November 15, 2008
William McMurry provided over 1000 hours of free legal work, "pro-bono," on this herioc case against the hate group known as the Imperial Klans of America. Mr. McMurry served as co-trial counsel with Morris Dees, founder of the Southern Poverty Law Center to secure a $2.5 million verdict.
Klan ordered to pay $2.5 million in civil trial
BRANDENBURG, Ky. — The leader of the Kentucky-based Imperial Klans of America and a former Klansman must pay $2.5million in damages for the beating of a minority teenager at a county fair that left him with permanent injuries, a Meade County jury ruled late last night.
Morris Dees of the The Southern Poverty Law Center working
in conjunction with Willaim F. McMurry and Steven R. Crebessa
as co-counsel represented Jordan Gruver, 19 in this suit against
the Imperial Klans of America (IKA) and four Klansmen. Dees
& McMurry argued that Ron Edwards, the Klan group's Imperial
Wizard, recklessly bred an atmosphere of hate and violence and
was liable for Gruver's July 2006 beating at the hands of his
Klansmen, even though he didn't order it.
William F. McMurry's involvement in the case included selecting
the jury and putting key witness Kale Kelly on the stand. Former
klansman Kale Kelly testified at the trial that Edwards instructed
him to kill Dees during the SPLC's lawsuit against the Aryan
Nations in the late 1990s. Kelly said he planned to track Dees
in Idaho, where the trial was held, and that Edwards would supply
William F. McMurry also conducted the direct exam of the Plaintiff,
the direct exam of all damage witnesses and the closing argument.
Never before has Morris Dees allowed a co-council to put the
SPLC's client on the stand or conduct the closing argument.
William F. McMurry worked on this case “pro bono”,
charging no fee for his time.
The jury deliberated for nearly seven hours before delivering
the verdict against IKA Imperial Wizard Ron Edwards and two
former IKA members, Jarred Hensley and Andrew Watkins, both
of whom served two years in state prison for assaulting Gruver.
The verdict included $1.5 million in compensatory damages —
apportioned among Edwards, Hensley and Watkins — and $1
million in punitive damages against Edwards.
Link to The Southern Poverty Law Center story.
Woman is awarded $125,000
William McMurry believes in giving back to his community by helping people in need of legal services that cannot afford to hire an attorney. The following synopsis outlines one of those cases. Mr. McMurry learned about Ms. Walls' case through a story in the Courier-Journal newspaper. The article stated that she was representing herself because she could no longer afford to pay her lawyers. Mr. McMurry represented her for free.
for HIV disclosure
By Kim Wessel
When the trial commenced last Thursday, Traci Walls was prepared to represent herself. Her lawyers had dropped her case because she could not afford to pay them and she could not afford to pay another lawyer.
Attorney William F. McMurry read about Traci Walls' case in The Courier Journal and decided to go to the courthouse and offer his services as a trial lawyer to Ms. Walls for free.
Ms. Walls lawsuit arose out of a lab worker at Jewish Hospital revealing the result of her HIV test. Eventually, the leak resulted in close friends and neighbors in her neighborhood learning about the HIV test results.
State law forbids anyone who knows the results of an HIV test to disclose it. Jewish Hospital officials testified that their employees are reminded of the rules on patient confidentiality.
The jury deliberated for more than three hours before returning a verdict of $125,000 for Ms. Walls against Jewish Hospital. Ms. Walls was quoted as stating, "Justice is real, it really is." Ms. Walls also stated, "It wasn't the money, though. Once I got to tell what happened, that was it. I was satisfied, even if I didn't get anything."
After the verdict, Ms. Walls, referring to her lawyer, William F. McMurry, said: "It was him. God sent him."
December, 09 2013
McMurry Named The Florida Bar President's Pro Bono Out-of-State Service Award for 2014
98,000 members of the Florida Bar salute McMurry with the Pro-bono Service Award for 2014
“The time and professional expertise you (Willam F. McMurry) have contributed in making legal represenatation available to those otherwise unable to afford it serve as an example of our profession at its best. It is my sincere hope that others in the legal field will follow your outstanding example.“
READ THE LETTER FROM THE FLORIDA BAR PRESIDENT