The admonition to “follow the money” has long been the advice given to those wishing to understand the motives of people pursuing certain courses of action.
I think that would be good advice for the 500 plaintiffs recruited by Bill Graham and Mona Lisa Wallace from Salisbury to sign up in the lawsuits against Smithfield Foods and some of their family farmers.
But wait, there is no money to follow yet; and there may not be any money to follow when these lawyers get through using these folks who have been cleverly enticed into the dastardly scheme.
Hey, folks, it is all about money — big money for the greedy lawyers who are persuading some folks to make false claims against their neighbors.
There are three main reasons there might not be any money for the 500 misguided plaintiffs in these unethical lawsuits.
First, Smithfield has vowed not to settle. Second, these verdicts may be overturned or greatly reduced in the appeals process. And third, most of the money may be eaten up by huge lawyer expenses for long trials and longer appeals processes.
The plaintiffs’ lawyers have already lost their number one goal: a quick settlement. The leadership of Smithfield has more backbone than Lisa Blue Baron and her pet bulldog Michael Kaskie thought they had.
Do any of the plaintiffs realize that the longer these cases go, the less money there will be to divide with them? Do they realize if and when there is any money the lawyers get 40 percent of the gross and then get all their expenses before what is left is divided 500 ways? Have any of the plaintiffs asked for a current summary of the expenses to date?
It is estimated that the first Joey Carter case came up several hundred thousand dollars short of just paying the lawyers’ expenses just for the four-week trial, not to mention the cost of several years’ worth of expenses leading up to the trial.
Have the lawyers told the plaintiffs what their hourly rates are? How much are the motel rooms where the plaintiffs stay compared to the cost of the rooms where the high-class lawyers stay?
When the trials are over, the plaintiffs won’t see the lawyers or have a chance to complain. Some high-paid accountants will mail them their puny little checks, and the crooks they have trusted will be smiling all the way to the bank with the money they extorted from hard-working farm families based on a lot of false testimony.
Remember that many of them have knowingly moved or built near existing farms. Oh, also remember that most of them never complained until some greedy person pulled into their yard or met with them at their church or other community meeting place and promised them some money.
And lastly, remember they did not talk first about getting the farmers to fix any problem; they just talked about getting them some money.
These are important points. Some may not like the tone of my statements, but then I don’t like the way these 500 people have been fooled into making false statements by money-digging lawyers.
I choose to believe that many of the plaintiffs wish they had not fallen for this scheme against their neighbors because I know we all study from the same Bible.
We, the people should remember that our dedicated farmers are willing to deal with all the challenges of producing food so that others can enjoy all the benefits of consuming food.
N.C. Rep. Jimmy Dixon, a Republican from Warsaw, represents District 4, which comprises portions of Wayne and Duplin counties.