Tye H. Smith

Tye is the managing attorney for our Oklahoma City office. He concentrates his practice in personal injury, wrongful death and insurance bad faith litigation.

Tye handles most of the jury trials for our clients in Oklahoma City and the remaining western half of Oklahoma.

He has obtained significant jury verdicts in the central, western and southeastern areas of Oklahoma. He has persuaded major insurance carriers to change their claims-handling procedures through his pursuit of bad faith litigation.

In 1999, Tye obtained a ruling from the Oklahoma Supreme Court in Burch v. Allstate that was a major victory for clients seeking uninsured motorist benefits. This decision continues to cause an uproar in the insurance industry.

In 1998, he sued Allstate for bad faith because of its policy of requiring insured motorists to sign a release in exchange for payment of undisputed benefits due under their uninsured motorist coverage.

After obtaining a favorable ruling from the court on the issue, the case settled for a confidential amount. Immediately after the settlement, Allstate changed its claim-handling procedure on this issue.

When not practicing law and spending time with his family, Tye enjoys fishing in bass tournaments at the state and national level.

Publications/Presentations

  • Author of Torts Section in quarterly publication of Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, the Advocate
  • Lecture: Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association’s Rising Stars CLE – Focus Groups, 2003
  • Lecture: Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association’s Annual Insurance Law Update CLE – Tort Law Update, 2003-Present
  • Lecture: Oklahoma Bar Association’s CLE Basics of The Automobile Accident Case – 2004
  • Lecture: Oklahoma Bar Association’s CLE Auto Accidents – Perspectives from Both Sides – Litigating the Case for the Plaintiff – 2007

Significant Cases

  • Burch v. Allstate Ins. Co., 977 P.2d 1057, 1998 OK 129 (Okla., Dec. 22, 1998). This decision requires all uninsured motorist carriers in Oklahoma to pay their insureds the full amount of their uninsured motorists claim without allowing the insurance company to deduct the available liability coverage.
  • Nichols v. Allstate Ins. Co., CIV-98-22-M (U.S. Western District Oklahoma). Bad faith case resulting in Allstate changing claims handling procedure (see above).
  • Quiver v. Emerson, CJ-95-240 (Grady County District Court, Oklahoma). Jury trial resulting in significant damage award for man accidentally shot by ex-wife.
  • Phares v. Kelly, et al., C-95-400 (Pittsburg County District Court, Oklahoma). Persuaded court to allow case to proceed against motor carrier lessee despite truck being on personal mission of driver/owner at time of accident. Obtained directed verdict at trial on liability and significant jury award for damages.
  • Tatum & Underwood v. City of Oklahoma City, CJ-97-2621-63 (Oklahoma County District Court). Two motorcyclists riding on land owned by City of Oklahoma City were injured after falling off a cliff created by City. Overcame City’s claim of exemption under Tort Claims Act and Recreational Land Use Act in bench trial. Obtained significant jury verdict for clients at trial.
  • Madden v. Hughes County, CJ-94-106 (Hughes County District Court). Battled Hughes County for eight years through appeal and jury trial in case involving dangerously narrow hill crest where two cars hit head on. Sued County, alleging it should have widened road due to notice of dangerous condition at hill crest. Obtained what is believed to be the largest jury verdict in Hughes County.
  • Glass v. Cross Country Freight, et al., CJ-04-225 (Hughes County District Court). Obtained $750,000 verdict for client who suffered herniated disk in rear-end collision case involving minimal property damage.

Education

  • 1989 – Bachelor of Arts, Political Science, Carl Albert Political Studies Center, College of Arts and Sciences, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.
  • 1992 – Juris Doctor, (with Distinction), School of Law, University of Oklahoma, Norman, Oklahoma.

Professional Associations

  • Oklahoma Bar Association
  • American Association for Justice (formerly American Trial Lawyers Association)
  • Oklahoma Trial Lawyers Association, Past Member of Board of Directors and Past Co-chair of Public Education Committee
  • Admitted to practice in the State of Oklahoma – Northern, Eastern & Western Federal District Courts of Oklahoma; and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals
  • Instructor at Keenan Ball College 
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