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The Law Office of David H. Williams


211 S Spring St., 2nd Floor
Little Rock, AR 72201

(501) 372-0038

**New** Blog

Xarelto Case Numbers Grow as Settlement Pressures Intensify

David Williams

"I need to devise an endgame..."  Judge Fallon, US District Court Judge, LA

On January 30th, 2018 during a monthly status conference hearing, US District Court Judge Eldon Fallon of Louisiana stated that "this MDL is nearing its end," and started taking steps to press all parties towards a resolution.

Judge Fallon then selected a total of 1,200 cases to be designated for remand back to the court of their origin for trial or settlement.

This decision in Louisiana may influence other federal judges to follow suit, possibly sparking a surge of Xarelto settlements across the country.



Issue One

David Williams

LOWELL GRISHAM: Protect the vulnerable

Issue 1 on November ballot represents skewed values

By Lowell Grisham

Posted: March 13, 2018 at 1 a.m.

How much is my 6-year-old granddaughter's life worth? How much is my 39-year-old daughter's life worth? If Arkansas passes the constitutional amendment titled "Issue 1" in November, their worth would be capped arbitrarily at $500,000 each. If either my granddaughter or daughter were injured or killed by another's negligence, no matter how much physical or psychological pain they might endure, the value of their non-economic suffering would be $500,000 or less.

In November, Arkansas will vote on a constitutional amendment. Issue 1 proposes to limit non-economic damages to $500,000. My granddaughter is unemployed. The state would define her future potential lifetime income at no more than $500,000. My daughter is a stay-at-home mom. She's in the same economic category. At an income of only $25,000 per year, a worker will earn $500,000 in just 20 years.

If a defective product maims either of them, or if an understaffed, overworked hospital makes a devastating mistake, whatever pain, loss, suffering or even death that might ensue would only be valued at $500,000 or less in an Arkansas court. If the same injury were to happen to a rich 39-year-old businessman, he would be worth unlimited economic damage reimbursement. That seems wrong to me.

The Scriptures and Christian tradition mandate special protection for the poor and vulnerable -- "widows and orphans" and "the least of these." Jesus and the prophets go to great lengths to insist that it is the responsibility of the rich and powerful to care for the poor and vulnerable.

Issue 1 reverses that ethic. Under the moniker of "tort reform," Issue 1 presumes to limit access to the courts for those who cannot afford a lawyer, it takes away the power of a local jury of our neighbors to judge what is right and wrong, it lets politicians set the legal rules instead of the courts, and it assigns a dollar limit to the value of human life.

Nursing home neglect is already much too common in Arkansas. Twenty percent of our nursing homes are cited for errors each year, compared to only 5 percent in Oklahoma and Louisiana, according to the Arkansas Advocates for Nursing Home Residents. Maybe you heard about the Arkansas nursing home in December where every resident became infected with scabies mites while the administrators tried to cover up the paperwork. The nursing home industry and their incredibly powerful lobby is a major promoter of Issue 1.

Nursing homes factor in the modest costs of the minimal fines they face when such failures occur as a price of doing business. The only effective way to hold them accountable is for victims to exercise their Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury.

Wealthy multi-million dollar industries like nursing homes have highly paid lawyers on their retainer. The poor family of an injured loved-one has to find a lawyer willing to fight those deep pockets for a percentage of a judgment, a lawyer willing to risk receiving no payment if they fail. Issue 1 also seeks to cap contingency fees for lawyers willing to take that risk for their injured clients. The writers of Issue 1 put that paragraph first because it looks like a virtuous slap on the face of greedy lawyers. Actually, the only limits are on the lawyers advocating for the injured, regardless of income. There is no limit on lawyer fees for wealthy industries.

Access to justice is already limited for the poor. Issue 1 handcuffs the weak even more. It removes the one thing that can scare a careless, dangerous company or manufacturer -- the threat of large, punitive judgments when they do wanton, careless damage to human beings.

Let's keep these decisions local. Let's continue to let a jury of our neighbors listen to the arguments from both sides and decide what is right and just. We don't need lobbyists and politicians deciding what a human life is worth. We don't need lobbyists and politicians telling us what non-economic and punitive damages are just when an act of negligence or malpractice causes serious injury.

The voters of Arkansas need to stand up to the rich and powerful and stand up for the right of every person to a day in court and to be justly compensated when they are seriously harmed. I don't want politicians and industry lobbyists deciding the limit of what my granddaughter and my daughter's lives are worth. Each of us deserves our Seventh Amendment right to a trial by jury and our right to a legal advocate. Remember in November, and plan to defeat Issue 1.

Commentary on 03/13/2018


David Williams

Earlier this year, a hidden camera caught nurses in Georgia ignoring cries for help from an elderly veteran just prior to his death. The nurses were sentenced with murder charges but imagine if his family didn’t have the right to a jury trial.

If we don’t stand up this November and vote no on Issue 1, that could happen right here in Arkansas.  

Issue 1 puts a rigged system ahead of our community, including veterans and the elderly, by taking away the Constitutional right to a citizen jury trial in cases like these.  It will change the civil justice system in Arkansas putting special interests above law abiding citizens.

We have to vote against Issue 1 this November. Vote NO this November! 

Thanks again,

Protect AR Families


Senate Votes to Nix CFPB's Arbitration Rule

David Williams

US Senate Votes to Repeal Consumer Rights Protection in a 51-50 Vote

The U.S. Senate voted last Tuesday night to overturn a banking rule that allows consumers to bring class action lawsuits against bank and credit card companies to resolve financial disputes. (H. J. Res. 111). The rule, published in July by the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB), barred companies from using forced arbitration clauses to strip consumers of the right to join class actions to hold law-breaking financial institutions accountable for the harm and loss they have caused.

Critics say Republicans and Trump are siding with Wall Street over Main Street and the shift will block consumers from joining together against the like of Wells Fargo and Equifax. Numerous consumer, labor, military, academic, and civil rights organizations, strongly supported the CFPB rule and fought hard and long to preserve its existence.  

The Congressional Review Act (CRA) allows Congress to repeal regulations issued by government agencies with a simple majority vote. The House of Representatives previously used this simple majority vote rule to pass the resolution (H. J. Res 111) to overturn the Consumer Protection rule. Mike Pence broke the 50-50, after both Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) And Sen John Kennedy (R-La) broke with party ranks and voted to oppose overturning the rule.

The rollback of this Rule banning restrictive mandatory arbitration clauses found in the small print of credit card and checking account agreements takes away any power consumers had to effectively fight big banks and financial companies. Consumers will now be forced to give it up or go it alone usually over small amounts while companies are able to sidestep the court system, avoid big refunds, and continue harmful practices.

Bureau Director Richard Cordray said it represented "a giant setback for every consumer in this country. Wall Street won and ordinary people lost."

This is just another example of the effort by Wall Street to attack the 7th Amendment - Right to a Jury Trial. Your Arkansas Legislature seeks to do the same thing and take over your right to a trial by jury, and make the rules on who gets to sue and for how much. It caps the value of human life. It’s name? SJR8. Apparently, according to the latest word from the Chamber’s spokespersons, the Legislature will call this Issue 1 on your November, 2018 ballot.

Remember that Issue 1 is a NO vote in November 2018.. NO to Wall Street. NO to the Legislature for trying to place a limit on the value of human life. NO to government overreach.

The Saga of Dicamba and Monsanto

David Williams

               Dicamba was developed in 1958 by the German-based chemical company BASF, and first used on corn crops in the mid-1960's.  Dicamba, unfortunately, is not only deadly to a whole host of weeds, including pigweed, but also to many crops and flowering trees and shrubs. Dicamba has a chemical tendency to convert from a liquid to a gas, under the right weather conditions (called temperature inversion), and vaporize off plants it was sprayed upon and rise back up into the atmosphere, only to drift and then drop back down, miles away from the original site, onto vegetation, with highly lethal results.

               As a result of this potential contamination of neighbors crops, farmers didn't spray with dicamba. Also, it was also illegal to use dicamba in Arkansas. But, the penalty was a maximum $1000 fine by the State Plant Board which was nothing to a violator who had hundreds of thousands of dollars to gain in profits.

               Then, in 2015, Monsanto stepped in and released its Xtend brand of cottonseed.  A year later, it released its Xtend brand of soybean. These GMO modified seeds were Dicamba resistant. Both BASF and Monsanto also developed what they advertised as drift-resistant Dicamba.  The message from Monsanto to farmers became clear:  double down with Dicamba and sign up for both the dicamba-resistant seed and the “improved, low-drift” spray, and beat your neighbors to the punch.  Produce more, sell more.  This message sold with some farmers and they bought in, leaving their neighboring farmers, and communities, exposed and defenseless.

               The results were stunning. Farmers who didn't wait for approval by the Arkansas State Plant Board, used the banned dicamba spray, and bought the GMO seed, to the great harm of their neighboring farmers. Mike Wallace, a Monette, Arkansas farmer, who was outspoken in his opposition to dicamba damage, was shot to death on October 27, 2016, at a meeting with the farmhand of a dicamba spraying farmer. The trial of his shooter is set for September 11th of this year.  Wallace’s surviving widow Karen, estimates the Wallaces experienced an estimated $150,000 of crop damage from dicamba the first year of spraying.

               But, it wasn't until after the damage had been done that the Arkansas State Plant Board took action, banning dicamba use and raising the fine to $25,000 on July 11. It was too little, too late.

               The question raised is what role does government regulation, criminal law, and the civil justice system play in deterring this kind of behavior?  Where farmer will go against farmer and intentionally violate the law and the regulations, in order to produce a profit, or gain a competitive advantage, or to survive economically.  How do these oversight systems work? How do they work together? How much regulation is too much or too little?  Do we need greater criminal penalties?  How about caps on the damages that farmers can obtain in court? My answer would be that money talks; and you know what walks. The only proven way to deter illegal and harmful, greedy behavior, is to employ the whole arsenal of weapons.  The punishment has to fit the crime. The penalty has to hurt the violator. Regulations are in place because someone in the past cheated on the rules. Criminal law is for punishment. Yet, criminal punishment won't make these farmers whole. They may have lost their farms and their livelihoods.

               The only way to deter illegal, harmful behavior, and restore those harmed is to hit the violators where it hurts, and that is in the pocketbook. Their illegally gained profits must be restored to those whom they harmed, and those who are harmed must be restored their losses. The constitutional right to a trial by a jury must remain inviolate. Violators have to be held accountable.

               There are two tracks of lawsuits going forward right now. One track is on behalf of several non-dicamba using farmers and is against Monsanto and BASF for crop damage due to drifting dicamba spray. The other track is on behalf of farmers who bought dicamba-resistant seed and used dicamba spray and is against Monsanto, BASF, and DuPont for civil conspiracy, trespass, nuisance, negligence, products and strict liability, illegal monopoly, deceptive trade practices, fraud and misrepresentation.  Below is a link to the latter class action lawsuit.

              In the case of dicamba, there seems to be plenty of blame to go around, but Monsanto and BASF are at the root of it. We shall see how the trials turn out.