alexander City, Alabama – a hard-working, cotton mill town that taught him the values of persistence, keeping his word, and doing his best. The lessons learned from his community propelled Jerome to become the first college graduate in his family. He graduated from Auburn University Montgomery, where he was Student Government President, and earned his law degree through Cumberland School of Law at Samford University.
He is now a principal at Cory Watson Attorneys, focusing 100 percent on courtroom litigation and trial, including Class Action, Mass Tort, and Products Liability Litigation. He is admitted to all state and federal courts in Alabama and Florida. Jerome’s peers rightly view him as an accomplished trial lawyer, having tried cases in multiple venues across the country including a $25 million verdict for plaintiffs in an automotive defect case against Nissan in California, a $10 million wrongful death verdict in Alabama, and a $50 million verdict against DuPont for pollution caused cancer in Ohio.
Notwithstanding his courtroom accomplishments, Jerome is more than a trial lawyer. Since joining Cory Watson in 2003, Jerome has become a shareholder, Co-Chair of the Class Action & Consumer Fraud litigation group, and a member of the firm’s management committee.
He has also served as Lead Counsel in a multitude of certified nationwide consumer fraud class actions against large corporations in jurisdictions across the country; has years of experience as Lead Counsel in multiple cases representing state Attorneys General, represented nearly every city and county in the State of Arkansas against every major Opioid manufacturer and distributor; and served leading roles for the firm in Multi-District Litigation, including appointment as Co-Lead Counsel in In re Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, MDL 2430.
Jerome’s cases often involve recalls or product redesigns resulting not only in financial recovery for the class, but also increased safety for the public. One such litigation involved two certified nationwide consumer fraud class actions against fireplace manufacturers who made dangerous glass-front fireplaces, successfully changing industry design standards to prevent severe third-degree burns to infants and toddlers.
Jerome has been married to his high school sweetheart, Kelli, for 20 years. Kelli is a pediatrician and loving mom to their two daughters, Madeline and Harper. In his free time, you can find Jerome with his family or quail hunting with his bird dog Duke. The Tapley family is active at Haven Field Community Church, where Jerome serves as Chairman of the Elders. Though Jerome has a variety of hobbies and interests, one of his favorite quotes speaks to his hard-working background: “No one has ever drowned in sweat.” – Lou Holtz.
- Alabama State Bar
- Florida State Bar
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
- U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Alabama
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Alabama
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama
- U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Middle District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Florida
- U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Indiana
APPOINTMENTS & REPRESENTATIVE CASES
- Plaintiffs’ Co-Lead Counsel, In re: Google Inc. Gmail Litigation, MDL No. 2430
- Co-Lead Class Counsel, Rotandi v. Miles Industries, Ltd., N.D. Cal. 11-CV-02146
- Class Counsel, Banks v. Nissan North America, Inc., N.D. Cal. 11-cv-02022
- Co-Lead Class Counsel, Keilholtz v. Lennox, et. al., N.D. Cal., 08-CV-00836
- Class Counsel, Craft v. North Seattle Comm. College Foundation, M.D. Ga. Case No. 3:07-cv-132-CDL
- Plaintiffs’ Executive Committee, In Re: General Motors Corporation Dex-Cool Products Liability Litigation, MDL No. 1562
HONORS, AWARDS & ACCOMPLISHMENTS
- Super Lawyers, 2011-2021
- The Best Lawyers in America©, 2020-2022
- Top 40 Under 40 National Trial Lawyers
- Top 100 Trial Lawyers
- AV Preeminent® Peer Review Rated Martindale-Hubbell
- B-Metro Magazine, TopFlight Attorneys, 2019-2021
- National Law Journal’s Top 100 Verdicts of 2020: Litigation Team Recipient
PROFESSIONAL ASSOCIATIONS AND MEMBERSHIPS
- Alabama State Bar Association
- Florida Bar Association
- Alabama Association for Justice, Emerging Leaders Section
- American Association for Justice
- Haven Field Community Church, Chairman of the Governing Board, the Elder Team
SELECT REPORTED CASES
- Lisk Lumber One Wood Preserving, LLC (11th Cir. 2015) 792 F.3d 1331.
- Google, Inc. v. Hood (5th Cir. May 18, 2016, No. 15-60205) 2016 U.S. App. LEXIS 9109.
- Brandon Banks v. Nissan North Am., Inc. (D.Cal. 2013) 301 F.R.D. 327.
- Batista v. Nissan North Am., (S.D.Fla. Dec. 7, 2015, Civil Action No. 14-24728-Civ) 2015 U.S. Dist. LEXIS 177227.
- Keilholtz v. Lennox Hearth Prods. (N.D.Cal. 2010) 268 F.R.D. 330.
- Cumberland School of Law, Samford University, J.D.
- Auburn University Montgomery, B.S.