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R. Deryl Edwards, Jr. attended college at The University of Chicago, where he earned a B.A. in Economics in 1994. Before starting college, Mr. Edwards took a year of Calculus at Missouri Southern State College and Economics at Harvard Summer School. Before attending law school, Mr. Edwards spent the summer in Santander, Spain conducting archaeology sponsored by the University of Chicago, the IPI Institute and the Getty Foundation. He then attended Saint Louis University School of Law where he earned his J.D. in 1997. During the summers, Mr. Edwards worked as an Assistant County Prosecutor under Missouri Supreme Court Rule 13 for the Jasper County Prosecutor’s Office in Missouri.
Shortly after graduation, Mr. Edwards became the Assistant County Prosecutor for Barry County, MO before opening a full time, private practice. He collaborated with noteworthy attorneys on complex cases. Working with attorney Tomie Parsons, Mr. Edwards became known in employment ligation, having won a same sex, sexual harassment case in federal court. Following this success, Mr. Edwards and attorney Glenn Gulick were able to settle a difficult products liability case in Federal Court against the manufacturer of a tractor-trailer. At the time Mr. Edwards and attorney Diane Fenner were actively representing hundreds of people in a mass tort pharmaceutical case that later reached an 8 figure settlement. This was the first of several successful mass torts Mr. Edwards has worked on with attorney Fenner. A few years later, Mr. Edwards and attorney David Barrett wonCassara v Dac Services, Inc., 276 F.3d 1210 (CA10 2002) in the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals. This case is now considered a seminal case in Fair Credit Reporting Act case law. In 2003, Mr. Edwards began handling mass property condemnation cases against the U.S. Government in Washington D.C. In 2004, Mr. Edwards began working on MDL 1735, a class action against Wal-Mart. Lead Counsel Robert Bonsignore appointed him Liaison Counsel, a key leadership position. MDL 1735 was granted class certification and settled many years later, making it the largest employment law class ever certified in U.S history. A global settlement was reached for $600 million dollars.
In 2004, Mr. Edwards graduated from Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College. The mission of Gerry Spence’s Trial Lawyers College is to obtain “justice for individuals, the poor, the injured, the forgotten, the voiceless, the defenseless, and damned.” Mr. Edwards strongly believes in this mission. The American Association of Justice, through its National College of Advocacy, awarded Mr. Edwards Diplomate status in 2004. The American Association of Justice further honored Mr. Edwards with the F. Scott Baldwin Award in 2008 for “Most Outstanding Trial Lawyer.” The award states “Be it forever known that (Mr. Edwards) has exemplified the highest ideals of a Trial Lawyer by demonstrating excellence, compassion, honesty and caring in his profession, through protecting consumers from abuse of corporate power, and by acting as a trustee of individual liberties.” The New Lawyers Division honored Mr. Edwards for winning a toxic tort trial after 7 years of litigation and no offer before trial. In 2006 Mr. Edwards began working on the Wolfchild v U.S. case, pioneered by attorney Erick Kaardal of Minneapolis, MN. This case is pending in Washington D.C. on behalf of the Mdewakanton Indian tribe against the U.S. government based on a breach of fiduciary duty/statutory use/takings theory.
Mr. Edwards is very active in the American Association for Justice. He has been a member of the AAJ PAC committee, the AAJ Key Person Committee, the AAJ Board of Governors, and the NLD Board of Governors. He has been an AAJ Ambassador, Eagle, and Lion. Mr. Edwards is a member the AAJ M Club and is the former NLD fundraising chair. He was an invited speaker at the ATLA 2003 Convention San Francisco with his lecture entitled Prepare for Trial Before You File, the Advocacy Track Moderator at the ATLA 2007 Winter Convention Miami, and an invited speaker at the AAJ 2010 Summer Convention Vancouver, BC, with his lecture Alteration of Motion Segment Integrity: Objectively Proving Soft Tissue Injury. He was again Moderator for 2012 AAJ Summer Convention for Litigation at Sunrise. He was published in the NLD newsletter, as well as the AAJ reference materials for the 2003 ATLA Summer Convention.
To date, Mr. Edwards has handled cases in 27 different jurisdictions, both State and Federal. He is admitted in the following jurisdictions: Missouri Supreme Court, Kansas Supreme Court, Oregon Supreme Court, Washington Supreme Court (pending), U.S. District Court Western, District of Arkansas, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Arkansas, U.S. District Court District of Colorado, U.S. District Court Central District of Illinois, U.S. District Court Southern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court Northern District of Illinois, U.S. District Court District of Kansas, U.S. District Court Western District of Missouri, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Missouri, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Michigan(not yet sworn), U.S. District Court District of Nebraska, U. S. District Court Northern District of Oklahoma, U.S. District Court Eastern District of Texas, U.S. Court of Federal Claims, U.S. Court of Appeals, Eighth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, Ninth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals, Tenth Circuit, U.S. Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit, and the U.S. Supreme Court.