Federal tort attorney Laurie M. Higginbotham is a nationally experienced trial and appellate lawyer. She has a national Federal Tort Claims Act practice, having represented clients in Texas, Oklahoma, California, Oregon, Washington, Mississippi, Georgia, Florida, South Carolina, North Carolina, Kentucky, Virginia, Washington, D.C., Pennsylvania, New York, Alaska, Hawaii, Puerto Rico, Arkansas, Missouri and other venues. In addition to trial work as a federal tort claims attorney, Ms. Higginbotham has handled a number of appeals in various courts of appeals including the Texas Supreme Court, the 4th, 5th, 9th and 10th Circuits and in the United States Supreme Court.
From 2022-2023, Ms. Higginbotham was recognized by Austin Monthly as a Top Attorney under the Personal Injury Plaintiff category. In 2021 Austin Monthly recognized her as a Top Attorney of 2021 under the Medical Malpractice category.
In 2011, Ms. Higginbotham was recognized by Texas Lawyer as one of 20 “Winning Women,” profiling outstanding female Texas litigators and appellate lawyers who prevail in high-stakes cases that make law or have an impact nationally or statewide, win large monetary awards, and handle first-of-their-kind or bet-the-company litigation or appeals. In 2007, she was named the Outstanding Young Lawyer by the Austin Young Lawyer’s Association.
She has been listed as a Texas Rising Star by Thomson Reuters every year from 2004 – 2013, and as a Super Lawyer from 2013 – 2023. She is a member of The National Trial Lawyers: Top 100 Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyers. She has an AV Preeminent Rating from Martindale Hubbell, Peer Rated for the Highest Level of Professional Excellence. She has a 10/10 rating from Avvo, and achieved the highest rating of AV Preeminent, the highest ethical standing, from Martindale-Hubbell.
Ms. Higginbotham is a member of the State Bar of Texas, the American Association for Justice, Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association, Federal Bar Association, and the Austin Bar Association.
She was the chair of the Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section from 2022-2023. She also served as the 2021-2022 Vice-Chair of the American Association for Justice in the Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section. Previously, she has served twice as the Chair of the Federal Tort Liability and Military Advocacy section of the American Association for Justice. In addition, she has served as President of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Association, and as Chair of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation.
She was member of the Lloyd Lochridge Inns of Court from 2009 – 2019. She is a fellow of the a Texas State Bar Foundation has served on the District 9 Nominating Committee. Ms. Higginbotham is also a fellow of the Travis County Women Lawyers’ Foundation and a fellow of the Austin Bar Foundation. She served for over 10 years on the Admission Committee for the United States District Court, Western District of Texas. She was appointed by Western District Federal Judges to serve on a Merit Selection Panel for the new magistrate position for the United States District Court, Western District of Texas in 2019 and again in 2021. She served on the board of the Austin Chapter of the American Constitution Society.
Ms. Higginbotham has been an active volunteer with the Lake Travis Independent School District for over 14 years. She has served as a member of the Lake Travis ISD CLASS (Community Leaders and Advocates for Student Success), as a room mother for several years, and volunteered for the PTO. For several years, she has coached a Destination Imagination team at the middle school and high school level, and advanced a team to Global Finals. She is a member of the Young Men’s Service League, Cavaliers Chapter, through which she spearheaded the creation of the “Buc Lounge” food pantry and supply closet for disadvantaged students at Hudson Bend Middle School. She has served on the Board for YMSL Cavaliers Chapter as Vice President of Philanthropy (2021-2022) and Assistant Vice President of Philanthropy (2018-2021). In 2019, she was named the Hudson Bend Middle School Volunteer of the Year.
Ms. Higginbotham has been very active in the City of Lakeway government. Ms. Higginbotham was twice elected to serve on the Lakeway City Council (2018-2020 and 2020-2022) and twice selected by Council to serve as the Mayor Pro Tem (2019-2020 and 2020-2021). She previously served on the Board of Ethics (2012-2018), Chair (2013-2018) and the Board of Adjustment (2018).
Ms. Higginbotham advocates for active duty military families in the legislative arena as well as the courtroom. She has worked on several recent legislative endeavors including the SFC Richard Staystal Medical Accountability Act of 2019, which allowed active duty service members to bring administrative claims for medical malpractice for the first time in over 70 years. She has been lead counsel in two attempts to overturn the Feres Doctrine at the United States Supreme Court.
- United States Supreme Court, Supreme Court of Texas.
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Ninth Circuit
- United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit
- United States District Court, Western District of Texas
- United States District Court, Eastern District of Texas
- United States District Court, Southern District of Texas
- United States District Court, Northern District of Texas
- Federal Tort Claims
- Medical Malpractice
- Personal Injury
- Civil Trials
- University of Texas at Austin, B.A., 1995
- University of Texas at Austin, J.D., 1999
- Rossignol v. United States, 2:21-CV-04235, $10,500,000 settlement against the Department of Veterans Affairs for negligent prescription of NSAIDs followed by failure to diagnose and treat kidney failure, with lifetime benefits received by client.
- Converse v. United States, 2:19-cv-01612, $3,000,000 settlement against United States Air Force for negligently failing to diagnose and treat pediatric hydrocephalus, with lifetime benefits provided to the child.
- Blair v. United States, 3:20-cv-05172, $1,250,000 settlement against United States Army for negligently failing to repair a dural tear causing an ongoing CSF leak resulting in permanent neurological damage.
- Guill v. United States, 3:12-cv-05022, $10,000,000 Settlement against the United States Army for a negligent labor and delivery and failure to timely perform a C-section, resulting in a severe, permanent brain injury to a child. $7,384,854 with lifetime benefits received by clients after fees and expenses.
- Spratling v. United States, 5:cv-12-00277, $5,000,000 Settlement against the United States Army for a failure to diagnose an aortic dissection in a pregnant woman at the end of her third trimester, resulting in her death and injury to her surviving child. $3,604,997.32 with lifetime benefits received by clients after fees and expenses.
- A. White v. United States, 3:09-cv-5268, $4,500,000 Settlement against the United States Army for a misdiagnosis of miscarriage in an otherwise viable pregnancy, including the unwarranted performance of a D&C to remove an otherwise viable fetus, resulting in permanent injuries to the child including a brain injury and orthopedic injuries. $3,172,468 with lifetime benefits received by clients after fees and expenses.
- Carman v. United States, 06-cv-548, $3,000,000 Settlement against the United States Navy for the failure to diagnose placental abruption at Portsmouth Naval Medical Center in Virginia, resulting in a delayed C-section and a permanent brain injury to a child. Virginia capped total damages at the time at $3,500,000. $2,322,359 received by clients after fees and expenses.
- Richardson v. United States, 5:10-CV-903, $2,000,000 Settlement against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for failure to timely respond to a telemetry patient who coded in a restroom when Audie L. Murphy VA providers failed to locate the key to the restroom, causing a delayed resuscitation of the patient. $1,432,118 received by clients after fees and expenses.
- Chickaway v. United States, 4:11-cv-00022, $1,903,961.03 Trial Judgment against the US Department of Health for the misdiagnosis of a septic infection in the hip at Choctaw Health Center in Philadelphia, Mississippi, resulting in the death of the child. Case settling on appeal for $1,675,000. $1,150,504 received by clients after attorneys’ fees and expenses.
- Hedgpeth v. United States, 1:06-CV-1408, $1,800,5000 Settlement against United States Department of Veterans Affairs in Portland, Oregon for botched hip surgery severing the sciatic nerve of a patient, causing permanent injuries and disability. $1,315,992 received by clients after fees and expenses.
- J. White v. United States, 5:08-cv-00951, $1,560,000 Settlement against the United States Department of Veterans Affairs for a botched spinal surgery at Audie L. Murphy VA Hospital in San Antonio, Texas, involving the bruising of a patient’s spinal cord, resulting in permanent disability, nerve damage and pain. $1,133,963 received by client after fees and expenses.
Publications & Presentations
- AI for PI: Practice Tips; Texas Trial Lawyers Association, Women’s Caucus August 2023
- AAJ Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy CLE: Moderator, AAJ Summer Convention July 2023
- Hidden Federally Funded Clinics and the FTCA; Texas Trial Lawyers Association, October 2022
- Military Medical Malpractice: New Legislation Affecting Your Practice, AAJ Summer Convention July 2021
- Active Duty Soldiers and the Fight Against Feres, AAJ Summer Convention July 2020
- “Escaping the Genesis Trap,” AAJ Trial Magazine, October 2017.
- “Settling FTCA Administrative Claims,” AAJ July 2017 Convention Presentation, Boston, MA
- “The Future of Law & Technology,” Lloyd Lochridge Inns of Court, March 2017, Austin, TX.
- “Settling FTCA and MCA Cases,” AAJ July 2016 Convention Presentation, Los Angeles, CA.
- “Causation from a Plaintiffs’ Perspective,” State Bar of Texas Advanced Medical Negligence, March 2016, Santa Fe, NM.
- “Feres and Birth Injury,”AAJ July 2015 Convention Presentation, Montreal, Canada.
- “Win Before You Begin,” TTLA June 2015 Mid-Year Convention Presentation, co-authored with Jamal Alsaffar, Austin, Texas.
- “Dr. Uncle Sam in Disguise,” AAJ July 2014 Convention Presentation, Baltimore, MD.
- “Getting Past State Repose Laws in FTCA Cases,” AAJ Trial Magazine, June 2014.
- Presentation, “Gay Marriage and the Law,” January 2014, Lloyd Lochridge Inns of Court.
- “Bringing Your Medical Malpractice Claim in Federal Court,” AAJ Trial Magazine, December 2013.
- The Military Law Section of the State Bar of Texas, 21st Biennial Institute, Panel Discussion, Federal Tort Claims Act, October 2013, San Antonio, Texas.
- “Handling Federal Tort Claims,” AAJ July 2013 Convention Presentation, San Francisco, CA.
- Presentation, “Free Speech: Is it the Poison or the Cure?”, November 2012, Lloyd Lochridge Inns of Court.
- “Staying Two Steps Ahead: Winning the Statute of Repose Argument,” AAJ July 2012 Convention Paper and Presentation, Chicago, IL.
- “Navigating the Federal Tort Claims Act,” Laurie M. Higginbotham & Jamal K. Alsaffar, AAJ Trial Magazine, October 2011.
- Presentation, “Gay Marriage and the Law,” April 2011, Lloyd Lochridge Inns of Court.
- “Extraordinary Justice: Military Tribunals in Historical and International Context” (Book review), Trial Magazine, May 2008.
- “Breakthrough: Courthouse Doors Opening to Newborns of Enlisted Mothers,” AAJ Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section Newsletter, Spring 2007, AAJ National Convention, Chicago, IL, July 2007.
- “Fighting Remittitur and Preserving Damage Awards,” ATLA Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section Newsletter, Vol. 11, No. 1, Winter 2006.
- “New Developments in FTCA Law,” ATLA Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section Newsletter, Vol. 10, No. 1, Winter 2005.
- “Fighting for Military Mothers’ Newborns,” Laurie M. Higginbotham & Jamal Alsaffar, ATLA Trial Magazine December 2004.
- “The Status of Newborns of Enlisted Mothers Under the Feres Doctrine,” (co-authored) ATLA Federal Tort Liability & Military Advocacy Section Newsletter, Vol. 9, No. 1, Winter, 2004.
- “How to Protect Damages in Federal Tort Cases,” (co-authored), ATLA Trial Magazine October 2002.
- “Hot Topics: Maximizing Damages in Federal Tort Claims Act Cases,” (co-authored) American Trial Lawyers’ Association, Atlanta, GA, July 2002.
- “Aggressiveness in Federal Tort Claims” (co-authored), Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association, February 2002.
- “The Maximum Recovery Rule: Searching in Vain for a ‘White Horse Case,’” (co-authored) American Trial Lawyers’ Association, Federal Tort Claims Act Newsletter, Winter 2001.
- “The Aftermath of the 1995 Tort Reform Legislation,” (co-authored) Texas Trial Lawyers’ Association, Houston, TX, May 1998.
AV Preeminent Peer Rated for Highest Level of Professional Excellence by Martindale Hubbell, Highest Possible Rating in Both Legal Ability & Ethical Standards, Reflecting the confidential opinions of members of the Bar and the Judiciary.