Martha Y. Curtis


Martha Y. Curtis is a member (partner) of Sher Garner Cahill Richter Klein & Hilbert, L.L.C.  Ms. Curtis was one of the founding members of Sher Garner law firm when it opened its doors in January, 1999.  It has since grown into one of the top New Orleans law firms with over 40 attorneys and more than 80 employees.  She earned her Bachelor of Arts degree, summa cum laude, from Vanderbilt University and her Juris doctorate, summa cum laude, from Tulane Law School where she served as Senior Managing Editor of the Tulane Law Review.

In her legal career, Ms. Curtis has represented insurers, for-profit businesses, and non-profits in commercial litigation.  Since the BP Oil Spill from the Deepwater Horizon in August 2010, Ms. Curtis has been actively representing affected claimants, including for-profit and non-profit entities and individuals asserting business economic loss and property damage claims.

Ms. Curtis has extensive appellate advocacy experience, having argued before the United States Fifth and Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, the Louisiana Supreme Court, and numerous appellate courts in Louisiana and Texas.  She also has significant trial experience, serving as first chair for jury trials taken to verdict and bench trials taken to judgment. Ms. Curtis is a FINRA arbitrator.

Before beginning private practice, Ms. Curtis clerked for Honorable W. Eugene Davis on the United States Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit from 1990 to 1991.  Ms. Curtis was appointed by the Louisiana Supreme Court to serve as an assistant Bar Examiner from 1997 to 2000.  She also served as an appointee of the Louisiana Supreme Court on the Louisiana State Bar Association’s Committee on Uniform Judicial Rules Committee.

Ms. Curtis has been involved in numerous other community and legal organizations, including the following: Tulane Law Review, Board of Advisory Editors; Tulane Alumni Association, Board of Directors; Louisiana Bar Foundation, Fellow; Association for Women Attorneys; and Federal Bar Association.  She has received numerous recognitions including: 2015-2017 Louisiana Super Lawyers (Insurance Coverage), 2013-2017 Best Lawyers, 2013 Women of the Year Honoree from New Orleans CityBusiness, “Local Litigation Star” in Louisiana recognition by Benchmark Litigation Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys (2012); New Orleans City Business’s 2010 Leadership in Law Award; New Orleans Magazine’s recognition as one of the Top Lawyers in New Orleans (2009); Martindale-Hubbell A-V rated since 1999; Rittenberg-Weinstein Award, Tulane Law Review (1990); and Harry S. Truman Scholar from Louisiana (1985).  Ms. Curtis also has authored several scholarly articles and has been a faculty member on numerous Continuing Legal Education panels for both the legal profession and the judiciary.

Martha Y. Curtis | 2019 | Recognized By Best Lawyers
10 Best 2019 Attorney Client Satisfaction

Areas of Practice

  • Bad Faith Insurance
  • BP Oil Spill Claims
  • Business & Commercial Law
  • Insurance Defense
  • Insurance Law
  • Litigation & Appeals

Bar Admissions

  • Louisiana, 1990
  • Texas, 2000
  • U.S. Supreme Court, 2003
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 5th Circuit, 1991
  • U.S. Court of Federal Claims, 2006
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Louisiana, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Louisiana, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Middle District of Louisiana, 1991
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Texas, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Southern District of Texas, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, 1992
  • U.S. District Court Western District of Texas, 1993
  • U.S. District Court Northern District of Mississippi, 1997
  • U.S. District Court of the District of Columbia, 2013
  • U.S. Court of Appeals 10th Circuit, 2017


  • Tulane Law School, New Orleans, Louisiana
    • J.D. (Summa Cum Laude) - 1990
    • Honors: Order of the Coif
    • Honors: John Minor Wisdom Award
    • Law Review: Tulane Law Review, 1988 - 1990
  • Vanderbilt University, Nashville, TN
    • B.A. (Summa Cum Laude) - 1987
    • Honors: History Honors
    • Honors: Phi Beta Kappa Honor Society
    • Major: English
    • Major: History

Contact Information

New Orleans, Louisiana

Representative Cases


  • Louisiana Coverage Issues, Perrin Conferences, June 14, 2016
  • Construction CPM Conference EnProMaC Construction CPM Conference in New Orleans, February 1, 2016
  • A City Below Sea Level Rises Above: Exploring the Legal Impacts of Katrina Over the Last Decade Loyola University, College of Law in New Orleans, October 16, 2015
  • Martinet End of Year CLE, Louis A. Martinet Legal Society, New Orleans Chapter, December 4, 2012
  • Appellate Judges Education Institute Summit Southern Methodist University/Appellate Judges Education Institute in New Orleans, November 15, 2012
  • Procrastinators' Programs, New Orleans Bar Association , December 15, 2011
  • An Ethical Christmas Carol: Ghosts of Christmas Past, Present, and Yet-to-Come, New Orleans Bar Association, Procrastinators Program
  • Civil Court Judicial Forum: Advanced Discovery and Trial Practice, NBI
  • Appeals, Appeals, Appeals, Expert of the Bar & Bench, LA State Bar Association
  • “May it Please the Court”, Effective Case Presentation at Trial, NBI
  • Trying the Bad Faith Insurance Case, A Requiem on Hurricane Cases, Coverage Litigation Committee, American Bar Association
  • Drafting the Key Documents in Insurance Coverage Litigation, California Coverage Dreaming on a Winter’s Day, 17th Annual Tort and Insurance Practice Section, Insurance Coverage Litigation Meeting, American Bar Association
  • Bench Bar Conference, 2008 is NOBA's License to Practice, NOBA
  • Third Party Coverage, NBI
  • Trial Academy, Louisiana Association of Defense Counsel
  • Police Indiscretion Litigation and Claims Avoidance Strategies, Lorman Business Center Inc.
  • Insurance Law: Third Party Coverage in LA, NBI
  • Insurance Bad Faith Claims in LA, NBI
  • D & O Liability and Insurance in the New World, Loyola University School of Law
  • Adjusting the Automobile Injury Claim in LA, NBI
  • Insurance Coverage Law in Louisiana, National Business Institute
  • Defending Hotel/Motel Negligent Security Claims, Defense Research Institute

Honors and Awards

  • Best Lawyers in America since 2013, with special designations in Personal Injury Litigation – Plaintiffs, 2013 - 2020
  • American Institute of Personal Injury Attorneys, 10 Best Personal Injury Female Attorney, 2019
  • Louisiana Super Lawyers - Insurance Coverage, 2015 - 2019
  • Local Litigation Star – Plaintiffs in commercial, insurance and tort litigation, Benchmark Plaintiff Litigation Guide to America’s Leading Litigation Firms & Attorneys, 2012-2014
  • New Orleans CityBusiness - 2013 Women of the Year Honoree
  • New Orleans CityBusiness - 2010 Leadership in Law Honoree
  • New Orleans Magazine - Named one of the Top Lawyers in New Orleans, 2009.
  • Martindale-Hubbell A-V rated since 1999
  • Senior Managing Editor, Tulane Law Review, 1989 - 1990
  • Rittenberg-Weinstein Award, Tulane Law Review, 1990
  • Harry S. Truman Scholar from Louisiana, Harry S. Truman Scholarship Foundation, 1985

Professional Associations and Memberships

  • FINRA Arbitrator, 2019 - Present
  • GNO Federal Credit Union, Member of the Board of Directors, 2016 - Present
  • Tulane Law Review, Board of Advisory Editors, Member, 1992 - Present
  • Tulane Alumni Association, Board of Directors Representing Law School, Member, 1995 - 1997
  • Louisiana Bar Foundation, Fellow, 2008 - Present
  • Association for Women Attorneys
  • New Orleans Association of Defense Counsel
  • Federal Bar Association

Past Employment Positions

  • McGlinchey Stafford, Associate, 1991 - 1997
  • McGlinchey Stafford, Partner, 1998 - 1999
  • U.S. Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals, Judge W. Eugene Davis, Law Clerk, 1990 - 1991

Published Works

  • The Status and Evolution of First-Party Property Insurance Bad Faith Claims After Hurricane Katrina, 62, Loy. L. Rev. 25, 2016
  • Tort Law Desk Reference: A Fifty-State Compendium, Contributing Editor, 2015
  • The Salem Witch Trials 300 Years Later, 64 Tul. L. Rev. 235, 1989
  • Giepert v. Wingerter: Mandatory Retirement Delayed for Incumbent Louisiana Judges, 63 Tul. L. Rev. 1197, 1989
  • Two Recent 5th Circuit Cases Liberally Apply Sherman Antitrust Act, 40 La. B.J. 130, 1992
  • Western District Finds Illegal Tying Agreement in Sugar Cane Leases, 40 La. B.J. 242, 1992

Pro Bono Activities

  • Tulane Law School Alumni, Chair of Class of 1990 Reunions for 5th (1995), 10th (2000), 15th (2005) and 20th (2010) years
  • New Orleans Spring Fiesta Association, Legal Advisor on Advisory Board, 2012 to Present, 2012 - Present
  • Corresponding Secretary, Society of the Founders of the City of New Orleans, 2011 to Present, 2011 - Present
  • New Orleans Vanderbilt Club, President, 1998–2000; Alumni Recruiting Chairperson, 1992–1995; Member of Reunion Committee Class for 25th Reunion, 2012
  • Active member of the Mercy Academy Alumnae Association, former President and Board Member
  • Jefferson Dollars for Scholars, Vice Chair, Scholarships, June 1, 2003 - June 1, 2005
  • Catholic Charities New Orleans, Former Member of Advisory Board
  • Former Board Member, Spirit of ’76 Chapter, Daughters of the American Revolution
  • Volunteer at her children’s past and present schools, St. Catherine of Siena; St. George’s Episcopal School; St. Mary’s Dominican High School