A Lawyer for the Little Guys

A Lawyer for the Little Guys

“Jay Kirksey, 34, has been racking up an impressive resume in civil cases.”

Published in the Springfield News-Leader

This has been Jay Kirksey’s summer:

First, the attorney from Bolivar sued two Division of Family Services workers and a juvenile officer in Springfield on behalf of a woman with epilepsy who had her son taken away by the state.

Next, he sued the Barry County prosecutor for Johnny Coffey, mother of Josh Carlisle, the boy with Down syndrome who was lost in the woods near Cassville in March 1996.

And then Kirksey was hired by a southwest Springfield church to sue the city and the owners of Remington’s, a huge country-western nightclub now under construction.

In the local legal world, where criminal-defense lawyers usually get the lion’s share of media attention, civil attorney Jay Kirksey is fast becoming a standout. But his “overnight success” has been more than seven years in the making.

Kirksey used to be with Woolsey, Fisher, the once-mighty Springfield firm that dissolved a couple of years ago. While there, Kirksey worked on cases against Remington, the weapons manufacturer.

“They had a bolt-action rifle, Model 700, that had a slight problem,” Kirksey says. ” The gun would actually fire without someone actually touching the trigger.”

The lawsuit took Kirksey to far-flung places; he recalls a five-week trial in Alaska, in November 1990, where he walked away with a $1.1 million dollar award.

“That,” Kirksey says, “was a blast.”

Kirksey attributes his emerging public success to his life growing up as a coach’s son. “I loved the competition,” he says. Kirksey sued and won a settlement, which included an undisclosed payment to the worker. Kirksey sued on behalf of Coscia’s office manager, who said the doctor made female workers massage his back, neck and shoulders while he read lingerie catalogs.

Another 1996 suit against the city of Springfield, in which a City Utilities worker said he was fired because he spoke out against City Utilities and its plan to lease a fiber-optics network.

In each of these cases, Kirksey says, it’s “the little guy vs. the big guy.