Fighting the good fight

Our attorneys


John C. Whitfield

Founding Partner

Whitfield Bryson LLP
19 N. Main Street
Madisonville, KY 42431
518 Monroe Street
Nashville, TN 37208

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Main Telephone, KY: 270-821-0656
Main Telephone, TN: 615-921-6500
Direct Telephone: 270-452-1297
Fax: 270-825-1163

For over 38 years, John has been one of the premier trial attorneys in Kentucky and Tennessee. He has represented numerous injured parties in the Commonwealth of Kentucky, Tennessee, and throughout the southeastern United States. He has concentrated primarily on complex civil litigation cases, and over his career has brought to settlement or judgment over 45 cases in excess of a million dollars each. John is certified as a civil trial specialist by the National Board of Trial Advocacy and has represented individuals in all walks of life against negligent workplace practices, reckless physicians, predatory businesses, and inattentive truck and automobile drivers among many others. John has an additional concentration in the Nashville, Tennessee area of representing motorcyclists who have been injured through no fault of their own.

John graduated with distinction from the University of Kentucky with his undergraduate degree before attending law school at the university. Throughout his career, John has represented scores of individuals who have been the victims of medical negligence, defective drugs and medical devices, obtaining verdicts and settlements in both state and federal courts. He has handled cases for landowners victim to fraudulent mine royalty practices, for homeowners whose homes and business contained defective concrete, and for Kentucky residents who were overcharged for premium insurance taxes.

John is a frequent lecturer of litigation subjects with the Kentucky Justice Association and American Association for Justice and has been recognized as a Kentucky Super Lawyer multiple times. He is AV rated by the Martindale-Hubbell rating service.

John is an avid motorcyclist and a member of national motorcycle club. He plays guitar, is co-owner of a whiskey distillery, and travels.

9.5John Cleveland Whitfield

Bar admissions

  • State of Kentucky
  • State of Tennessee
  • State of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Missouri
  • U.S. District Court for the Western District of Kentucky
  • U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Kentucky
  • U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit


  • Named to Kentucky Super Lawyers, 2007-2010, 2013-2020
  • Continental Who’s Who, Pinnacle Lifetime Member
  • AV Rating by Martindale-Hubbell
  • Named 10 Best Personal Injury Lawyers from the American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys

Professional associations and memberships

  • American Bar Association
  • Kentucky Bar Association
  • Tennessee Bar Association
  • Missouri Bar Association
  • Kentucky Justice Association, Contributing Editor of Trial Practice Magazine The Advocate
  • American Association for Justice, Litigation Medical negligence, and Railroad Sections
  • National Board of Trial Advocacy
  • Hopkins County Bar Association
  • Madisonville-Hopkins County Chamber of Commerce, Chairman (2000-2001)
  • Kentucky Academy of Trial Attorneys, Contributing Editor of Trial Practice section for The Advocate
  • Kentucky Attorney Disciplinary System, Trial Commissioner
  • Hopkins Bar Association
  • American Bar Association
  • Hopkins County Salvation Army, Board Member


  • University of Kentucky – Lexington: B.A., with distinction, 1979
  • University of Kentucky – Lexington: J.D., 1982

Case Results

  • 2019 – Lead counsel for a motorcyclist in Tennessee who suffered catastrophic injuries against a major transport company resulting in confidential settlement. Lead Counsel in a products liability case against a cosmetic manufacturer
  • 2019 – Lead counsel for the Estate of a woman against a physician in Tennessee who repeatedly failed to advise of cancerous findings she received in two different pathology reports, which was a substantial factor in her death. Confidential settlement.
  • 2017 – Lead counsel for a motorcyclist in Kentucky who suffered catastrophic injuries against a major transport company resulting in confidential settlement.
  • 2016 – Lead Counsel for a group of individuals in a products liability case against a cosmetic manufacturer resulting in confidential settlement.
  • 2016 – Lead counsel for a motorcyclist in Kentucky who suffered catastrophic injuries against a major transport company resulting in confidential settlement.
  • 2016 – Lead counsel for a motorcyclist in Iowa who suffered catastrophic injuries against a major transport company resulting in confidential settlement.
  • 2015 – Lead Counsel in Don McAfee, et., al. v Carol Lopatin, U.S. District Ct., Middle District of Missouri, Cause No. 2:14-cv-4209, a motorcycle injury case, resulting in a $73,336.82 jury verdict.
  • 2015 – Lead Counsel in Appalachian Land Company v EQT Supreme Court of Kentucky, 2013-SC-000598-CL changing the law in Kentucky regarding deduction of coal severance taxes in mineral leases in the Commonwealth of Kentucky.
  • 2015 –  Lead Counsel in Lawrence Holmes and Jason D. Myers v. Forrest “Ben” Waide and Liberty Rehabilitation PSC  No. 13-CI-1193 (Hopkins (KY) Circuit Court), resulting in a $681,000 jury verdict.
  • 2014Sutton, et al. v. The Federal Materials Company, Inc., et al, No. 07-CI-00007 (Ky. Cir. Ct) (Co-Lead Counsel; $10.1 million class settlement for owners of residential and commercial properties constructed with defective concrete).
  • 2014Young, et al. v. Nationwide Mut. Ins. Co, et al., No. 11-5015 (E.D. Ky.) (series of class actions against multiple insurance companies arising from unlawful collection of local taxes on premium payments; class certified and affirmed on appeal, 693 F.3d 532 (6th Cir., 2012); settlements with all defendants for 100% refund of taxes collected)
  • 2013 – Co-lead Counsel on a three week jury trial in Madisonville, Kentucky resulting in a $1.39 million verdict in favor of a church and a business against two coal companies for causing subsidence to their properties
  • 2012 – Nichols v. Progressive Direct Insurance Co., et al., No. 2:06cv146 (E.D. Ky.) (Class Counsel; class action arising from unlawful taxation of insurance premiums; statewide settlement with Safe Auto Insurance Company and creation of $2 million Settlement Fund;statewide settlement with Hartford Insurance Company and tax refunds of $1.75 million )
  • Co-Lead Counsel for a client injured by the acts of a against a railroad company resulting in a confidential settlement.
  • Lead Counsel in a products case where the design flaw of a shuttle car resulted in the death of a miner, resulting in a $625,000 settlement.
  • Lead Counsel in a case involving negligent nursing supervision of intensive care monitoring, resulting in a confidential six figure settlement.
  • Co-Lead Counsel for Staton v. IMI South, et al. (Ky. Cir. Ct.) Class settlement for approximately $30 million for repair and purchase of houses built with defective concrete.
  • Counsel for recipients of the Bjork Shiley heart valve, leading to a worldwide settlement against the manufacturer
  • Obtained numerous million dollar judgments for various landowners throughout Kentucky who were victims of fraudulent mine royalty practices
  • Represented hundreds of homeowners in Western Kentucky for defective concrete utilized in their homes and businesses
  • Co-counsel for a class of Kentucky residents overcharged for premium insurance taxes, resulting in settlements against insurance companies for several million dollars
  • Co-Lead Counsel in the Pyro Mine Disaster that claimed the lives of 10 miners at the Williams Station Mine in Union County Kentucky

Let’s start talking about your case right now with a free consultation!

Whether you’re certain that you have a case or just want to talk to an experienced lawyer, we’re here to help. No matter how complex the case or how daunting the opposition, we fight for our clients every step of the way.

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Toll free: 855-668-2680


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