Legal Speak

$12.7 Million Verdict Awarded

Gary Holt & Connie Grace obtained a total verdict of $12,771,000 in a premises security case on October 29, 2015, in Little Rock.  The verdict included a $2,771,000 verdict in compensatory damages against Park Plaza Mall, CMBS, LLC, and its security company, ERMC II, LP, Tristan Bryant, and Deonte Edison in favor of the Estate of Christian Ellis Hayes, deceased.   A  twelve-member Pulaski County jury found that the corporate defendants’ negligent conduct was equal to that of each of the two individuals who were convicted in 2014 for Hayes’ February 28, 2013 murder and aggravated robbery of the Sbarro restaurant after the mall had closed for business.    The jury considered evidence including an unlocked door leading to the outside of the mall behind Sbarro and other restaurants; unmonitored video surveillance, and knowledge that Bryant had previously entered the store after the mall closed and was suspected of theft at the time and claims for negligent hiring, training, supervision and retention of personnel on duty the night of the murder.   The jury also assessed punitive damages of $10,000,000 against Tristan Bryant and Deonte Edison.        

Gary Holt & Associates, P.A. was honored to represent Hayes’ mother, Kimberly Marie Powell of Manhattan, who represented Hayes’ Estate.  She and Myon Zimbalist Hayes, of Chicago now have proof that their son, as an employee of a tenant of the mall, was entitled to reasonable safety at the mall where he worked.  Christian Hayes was age 25.


Lifetime Achievement Award Presented to Gary Eubanks by ATLA

The following is an excerpt of the award presentation speech to introduce Gary Eubanks…

“The ATLA Lifetime Achievement Award is given in recognition, memory and honor of the late United States District Judge Henry Woods and his many contributions, and a lifetime of dedicated service to the civil justice system, the legal profession and to ATLA.

“It is intended to be a very special award that is not necessarily presented each year. It is meant to recognize a lawyer who has devoted his or her career to helping injured victims and consumers, and has championed the causes of those who lack the money, education or the ability to protect their own rights.

“This year’s recipient, Gary Eubanks, has exceeded these qualifications in every way.  His life has been a complete demonstration of helping others no matter the cost. Gary Eubanks has been instrumental in helping Arkansans for over 50 years. He graduated from North Little Rock High School in 1951, and from 1952-1954 he served as a Naval Reservist in the Naval Submarine Service during the Korean War.  To this day, he regards every single case with equal care and will do whatever it takes to help every client get justice regardless of their social or financial position. He grew up with very little means, but did not let that hold him back.  After fighting his way through law school, his passion for helping folks who’ve been oppressed due to their skin color, financial means, education, or social status has served to protect countless Arkansans.  He still gets infuriated when he hears of someone being taken advantage of by an individual or corporation with superior bargaining power.  He’s tried over 500 jury trials in an effort to advance the cause of the every man or woman. He was the first to advertise on television and, the first to use a contingency fee contract in Arkansas, truly pioneering the advancement of plaintiff’s attorneys.

“His efforts to do good are not just limited to tending to his clients, though.  He was an Arkansas State Representative from 1963 to 1966, winning the election with 347 out of 350 votes in Sherwood.  He has been a member of or is a member of the Pulaski County Bar Association, the American Bar Association, ATLA, the Association of Trial Lawyers of America, President of the Pulaski County Young Democrats in 1961, vice president of the Arkansas Young Democrats Club Organization, has served as Special Judge in Circuit Court on numerous occasions, Southern Trial Lawyers Association, and the list goes on and on!  In 2002, he founded a charitable organization called “the Gary L. Eubanks Charitable Foundation, Inc,” which has awarded scholarships to single parents to help them achieve a higher education that would not be able to afford to go to college if not for his assistance.  Also, he received the highest possible peer review rating, “AV”  from Martindale Hubbell.”



April is National Distracted Month

Hey Arkansas, are teens getting the message about texting & driving? No, they are not. Surveys suggest teens understand the dangers of drinking & driving but not texting and driving. This category of drivers is very important because auto crashes are the leading killer of teens. Teens between the ages of 16-18 have 4 times as many crashes as adults, ages 25-65. Only 1 in 3 believes that texting while driving could lead to a fatal crash.

What can we do? Education, Education and more Education. Since, April is National Distracted Driving Month, parents need to spend more time teaching teens about safe driving. Don’t stop when your teen has a driver’s license. This the time of year for proms and graduations. We want our teens to have a good time and arrive safe. For more information, check out www.distraction.gov.


The Great Hang Up

Gary Holt & Associates is dedicated to informing Arkansans of the dangers of distracted driving and we are inviting you to join The Great Hang Up and help us convince people to put down the phone while driving. Texting or talking on the phone without a hands free device is against the law and can lead to unnecessary and sometimes deadly crashes.  We encourage teenagers, schools, moms, dads, and businesses all throughout Arkansas to join the movement and be part of The Great Hang Up!

Watch the video below for details.  Also, check out DriveMode (from AT&T)  or contact your wireless provider for additional options.

You can view all KTHV Garden Party “Great Hang Up” segments here.


Be Prepared

Can parents do anything to stop teens from texting while driving?  Education is the best method.  Not only that,  but there are several apps for smartphones that help.  Phoneguard is a free app that can be downloaded to the phone.  It detects when the car is moving.  This app locks the phone out from not only texting but surfing the web and reading emails.  It does have an override if you are a passenger.  AT&T’s app is called DriveMode and it is free too.  Check with you provider and be safe.


Talk to Your Teen

Parents,  as we move into the spring time, we know teenagers will be distracted with thoughts of proms and graduation.  This is the time to sit down with them and discuss the dangers of texting and driving.  Kids think they are invincible.  They are not.  A recent story on NBC discussed a teen driving while texting to a pal on Facebook.  She slammed into the back of a tanker truck, killing her instantly.  The investigation revealed she never hit her brakes.  Sadly, her last text was “I can’t discuss this now.  Driving and facebooking is not safe! Haha”



Did you know that distracted driving is not limited to texting and driving?  A distraction is anything that takes your hands off the wheel, your eyes off the road or your mind off the road.  In addition to texting, other forms are using a cell phone or smartphone, eating, drinking, talking or arguing with others, grooming, reading, using the navigation system and adjusting other controls in the vehicle.  Be smart, be an attentive driver.


Did You Know…?

Did you know that in Arkansas, it is illegal to text while driving?  Arkansas Code Ann. 27-51-1504 says that “a driver of a motor vehicle shall not use a handheld wireless telephone for wireless interactive communication while operating a motor vehicle”.  The law, otherwise known as Paul’s Law came about from a tragedy where a person who was texting caused an accident that killed another person.  Be safe and don’t text & drive!


New Gary Holt & Associates Website

We are pleased to announce the launch of our new and improved website! Our goal with the redesign of our website was to make the information that we give to you easier to find and easier to navigate. If you have any questions or comments about the site in general, or anything in particular, please feel free to contact us using the form to the right.