Jesse Gibson

2019 Legislative Session Concludes - Several Problematic Bills Defeated - More Fights Ahead

The final vote on HB 1955, the Workers Comp Made Whole Bill.

The final vote on HB 1955, the Workers Comp Made Whole Bill.

As one of my last responsibilities serving Arkansans as the President of the Arkansas Trial Lawyer’s Association was working at the state capitol during the 2019 legislative session. I am happy to report a successful session defending the rights of injured Arkansans to seek justice against negligent actors and wrongdoers. Each legislative session, our legislature may refer out three proposed constitutional amendments to the voters. You may remember this is how Issue 1, the previous attempt at sweeping tort reform, was referred to the voters in 2017 before being removed from the ballot despite being widely unpopular in the polls and facing defeat at the ballot box. The same group of legislators tried again with another sweeping tort reform amendment. That provision (also called SJR8, the same bill number as in 2017) failed to gain any traction and never reached a vote in any committee.

However, this was not the only attempt at limiting the rights of injured Arkansans to seek justice. Here are a few bills that were defeated in the session:

HB 1955. The proposed workers compensation “made whole” bill. This bill, known colloquially as the “injured worker indentured servant act,” would have thrown out the doctrine of made whole in workers compensation cases. It would have placed the corporation BEFORE the injured worker if a settlement or verdict was returned in the injured worker’s favor. This was defeated twice in committee before it was rushed out in a quick and hurried vote when Rep. John Payton (R) declared “he was hungry.” That vote was short lived, because due to yeoman’s work by our lobby team, the bill was trounced on the House floor with only 35 yeas. It needed 67 to pass. You can read more about HB 1955 below.

In addition to HB 1955, a “made whole” bill that would have applied to a wider swath of cases, including auto med pay, was filed in the Senate as SB 566. However, after legislators on Senate Insurance and Commerce learned how much the bill would harm Arkansans, it never gained traction and was never brought to a vote.

SB 543, which would have changed the Uniform Contribution Among Tortfeasors Act, passed in the Senate, but went nowhere in the House and died in House Judiciary upon adjournment sine die. Likewise, SB 544, which would have done away with the collateral source rule, never gained traction in either chamber and died upon adjournment.

While it was a successful session for Arkansas consumers, vigilance is key. There will be further attempts at limiting rights in the future that must be addressed and defeated. Thanks to all friends and clients of the firm who reached out to legislators to communicate their opposition to these harmful bills. Your contributions are key and greatly appreciated.

Jesse Gibson Speaking Against Issue 1 in Springdale on August 19th

Please join us as Jesse Gibson addresses Ozark Indivisible this Sunday, August 19th, at 12:30 PM at Rotary Park Pavilion in Springdale.  We will be discussing (among other things) Issue 1, the tort "reform" provision that will be on the November ballot.  We will general information about Issue 1 and why it is bad for Arkansans, plus ways for you to get involved and to defeat Issue 1!  If you have any questions, please contact us through our website at or by email at  


More Views From the Campaign Trail

It feels like I've been everywhere this campaign season, campaigning against Issue 1, the tort "reform" proposal that will be on your ballot this coming November.  But it has been a great time, and highly successful.  I've met tons of great Arkansans who do not want a government mandated price on life enshrined in our state constitution.  I have tons of events coming up in the next few weeks, and I will be putting out that information on an almost daily basis.  So watch this space!  Until that time, here are a few recent shots from the campaign trail.  VOTE NO ON ISSUE 1!

Jesse Gibson Named President-Elect of Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association

Jesse Headshot.jpg

I was recently named President-Elect of the Arkansas Trial Lawyers Association (ATLA) for the 2017-2018 fiscal year.  I am scheduled to serve as the organization's President in 2018-2019.  During my time as President in 2018, SJR8, the legislatively referred question from the most recent legislative session, commonly called tort "reform" will be on the ballot.  SJR8 seeks to place an arbitrary value on human life, regardless of circumstance or the egregious actions of the wrongdoer, of $500,000.00.  It also seeks to wrestle rule-making authority from the courts and place it in the hands of the legislature, where all judicial rules will be subject to massive influxes of lobbying dollars from special interests seeking to stack the deck and rig the game in their favor to ultimately pad their bottom lines.  This effort is but the first in a series of many that will ultimately seize freedoms from the people and place them in the hands of special interests.  Your freedoms will be on your ballot in 2018.  I hope you protect them by voting NO.  

I look forward to serving as President-Elect and ultimately as President of ATLA.  I look forward to traveling the state and having conversations about the power grab under way by special interests via SJR8.  I am committed to fighting for and protecting Arkansans.  I anticipate coming to your town soon!  In the meantime, I urge you to educate yourself about SJR8 and vote NO in November, 2018!




Jesse Gibson Elected to Arkansas Bar Association House of Delegates


This summer, I was honored to be elected to the Arkansas Bar Association House of Delegates.  In my short time in that capacity, I have enjoyed serving and offering my perspectives to fellow Bar members.  I am committed to doing all I can to serve the attorneys of this state as they fight every day to advocate for truth, justice, and equity.  Whether it be to fight against greedy special interests or personal wrongdoers, attorneys are the last best line of defense to the hard working citizens of Arkansas.  I look forward to my term and welcome any input or thoughts about how to better serve the Bar.