Joseph C. Chapelle is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg LLP’s Indianapolis office. He practices primarily in the Litigation Department and handles government litigation and insurance coverage matters as well as products liability litigation. Mr. Chapelle is a co-chair of the firm's Government Litigation Practice Group, handling a variety of legal issues unique to governmental entities, including government contracts and eminent domain.
Mr. Chapelle received a B.A. in 1983 from the University of Michigan with a double major in Spanish literature and language and with honors in history. In 1986, he was awarded his J.D., cum laude, by Notre Dame Law School, where he served on the Notre Dame Law Review. After graduation, Mr. Chapelle served as law clerk to the Honorable John L. Coffey, circuit judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
In 1987, Mr. Chapelle joined the U.S. Army’s Judge Advocate General’s Corps, fulfilling a four-year ROTC scholarship commitment. He gained litigation experience as a captain, prosecuting courts-martial, and through an appointment as a special assistant United States attorney, prosecuting civilians and military personnel in the U.S. District Court. Since joining Barnes & Thornburg LLP in 1991, he has concentrated his practice in products liability defense, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage litigation. Mr. Chapelle has represented a number of clients with substantial products liability exposure. He has handled litigation in a wide variety of jurisdictions, including Illinois, New Hampshire, Washington, Wisconsin, Missouri, Mississippi, Tennessee, Georgia, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Ohio and Virginia, in addition to Indiana. Mr. Chapelle also has advised clients with issues before the Consumer Product Safety Commission. The following decisions exemplify his experience during the past few years. Finchum v. Ford Motor Co., 57 F.3d 526 (7th Cir. 1995)(affirming defense verdict in product liability lawsuit); Hosler v. Caterpillar, Inc., 710 N.E.2d 193 (Ind. Ct. App. 1999)(affirming dismissal of wrongful death action); Cloverleaf Enterprises, Inc. v. Centaur Rosecroft, LLC, 815 N.E.2d 513 (Ind. Ct. App. 2004)(case of first impression involving reversal of preliminary injunction of out of state litigation); Hope Foundation, Inc. v. Edwards, No. 1:06-cv-0439-DFH-TAB, 2006 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 84244 (S.D. Ind. Apr. 12, 2006)(preliminary injunction involving alleged non-compete agreement); American Legion-Post 330 v. Heath, No. 1:06-cv-0390-DFH-TAB, 2006 U.S.Dist. LEXIS 34318 (S.D. Ind. May 24, 2006)(denial of TRO pursuant to Younger abstention doctrine).
Articles in the National Law Review database by Joseph C. Chapelle