251-432-5001

Desmond ("Desi") V. Tobias

Desi Tobias is a graduate of The University of Alabama and the Cumberland School of Law where he received his juris doctorate in 1987. Desi was admitted to the Florida Bar in 1987 and the Alabama State Bar in 1989.

 

He began his law career with the Florida Attorney General in Tallahassee and then, in 1989, began practicing in his hometown of Mobile, Alabama, with an insurance defense firm. Since 1995, Desi’s practice has focused exclusively on representation of injured victims. Desi has tried more than 100 civil bench and jury trials.

 

A graduate of McGill-Toolen High School, Desi attended Washington and Lee University prior to The University of Alabama. He is married to the former Cecelia Mills of Mobile. They reside in Mobile with their four children, Desmond, III, Michael, and twins, Jack and Macy. He has served on the McGill-Toolen Catholic High School Advisory Board and the St. Mary School Advisory Board.

 

Desi is a frequent lecturer at CLE seminars and has written on numerous litigation-related topics. Desi is rated AV (preeminent) by his peers on Martindale-Hubbell.

Successful verdicts / settlements

Personal Injuries

A $12.6 million bench verdict on behalf of a man who fell through a roof skylight and was rendered incapacitated by a brain injury.

A $12.3 million settlement for a burn victim.

A $3.4 million award for a man blinded in a crane accident.

A jury verdict of $1.6 million in a case against a repossession agent who poured dishwashing liquid on a carport in order to assist in repossessing the car. The plaintiff later went onto the carport and slipped on the dishwashing liquid, thereby injuring his back.

A settlement of $860,000 in a premises liability action where the plaintiff suffered a brain injury after being struck on the head by a falling object.

A settlement of $520,000.00 for a man injured in an industrial accident.

A settlement of $500,000.00 in a trip and fall case, which occurred in a parking lot.

A settlement of $400,000.00 in a slip and fall case involving a recently mopped floor.

A bench verdict of $200,000.00 in punitive damages and $165,000.00 in compensatory damages in a case arising from the wrongful termination of an employee in retaliation for a work injury.

A settlement of $325,000.00 for a man who suffered damage because of fraud committed by a title company.

A jury verdict of $160,000.00 in a case tried in Marion County (Ocala), Florida. In this case, a forklift knocked a load of steel onto the plaintiff’s leg, thereby causing a blood clot. The medical specials were less than $10,000.00 and the plaintiff received a 2% impairment rating to the lower extremity.

Wrongful Death

Settlement: $600,000 in a wrongful death action arising from a fall occurring at an industrial plant.

Settlement: $625,000.00 for a man killed in a work place accident.

Settlement: $450,000 in a wrongful death action arising from a shooting death at an apartment complex.

Defective Products

Settlement: $7 million dollars in a product liability action brought against the manufacturer of a product which malfunctioned and caused a fire, thereby injuring an entire family.

Settlement: $850,000 on behalf of a man injured when his hand was caught in a roller

Settlement: $625,000 on behalf of a man who was injured in a fall from a roof

Settlement: $875,000 in a products liability action brought on behalf of a small child who sustained a partial amputation of his a finger when a vending machine caused an electrocution shock.

Automobile / Trucking Accdents

A jury verdict of $5 million dollars against an underinsured motorist carrier arising out of a traffic accident.

A jury verdict of $1.8 million dollars in a case arising from a truck accident which occurred in a parking lot. The plaintiff’s injuries were soft tissue injuries with medical specials less than $10,000.00.

Settlement: $1 million dollars in a case arising from a trucking accident on I-65. The plaintiff sustained several broken bones in his left leg with medical specials of $100,000.00.

Settlement: $1 million dollars in a case arising from a trucking accident on I-65. The plaintiff sustained a back injury.

Settlement: $750,000 in a trucking accident which occurred in New York state.

Alcohol Related Injuries

A jury verdict in the amount of $2.8 million dollars in a dram shop case against a local bar.

Settlement: $2 million dollars in a wrongful death dram shop case against a local retailer who sold alcohol to a minor who was subsequently fatally injured in a motor vehicle accident.

Reported Decisions:

Thrash v. Credit Acceptance Corp, 821 So.2d 968 (Ala. 2001)

The Alabama Supreme Court reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of a finance company in a case arising from the wrongful repossession of a vehicle involving the use of dishwashing liquid. The plaintiff slipped in dishwashing liquid used by the repossession agent and sustained a back injury. The Supreme Court reversed summary judgment in favor of the finance company on the basis that there was sufficient evidence of an agency relationship between the finance company and the repossession agent. The Thrash court also held that the finance company had a non-delegable duty to not breach the peace when repossessing the collateral. The Thrash opinion broadly holds that agency questions usually present an issue of fact.

Ex parte Kraatz, 775 So.2d 801 (Ala. 2000)

The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of a service station owner in a case where the plaintiff tripped over an unpainted speed bump in a dimly lit parking lot. The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed the judgment. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed the lower courts and held that the partial or poor light provided by the premises owner created a question of fact which allowed the case to go to the jury.

Ex parte Brislin, 719 So.2d 185 (Ala. 1998)

The plaintiff in this action brought a fraud claim against a business broker arising out of representations made by the broker when selling a retail clothing store to the plaintiffs. The trial court granted summary judgment in favor of the business broker and the Alabama Court of Civil Appeals affirmed. The Alabama Supreme Court reversed summary judgment and held that fact questions precluded summary judgment on the issues of intentional, reckless, and innocent fraud, deceit, negligence and fraudulent suppression. Subsequently, the Firm tried the case and received a verdict in favor of the plaintiff on the intentional fraud claims.

Callaway v. Whittenton, 892 So.2d 852 (Ala. 2004)

The Alabama Supreme Court reversed a grant of directed verdict in favor of a repossession agent on the issue of whether the repossession agent breached the peace when repossessing a vehicle.

McDaniel V. Helmerich & Payne, 61 So.3d 1091 (Ala.Civ.App. 2010)

The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals reversed a grant of summary judgment in favor of an employer in a worker compensation case.

Hornady Transportation, LLC v. Fluellen, 116 So.3d 236 (Ala.Civ.App. 2012)

Affirmed a trial court judgment awarding a widow worker compensation death benefits. The appellate court further held that admission by the plaintiff of an EMS report was not erroneous because it fell within the hearsay rule exception for a medical diagnosis.

McDaniel v. Helmerich & Payne, 112 So.3d 41 (Ala.Civ.App. 2012)

Successful appeal of an adverse trial court judgment in a worker compensation case. The appellate court reversed the trial court on the basis that the severely injured plaintiff was a “traveling” employee entitled to worker compensation benefits as a matter of law and not subject to the going and coming rule.