Dennis R. Bailey

Dennis R. Bailey Claimed

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After serving as a federal law clerk in the Middle District of Alabama for one year, Mr. Bailey began practicing law with the firm in 1980 and has been a shareholder since 1983. Building upon a strong background of product liability and insurance defense, Mr. Bailey’s practice has evolved into handling a variety of complex litigation directly for clients who are either self-insured or have control over the selection of defense counsel.

Mr. Bailey works closely with corporate counsel and is therefore familiar with corporate litigation guidelines, reporting, and budgeting requirements.  He has managed and argued complex litigation for corporate manufacturing, insurance, and financial services clients as pro hac vice counsel in federal or state cases in Arizona, Arkansas, Tennessee, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Florida, North Carolina, South Carolina, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Kentucky, and California.  He has also represented clients in construction arbitration proceedings and has served as an arbitrator.

A former newspaper reporter, cartoonist and magazine editor, Mr. Bailey has been involved in media law since 1980, particularly matters involving First Amendment rights and open government. He has served for years as general counsel for the Alabama Press Association and other media clients, and now supervises a statewide media hotline.


Dennis and Evans Bailey recently won a summary judgment for the Dothan Eagle newspaper in a case involving a motor vehicle-pedestrian collision. The Plaintiff alleged that the tortfeasor was working as an agent or employee of the Dothan Eagle at the time of the accident. Dennis and Evans were able to demonstrate to the Court’s satisfaction that the alleged tortfeasor was actually an independent contractor, and the Dothan Eagle could not be liable as a result. The case is Westmoreland v. Dothan Eagle, Inc., et al., Coffee County Circuit Court, Enterprise Division, Case No. 17-900185.

With Ted Jackson, Dennis Bailey was successful in defending claims against an electric cooperative made by a general contractor relating to construction. After several days of testimony presented to a AAA arbitrator, the arbitrator ruled for the owner, an electric cooperative, on all claims asserted by the contractor and awarded the owner $170,000 on its counterclaim relating to completion delays. Arbitrator fees were assessed against the contractor. There was no appeal and the award and fees were paid by the contractor as directed. Ted Jackson handled the pre-arbitration dispute and Dennis Bailey handled the arbitration proceedings.

Obtained a dismissal of an appealed defamation claim. A Ugandan missionary sued The Alabama Baptist Newspaper in Jefferson County claiming an article concerning his operations in Africa was defamatory. The circuit court granted summary judgment that the article was not capable of a defamatory meaning nor written with actual malice toward the missionary. The missionary filed post-judgment motions and then appealed to the Alabama Supreme Court. The appeal was dismissed October 28, 2017, due to the expiration of the time to appeal established in Ala. R. Civ. Pro. 59.1. Evans Bailey and Jessica Trotman participated in the briefing process.

The Alabama Supreme Court recently affirmed a summary judgment in favor of a construction lender represented by Dennis and Evans Bailey.  Dennis and Evans were able to successfully argue to Judge Gene Reese in the Montgomery County Circuit Court that the lender did not bear any liability for construction delays and the failure to pay some subcontractors.  They were also able to obtain a judgment against the borrowers in the amount for $590,274.97, which included attorney’s fees and costs, for non-payment on the construction loan.  The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the lower court’s judgment in favor of Dennis and Evans’s client, without an opinion, on August 12, 2016.

In what may be the first test of the Alabama Heavy Equipment Dealer Act, on Feb. 12, 2016, an Autauga County jury awarded a Rushton Stakely client lost profits of over $4.9 million against a heavy equipment manufacturer due to termination in violation of the Act.  The client had been a dealer of heavy equipment for 19 years when it was terminated in 2014. The jury determined the termination was without good cause. The trial judge, Hon. Sibley Reynolds, also determined as a matter of law that the termination letter failed to provide 120 days advance notice. The Alabama Heavy Equipment Dealer Act, which was enacted in 2009, allows for the recovery of lost profits and also allows a successful dealer to recover reasonable attorney fees and costs. Deirdre Russell of Business Appraisals & Consulting, Inc. testified to the past and future lost profits of the Plaintiff. Dennis R. Bailey tried the case for the dealer. J. Evans Bailey and Jessica Trotman assisted in preparing the case for trial.

With shareholder Mac Freeman and associate Evans Bailey, Bailey was granted motions to dismiss in two cases against an electric distribution cooperative where the plaintiffs were seeking millions in refunds in patronage capital credits

Successfully argued for the lifting of a TRO constituting prior restraint against a newspaper

Led the Rushton Stakely trial team which after nine days of trial in federal court obtained verdict of $1.825 million for construction company against engineering firm in a case involving the construction of an aircraft hangar.

Argued and won summary judgment for a regional bank sued by borrowers in Alabama for failing to monitor construction litigation; case is currently on appeal.

Argued and won summary judgment for an Alabama newspaper in libel case filed by an elected official; case was affirmed on appeal.

Argued and won summary judgment for Texas cancer insurance company in civil cases filed for 17 plaintiffs in Arkansas on question of “actual charge.”


In September 2018, Mr. Bailey became a Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, one of the premier legal associations in North America.

Mr. Bailey has been chosen for the 2019 edition of The Best Lawyers in America®.

Dennis R. Bailey was elected President of the Alabama Defense Lawyers Association during the 2018 Annual Meeting. He will serve in that position until June 2019.

Dennis R. Bailey, was elected Alabama Defense Lawyers Association’s 2017 – 2018 President-Elect on June 17 during Alabama Defense Lawyers Association’s 2017 Annual Meeting

June 23, 2016-Alabama Bar Association President Lee Copeland awarded Dennis Bailey and two others the President’s Award in recognition of Exemplary Service to the Profession.

In October, 2015, Mr. Bailey became an accredited member in Trial MastersTM.  Membership is reserved for the elite few lawyers who have tried more than 35 civil trials to verdict.  Less than 1/2 of 1% of lawyers are members.

Mr. Bailey has been chosen for the 2015 through 2018 editions of The Best Lawyers in America® for Communications Law, Bet-the-Company Litigation, Commercial Litigation, Litigation – Banking & Finance, Litigation – Intellectual Property, Litigation – Labor & Employment, Litigation – Real Estate, and Product Liability Litigation – Defendants.

The Alabama Defense Lawyers Association selected Mr. Bailey to serve on the 2015 – 2016 District III Board of Directors.

Mr. Bailey is an Advocate of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), and has been selected one of The Best Lawyers in America (2008 – 2014). He has been AV peer review rated by Martindale-Hubbell for many years; commended by Joint Resolution of the Alabama Legislature for work in drafting Alabama Open Meetings Act of 2005 and by the board of directors of the Alabama Press Association for helping to pass that legislation.

Mr. Bailey was selected for the 2012 – 2015 Journalism Advisory Council of Auburn University School of Communications and Journalism.

Mr. Bailey was named as a “Top Lawyer” in the Litigation 2011-Supplement to The American Lawyer® & Corporate Counsel, Spring Edition.

In November 2011, Mr. Bailey was selected for inclusion in “Top Lawyers: Commercial Litigation” by The American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel.  This special supplement includes The Best Lawyers in America® 2011 Annual Guide to Commercial Litigation. American Lawyer and Corporate Counsel magazines distribute the annual guide to their combined readership, highlighting the top firms and attorneys in the area of Commercial Litigation.

Mr. Bailey was the recent decisions editor for Cumberland Law Review and a member of Cumberland School of Law’s Curia Honoris Society.

While attending Auburn University, Mr. Bailey was a scholarship baseball player and was a member of the student newspaper staff. He made the Academic Baseball Team in 1975 and was named to the Outstanding College Athletes of America.


“Defamation in Alabama,” Jones Law Review (2000)

“1975: A Code Odyssey,” Cumberland Law Review (1979)


May 2010: Alabama Press Association Webinar: Media law Refresher Course

Adjunct Professor: Department of Journalism, Auburn University:”Mass Media Law and Press Ethics.”  2007 – 2009

Alabama Bar Institute:  “Removal Jurisdiction in Federal Courts: The New Standards” and “Recent Developments in Civil Procedure”

“American Products Liability Overview” – Swedish Manufacturers Association (Stockholm)

“The Alabama Open Meetings Act of 2005” sponsored by the Alabama Press Association in conjunction with the Attorney General of the State of Alabama

Adjunct Professor, Jones School of Law: Conflicts of Law, 1983


Mr. Bailey is involved in a number of community activities and has coached youth baseball for many years. He is a member of the Church of the Ascension in Montgomery, Alabama.

Lawyer Information / Qualifications

  • Law Firm Affiliations: Rushton, Stakely, Johnston & Garrett, P.A.
  • Experience and Training:
  • Education:
    • Undergrad: B.A., Auburn University (Journalism), 1975
    • Law School: J.D., Cumberland School of Law (cum laude) 1979
  • Practice Areas: Complex Business Litigation Media Law Products Liability Law Banking Litigation Occupational Safety and Health
  • Certifications:
  • Bar Exam: Admitted in U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama 1980, U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama U.S. Court of Appeals, Fifth Circuit 1980, U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama 1981, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eleventh Circuit 1979, Alabama 1992, U.S. Supreme Court

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