Thank you Governor Locke and thank you WSTLA for this honor.  For those who know me well, know that this honor is not mine alone. It is an honor shared with my law partners, Bruce Clark, Denis Stearns and Andy Weisbecker and associates and staff who have all long suffered in my presence.  Thanks to my wife of 20 years, Julie, who kept food on the table and the mortgage nearly always paid before the Jack-in-the Box case settled in 1995.  Thanks to my beautiful, talented and strong daughters, Morgan, Olivia and Sydney. Thank you for not making me feel too guilty for missing more than my fair share of your events.  A very special thanks and honor to my Mom and Dad. Dad, I am glad that you have tolerated me for nearly 51 years.  In closing, I want to share with you a letter I recently received from the daughter of a Nebraska woman who died of an E. coli infection after eating something as simple as a spinach salad in 2006:

“Dear Bill:

As we approach the conclusion of Ruby’s case, I wanted to thank everyone there for your work on behalf of my family. Though this letter is addressed to you, it is meant for everyone at the firm. It takes a dedicated and very hardworking team to collect, sort, file, retrieve, assemble, analyze and present all the material involved in an action such as this. Though I know this case came at an extremely busy time for Marler Clark, each of you accomplished your work with seeming ease, all the while making us feel as though we were your only client.

However, the real joy in our association with Marler Clark was the tremendous effort each of you exerted in trying to effect positive change within the food industry. Your work to assure food purity along the entire food chain, from production, packaging, shipping and preparation, really sets the Marler Clark team apart from the crowd.

Though nothing will bring my mother back and no amount of money could ease the heartache of losing her, your efforts have been very fruitful. Having her illness and death held up to the light, for all to see, has done a great deal to create awareness and remedy the problem of leafy green E. coli illness and death. Television programs from both Dateline and CNN were viewed by millions, California continues to move toward adoption of three critical pieces of food purity legislation, the Federal Government is aware of the problem, Natural Selection Foods conducts pre-packaging purity testing and hopefully, we are a few steps closer to the acceptance of irradiation. I am confident that these changes were initiated or greatly accelerated because of Marler Clark’s proactive crusade for safer food supply.

At the end of the game each of you can be glad of the legal victories you achieve on behalf of your clients. But your real pride should come from the knowledge that you have helped make the world a better place and saved many from the ravages of poisoned food. My family hopes that no one should go through what my mother did; each of you has helped bring that dream closer to reality. We give our thanks to each and every one of the Marler Clark team!”

As you can well imagine, I am proud to be associated with the people in my firm. I am proud to be a trial lawyer. I am proud that as trial lawyers we all give voice to people like Ruby. Thank you.

The bust is of Justice Louis Brandeis and the inscription reads:  "In recognition of your trail blazing efforts to keep our nation’s food supply safe for consumers."

Also, just revamped