Joseph C. Chapelle is a partner in Barnes & Thornburg's Indianapolis office. He practices primarily in the Litigation Department and handles government litigation and insurance coverage matters as well as products liability litigation.
Joseph 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.
Joseph 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, Joseph served as law clerk to the Honorable John L. Coffey, circuit judge, United States Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit.
In 1987, Joseph 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 in 1991, he has concentrated his practice in products liability defense, commercial litigation, and insurance coverage litigation. Joseph 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. Joseph 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).
Joseph is admitted to practice in Indiana (1989) and Illinois (1986) as well as in the U.S. District Courts for the Northern and Southern Districts of Indiana and the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit. Since 2009, he has been included in The Best Lawyers in America list in the field of commercial litigation and is recognized on the Indiana Super Lawyers list.