James B. Matthews III
Jim handles a wide range of plaintiffs’ personal injury cases. He focuses his practice on product defects, medical negligence, and trucking accidents.
Jim is from Cordele, Georgia, where he attended Crisp County High School before attending Georgia Southern University on a baseball scholarship. After being drafted by the Atlanta Braves, Jim played professionally in the minor leagues for a short while before ultimately following a path toward his legal career. He graduated from the University of Georgia School of Law in 1983.
With more than 39 years of legal experience, Jim has earned a reputation as a seasoned and successful trial lawyer. In the early years of his career, he defended hundreds of personal injury cases. He defended hospitals and physicians, trucking companies, and manufacturers of a wide range of products, including tobacco and asbestos products. He also worked on behalf of companies in business litigation matters. Jim eventually decided to switch sides and focus on the representation of plaintiffs. At Blasingame, Burch, Garrard & Ashley, P.C., he now handles a wide variety of personal injury and wrongful death cases brought by injured victims and their families, as well as plaintiff business litigation. Most of Jim’s clients are referred to him by other attorneys and former clients he has helped in the past.
Jim is actively involved in the pelvic mesh and hernia mesh litigation. He is co-lead counsel in the C.R. Bard hernia mesh consolidated litigation in Rhode Island, was lead counsel in the Atrium C-Qur hernia mesh litigation in state court in New Hampshire, and was state court liaison to the New Hampshire federal court C-Qur multi-district litigation.
He had significant roles in the discovery, deposition, and pre-trial stages of the Ethicon/Johnson & Johnson Physiomesh hernia mesh multidistrict litigation in Atlanta (which was settled before trial) and in all stages, including trial, in the C.R. Bard pelvic mesh MDL in federal court in Charleston, West Virginia (which settled after a win for his client in the first bellwether trial).
Some of Jim’s notable cases include:
- A champion high school runner who suffered alleged medical malpractice, resulting in a below-the-knee amputation (the client went on to become a world champion sprinter in the Paralympics).
- A three-year-old girl who was severely burned after an older child at a daycare center threw a lit match that ignited the young girl’s dress. In addition to obtaining a settlement from the daycare facility, Jim proved that the girl’s dress did not meet federal standards of flammability for children’s clothing, and obtained a multi-million dollar verdict.
- The surviving family members of two railroad engineers who burned to death when the driver of a gasoline tanker truck attempted to beat an oncoming train at a railroad crossing, causing the engine to strike the tanker and burst into flame.
- The family members of a 40-year-old mother who was killed during routine, outpatient arthroscopic shoulder surgery due to an anesthesia mistake.
- Individuals who were exposed to hexavalent chromium in the workplace, resulting in serious, disabling, life-altering respiratory conditions.
- A man who suffered severe burns over 70% of his body and face after a sugar refinery in Savannah exploded.
- A woman who suffered from a defective hernia mesh that punctured her bowel, resulting in the need for eight separate surgeries over the course of three years to have parts of her intestines removed and address infected tissue.
- The family of a young woman who was killed in a private airplane crash.
- Hundreds of families who had their homes contaminated with arsenic from a nearby pesticide plant.
- Numerous women who suffered injuries after receiving surgery to have plastic pelvic mesh devices implanted.
- A 37-year-old mother who suffered amputations of both legs and lost her unborn child as a result of a crash involving a large truck.
- Multiple cases involving paralysis of veterans being treated at VA hospitals.
- An infant who was born with severe brain damage requiring lifelong, 24/7 care as a result of the mother’s uterus rupturing during labor; the case involved alleged nursing negligence in dosing too much Pitocin and not properly monitoring the mother’s contractions.
- The parents of a teenager who died following routine wisdom teeth removal. The case alleged that a dentist, who was not approved to do anesthesia procedures, over-sedated the patient and that the dental practice did not have adequate emergency equipment to address the situation after the patient stopped breathing.
Jim’s outstanding work has earned him honors from numerous national organizations and publications across the country. He is an invited Fellow of the American College of Trial Lawyers, an organization that limits its membership to no more than the top 1% of trial attorneys from each state. Jim is also a Fellow of the American Bar Foundation. He has been voted to Best Lawyers in America® for the past 24 consecutive years and Georgia Trend Magazine designated him a Legal Elite. Jim has received the highest possible peer review rating, an AV® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®.
Jim has also worked for the St. Louis Cardinals as a professional baseball scout. Prior to this, he was an amateur coach, during which time he received the American Baseball Coaches Association’s Honor Award for contributions to amateur baseball.
Jim and his wife have three children and three grandchildren. In his free time, Jim enjoys all types of outdoor activities, especially fishing, hiking, and golfing. He is also a trustee of the Georgia Southern University Foundation.
Education- Georgia Southern College: B.S., 1980- University of Georgia: J.D., 1983
Awards and Accolades- American College of Trial Lawyers, elected Fellow- Best Lawyers in America®- Legal Elite, Georgia Trend Magazine- AV® Rating by Martindale-Hubbell®- Georgia Super Lawyers®
Professional Memberships- State Bar of Georgia- American Association for Justice- American Bar Association- Georgia Trial Lawyers Association- Medical Negligence Information Exchange Group- Southern Trial Lawyers Association- Fellow of the American Bar Foundation