Trial Attorney Willie E. Gary Honored as Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist by The National Trial Lawyers
Willie E. Gary Honored with Award at the 2015 National Trial Lawyers Summit in Miami
Willie E. Gary was recently honored by the National Trial Lawyers as a Civil Plaintiff Trial Lawyer of the Year Finalist. The Trial Lawyer of the Year Award is presented annually by The National Trial Lawyers and their affiliate magazine in Miami, Florida. Gary was recognized as a civil plaintiff lawyer whose legal repertoire has made substantial impacts upon the legal community on both a local and national level. Candidates must have noteworthy accolades such as largely successful verdicts and settlements. The constituents of The National Trial Lawyers select the winner each year and consider the top 100 trial lawyers from all 50 states. Membership in The National Trial Lawyers is extended to the most qualified trial attorneys from each state who demonstrate superior qualifications of leadership, reputation, influence, stature and public profile.
Gary is no stranger to seeking justice. Gary and his legal team are known for taking on some of the nation’s most powerful corporate giants. In 2014, a jury awarded Gary and his legal team an unprecedented $23.6 billion verdict against RJ Reynolds Tobacco Company. In 1995, a jury awarded Gary and his legal team a record-breaking, half-billion dollars against one of the world’s largest funeral chains, The Loewen Group. In addition, Gary is noted for winning a $240 million jury verdict in Orange County against the Walt Disney Corporation for his clients who alleged that Disney stole their idea for a sports theme park. In 2001, a jury awarded Gary a $139.6 million verdict for the Maris Distributing Company against Anheuser Busch.
Florida Circuit Court Judge Terry D. Terrell recently denied RJ Reynolds’ request for a new trial after Reynolds was hit with a landmark $23.6 billion verdict on behalf of the widow of a man who died as a result of a smoking-related illness.
Trial attorney Willie Gary, along with his law partner Donald Watson, of the Florida-based law firm of Gary, Williams, Parenti, & Watson, and Gary P.L.L.C., and Chris Chestnut of the Chestnut Firm in Atlanta, Georgia were awarded nearly $17 million in compensatory damages and over $23 billion in punitive damages on behalf of their client Cynthia Robinson. Throughout the course of a four-week trial, Gary and team proved that RJ Reynolds was negligent in informing consumers of the dangers of tobacco and therefore, caused the unnecessary and untimely demise of Michael Johnson, Sr. The trial team also proved that RJ Reynolds conspired with other tobacco companies to withhold critical information from the public. Johnson contracted lung cancer as a direct and proximate result of smoking cigarettes. Johnson, furthermore, became addicted to cigarettes and was unable to quit smoking despite numerous attempts.
After roughly 15 hours of deliberations, the Jury returned a verdict in favor of Gary’s client for nearly $17 million dollars in compensatory damages, and a landmark $23.6 billion in punitive damages. The Jury determined that RJ Reynolds was negligent and should have done a better job at informing consumers about the dangers of smoking and the physical dependency caused by nicotine. Judge Terrell recently reduced the punitive damages from $23 billion to $16 million, despite the Defendant’s request that the verdict be reduced to $2 million.
“It is our sincere hope to be able to resolve this matter as amicably and expeditiously as possible,” commented Chris Chestnut. “While we recognize that there is no amount of money that will ever be able to replace her husband, our client has suffered enough and we want her to be able to move forward with her life,” stated Willie Gary. “While we certainly respect the Judge’s decision, we thank God that we live in a country that allows us to fight for what we believe is right. We will continue the fight against Big Tobacco in an effort to eradicate unnecessary and untimely smoking related deaths,” continued Gary.
Attorney Willie E. Gary and Team Obtain Multi- Million Dollar Settlement on Behalf of Family Severely Injured on Ride at North Carolina State Fair
Prominent Trial attorney Willie E. Gary and his legal team recently obtained a multi-million dollar settlement on behalf of four clients that nearly lost their lives while riding an attraction at the North Carolina State Fair.
Kisha Gorham, Anthony Gorham, Justen Hunter (a minor) and Shykema Dempsey were severely injured on October 24, 2013 when they were forcefully thrown from the Vortex ride at the North Carolina State Fair, after the ride’s safety harnesses were disengaged when they were disembarking from the ride. The ride suddenly and forcefully lurched back into operation, tossing the Plaintiffs to the metal platform below the ride. The malfunction resulted in major, catastrophic, and life-changing injuries to all the Plaintiffs.
Attorney Willie Gary and his team contended that the Defendants were negligent in operating the Vortex ride and they failed to correct and remedy problems identified with the ride. The lawsuit was filed against Amusements of Rochester, Inc., d/b/a Powers Great American Midways (incorporated and doing business in North Carolina), and Family Attractions Amusement, LLC (incorporated in the state of Georgia with an ownership interest in the ride known as the Vortex).
“The Defendants are guilty of the oldest sin known to man, and that is greed. More emphasis was placed on profits than the safety of people, and we want to make sure that this will never happen again at any amusement park, county, state or local fair anywhere in the United States,” said Attorney Gary.
“The Defendants are guilty of hiring people who were clearly untrained and unqualified to provide the safety patrons deserved,” commented Willie Gary. “As a result of their gross negligence, my clients have suffered devastating injuries. No amount of money can give them back what they have lost,” stated Gary.
Anthony Gorham, whose injuries were the most severe is blind in one eye and is in jeopardy of a possible loss of sight in the other eye. He suffers from permanent brain damage, has experienced ongoing seizures, and will require medical care for the rest of his life.
His wife, Kisha Gorham, received severe neck, back and head injuries. Their son, Justen Hunter was diagnosed with having a subdural hematoma of the brain. Shykema Dempsey continues to suffer from the head and spinal injuries she received in this accident.
Trial Attorney and Philanthropist Willie E. Gary Honored at the 18th Annual Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Economic Summit
New York, NY – Willie E. Gary was recently honored during Rev. Jesse Jackson’s 18th Annual Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Economic Summit – “Where Wall Street, Main Street & Silicon Valley Converge”. The highly anticipated event was held at The Sheraton New York Times Square in New York City and aimed to enhance financial literacy among minorities and encourage corporate America to hire, promote and retain minority workers.
Gary was applauded for his accomplishments as a trial attorney and his untiring commitment to youth, education and community service. The conference attracted over 300 business leaders, elected officials and clergy who share in Rev. Jackson’s vision and the beliefs of the Rainbow/PUSH Wall Street Economic Summit.
During his remarks, Gary challenged audience members to remember the obligation to help those that are less fortunate. “It is imperative that as leaders in our communities, we reach back and help those that need a little motivation,” commented Gary. “It is also up to us to provide employment opportunities for young boys and girls as they graduate high school and college. None of us made it to where we are today on our own. It was because we stood on the shoulders of others that we are where we are today and we don’t have the right to not help one another,” Gary continued.
Gary is well-known for his philanthropic endeavors. In 1994, he and his wife, Dr. Gloria Gary, founded the Gary Foundation, which provides college scholarships to at-risk students who wish to attend college. The Gary’s have donated millions of dollars to help Historically Black Colleges and Universities, including $10 million to their alma mater, Shaw University in Raleigh, North Carolina.