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Ball honored for donation to new ETSU practice facility
Thursday, January 24, 2013
Gordon Ball Court dedicated during ceremony on Thursday afternoon
JOHNSON CITY, Tenn. (Jan. 24, 2013) – For Gordon Ball, earning his undergraduate degree from East Tennessee State University in 1970 served as the first step in what would be a long and successful career path.
He never forgot those roots in Johnson City.
Ball, a Knoxville attorney and partner at the law firm of Ball & Scott, was recently honored for his substantial financial gift toward the completion of a new indoor practice facility inside the ETSU/MSHA Athletic Center. Gordon Ball Court, a new practice facility for the ETSU men’s and women’s basketball programs which is located at the northeast corner of the Dome, was officially dedicated during a ceremony Thursday afternoon.
Ball said his desire was to assist ETSU in its primary mission of education.
"East Tennessee State gave me my educational start in life and I hope to always support the goal of ETSU to prepare young adults to thrive in our global world,” said Ball, who earned his law degree from fellow Tennessee Board of Regents member Memphis in 1974. “Public education is the life-blood of our country and must be fully funded to allow our country to grow and prosper, and it should be all citizens goal to make public education our number one priority.”
ETSU President Brian Noland voiced the appreciation of the entire ETSU family.
“Gordon Ball has provided the resources to create a facility that will assist our student-athletes in becoming more competitive on and off the courts, and will position our basketball program for an increased level of national prominence,” said Noland. “We are grateful to Gordon for his generosity and support of our student-athletes.”
ETSU head men’s basketball coach Murry Bartow talked about his friendship with Ball, as well as the benefits this new facility will give his program.
“This practice facility gives our team an outstanding place to work and improve, and individually our players now have the perfect place to develop their skills on the floor. It will also be a great recruiting tool for us,” Bartow said. “Gordon and I have developed a great friendship over the years, and he also had a close relationship with my father. He is an extraordinary person and has had an incredibly successful career as an attorney. I am proud to call him my friend.”
For more on Ball’s career and accomplishments, please see the attached biography. For more on ETSU athletics, visit ETSUBucs.com.
Gordon Ball grew up on the banks of the Pigeon River and saw firsthand what pollution from a North Carolina paper mill can do to a community. As a country lawyer from Cocke County, he has been fighting for landowners against polluters and fighting for consumers throughout his career.
Gordon graduated from ETSU and the University of Memphis College of Law. He has had a tremendously successful career as a defense attorney, federal prosecutor and class action attorney. He was a delegate to the last state constitutional convention and helped re-write our current Constitution.
Legal Resume of William Gordon Ball
Gordon Ball is a licensed Tennessee attorney whose practice focuses on consumer rights and antitrust class actions. Ball was born in Cocke County, Tennessee. He graduated from East Tennessee State University with a Bachelor of Science degree in 1970, and received his law degree from the Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law at Memphis State University in 1974. Ball entered the private practice of law the following year.
Ball has been admitted to or appeared before a multitude of federal and state courts across the United States, including the United States Supreme Court, the United States Courts of Appeals for the Fourth, Sixth and Ninth Circuits, and state and federal trial courts in Tennessee, Alabama, Arizona, California, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Georgia, Indiana, Illinois, Iowa, Kansas, Kentucky, Maryland, Michigan, Missouri, Nebraska, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Carolina, North Dakota, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, South Dakota,Texas, Washington, West Virginia, and the District of Columbia.
In the late 1970's, Ball served as an Assistant United States District Attorney for the Eastern District of Tennessee. In 1977, he served as a delegate to the Tennessee Constitutional Convention. For several years after he returned to private practice, he specialized in the defense of “white-collar” federal prosecutions. In 1981, Ball was lead defense counsel in the case of United States v. Sisk, et al (aka, the “Pardons and Paroles” cases). His client was acquitted after a six-week trial. In 1986-87, Ball was lead defense counsel in the federal bank fraud prosecution of brothers Jake and C.H. Butcher, Jr., who had created a banking empire (United American
Bank and C & C Bank) in East Tennessee. Notably, in U.S. v. C.H. Butcher, et al., Ball was the only defense attorney to secure two not guilty jury verdicts during the Butcher trials.
Ball first became involved in major class action litigation in 1988, with Shults v.Champion International Corporation. Ball – who grew up along the banks of the Pigeon River in the Cocke County town of Hartford – and his co-counsel represented approximately 2600 landowners against a paper company who had polluted the Pigeon River for nearly eighty years. Ball and his co-counsel litigated against one of the world’s largest law firms and were successful in recovering $6.5 million for the landowners. Ball continues to litigate on behalf of landowners on the Pigeon River, filing a new lawsuit about every three years. Recently, Ball obtained a jury verdict of $2 million against Blue Ridge Paper Co. for landowners.
For over fifteen years, Ball has been a pioneer in plaintiff’s class action lawsuits on behalf of victims of abuse by powerful corporations. Ball has a long record of successfully litigating cases on behalf of both individuals and classes, particularly in cases involving antitrust violations such as monopolization and price-fixing. Ball’s aggregate multi-billion dollar recoveries have included cases against oil companies, telecommunications companies, health care companies, insurance companies, pharmaceutical companies, banks, auto manufacturers, record manufacturers, paper manufacturers, vitamin makers, boat manufacturers, stucco manufacturers, and supermarket chains. Ball and co-counsel are currently engaged in antitrust and consumer rights cases against banks, medical products manufacturers, drug makers, electronics manufacturers, cigarette manufacturers, seeds manufacturers, and many others.
Ball has won a national reputation for fighting for American consumers by achieving recoveries in cases that other law firms did not want to handle. Several of the groundbreaking cases that Ball and his co-counsel have litigated have resulted in landmark decisions on previously untried or unsettled issues involving price-fixing and consumer rights.
An Experienced Class Action Litigator
A lone consumer is often powerless against a powerful corporation. By creating a group or class, individuals can join together enhance their ability to assert their rights and challenge corporations who often have larger resources. As the premier class action law firm in Tennessee – and one of the premier class action firms in the South – Ball & Scott, and Gordon Ball in particular, focus on antitrust actions, consumer protection and product liability actions, environmental class actions, and healthcare fraud. Ball has been involved as lead or co-counsel in dozens of class actions which have recovered billions of dollars for consumers across the United States. Ball’s greatest successes are cases where the financial and valuable benefits to consumers have exceeded the normal benefit to class members in such cases.
Significant Settlements or Judgments
Ball has also served as lead or class counsel in several landmark consumer and antitrust class actions, including:
Cox v. Shell Oil Company, et al. This lawsuit filed by Ball and a number of other counsel filed this case in 1995 charging Shell Oil Company, E.I. du Pont de Nemours, and Hoescht Celanese with manufacturing and marketing defective polybutylene pipes and plumbing systems. The settlement provided a minimum of $950 million settlement in relief and is the largest class action settlement of its kind in U. S. history.
Infant Formula Consumer Antitrust Litigation. Ball, along with co-counsel, instituted class actions in multiple state courts against three companies who conspired to drive up the price of infant formula. The cases resulted in an aggregate settlement of $64,000,000.00. Foremost among the cases was Blake v. Abbott Laboratories, Civil Action Number L-8950 (Circuit Court, Blount Cty., Tennessee). Blake was the first opinion in the history of Tennessee jurisprudence granting indirect purchasers a private right of action under state antitrust and consumer protection laws.
Spartanburg Regional Health Services District, Inc. v. Hillenbrand Industries, Inc.
Ball also represents Spartanburg Regional Health Services District in a direct purchaser class action against Hillenbrand Industries that was filed in 2003. Spartanburg Regional Health Services District, Inc. v. Hillenbrand Industries, Inc., No. CA 7:03-2141-HFF(D.S.C.) After substantial discovery, a settlement was been reached between the parties in the Spartanburg case, providing for certification of a class of purchasers and a total of nearly $490 million in relief, including a cash payment to the class of $337.5 million (representing the sixth largest amount ever recovered in an antitrust class action). Research shows that Spartanburg was the first-ever direct purchaser class action successfully challenging the monopoly bundling of medical products.
Honors & Awards
In the late 1980's, Ball was selected to be included in the publication The Best Lawyers in America and has been included in every subsequent publication since 1989. In 1997, Ball was a recipient of a Public Justice Achievement Award by the Trial Lawyers for Public Justice for his work on behalf of consumers in the polybutylene pipe product liability litigation, which resulted in an unprecedented settlement providing a minimum of $950 million in relief and a potentially unlimited maximum recovery for property owners.
Benefitting Worthy Causes
Many of the cases undertaken by Ball & Scott eventually result in settlements in which the presiding Court is presented an opportunity to make charitable awards (cy pres awards) to national, regional, state and even local charitable organizations. Gordon Ball has been instrumental in seeking the award of such residual funds for a number of worthy charities, including St. Jude’s Hospital, the United Way, Public Justice, Boy’s & Girls Clubs and the University of Tennessee Building Fund.