A Word About Eddie Christian

by KevinH on May 7, 2014

Every year the Sebastian County Bar Association holds a memorial service for lawyers that have passed away in the previous year.  That service is coming up in the next couple of weeks.  A mentor and friend of mine is going to be honored that day – and I want to say a few words about him.


Yes it is a cliché.  Yes it is overused.  But yes, it is appropriate here so I’m going to use it.  He was “larger than life.”  We hear that phrase used and we know what it means.  Trying to put it into words is hard, but we know it when we see it.

If you were around Eddie Christian only a few minutes then you would immediately know that he was truly larger than life.  He had a big smile that immediately made you feel welcome – if he liked you.  He had a laugh that was always from the belly and genuine.  And it always seemed to have a hint of a mischievous child to it.  I loved that about him.  When he laughed, I laughed, and so did our friends.

I remember my first case against Eddie when I was a young, green lawyer.  I was terrified.  All the stories about him.  All the lore.  He was like this mythical leviathan that could not be beaten.  Thoughts of impending doom filled my brain.  Would he smash me immediately like a fly?  Would he play with me like a cat does a mouse before finally putting me out of my misery?  Will I see it coming or will I just find myself lying on the floor with the battle already overwith?

Whenever Eddie was on the other side you knew you were in for a fight.  Warren Sapp, the former NFL defensive lineman, was once asked about one of the best offensive linemen in the league and what he thought about having to go against him for an entire game.  He said, “I have two toolboxes.  I bring the little one for most games.  But when that dude comes to town you better bring your BIG tool box brother!”  That’s how it was with Eddie.  Better bring your big toolbox or you might as well not even show up.

For two years I had the honor and privilege of working with Eddie in the same firm.  I can tell you that he was as good as they say.  Being an attorney is hard and tedious work – and Eddie did all of it.  He was passionate about the law and cared about his profession and how he handled it.

Eddie had heart surgery in the late ‘90s.  His doctor told him to quit smoking, quit drinking, and stop taking cases that involved going to court.  I have to laugh at that last one.  Telling Eddie Christian not to go to court is like telling a tiger to not eat meat anymore – ain’t gonna happen.

And nor should it happen.  Certain people are put on this Earth to do certain things.  And Eddie Christian was put on this Earth to be a trial lawyer – 100%.  To do anything different would have been an affront to nature.  It would have been against every fiber in his being.  It would have been against just about everything he was gifted with.

You always knew where you stood with Eddie.  And working with him had its ups and downs just like with anything else.  And he did not hand out compliments lightly.  One day he told me that he had always been impressed with my work.  I don’t think he ever knew how proud that made me or how much impact those words had on me.  I will never forget them.

And those that knew Eddie will never forget him.  I still expect to see him around the corner at the courthouse.  His friends expect to walk in the club and see him there with his drink and his smile.  We talk about him from time to time, and its always with a smile or a laugh or both.  When his name comes up its always a happy story, and it makes us glad to have known him.

“I rode with him…and I ain’t got no complaints.”  - Josey Wales


An interesting article from attorney Deborah G. Matthews caught my eye and left me with a stark conclusion: When it comes to dividing your marital assets in your divorce settlement negotiations, don’t neglect your digital property. Ms. Matthews’ article isn’t specifically about property division, but it applies:

It is a new world out there. Looking forward, we face a digital frontier with many unknowns. You might know where your digital things are located, but could others find them without your help.

The digital frontier has changed how we access what’s ours. Digital property is often hidden from view. No longer can we simply reach out and touch things.

Examples of digital property would include fairly obvious things such as digital image files and ebooks, but what about your social media accounts? Websites — and that would include not only the domain registration but the site files as well? Your digital information and passwords to shopping and networking sites?

Matthews suggests:

To determine how a site or online provider will treat your data in case of death or incapacity, read the Terms of Service to see whether a guardian or executor may access the data, remove it, or if your site will terminate after a given period of inactivity. Even where an executor may have power over digital property, a court order may be required under the Terms of Service — a costly option. What can you do now?

Loved ones may have no idea what exists or where to find it. The best plan is to keep a detailed list of your digital property with username, password, PIN, security question and answer, and how to access all the required login data — a digital inventory.

Good advice.


Alaska Anyone? (Part I)

September 26, 2013

For years I have heard from people about the lures of Alaska.  From those that have taken cruises there.  From those that have travelled there to fish.  From those that have travelled there to view the landscapes and the wildlife.  As far as I can recall, I cannot remember anyone telling me that they had […]

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What’s Venue, and Why Should You Care?

September 26, 2013

In any litigation, including divorce cases, one of the first decisions that must be made is where to file the case. Even when both parties reside in the same state, different courts might have the legal authority to hear the case – which one is appropriate in your case? This is called venue and usually it’s […]

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Woods v. Woods, 2013 Ark. App. 448: Custody and Alimony

September 6, 2013

The Arkansas Court of Appeals issued its ruling in the case of Woods v. Woods on August 28, 2013. It’s an interesting case as it illustrates the way the Court of Appeals reviews factual determinations by the Circuit Courts in divorce and custody cases. In Woods, the mother appealed a grant of custody to the father and […]

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Mom In Trouble Over Goat’s Milk

August 23, 2013

This appears to be a hot month for overreaching CPS stories. This one comes from Maine, and it’s certainly a troubling account, if true: When the baby didn’t take to breastfeeding, Gellerson started feeding him homemade goat milk formula. “Oh, he loved it,” Gellerson said. “We put celery juice in it, and he just loves that, […]

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Reason: More Transparency Needed for CPS Agencies

August 22, 2013

A recent article on the Reason website calls for more transparency in CPS actions, especially in removal cases. Reason is a libertarian magazine that’s published monthly. The piece in question appears on the Reason website here. The article looks again at the Nikolayev case, about which I wrote here earlier this year, in which California CPS workers removed an infant […]

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Tennessee DCS Makes Changes – Are They Enough?

August 21, 2013

Tennessee’s Department of Children’s Services (DCS) is a troubled agency. This much seems fairly clear. The Tennessean, a major TN news outlet, even created a special landing page on its website devoted solely to cataloging and categorizing the many stories it’s published about DCS problems, legal cases, and outright failures, including a number of child […]

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Atlanta’s CPS Foster Care System Slips in Progress Benchmarks After Litigation Settlement

August 20, 2013

In 2002, the group Children’s Rights filed suit against Georgia officials over the Atlanta, GA foster care system. That suit was filed as a reform class action and was captioned Kenny A. v. Perdue. The parties reached a settlement agreement which was approved by the court, and may be enforced judicially, in 2005. As part […]

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New Bill Would Require Social Worker Credentials for CPS Workers

August 19, 2013

I was intrigued by this news out of Washington (the state): A bill was introduced by Senator Pam Roach, (R) 31 District, Olympia, to require child protective workers (CPS) to be licensed Social Workers. The Washington State Chapter of NASW testified in support of this legislation, SB 5163, before the Senate Committee on Human Services and Corrections. […]

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