Ernest Collins, Jr. has been practicing law in the State of Arizona since 1997. Mr. Collins received his undergraduate degree from The Ohio State University, B.A. (1992); his Masters degree from the University of Cincinnati, (M.A. 1994); and his law degree from the University of South Dakota, (J.D. 1996). He has been a member of the Trial Litigation Section of the State Bar of Arizona and was a member of the National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel. Mr. Collins is licensed to practice in Arizona State and Federal Courts. Mr. Collins has briefed and argued a case before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals. Mr. Collins has appeared Pro Hac Vice in New Mexico and South Dakota.
Mr. Collins began his legal career under the tutelage of two of Arizona’s most experienced trial lawyers, Donald R. Wilson and Brian M. Goodwin. At Struckmeyer and Wilson, he handled a variety of cases for various insurance companies on behalf of their insureds. Mr. Collins personally handled many cases subject to compulsory arbitration. Mr. Collins took over a hundred depositions ranging from plaintiffs to medical doctors to experts in a variety of fields.
After gaining valuable experience at Struckmeyer and Wilson, Mr. Collins went to work for Goodwin Raup. Under the tutelage of Brian Goodwin, Mr. Collins expanded the areas of litigation that he practiced in and tried three jury trials. Mr. Collins continued to work in various areas of insurance defense but also added construction defense and insurance coverage to the areas that he practiced in.
Mr. Collins was then given the opportunity to work at Beaugureau, Zukowski & Hancock under the tutelage of Tony Hancock, one of the leading FELA attorneys in the country. While at Beaugureau, Zukowski & Hancock, Mr. Collins continued to try cases to a jury and further expanded his practice areas to include commercial litigation, FELA law, railroad law and landlord/tenant law.
While at Beaugureau, Zukowski & Hancock, Mr. Collins tried several high damages cases. In one matter, a four year old boy drowned in a condominium association pool after he was able to scale a six foot high temporary fence. Plaintiffs brought suit against multiple defendants including the temporary fence company. Plaintiffs sought $4 million at trial. Mr. Collins was able to show that the temporary fence was reasonable and met the industry standards for temporary fencing. A jury found in favor of Defendants. Plaintiffs were required to pay defendant $5,000.00 in costs.
In another matter tried by Mr. Collins to a jury, Plaintiff was operating a vehicle when he stopped to allow a pedestrian to cross the street. Mr. Collins’ client became distracted and failed to see the Plaintiff stop. Defendant collided with Plaintiff at 35-40 mph. Defendant admitted liability but contested Plaintiff’s damages. Plaintiff’s medical bills exceeded $100,000.00 and Plaintiff claimed to have a permanent injury to his right hand which left him unable to use it. Plaintiff had demanded $500,000.00 prior to trial. Mr. Collins was able to prove that Plaintiff was not injured in the accident and his right hand injury was not causally related to the collision. A jury found in favor of Defendant. Plaintiff was required to pay defendant over $12,000.00 in costs.
Mr. Collins tried a product liability case to a jury. In that matter, his client assembled a high pressure hose for Plaintiff’s use in injecting grout into the ground for soil stabilization. While pumping grout into the ground at high pressure, the hose ruptured spraying a lime/grout mixture into the eyes of Plaintiff. Plaintiff’s vision was impaired and Plaintiff suffered severe burns to his eyes and face. Plaintiff sought $500,000.00 in damages. Mr. Collins was able to prove that Plaintiff caused or contributed to the hose rupturing. Plaintiff was apportioned 40% of the fault and was awarded $120,000.00 in damages.
Mr. Collins has arbitrated, mediated hundreds of cases and tried 13 cases to a judge or jury in his legal career. He has handled matters in federal district and bankruptcy courts, various county courts, municipal courts, justice courts, before the Arizona Corporation Commission, the Arizona Veterinary Board and the Arizona Registrar of Contractors. Mr. Collins currently represents AIG Domestic Claims and has represented companies such as the Union Pacific Railroad Company, Chevron/Texaco, Federal Signal Corporation, Atlantic Mutual Companies, OneBeacon Insurance Companies, Progressive Insurance, Gallagher Bassett, the City of Glendale, and various counties. Mr. Collins has represented individuals and private businesses as well.