William E. Routt, III

William E. Routt, III

William Routt is a litigator whose practice focuses on class actions, legal malpractice, defective & dangerous products, catastrophic injury, wrongful death, and investment and consumer fraud. Mr. Routt endeavors to develop creative legal strategies at all stages of litigation resulting in both successful and efficient outcomes for his clients.

Mr. Routt has extensive legal experience and has practiced complex, civil litigation for over a decade. Before joining Watson Burns, Mr. Routt was a litigation attorney at the law firms of Baker Donelson Bearman Caldwell & Berkowitz, P.C. and Quinn Emanuel Urquhart & Sullivan, LLP. Over the course of his career, Mr. Routt has represented clients across all phases of litigation, including both plaintiffs and defendants, at the trial and appellate levels. In addition, Mr. Routt has significant experience litigating securities disputes before FINRA arbitration panels and in advising clients on a wide variety of regulatory and compliance matters. Mr. Routt received his Doctor of Jurisprudence with honors from the University of Texas School of Law.  While in law school, Mr. Routt served as research assistant to the Honorable Robert Pitman, then a Magistrate Judge, now a District Judge, for the United States District Court for the Western District of Texas and to Professor John S. Dzienkowski.   

Mr. Routt was named a Mid-South Rising Star by Mid-South Super Lawyers in 2015 and 2016.      

Admissions and Professional Associations:

Mr. Routt is admitted to practice law in the state courts of Tennessee and California as well as the United States District Courts for the Western District of Tennessee and the Southern, Central, and Eastern Districts of California.

Mr. Routt is a member of the Memphis Bar Association and the American Association for Justice. 


Common Trends in FINRA and SEC Regulatory Priorities” (March 2016)

Arbitration Update” (November 2015)

Recent Government Cyber Alert and Draft Guide for Financial Institutions:  Lessons for All Organizations” (November 2015)

CFPB Report Likely Precursor to Regulatory Limits on Mandatory Arbitration Provisions” (June 2015) 


The University of Texas School of Law, Doctor of Jurisprudence, with honors, 2008

American Journal of Criminal Law, Manuscript Editor, Membership Committee 2006-2007

University of Texas Merit Scholarship

Rhodes College, BA in Philosophy, 2005, cum laude

Representative matters include

  • Turnage, et al. v. Oldham, et al., Case No. 2:16-cv-2907-SHM/tmp (W.D. Tenn. filed Nov. 17, 2016) (prosecution of Section 1983 class action lawsuit against county and private defendants for alleged constitutional violations resulting in unlawful detention of plaintiffs);
  • ET Environmental Corp., LLC v. ACE American Insurance Company, et al., Case No. 2:18-cv-02245-JPM-cgc (W.D. Tenn. filed Apr. 12, 2018) (representation of corporate plaintiff in action against attorney for allegedly wrongful distribution of insurance proceeds that plaintiff was entitled to receive as a result of separate arbitration proceedings);
  • Weimar v. GEICO Advantage Insurance Company, Case No. CH-18-0976 (Shelby County Chancery Court filed June 29, 2018) (prosecution of class action lawsuit against leading automobile insurance company in connection with allegedly unlawful collection of deductibles);
  • Cahio v. Drexel Chemical Company, Case No. 2:18-cv-02204 (W.D. Tenn. removed March 26, 2018) (representation of international plaintiffs in toxic tort action against prominent American chemical company);
  • Mid-America Apartments, L.P. v. Waxman, et al., Case No. Ch-17-0212 (Shelby County Chancery Court filed Feb. 16, 2017) (prosecution of lawsuit on behalf of subsidiary of prominent publicly traded real estate investment trust asserting fraud and related wrongdoing perpetrated in connection with the installation of an ineffective water valve on client’s properties); 
  • Local TV Tennessee LLC d/b/a WREG-TV v. N.Y.S.E. Wolfchase LLC d/b/a The New York Suit Exchange, No. W2017-00675-COA-R3-CV (Tenn. Ct. App. Apr. 9, 2018) (successful appeal and reversal of erroneous trial court order that imposed ~$500,000 judgment against client and wrongfully dismissed claims asserted by client).

additional representative matters include:

  • Prosecution of class action lawsuit against multi-level marketing company for fraud and wrongdoing in connection with the sale of its products and services;
  • Prosecution of legal malpractice class action alleging violations of the Fair Debt Collection Practices Act;
  • Defense of managing trustee of trust of wealthy individual against claims of wrongdoing asserted by beneficiary and co-trustee;
  • Representation of trust and estate of wealthy individual in connection with the refund of inheritance taxes;
  • Defense of subsidiary of prominent publicly traded real estate investment trust in arbitration of claims asserted against it in connection with claimant’s installation of an ineffective water valve on its properties;
  • Representation of class of employees in ERISA class action in obtaining recovery from employer for damages caused by defunct and underfunded health plan;
  • Representation of employee benefit brokerage company in ~$22 million acquisition by a leading North American insurance broker;
  • Defense of broker-dealer and registered representatives in FINRA arbitrations initiated by institutional customers against claims of wrongdoing asserted in connection with the sales of trust preferred CDO notes;
  • Defense of broker-dealer and registered representative in FINRA arbitration against claims of wrongdoing asserted in connection with the sale of auction rate securities;
  • Representation of broker-dealers and registered representatives in litigation and arbitration involving disputes related to claims of unsuitability, breach of fiduciary duty, fraud, misrepresentation, unauthorized trading, and failure to supervise; 
  • Representation of subsidiary of multinational medical devices, pharmaceutical, and consumer packaged goods manufacturing company in connection with alleged violations of the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act and False Claims Act and related governmental investigations.