The following is a representative list of cases, most of which were presented to a jury, whereby Joe Byars served as trial counsel to the prevailing party. Jury verdicts are obviously different from settlements.
The vast majority of cases do settle before the trial of a lawsuit, but it is very important to know — and for the opposition to know — that if the amount of the settlement offered before trial is not reasonable, Joe is quite capable of presenting the case to a jury, and obtaining a favorable result.
The list of cases below provides a sampling of the various types of cases in which Joe Byars has served as trial counsel. Joe looks forward to the next challenging case. If your case is one of the few which does not settle before trial, make sure your attorney has the skill and expertise to bring it to trial and protect your interests.
Like many attorneys who have a significant part of their practice in the personal injury area, Joe Byars knows that experience helps him assess a valuation of a client’s case in terms of settlement value. Because no two cases are exactly alike, and the value of a case depends upon many different factors, a comparison or review of the results in past cases is generally difficult to make unless one has all the facts and circumstances at hand.
The following descriptions are made simply to demonstrate that we actually do have a track record of success. You should also keep in mind that in many cases, the insurance companies or opposing parties desire confidentiality agreements to be signed, which restricts our ability to disclose the terms of significant prior success stories. Nevertheless, here is a description of a few:
Tom Holbird v. Allen Canning Co., U.S. District Court, Eastern District of Oklahoma, (Jury Verdict).
Joe Byars and Dan George served as co-counsel to our client, Tom Holbird, who was driving a log truck down Highway 59 in Arkansas, when he was forced off the roadway by an Allen Canning Co, Inc. 18 wheeler being driven in the opposite direction. While the two trucks did not actually make contact, the investigation, led by Joe Byars, established that an Allen Canning truck was in the vicinity at the time of the accident, and the eyewitness testimony of a young man in a car driving behind the Allen Canning truck said that before the accident an Allen Canning 18 wheeler was crossing the double yellow line. With witness examination by Dan George and Joe Byars, the jury certainly believed Mr. Holbird was injured by the negligent conduct of Allen Canning. Although Mr. Holbird only incurred past medical expenses of $3,741.00, he also lost his log truck, which was totaled in the accident, which had a value of $24,142.00. The jury awarded Mr. Holbird the sum of $250,000.00 . The pretrial offer of settlement was $8,000.00.
Linh Mai v. Nicholas Peluso and USAA (Settlement)
Joe Byars represented Linh Mai, who was injured in an automobile accident. Ms. Mai suffered an injury to her neck, and underwent treatment in Fort Smith and in Tulsa. The case settled for $250,000.00.
Jack Brun v. Maxon Lift Corp. Sebastian County, Arkansas Circuit Court, Case No. (Settlement)
Mr. Brun suffered an injury to his foot and ankle when he was standing on a power lift, lowering a pallet load of Coca-Cola product to the ground. Mr. Brun sued Maxon Lift Corp., the manufacturer of the hydraulic lift gate, claiming the product was defective and dangerous. Maxon denied the allegations. This case involved the retention of engineering expert witnesses. The case was settled for a confidential amount prior to trial. Mr. Byars also represented Mr. Brun in connection with his corresponding worker’s compensation case, which was also settled with approval of the Worker’s Compensation Commission.
Norma Henson, as Personal Representative of the Estate of Jesse Raper v. Pink Bud Nursing
Home (2011 jury verdict)
Nursing home negligence case was tried to a Greenwood, Arkansas jury, where the jury found Pink Bud Nursing Home was negligent in the care and treatment of Jesse Raper, and awarded damages of $101,292.90.
Marie Chapman v. Western Arkansas Anesthesia Associates, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas, (Jury Verdict)
Eddie Christian and Joe Byars served as co-counsel representing Marie Chapman in a medical malpractice action focused on the negligent insertion of an endotracheal tube by a certified registered nurse anesthetist, in which the vocal cords of the patient were not visualized prior to the placement, resulting in the perforation of Ms. Chapman’s esophagus. This resulted in a subsequent hospitalization and repair of the perforation. After a three-day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client for $250,000.00. Joe Byars defended and argued the appeal to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, which affirmed the verdict in May of 2000.
Tom Randolph and Malissa Randolph as next friend of Bert Randolph v. Ronald Schlabach, M.D., et al – Crawford County, Arkansas Circuit Court, (Settlement)
Plaintiffs were represented by Joe Byars, who associated with Thad Meyers, out of South Carolina in a very serious case in which the Plaintiffs alleged misdiagnosis and delayed diagnosis of a subarachnoid hemorrhage. The case was litigated over several years with many expert depositions, resulting in a confidential settlement prior to trial.
William Dominic v. DeVilbiss Air Power Co., U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas (Hendren), (Jury Verdict)
The Plaintiff, Bill Dominic, was represented by Joe Byars. Suit was filed in the U.S. District Court for the Western District of Arkansas, Judge Hendren presiding. Mr. Dominic asserted claims of sexual harassment, and retaliation, in violation of Title VII of the Civil Rights Act, 42 U.S.C. 2000, et seq, and the Arkansas Civil Rights Act, Ark. Code Ann. 16-123-101, et seq. After prevailing on motions for summary judgment seeking dismissal prior to trial, the case was presented to a jury over the course of several days. The jury returned a verdict in favor of our client, awarding Mr. Dominic $50,000.00 in compensatory damages on the claim of negligent supervision, $50,000.00 in compensatory damages on the sexual harassment and retaliation claims, and $13,000.00 in lost wages and benefits on the retaliation claiiu The jury also awarded Mr. Dominic $250,000.00 in punitive damages based on the Title VII sexual harassment and retaliation claims. In addition, the court awarded attorney’s fees of $50,964.51, and judgment was entered in the total amount of $413,964.51. DeVilbiss filed a motion for new trial and to vacate the punitive damages award. The U.S. District Court denied the motion of DeVilbiss, and the case was taken to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit. The Court of Appeals found that the issue of punitive damages should not have been presented to the jury, but affirmed the remaining part of the judgment.
Georgia Gilley, Becky Barenberg and Edita Neu v. Health Management, Inc. a/k/a/ Van Buren HMA, Inc. d/b/a Crawford Memorial Hospital, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas, (Settlement)
Joe Byars represented the Plaintiffs in association with Bob Cloar, who made the referral of the case to Joe. The Plaintiffs asserted claims of sex discrimination, alleging that they were subjected to disparate treatment because of their vocal opposition to certain sexually explicit actions of an employee. HMA denied liability. After lengthy depositions, the case was referred to mediation, where it settled under a confidential settlement agreement.
Larry Schilling v. Allen Canning Co., Crawford County Circuit Court (Settlement)
Plaintiff, Lany Schilling, a former plant manager of the Van Buren facility, was represented by Joe Byars in a claim for wrongful discharge of his employment by Allen Canning Co. The case was resolved at mediation pursuant to the terms of a confidential settlement agreement.
Ed Smith v. St. Edward Health Facilities, et al, and St. Edward Mercy Medical Center (2011 Jury verdict)
Employment compensation dispute for breach of employment contract and asserted violation of the Uniformed Services Employment Re-employment Act (USERRA) was tried to a jury in Sebastian County, Arkansas. Plaintiff, Ed Smith, was represented by Joe D. Byars, Jr., of Fort Smith. Defendants were represented by the law firm of Ledbetter, Cogbill, Arnold & Harrison. The jury returned a verdict in favor of Plaintiff, Ed Smith, for the total sum of $41,850.00, plus costs and attorney’s fees. The suit was later settled on a confidential basis.
Equal Employment Opportunity Commission v. Randall Ford, Inc., Doyle Martin as Intervenor, U.S. District Court, Western District of Arkansas.
Joe Byars represented Doyle Martin, as intervenor in an Americans with Disabilities case whereby Doyle Martin alleged that he was unlawfully terminated from his employment because of his disability, which arose after a surgery. Mr. Martin claimed that the reason given by Randall Ford for his termination was merely a pretext, given for the purpose of attempting to hide discrimination. The case settled prior to trial pursuant to a confidential settlement agreement.
David Hewett II, Aaron Johnson, et al, and similarly situated others vs. Gerber Products Company, Circuit Court of Sebastian County, Arkansas, Fort Smith District; CV-12-75
Joe Byars, together with John Holleman & Associates represent, as class counsel, employees of the Fort Smith, Arkansas production facility of Gerber Products Company in a case claiming damages for unpaid wages and overtime due under the Arkansas Minimum Wage Act. The lawsuit claims that Gerber should have paid the employees in changing into a workplace uniform, and other pre and post line duties, as mandated by Gerber for purposes of food safety. On August 4, 2015, the Circuit Court of Sebastian County entered a Judgment against Gerber Products Company in the principal amount of $3,001,669.84, plus prejudgment interest. Gerber filed a Notice of Appeal and the case is on appeal to the Arkansas Supreme Court.
Reeder-Simco GMC, Inc. v. Volvo GMHeavy Truck Co., 497 F. 3d, 805 (8th Cir. 2007) (Jury Verdict)
Jury verdict in favor of client, Reeder-Simco GMC, Inc., in the principal amount of $1,871,750.00; judgment with RPA claim trebled pursuant to law, plus attorneys fees: $4,784,020.42. Joe Byars represented Reeder-Simco GMC in a case asserted against a manufacturer of heavy trucks, Volvo
GM Heavy Taick Co., during the same time that the dealership was still a licensed dealer of Volvo. Reeder-Simco alleged unfair price discrimination under the Robison-Putman Act (RPA), and a failure to deal in good faith, and in a commercially reasonable manner under the Arkansas Franchise Practice Act (AFPA). During the pendency of the action, Reeder-Simco GMC obtained one of its largest sales in its history, selling hundreds of heavy duty truck units to a local trucking company. At trial, Reeder-Simco presented testimony of how the manufacturer failed to extend similar discounts of wholesale pricing to Reeder-Simco as it had with other heavy truck dealers. Volvo disputed the allegations, and further maintained that neither the state statute (the AFPA) nor the RPA was applicable. After the two-week jury trial, the jury found in favor of Reeder-Simco, and awarded damages of $1,358,000 on the RPA claim, and $513,750.00 on the AFPA claim. The RPA claim was trebled to $4,074,000.00. The court also awarded attorneys fees of $171,095.00 and costs of $25,175.42 for a total judgment of $4,784,029.42. The RPA claim went to the U.S. Supreme Court, which was reversed, but the AFPA claim was upheld on appeal.
F&S Physical Therapy, Inc. v. Booneville Community Hospital, et al, Logan County, Arkansas Circuit Court, Case No. CV-08-10 (Jury Verdict)
Joe Byars represented the Plaintiff, F&A Physical Therapy, Inc., asserting claims of breach of contract tortious interference with contract and declaratory judgment claims, seeking to enforce a covenant not to compete, or in the alternative, damages against the named parties. Prior to trial, a confidential settlement was reached with all parties except Booneville Community Hospital. The case proceeded to jury trial on May 5, 6, and July 26, 27, 2010, resulting in a jury verdict in favor of our client in the principal amount of $52,400.00. The court also awarded attorney’s fees, resulting in a judgment in favor of our client of $82,400.00, plus costs.
Sales Merchandising Services, Inc., v. Continental Tire North America, Inc., Benton County, Arkansas Circuit Court, Case No. CV-2005-523-5 (Jury Verdict)
Joe Byars represented the Plaintiff Sales Merchandising Services, Inc., in a breach of contract case against Continental Tire North America, Inc., which was represented by Friday, Eldridge & Clark (Jim Simpson). The case went to jury trial, and the jury returned a verdict in favor of our client in the total amount of $235,295.00, plus attorneys fees of approximately $40,000.00, for a total judgment of $275,695.00. The case was settled soon after the entry of the judgment against Continental Tire North America.
Total Medical Solutions, LLC v. River Valley Compounding, LLC, before the American Arbitration Association, Case No. 14-001-8577
Joe Byars represented River Valley Compounding, LLC in an arbitration proceeding initiated by Total Medical Solutions LLC in which Total Medical Solutions sought damages in excess of $500,000.00 in a breach of contract action. The case was successfully resolved prior to final hearing, after substantial discovery and motions practice before the arbitrator.
Wayne Hill d/b/a/ Hill’s Sanitation, Inc. v. Sebastian County, Sebastian County, Arkansas Circuit Court, (Jury Verdict)
Joe Byars represented the Plaintiff, Wayne Hill d/b/a Hill’s Sanitation Services in a breach of contract case against Sebastian County, which asserted that the parties did not actually enter into a valid and binding contract. After a three- day jury trial, the jury returned a verdict in favor of Mr. Hill in the amount of $ 125,000.00. The trial judge, Michael Fitzhugh, also awarded attorneys fees in excess of$ 17,000.00; and judgment was entered in favor of our client in excess of $142,000.00.
John Etter v. M&MBonding, Inc. and Cody Ice, Sebastian County, Arkansas Circuit Court, (Court Ruling)
Joe Byars represented John Etter in a breach of contract action against M&M Bonding, Inc. and Cody fee. The Defendant denied the existence of any agreement. The Plaintiff, John Etter, recovered judgment in the principal amount of $43,035.00.
Phil Mayberry v. Tom Burton, Sebastian County, Arkansas Circuit Court, (Jury Verdict)
Joe Byars and Eddie Christian represented the Plaintiff as co-counsel at a jury trial alleging fraud and deceit by the Defendant. After a two-day jury trial, the jury returned a unanimous verdict in favor of the Plaintiff Phil Mayberry, and judgment was subsequently entered in favor of Mr. Mayberry in the amount of $58,000.00, plus attorney’s fees of $7,110.00.
Will Contest Litigation
Medlock v. Mitchell, 95 Ark. App. 132, 234 SW.3d 901 (Ark. App. 2006) (Court Ruling and Appeal)
Successfully set aside a will which disinherited one of the decedent’s children, and greatly reduced another child’s share of the estate.
Joe Byars and Eddie Christian, Jr. represented Michelle Mitchell, individually, and in her petition for appointment of personal representative of the estate. Pleadings were filed on behalf of the Estate to invalidate a will executed by George Richard Mitchell in favor of Kay Medlock (Mitchell), and seeking a declaration to declare a lost Will and trust benefitting Michelle Mitchell and Mark Mitchell as the true will and trust of the decedent. After five days of trial in Sebastian County, Arkansas, the court found that the new will executed by Mr. Mitchell was a product
or undue influence, and was invalid.
Moreover, the court found that Michelle Mitchell met her burden of proof to establish the lost will and trust as the true will and trust of the decedent, which effectively restored a significant estate and inheritance to Michelle and Mark Mitchell. The order of the trial court was appealed to the Arkansas Court of Appeals, which was unanimously affirmed on May 3, 2006.
In the Matter of the Estate of Nancy Smith, Deceased, Sebastian County, Arkansas Circuit Court, (Settlement)
Joe Byars represented the nieces and nephews of Nancy Smith in a will contest case which was successfully settled by agreement, resulting in significant distributions of the assets of the estate to the unnamed heirs.
Appellate Court Opinions
Abshire v. Redland Energy Services LLC, 822 F.Supp.2d 874; 695 F3d 792 (Oct. 10, 2012)
Medlock v. Mitchell, 95 Ark. App. 132, 234 S.W.3d 901 (2006)
Volvo Trucks North America Inc. v. Reeder Simco GMC, Inc., 546 U.S. 164; 126 S.Ct. 860 (2006); and Volvo GMHeavy Truck Co. v. Reeder-Simco GMC, Inc., 374 F.3d, 701 (2004)
Burford Distributing Inc. v. Starr, 341 Ark 914, 20 S.W.3d 363 (July 7, 2000)
Coombs v. J.B. Hunt Transport, Inc., 2012 Ark. App. 24, 388 S.W.3d 456 (2012)
Rigsby v. Rigsby, 346 Ark. 337, 57 S.W.3d 206 (2001)
Acker Construction LLC v. Tran, 2012 Ark. App. 214, 396 S.W.3d 279 (2012)
Dominic v. DeVilbiss Air Power Co., 2006 WL 516847 (2006); 493 F.3d 968 (8th Cir 2007)
Hewett v. Gerber Products Co., 2012 WL 5410753 (2012)
Alexander v. Eastern Tank Services, Inc., 2016 Ark. App 185 (2016)