Ethan is a seasoned litigator and advisor with more than 16 years of experience. He is a Shareholder in Maynard Nexsen’s Litigation Section. Concentrating his practice in the areas of commercial disputes and insurance litigation, Ethan handles matters in jurisdictions across the United States. He represents and provides legal counsel to a broad range of business clients in matters including the following:
- M&A litigation, including rep and warranty indemnification claims.
- Corporate governance
- Shareholder derivative suits
- Shareholder appraisal proceedings
- Business torts
- Business divorces
- Supply chain disputes
- UCC Article 2 matters
- Escrow and earn-out disputes
- License agreement disputes
- Trademark and trade secrets litigation
- RICO violations
- Putative TCPA class actions
- Putative class actions relating to privacy laws.
In addition to handling litigation at various stages, Ethan advises business clients on the front end to mitigate litigation exposure, whether through insurance, transaction terms and conditions, governing agreements, or otherwise.
On the insurance side, Ethan regularly represents insurers across the country in individual and multi-party litigation involving insurance sales practices, STOLI matters, insurance fraud, coverage disputes, and bad faith claims. He also advises clients on insurance compliance and coverage issues.
Ethan is regularly recognized by Best Lawyers in America in the areas of Commercial Litigation, Insurance Litigation, Mergers & Acquisitions Litigation, and Class Actions. He is also listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers for his skills in Business Litigation. Since his seventh year of practice, Ethan has been rated AV Preeminent by Martindale-Hubblell, the highest rating awarded for legal ability and professional ethics.
He received his J.D. summa cum laude from the University of Alabama School of Law and holds a B.A. from Vanderbilt University, where he was a letterman on the football team.
- Kruse v. Synapse Wireless Inc. (Del. Ch. 2020).As first-chair of the trial team, obtained a compelling win after a three-day trial in Delaware Chancery Court for client (and Respondent) Synapse Wireless Inc. in a stockholder appraisal proceeding. The appraisal proceeding arose from a short-form merger under Delaware General Corporation Law. In this matter, the Petitioner stockholders sought more than $2M. In its 59-page opinion, the Court awarded only $133,000. Significantly, the award is approximately half the merger consideration previously tendered to the stockholder in the short-form merger. National coverage of the trial, as well as the Court’s opinion, is linked here:
- McWane, Inc. v. Lanier (Del. Ch. 2015). Represented purchaser in an indemnification claim arising from the sellers’ alleged breaches of representations and warranties in purchase documents. Purchaser sought damages in excess of the $8,000,000 escrow fund set aside as security for the sellers’ representations and warranties. The parties reached a confidential settlement. Obtained a significant opinion clarifying circumstances under which non-signatories may be bound to forum-selection provisions under Delaware law. 2015 WL 399582 (Del. Ch. Jan. 30, 2015)(successfully opposed selling stockholders’ motion to dismiss for lack of personal jurisdiction in litigation following merger and obtained order dismissing related purported stockholder suit in another forum).
- Represented licensee of technology against licensor in contract dispute pending simultaneously in federal court, the Trademark Trial and Appeal Board, and private arbitration leading to a favorable settlement.
- Campbell Soup Company et al. v. Midwest Processing, LLC et al., No 12-CV-608-WKW (M.D. Ala. 2014).Obtained permanent injunctions and favorable settlement in action seeking injunctive relief and damages for trademark infringement and common-law torts stemming from Defendants’ alleged illicit scheme to divert unsalable food products for unauthorized distribution.
- Obtained complete victory, in private arbitration, on behalf of members of an Alabama limited liability company against claims involving breach of fiduciary duty and self-dealing. Prevailed on all claims and obtained an award of fees and costs for clients.
- Gilley v. Southern Research Institute, 176 So.3d 1214 (Ala. March 13, 2015). Trial court granted complete summary judgment for client in contract and tort civil action following stock purchase agreement. Judgment affirmed by the Alabama Supreme Court resulting in complete dismissal of claims.
- Trana Discovery, Inc. v. S. Research Inst., 2014 WL 5460611 (E.D.N.C. Oct. 27, 2014) Obtained dismissal of constructive fraud and negligence claims against nationwide contract research organization.
- Obtained partial summary judgment for client in indemnification dispute following stock acquisition.
- Successfully prevented arbitration of plaintiffs' claims on a class-wide basis.
- Successful defense of client against putative nationwide class action claiming violations of RICO relating to alleged employment of illegal aliens.
- Represents nationwide contract research organization in intellectual property, mergers/acquisitions, and tort litigation.
- Currently representing insurers in courts across the country in defending against sales practices claims, as well as prosecuting and defending cases involving purported STOLI and fraudulent transactions.
- Al Fox, III v. Mark Buckland and Virginia Buckland v. Athene Annuity and Life Company f/k/a Aviva, et al. Cause No. 141-277896-15 (141st Judicial District of Tarrant County, Texas). Represented insurer in a highly-publicized, bad-faith/rescission action involving an alleged murder for insurance proceeds. http://www.nbcdfw.com/news/local/FBI-Moves-to-Seize-5-Million-Linked-to-Colleyville-Murder-404798145.html
- Carton v. B&B Equities Group, LLC, 827 F.Supp.2d 1235 (D. Nev. 2011). Court granted insurer’s motion to dismiss STOLI investors’ claims and allowed insurer to retain premiums paid in conjunction with STOLI policies. Cited in Couch on Insurance and Williston on Contracts.
- Shafron v. Aviva Life and Annuity Co., 2014 WL 763238 (N.D. Ohio Feb. 21, 2014). Court granted Motion for Judgment on the Pleadings dismissing Plaintiff's negligence and fiduciary duty claims in annuity suitability matter.
- Harmon v. Principal Life Insurance Co., 2015 WL 7278938 (S.D. Ohio Nov. 18, 2015). Court granted insurer’s motion to dismiss in dispute with producer over alleged commissions owed.
- Miller v. Security Life of Denver Ins. Co., No. C-11-1175-PJH (N.D. Cal. Dec. 14, 2011): Obtained dismissal of third-party claims against insurer.
- Blackwell v. Great American Life Ins. Co., 620 F. Supp. 2d 1289 (N.D. Ala. 2009): Cited in Wright & Miller's Federal Practice and Procedure for discussion of amount-in-controversy requirement for federal jurisdiction.
- Phillips v. American Int'l Group, 498 F. Supp. 2d 1227 (S.D.N.Y. 2007): Motion to Dismiss granted in full on behalf of annuity issuer against claims of putative nationwide class alleging claims for fraud and suppression related to the pricing and sale of fixed annuities.
- Delaney v. American Express Co., 2007 WL 1420766 (D. N.J. May 11, 2007): Motion to Dismiss granted in full on behalf of annuity issuer against claims of putative nationwide class alleging claims for fraud and suppression related to the pricing and sale of fixed annuities.
- Currently representing insurers in courts across the country in defending against sales practices claims, as well as prosecuting and defending cases involving purported STOLI and rebating transactions.
- The Best Lawyers in America© for Litigation: Insurance, Commercial Litigation, and Mass Tort Litigation/Class Actions: Defendants (2021-present), Litigation: Mergers and Acquisitions (2023)
- Mid-South Super Lawyers for Business Litigation (2016-present)
- Alabama Super Lawyers® - Rising Star, Business Litigation, 2011-2012; Business Litigation, 2013-2015
- Martindale-Hubbell AV® Preeminent Rating
- Recognized as a "Future Star" by Benchmark Litigation
- State Bar: Alabama
- U.S. District Court: Alabama (Northern, Middle, Southern), Michigan (Eastern, Western)
- U.S. Court of Appeals: Second Circuit, Third Circuit, Eighth Circuit