Burr & Forman

John J. Coleman, III

John J. Coleman III
  • J.D., Duke University School of Law (1981)
  • A.B., magna cum laude, Duke University (1978)

Alabama, Georgia, Texas

  • U.S. Supreme Court
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of Texas
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of Georgia
  • U.S. District Court – Middle District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court – Northern District of Alabama
  • U.S. District Court – Southern District of Alabama

  • American Bar Association
  • Alabama State Bar
  • State Bar of Georgia
  • Texas State Bar
  • College of Labor and Employment Lawyers, Fellow
  • Best Lawyers In America, Litigation-Labor & Employment, Employment Law-Management, Labor Law-Management, Worker's Compensation Law-Employers (1993-2018)
  • Lawdragon's Top 100 Nation's Most Powerful Employment Lawyers (2009-2017)
  • Chambers USA, Leading Practitioner in Labor & Employment
  • Alabama Super Lawyers, Employment & Labor (2008-2015)
  • Human Resources Executive, "The Nation's Most Powerful Employment Attorneys - Top 100" (2016)
  • Mid-South Super Lawyers, Employment and Labor (2016)
  • Funds graduate education scholarship at Jacksonville State University and law school minority scholarship at Birmingham School of Law
  • Teaches at Cumberland and at the Birmingham School of Law
  • Active in St. Francis Xavier Parish
  • Campfire, served as Secretary on Board of Directors
  • Defending various employers successfully in cases defining “direct threat,” “disability,” and “reasonable accommodation” in the Eleventh Circuit.

  • Defended various causation issues in workers’ compensation benefits cases in state appellate courts.

  • Defended numerous employers in administrative decisions including successful R and C cases under the National Labor Relations Act (including one hybrid case in which the NLRB found ULPs but declined to set aside an election voting down the union).

  • Received a favorable decision setting aside OSHA “willful” citations involving asbestos at a nuclear plant.

  • Received a favorable decision in a confined spaces case obtaining a disposition after hearing that reduced numerous repeat violations and $128,000 in fines to less than $8,000.

  • Arbitration decisions include labor decisions rejecting individual discharge grievances and one contract interpretation decision allowing the installation of a production line without seniority bidding for positions.

  • Tried over 100 cases in employment matters.

  • Obtained summary judgment in over four dozen cases in employment matters.

  • Obtained summary judgment in over four dozen cases in employment matters.

Partner | Birmingham, AL

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Employment Litigation Labor & Employment OSHA Whistleblowing, Retaliation and Compliance Non-Compete & Trade Secrets

A former chair and member of the firm's Labor & Employment Practice Group, John's trial experience includes the successful defense as lead counsel of banking, utility, automotive, manufacturing and food service industry employers in over 100 bench and jury trials.

John’s experience includes one of the first Americans With Disabilities Act cases tried to a jury in Alabama, two of the first ADA cases in the state in which a jury returned a defense verdict based on the absence of an ADA disability, one of the first ADA verdicts for the employer in a mixed motive case, and one of the first ADA harassment cases nationwide.

John’s litigation experience spans over several different areas and industries. His OSHA litigation includes the successful defense of willful citations to a nuclear plant, multiple fatality cases involving the Milwaukee Brewers’ dome’s construction and truck terminals and manufacturing facilities in Chicago, Dallas, rural Louisiana, and the Mobile, Alabama, area, and various warrant and citation proceedings throughout the state. Related litigation involves workplace violence, and whistleblower defense. Class actions include the successful defense at trial of a retiree class action and defeat of class certification of a race selection class. Collective actions include resolution through settlement or summary judgment of FLSA class actions involving issues from lunch interruption to donning and doffing to time going through security. Whistleblower defense includes actions under Sarbanes-Oxley, environmental laws, OSHA § 11(c), and state whistleblower actions.

He has also counseled clients regarding regulatory compliance, personnel policies, employee handbooks, union organizing and rulemaking involving the ADA, the FMLA, the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law of 1992, and various regulations related to drug testing and disability management. He has represented The Business Council of Alabama, the Alabama Association of Employers and individual employers in the drafting of both sets of the Americans With Disabilities Act Title I rules, the Family and Medical Leave Act rules, the Alabama Workers’ Compensation Law of 1992, and Department of Industrial Relations rules respecting drug testing. He has offered Friend Of The Court briefs on several employment issues on behalf of the BCA, and one on behalf of the Alabama Retail Association to the U.S. Supreme Court in a key discrimination case.

An adjunct instructor at two law schools, John has authored Disability Discrimination in Employment, (West Publishing 2006); Employment Discrimination in Alabama (Southern University Press, 1991); coauthored Alabama Workers’ Compensation Practice, 1994 Edition, (Guide Publishing, 1994); and authored chapters in the Bureau of National Affairs, Inc.’s Occupational Safety and Health Law.

John funds several scholarships for law students and one for graduate teachers at Jacksonville State University. John teaches at Cumberland and at the Birmingham School of Law.