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Awards & Recognition

Donald R. Fountain, Jr. is nationally recognized as a top trial attorney and is known for his work around the country for successfully representing catastrophically injured clients during some of the most traumatic and transformational times in their lives. For twenty-five years, Don has been a double board-certified civil trial lawyer by both the state and national boards and has twice been named “Lawyer of the Year” in plaintiff product liability litigation by Best Lawyers in America®, a prestigious award that was published in the Miami Herald and The Wall Street Journal.

During his more than 30 years as a Florida Personal Injury Lawyer, Don has handled cases in more than 25 states and has tried virtually every kind of case – typical and atypical – from a cruise ship hitting an iceberg in Alaska to the mishandling of human remains by a regional funeral home chain. He frequently works on cases across the country related to automotive products liability, tire defects, consumer product defects, road design defects, construction defects, boating and locomotive accidents, aviation liability, legal malpractice, fires and vehicle/truck accidents. Don has earned hundreds of seven and eight figure verdicts and settlements totaling more than $800 million for his clients throughout Florida and the United States.

In 2021, Don and his trial team successfully secured a $200 million verdict in rural Georgia for their clients, Stephan Batchelder and Margaret Batchelder, who tragically lost their 7-year-old son, Ryan Paul Batchelder, in a 2014 boat swamping defect incident. It was the largest verdict in Rabun County Georgia history, and the largest single verdict for pain and suffering associated with wrongful death in the history of the State of Georgia.

Earning titles that include “Top 100 Trial Lawyers in America,” “Leading Plaintiffs’ Lawyers in America,” and “Florida’s Top 10 Attorneys,” Don is frequently called upon by other lawyers to handle major litigation matters that require unique technical expertise and financial resources. 

Don is continuously recognized as a “Top Lawyer” in South Florida Legal Guide and as one of the “Legal Elite” in Florida Trend magazine – a recognition he shares with only 2% of lawyers in the state. Don is AV® Preeminent™ Peer Review Rated by Martindale-Hubbell®, which denotes the highest level of professional excellence and ethical standards in the legal industry. He has been named a Super Lawyer® by his peers for 15 consecutive years.

Don is most proud of the fact that time and time again he has observed that some of the litigation he pursues has brought defects to the forefront and encouraged industry as well as major manufacturers of automotive, tire and other consumer products to recall their products, or redesign them entirely after litigation exposed dangerous safety concerns. Don’s efforts of encouraging manufacturers to make their products safer through the litigation process prompted the American Association for Justice to recognize him with the Justice Steven T. Sharp Public Service Award for his investigative work that led to the nation’s largest recall of Firestone passenger car tires. Don also handled one of the very first Takata exploding airbag cases before any recall had been issued. Immediately following the conclusion of the case, Takata recalled 3,000 vehicles, eventually expanding the recall to more than 65 million vehicles.

Among Don’s many accomplishments is a major victory for the firm’s clients and the nation’s consumers when Clark Fountain’s products liability team convinced two separate Florida courts to allow punitive damage claims against Chrysler for designing and manufacturing its line of 15-passenger vans that the plaintiff contended the company knew were prone to rollovers. These are believed to be the only two cases in the country in which a court allowed the pleading of punitive damages. Following litigation, Chrysler stopped manufacturing this model van altogether and adopted a new and improved design.

Don also prides himself on being able to discover and unravel complex defects and liability scenarios when other law firms have reviewed the case and determined that no valid claim exists. Clark Fountain has a long list of major multimillion-dollar verdicts and settlements obtained in cases that other very qualified attorneys and law firms turned away because they were unable to develop a valid defect claim to pursue.


Legal Victories

Firm Obtains $200 Million Verdict for Family, Whose Son Was Killed Due To A Defectively Designed Boat

Following a three week trial in Rabun County Georgia, partners Donald R. Fountain Jr., Julie H. Littky-Rubin, Ben J. Whitman, and Atlanta Georgia attorneys Drew Ashby, and Max Thelen successfully secured a $200 million verdict for their clients, Stephan Paul Batchelder and Margaret Mary Batchelder, who tragically lost their 7-year-old son, Ryan Paul Batchelder, in a 2014 boat swamping accident. It was the largest verdict in Rabun County history and the largest single verdict for the pain and suffering for wrongful death in the history of the State of Georgia.

Partner Don Fountain Obtains $32 Million Verdict Against Tire Manufacturer

Partner Donald Fountain represented a tractor trailer driver who was transporting a loaded fertilizer trailer carrying 30,000 pounds of fertilizer when the truck suffered a front tire blowout. The tire explosion caused the vehicle to lose control and leave the roadway. As the vehicle traveled across a small ditch on the shoulder of the roadway the trailer broke loose from the tractor running through and over the tractor and the driver. The impact caused a traumatic amputation of both of the driver’s legs, pinned him in the vehicle and severed the vehicle fuel tank causing a fire. The driver was pulled from the burning wreckage by an eyewitness. The failure of the tire was traced to defects in the steel belt cord, which affected the tires adhesion properties and caused the tire to separate and blowout. At the conclusion of a month-long trial the jury determined that the tire was defective and returned a $32 million verdict against the tire manufacturer.

Partner Don Fountain Obtains $15.5 Million For Truck Driver’s Surviving Family Members

Partner Donald Fountain and the Clark Fountain trial team represented a single father who lost his life after his tractor-trailer blew a tire and became completely uncontrollable due to the defective manner in which the truck had been modified. Using engineering data and research as key evidence, Partner Donald Fountain secured $15.5 million for the truck driver’s surviving family members.

Partner Don Fountain Secured $15 Million Verdict After Tragic Family Event Left Man Quadriplegic

During a road trip, a tire blowout caused a family van to roll over and render our client quadriplegic. Heartbreakingly, he had just taken his vehicle to a Ford dealership for service three weeks prior to the accident. During trial, it became clear that not only was the dealership at fault, but so was Dunlop (the tire manufacturer) for a defective tire design.

Partner Don Fountain Secured $10 Million Verdict Against Tire Manufacturer After Tire Blowout

A $10 million verdict on behalf of a car accident victim was successfully attained by Partner Donald Fountain and the Clark Fountain trial team. The firm represented the victim of a horrific tire blowout on I-95 who spent a month in a coma, 102 days in the hospital, and underwent 17 surgical procedures. The trial culminated a four-year battle that Clark Fountain had waged against Continental Tire. The German tire maker was so confident in its position that it never offered even one penny to settle the case before trial. Continental vigorously opposed the case at every turn and still made no settlement offer, even after the Palm Beach County jury told Continental they owed our client nearly $11 million. Instead, it vowed to appeal… and did. The six-year battle finally ended when the Fourth District Court of Appeal punctuated it with its per curium affirmance.

Partner Donald Fountain and the Clark Fountain trial and appellate team secured an $11 million verdict in a defective seatbelt case resulting in the death of a 25-year-old boy. 

Our client died after the seatbelt in a Mitsubishi Montero failed him during a rollover crash in 2004. He was a passenger in the vehicle on I-95 in Brevard County, FL. In 2008 a jury awarded the boy’s mother and father $11 million. The decision was appealed in 2010, but the Clark Fountain legal team obtained a favorable, 2-1 ruling from the Fourth District, upholding the verdict.

Significant Confidential Settlement Reached for a Defective Seatback Mechanism

A confidential settlement was reached on behalf of a 34-year-old man who experienced catastrophic and permanent brain injuries after a car accident in Nevada. Partner Donald Fountain discovered and was able to prove that the seatback recline mechanisms failed upon impact of the crash, causing our client severe injuries that will require around the clock medical care for the rest of his life.


Articles

  • “It’s New to Me!” Making the Case for Why Strict Liability Applies to “Repurposed” or “Remanufactured” Products, Fall 2018 American Association of Justice Products Liability Section Newsletter

Speaking Engagements

  • “Uncovering the Hidden Case.” Palm Beach County Bar Association CLE Seminar, West Palm Beach, FL – January 2019

Community Involvement

In 2019 Don and his wife welcomed 21 renowned designers into their home of 17 years to transform the design and layout of each room into a Decorator Showcase House to benefit the Kips Bay Boys & Girls Club and Boys & Girls Clubs of Palm Beach County. Dubbed “The Fountain House,” their Mediterranean-style home on South Flagler underwent a six-month transformation before opening up to the public. The 2nd Annual Kips Bay Decorator Show House Palm Beach welcomed more than 11,000 guests, raised record funding for the featured charities and ultimately provided engaging and enriching programs to more than 18,000 young people from the Bronx and West Palm Beach area.


In The News

Great Trials Podcast Interview Episode 138: Don Fountain and Drew Ashby | Batchelder et al v. Malibu Boats, LLC, f/k/a Malibu Boats, Inc.; Malibu Boats West, Inc. et al. | $200 million verdict

Firm Obtains $200 Million Verdict for Family, Whose Son Was Killed Due to a Defective Boat Design