We’ve heard the story of David and Goliath since we were children. Goliath was the powerful champion of the Philistine army, clad head to toe in brass armor and carrying several weapons. His shield bearer walked in front of him. For 40 days, he dared the Israelites to send someone forward to challenge him. He believed that he was invincible and that his power was absolute. Men cowered and hid, afraid of Goliath’s insults and threats—until he was challenged by David, a young man with no armor and armed only with a simple slingshot. Goliath mocked him.
“’Am I a dog that you come at me with sticks?’ And the Philistine cursed David by his gods . . . ‘Come here, and I will give your flesh to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field.’”
David replied, “’You come against me with sword and spear and javelin, but I come against you in the name of the Lord Almighty . . . This day the Lord will hand you over to me, and I’ll strike you down.’” (1 Samuel 17: 43-46)
With a single stone hurled from his slingshot, David defeated Goliath.
It’s a story that plays out every single day in our courtrooms when a West Virginia consumer, worker or small business owner goes up against the wealthiest and most powerful corporations in the world. Those corporations have their great wealth, political power and an army of lawyers. West Virginians have only their 7th Amendment right to trial by jury and their attorney.
It appears unbalanced, but it’s not. Our courtrooms are the one place where we are equal. Justice is blind. It doesn’t matter if you are rich or poor, if you are powerful or powerless. Justice shows no fear and no favoritism. All that matters in the courtroom is the evidence and the rule of law. In our courtrooms, David can still defeat Goliath.
And Goliath’s not happy. This is why corporate special interests continue their unrelenting attack on our civil justice system. This is why they march out behind their shield bearers—corporate funded front groups like the American Tort Reform Association and Citizens Against Lawsuit Abuse. They want to destroy any chance of the David’s in this world of being able to defeat them.
What are their weapons? They lie about our state’s legal climate and create a phony crisis. They attack our state in national media by calling us a “hellhole.” They threaten legislators to pass the laws they want or face more attacks. The laws they want take away David’s slingshot and stones, tying his arms behind his back, while providing them with even more powerful armor and weapons. David’s are left with nothing, while Goliath becomes more powerful than ever before.
It’s time for West Virginians to stop cowering in fear and demand that the insults and threats stop. We can no longer sit back and allow this to continue. It is time for each one of us to stand up and fight. Arm yourself with your simple slingshot—truth. Truth about our legal climate. Truth about our economy. Truth about what these billion-dollar corporate interests really want, and why they’re willing to say and do anything to get it. Be proud to stand with the David’s of this great state.
Goliath’s 40 days are up.