Sybil Vogtle Newton

Sybil Vogtle Newton: Attorney with Starnes Davis Florie LLP AV stamp icon
Attorney Awards


Sybil Newton is a partner at Starnes Davis Florie and has practiced with the firm for over twenty-five years. She currently heads the firm’s Appellate Law and Written Advocacy Group. Prior to her position with the firm’s Appellate Group, Sybil had an active trial practice, participating in over twenty jury trials, defending primarily medical malpractice actions across the state. She has handled a variety of appeals on behalf of litigants and has been retained by non-litigants to intervene as amicus curiae as well. Sybil previously served as the Firm’s Administrative Partner for six years.

Professional Recognition

•Appointed by the Alabama Supreme Court in 2018 to serve a fourth term as a member of the Standing Committee on Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure until October 2021
•Recognized as a leading Appellate practitioner in the Eleventh Circuit Benchmark: Appellate
•Listed in Best Lawyers in Americafor Appellate Law
•AV Peer Rating by Martindale Hubbell for over 20 years
•Listed in Mid-South Super Lawyers magazine as one of the top attorneys in the state of Alabama
•Member of The American Society of Legal Advocates, which selects less than 1.5% of lawyers nationwide for membership



•Obtained a favorable ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court on behalf of their clients, a national little league baseball program and its local director, after a spectator was hit by a baseball and sustained a serious brain injury/bleed.
•Obtained a favorable opinion from the Supreme Court of Alabama reversing and remanding a trial court’s denial of a client’s request to compel arbitration of claims filed against his business in Baldwin County, Alabama.
•In June 2015, Sybil Newton, along with Jay Ezelle and Randy Sellers, obtained favorable ruling from the Alabama Supreme Court on behalf of a university provost in a suit involving an on-campus shooting of six faculty members. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed all of the decisions of the trial court and rejected plaintiffs’ request for a rehearing.
•In February of 2015, Sybil Newton, along with Gray Stiff, and Scott Stevens, obtained a favorable ruling from the 11th Circuit in a holding which affirmed the District Court’s (Southern District of Alabama) grant of summary judgment to insurance carrier in a case brought by an Alabama bank seeking payment under a financial institution bond. The bank alleged breach of contract and bad faith and sought over 1,000,000 from the carrier after a customer of the Bank defaulted on loans secured, in part, by a stock certificate which he had obtained fraudulently. The primary issue on appeal was whether the fraudulently obtained stock certificate met the definition of a “counterfeit” under the terms of the bond. The trial court held, and the 11th Circuit agreed, that the stock certificate at issue was an authentic document, even if procured under false pretenses, and does not meet the definition of “counterfeit” or trigger coverage under the bond. The Bank’s application for rehearing en banc was denied by the 11th Circuit on April 20, 2015. The opinion issued by the 11th Circuit was the subject of several articles in Appellate Law 360.
•In August of 2014, obtained favorable ruling from the 11th Circuit Court in favor of a national grocery store chain, affirming the district court’s grant of summary judgment in this premises liability/slip and fall case. Warren Butler and Scott Stevens successfully obtained summary judgment for our Defendant, and Sybil Newton handled the briefing before the 11th Circuit following the Plaintiff’s appeal. The case contains helpful language regarding the Plaintiff’s burden on causation, the need for expert testimony on issues outside of a layperson’s understanding, and the impropriety of basing a theory upon speculation.
•In August of 2014, obtained ruling from The Alabama Supreme Court overruling Boudreaux v. Pettaway, 108 So.3d 486 (Ala. 2012), and expressly rejecting the prior holding in Boudreaux that a potential bad faith claim against a defendant physician ’s insurer should be considered as a present asset in determining whether a judgment should be remitted.
•In July of 2014, Obtained favorable ruling for a Defendant/coal mining company from the Alabama Supreme Court in a case which arose from a claim for benefits under the Black Lung Benefits Act. The Alabama Supreme Court affirmed the trial court’s dismissal of the case and held that it lacked jurisdiction to consider this issue outside of the federal framework for BLBA actions.

News & Insights

SDF Attorneys Sybil Newton & Jordan Gerheim Obtain Favorable Ruling From Alabama Supreme Court
•Twenty-Seven SDF Attorneys Listed in Best Lawyers in America 2019
•Twenty-Eight SDF Attorneys Named to the 2017 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
•Newton Butler and Presley Obtain Favorable Ruling from The Alabama Court of Civil Appeals
•Twenty-Six SDF Lawyers Listed in the 2018 Edition of Best Lawyers in America
•SDF Attorneys Obtain Favorable Opinion From Supreme Court of Alabama
•Twenty-Six SDF Attorneys Named to the 2016 Edition of Mid-South Super Lawyers
•Sybil Newton Appointed to Serve a Third Term on the Standing Committee on Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure
•Starnes Davis Florie Wins Alabama Supreme Court Decision in Professor Shooting Suit
•Twenty-Six SDF Attorneys Named to 2015 Alabama Super Lawyers
•Stiff, Newton & Stevens Obtain a Favorable Appellate Ruling in Financial Institution Bond Case
•Starnes Davis Florie Granted Favorable Ruling by The Alabama Supreme Court
•Thirty SDF Attorneys Named to Alabama Super Lawyers 2014
•Twenty-Six Starnes Davis Florie Attorneys Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers 2013
•Starnes Davis Florie Lawyers Secure Appellate Reversal & Rendering of Adverse Malpractice Verdict
•Starnes Attorney Sybil Newton Appointed to Serve a Second Term as a Member of the Standing Committee on Alabama Rules of Appellate Procedure
•Starnes Davis Florie Highly Ranked in 2013 Benchmark Litigation & Benchmark Appellate
•Twenty-Two Starnes Attorneys Listed in Alabama Super Lawyers

Fun Facts

Sybil is the mother of five children. Her eldest, Adair is married and resides in Mobile, Alabama with her husband. Her second, Richard, is an architect in Atlanta, Georgia. Her twin boys, Ross and William are students at Auburn University. Her son Lucas is a student at Altamont high school.

Areas of Practice (4)

  • Appellate Law
  • Healthcare
  • Medical Malpractice
  • Wrongful Death / Catastrophic Injury

Education & Credentials

Contact Information:
205-868-6041  Phone
205-868-6099  Fax
Mailing Address:
P.O. Box 598512, Birmingham, AL 35209
University Attended:
University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill, B.A., 1986
Law School Attended:
University of Alabama School of Law, J.D., 1989
Year of First Admission:
U.S. Court of Appeals, 11th Circuit; U.S. District Court, Northern District of Alabama; U.S. District Court, Southern District of Alabama; U.S. District Court, Middle District of Alabama; 1989, Alabama; United States Supreme Court

Community Involvement

•Sybil volunteers as a CASA (court appointed special advocate for children), advocating for the best interests of abused or neglected children who have been removed from their homes.
•Sybil is a member of the Cathedral Church of the Advent, which she attends with her husband and their five children.
•She serves as a reader and radio reader at the Church of the Advent.

Birth Information:
Birmingham, Alabama, June 17, 1964
Reported Cases:
Reported Cases: Bank of Brewton v. Travelers Companies, Inc., 777 F.3d 1339 (11th Cir. 2015).; Giles v. Winn-Dixie Montgomery, LLC, 547 Fed. Appx. 892 (11th Cir. 2014).; Evans v. Books-A-Million, 762 F.3d 1288 (11th Cir. 2014).; Gillis v. Frazier, 2014 WL 3796382 (Ala. August 1, 2014).; Fleetwood Trucking Co., Inc. v. Cahaba Resources, LLC, 2014 WL 3012661 (Ala. July 3, 2014).; Tucker v. Ernst & Young, LLP, 2014 WL 2619860 (Ala. June 13, 2014).; Morrow v. Caldwell, 157 So. 3d 764 (Ala. 2014).; Dollar Tree Stores, Inc. v. Ates, 2014 WL 658368 (Ala. February 21, 2014).; Ex parte Bay Area Physicians for Women, 143 So. 3d 743 (Ala. 2013).; Hill v. Fairfield Nursing and Rehabilitation Center, LLC, 134 So. 2d 396 (Ala. 2013).; Ex parte Guarantee Ins. Co., 133 So. 3d 862 (Ala. 2013).; Health Care Authority for Baptist Health v. Davis, 2013 WL 2149493 (Ala. May 17, 2013).; Hegarty v. Hudson, 123 So. 3d 945 (Ala. 2013).; Kraselsky ex rel. Estate of Kraselsky v. Calderwood, --So.3d --, 2014 WL 5311293 (Ala., October 17, 2014).; Ex parte Nail, 111 So. 3d 125 (Ala. 2012).; Aurora Healthcare, Inc. v. Ramsey, 83 So. 3d 495 (Ala. 2011).; Health Care Authority for Baptist Health v. Davis, 2011 WL 118268 (Ala., January 14, 2011) (NO. 1090084).; Graves v. Brookwood Health Services, Inc., 43 So. 3d 1218 (Ala. 2009).; Coilplus-Alabama, Inc. v. Johnnie F. Vann; Sirote & Permutt, P.C., 53 So. 3d 898 (Ala 2010).; Groover v. Johnston, 39 So. 3d 33 (Ala. 2009).; Board of Trustees of the University of Alabama v. New Life Art, Inc., 336 Fed. Appx. 860 (11th Cir. 2009).; Wright Therapy Equipment, LLC v. Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, 991 So. 2d 701 (Ala. 2008).; McNeal v. City of Tarrant, 325 Fed. Appx. 794 (11th Cir. 2009).; Bill Salter Advertising, Inc. v. City of Atmore, 294 Fed. Appx. 554 (11th Cir. 2008).; Black v. Comer, 920 So. 2d 1083 (Ala. 2005).; Lloyd Noland Hosp. v. Durham, 906 So. 2d 157 (Ala. 2005).; Breaux v. Thurston, 888 So. 2d 1208 (Ala. 2003).; Sullivan v. Mihelic, 808 So. 2d 6 (Ala. 2001).; Thomas Spivey v. Crenshaw Baptist Hosp., 786 So. 2d 1151 (Ala. 2000).; Mutual Assur., Inc. v. Chancey, 781 So. 2d 172 (Ala. 2000).; Ex parte McCollough, 747 So. 2d 887 (Ala. 1999).; Ex parte Debra Jean Stone and T. Gary Stone, 768 So. 2d 425 (Ala. 1999).; Ex parte Hsu, 707 So. 2d 223 (Ala. 1997).; Thomas v. Ekambaram, 706 So. 2d 1245 (Ala.Civ.App. 1997).; Mihelic v. Sullivan, 686 So. 2d 1130 (Ala. 1996).; Jefferson Clinic, P.C. v. Mixon, 684 So. 2d 127 (Ala. 1996).; Henson v. Mobile Infirmary Ass'n, 646 So. 2d 559 (Ala. 1994).; Williams v. Spring Hill Memorial Hosp., 646 So. 2d 1373 (Ala. 1994).; Mobile Infirmary v. Delchamps, 642 So. 2d 954 (Ala. 1994).; Reed v. Brookwood Medical Center, 641 So. 2d 1245 (Ala. 1994).; Rose v. Rogers, 632 So. 2d 434 (Ala. 1993).; Mutual Assur., Inc. v. Madden, 627 So. 2d 865 (Ala. 1993).; Roberts v. Hutchins, 613 So. 2d 348 (Ala. 1993).; Clements v. Dr. John Alvan Stewart, P.C., 595 So. 2d 858 (Ala. 1992).; Moore v. Mobile Infirmary Ass'n, 592 So. 2d 156 (Ala. 1991).; Ex parte King, 591 So. 2d 464 (Ala. 1991).; Smith v. Medical Center East, 585 So. 2d 1325 (Ala. 1991).; Roberts v. Hutchins, 572 So. 2d 1231 (Ala. 1990).; Rose v. Decatur General Hosp., 571 So. 2d 997 (Ala.Civ.App. 1990).; Vaughn By and Through Vaughn v. Griffith, 565 So. 2d 75 (Ala. 1990).

Peer Reviews

Birmingham, Alabama

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