John J. Barton is widely recognized as one of the most accomplished trial lawyers in Massachusetts and Rhode Island. He has a ninety-seven percent success rate for jury trials in civil cases involving such diverse fields as medical malpractice, product liability, anti-trust, police abuse and catastrophic personal injury.
In recognition of his skills and accomplishments as a trial lawyer, John was inducted in 1997 into the elite American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA), a prestigious invitation-only organization comprised of trial attorneys and judges throughout the United States, and dedicated to furthering and protecting the constitutional right to a civil jury trial. Members of ABOTA must be experienced trial lawyers or judges of high personal character and honorable reputation. He currently serves as National Representative of ABOTA’s Rhode Island Chapter, and for many years served as President of the Rhode Island ABOTA Chapter.
John is also an experienced appellate lawyer, having successfully pursued appeals in the 1st Circuit U.S. Court of Appeals, the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court, and the Rhode Island Supreme Court.
While his law practice tends to be concentrated in Massachusetts and Rhode Island, John has also been actively involved in litigation in Washington, D.C., New York, Ohio and other jurisdictions.
He frequently lectures on trial techniques, medical malpractice, mediation, and other legal topics to various national, regional and local groups of attorneys, health care providers, insurers, and business leaders.
John is a founding member of the firm, and is senior partner in the firm’s Providence office.
- Cornell Law School (J.D., 1981) Founding Editor of DICTA
- University of Rhode Island (B.A., with highest honors, 1977) Phi Beta Kappa
- Rhode Island
- U.S. District Court, Massachusetts
- U.S. District Court, Rhode Island
- U.S. Court of Appeals, First Circuit
- Court of Federal Claims, Washington, D.C.
- U.S. Supreme Court
For almost three decades, John has been a stalwart defender of physicians involved in medical malpractice actions. He has represented doctors from virtually every medical specialty, and has done so in mostly high-exposure cases involving catastrophic injury or death.
John has also had a successful string of favorable jury verdicts in other areas of litigation. For example:
- Obtained a multi-million dollar verdict against the City of Providence Police Department whose officers engaged in a reckless and unauthorized high speed pursuit, which resulted in the death of a seventeen year old innocent bystander.
- Defeated an anti-trust claim against a group of health care providers who were sued for allegedly engaging in a boycott when they sought to keep an unqualified doctor from securing hospital privileges.
- Successfully defended a pharmaceutical company whose anti-depressant medication allegedly caused the attempted suicide of a young woman with a history of psychiatric disorders.
- Successfully defended a real estate attorney who was sued for malicious prosecution because she triggered the arrest of a real estate speculator who had taken title to a condominium complex through fraud and deceit.
- Successfully defended a restaurant/lodge in a dram shop liability claim filed by the family of one of the restaurant’s employees, who had been drinking on the job and had driven off the road on his way home from work.
With a proven track record of representing individuals and families in serious personal injury and wrongful death cases, John has recovered millions of dollars in damages and settlements on behalf of those harmed by the negligent or reckless conduct of automotive manufacturers, trucking companies, over-zealous police agencies, and impaired motorists.
John has appeared before the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of New York and the New York Supreme Court for the County of New York. He has participated in administrative hearings before a variety of federal and state agencies, including the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination, the Rhode Island Human Rights Commission, the Rhode Island Department of Health, and the Massachusetts Board of Registration of Medicine.
- American Board of Trial Advocates Civility Award, 2016
- America’s Top 100 Attorneys lifetime achievement member
- Best Lawyers in America, Medical Malpractice Law – Defendants (2023)
- Martindale-Hubbell National Law Directory AV rating, the highest rating available for legal ability and ethical standards (1991–2020)
- Rhode Island Super Lawyers in Professional Liability (2013–2022)
- National Board of Directors of the American Board of Trial Advocates (ABOTA)
- America’s Top 100 Attorneys, Lifetime Achievement Member
- Leadership Rhode Island (2018)
- American Bar Association – Litigation Section
- Massachusetts Bar Association
- Rhode Island Bar Association
- Defense Research Institute
- Professional Liability Underwriting Society
- Physicians Insurers Association of America
- Board of Directors, Grafton Little League Baseball
- Longtime Volunteer Coach, Grafton Little League Baseball
- Board of Directors, Grafton Land Trust
John's past-times include sea kayaking, running and fly fishing.