Wilson Fred Orr II

wilson orr ii

July 5, 1941 ~ May 4, 2010

Resided in: Atlanta, GA

W. Fred Orr II was born in Atlanta, Georgia, on July 5, 1941.
Mr. Orr attended the Atlanta public schools. He was an honor graduate of Brown High School, a member of Brown’s 1959 state championship basketball team, president of his class in his 9t”, 10th and 11th grades, and president of the Brown High School student body his senior year.
From the fall of 1959 until June, 1962, Mr. Orr attended Emory University, majoring in Political Science. In the fall of 1962, Mr. Orr was admitted to the Emory University School of Law after three years of college. After one year of law school, he was awarded a Bachelor of Arts in Law degree from Emory Law School. In June 1965, he was awarded a Bachelor of Laws degree from Emory Law School. Mr. Orr was a member of the Emory Law School law review, then known as the Journal of Public Law, and the Phi Delta Phi legal fraternity. He successfully passed the State Bar Exam and was admitted to the State Bar of Georgia in December 1964, while still in law school.
Mr. Orr practiced law continuously in Decatur, Georgia, since January 1965. In 1976, he and his law partner, Smokey Edwards, formed the civil trial firm of Orr and Edwards, Attorneys at Law, P.C. The firm has been located at the One West Court Square Building in the heart of Decatur for over 35 years.
For many years, Mr. Orr specialized in complex civil litigation and jury trials. In 46 years as a trial lawyer, Mr. Orr served as lead trial counsel in hundreds of contested cases, in both federal and state courts. The matters in which Mr. Orr successfully represented clients both at the trial and appellate levels include cases involving: commercial real estate disputes; insurance coverage disputes; contract disputes and other business litigation; employment claims; fraud claims; copyright infringement claims; music and entertainment law; major tort cases, including wrongful death claims; medical malpractice claims; and various catastrophic injury claims arising from product defects, premises liability, auto and trucking accidents, and assault and battery; various equitable actions involving restraining orders, temporary and permanent injunctions, and other equitable relief; public interest litigation; contested trusts; contested wills and estates; and contested guardianships.
One high profile, public interest case handled by Mr. Orr was the Presidential Parkway Case in the mid-1980s, in which the Georgia Department of Transportation was attempting to construct an eight-lane, limited access highway through much of the historic Druid Hills community. The highway would have destroyed numerous parks, churches, the Fernbank Science Center, a virgin forest, and would have eliminated hundreds of historic homes in DeKalb County. After a three-day non jury trial before Judge Osgood O. Williams of the Fulton Superior Court, Mr. Orr was successful in obtaining a permanent injunction halting forever the construction of the infamous road. The trial court’s ruling was upheld on appeal by the Georgia Supreme Court. Mr. Orr’s opposition in the Presidential Parkway
case included the City of Atlanta law department, the Attorney General of Georgia and State Law Department, several major Atlanta law firms, and the combined political forces of former President Jimmy Carter, the Georgia DOT, and Mayor Andrew Young.
In late 2005, only weeks before the start of the scheduled trial, Mr. Orr was asked by former Mayor Bill Campbell to join Campbell’s criminal defense team in one of Atlanta’s most publicized criminal trials. The defense team, composed of Fred Orr, Billy Martin and Jerry Froelich, was successful in obtaining an acquittal of former Mayor Campbell on all bribery and corruption charges, with the former Mayor being convicted only on three counts of tax violations, resulting in a 30-month sentence at the end of the eight-week jury trial.
In September 2009, Mr. Orr was lead counsel in a case against defendant Boston Men’s Health Center, Inc. A DeKalb State Court jury found that the defendant’s erectile dysfunction therapy caused permanent damage to Mr. Orr’s client, John Henry Howard. The jury awarded a $9.25 million verdict including $8.5 million in punitive damages in favor of Mr. Howard who Mr. Orr called “the most courageous client” he ever had.
Mr. Orr enjoyed the highest rating applied by Martindale-Hubbell National Law Directory and, likewise, the highest rating for general recommendations embracing faithful adherence to ethical standards, professional reliability, and diligence.
From 1987 until 1997, Mr. Orr served as an Adjunct Professor of Law at Emory Law School, where he taught numerous litigation courses. He was a frequent speaker at continuing legal education seminars throughout his career.
Mr. Orr was a past Editor of Calendar Call, the official publication of the General Practice and Trial Section of the State Bar of Georgia. He was a Fellow of the Georgia Bar Foundation, a Master in the Lamar Inn of the American Inns of Court, and a Fellow of the International Society of Barristers, an exclusive by invitation only legal organization having a worldwide membership limited to 600 active trial lawyers.
Mr. Orr was a member of the Atlanta Bar Association and was past Chair of the Atlanta Bar Association’s Litigation Section. While Chair of the Litigation Section, Mr. Orr was responsible for creating the Litigation Section’s permanent Logan E. Bleckley Award, which is awarded annually to a distinguished member of the judiciary.
Mr. Orr was a member of the DeKalb Bar Association and served as Chair of its Courts Committee and as Chair of its Litigation Section. Mr. Orr was a member of the Gate City Bar Association. Mr. Orr was a past Co-Chair of the Bench and Bar Committee of the State Bar of Georgia.
Mr. Orr was Past President of the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, and was an active member of the American Association for Justice AAJ and the Southern Trial Lawyers Association STLA.
Mr. Orr was a member of the Georgia Chapter of the American Board of Trial Advocates. He was designated as one of Georgia’s “Super Lawyers” in 2006, 2007 and 2008. Mr. Orr was a member of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Civil Justice Foundation. He was a member of the Lawyers Club of Atlanta, and a member of the Old Warhorse Lawyers Club.
Mr. Orr was predeceased by his parents W. Fred Orr, Sr., and Cynthia Nance Orr. He is survived by his wife, Margaret Hortense Drummond, his four children, Julie Orr Franklin Stuart of Greenville, South Carolina, Allison Orr Block Eddie of Austin, Texas, Michael Orr Christine of Kildeer, Illinois, and Zachary Orr Stacey of Portland, Oregon, and five grandchildren, Alexis, Stephanie and Nicholas Orr and Chase and Edison Block. He is also survived by his brother Dr. A. Steve Orr, his sister Kay Orr-Goetz, his sister, Jan Orr Brachman, his brother-in-law David Brachman, his nephew David Drummond who lovingly cared for Mr. Orr, as well as many other nieces and nephews, and a special group of friends who Mr. Orr considered part of his family.
Mr. Orr’s family will schedule a memorial service at a later date.
In lieu of flowers the family requests that donations be made to the “Fred Orr Memorial Scholarship Fund” set up in memory of Fred Orr by the Georgia Trial Lawyers Association, c/o First Citizens Bank, Attention Tracey Smith, 3270 Florence Road, Powder Springs, GA 30127.

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  1. june turrell says:

    one memorial moment fred taught me was if you are going to sign anything of importance use a fountain pen I did that today with the malone firm god bless you fred

  2. June Turrell says:

    one memorial moment If you are going to sign anything of importance use a fountain pen.

  3. June Turrell says:

    one memorial moment If you are going to sign anything of importance use a fountain pen.

  4. Karen Davis says:

    I would like to hear from Julie , Allison, and Michael See how y’all are doing.
    I used to be y’all baby sitter. For a long time. We went on trips , vacations together.
    I would like to hear from y’all please. Love y’all

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