Mona Lisa Wallace is a partner in the law firm of Wallace & Graham, P.A. She has successfully brought, litigated, and settled numerous significant personal injury, wrongful death, defective drug, asbestos, multiple-claimant and mass-tort claims. She has successfully prosecuted asbestos toxic exposure claims on behalf of thousands of workers. Her products liability experience injuries and wrongful deaths from asbestos, silica, chemical poisonings and other dangers and exposures.
Wallace was born and raised in the small communities of Salisbury and Spencer, N.C. Growing up, she was determined to better herself and find a way to help those around her. She attended the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in 1976. Then she attended Wake Forest University School of Law, where she received a Juris Doctor Degree in 1979. With law degree in hand, she returned to her hometown and started a small general law practice in Salisbury.
Wallace began to get requests for help by area power company employees, and when she investigated, she found evidence that they had become exposed to asbestos in the high heat at the power plants where they worked. In this era, before liability had been established, Wallace was at the forefront of the asbestos claims. She often found herself the sole attorney for the victim, and the only woman attorney, facing a courtroom full of corporate defense lawyers. She faced heavy odds, but by the 1990s, Wallace had successfully represented tens of thousands of employees who had become ill due to asbestos exposure in a wide variety of industrial settings.
In the early 2000s, she grew her law firm into other areas. She brought successful class actions for employees and retirees who claimed their medical and retirement benefits were unfairly reduced. She also co-counseled with consumer and nonprofit lawyers to take on predatory lenders, and those class action settlements brought significant refunds to tens of thousands of low-income borrowers. When the cases started, the state was full of brick-and-mortar payday lending stores that trapped working people inside a cycle of debt. But after the cases were brought, the stores left the state.
Wallace also brought several class action lawsuits against car dealers for allegedly unfair and deceptive sales practices and obtained significant settlements. She also co-counseled with the U.S. Department of Justice on claims of alleged improper medical billing and warranty practices under the Federal False Claims Act. They filed a suit against a medical device company based on “whistleblower” testimony that the company had failed to honor warranties on its products, which caused the Medicaid/Medicare system to overpay. As a result of her efforts, the device maker paid a multi-million-dollar settlement.
Mona Lisa Wallace has become a founding member of the American Museum of Tort Law located in Winsted, Connecticut. This museum is an important American cultural resource for the national topics of access to justice and promotion of social welfare.
The American Museum of Tort law focuses on issues of civil justice and the protection of those who have been injured. It opened to the public on September 26, 2015. It is the first law-devoted museum in the United States.
The museum seeks to increase citizen understanding of Tort Law - the law of wrongful injury - and the role it plays in protecting personal freedom, health and safety through the American civil justice system. Tort Law is fundamental to American freedom and goes all the way back to when our Founding Fathers included the right to trial by jury in the Bill of Rights.
The museum includes historical document, exhibits and information about how the law evolved, precedent-setting cases, and results that made a difference. It will hold exhibitions on famous cases including McDonalds' scalding coffee, flammable pajamas, asbestos, breast implants, medical malpractice, Love Canal, and Ford Pintos with gas tanks that could explode.
The website for the museum is here: https://www.tortmuseum.org. More information on the museum's founders including Mona Lisa Wallace, can be found here: https://www.tortmuseum.org/about-us
In recent years, Wallace has taken a personal interest in the claims of victims of occupational cancers. Even after OSHA regulations were put in place to eliminate work hazards, Wallace still saw a steady stream of people exposed to dangerous chemicals and products in the workplace who later developed cancer. While asbestos cancers have been widely publicized, the public remains less aware of the many other toxic substances and chemicals that cause cancer. Wallace has sought to heighten public awareness on this issue and to promote early medical screening and assessment.
For many years, Wallace has supported Public Justice and served as president in 2009. She remains a member of the Board of Directors. She has been a driving force behind many initiatives of Public Justice meant to improve access to justice and ensure a level playing field for our most vulnerable citizens.
In the North Carolina State Bar, Mona has served as an advisory member of the Rules of Professional Conduct Review Committee and as a member of other committees. She has served with the Wake Forest School of Law Board of Visitors, the Hood Theological Seminary Board of Trustees, and the New York Board of Directors of the Raoul Wallenberg Committee. Wallace is a member of the North Carolina Advocates for Justice and the co-chair of its Products Liability Section. In 2006, she won the Academy’s Ebbie Award. She has received the North Carolina Advocates for Justice Award for Outstanding Service as Products Liability Section Co-Chair and the North Carolina Gertrude S. Carraway Award of Merit. In 2014, she received the North Carolina Justice Center’s Defenders of Justice Award.
Wallace has two daughters and a granddaughter. Her daughter Whitney Wallace is now a lawyer at her firm, while her younger daughter, Lane Wallace, has pursued a career in environmentally conscientious design and construction. Wallace and her family have been longtime supporters of the local Salisbury and Spencer communities; she has been a member of the Board of Trustees for Catawba College in Salisbury. She and her family have contributed significantly to various charities through the Mona Lisa and Lee Wallace Foundation.
Bill Graham is a partner with the law firm of Wallace & Graham. Mr. Graham is a former prosecutor and is a strong supporter of law enforcement in North Carolina. Mr. Graham is also a strong supporter of legal protection for United States military service members and their families in North Carolina.
Mr. Graham has served on the North Carolina Rules Review Commission, is a member of the North Carolina Bar Association and formerly served as Secretary of the Cabarrus County Board of Elections.
Mr. Graham is also a founding member of the Board of Directors of Community Bank of Rowan. Mr. Graham is a successful businessman outside of his law practice. His latest business venture is developing an insurance product for people in the event that they lose their jobs.
Mr. Graham is active in the Republican Party. A committed conservative, he has been a strong supporter of The Jesse Helms Center, where he currently serves as Secretary of the Board of Directors, and is an active member in the American Conservative Union. Bill served on the U.S. Agriculture Committee for Senator Jesse Helms.
Mr. Graham recently spearheaded one of the largest grassroots movements in North Carolina history, which brought 75,000 North Carolinians forward to sign a petition and 1,000 people to a downtown rally in Raleigh. The Raleigh News & Observer recently wrote that Graham’s “crusade against the state gas tax has hit a nerve across North Carolina.” Governor Easley was forced to cap the gas tax and as a result North Carolina taxpayers saved $159 million in 2007.
Over the course of his outstanding career, Mr. Graham has become acknowledged as a dedicated North Carolina wrongful death attorney and personal injury litigator. He has extensive experience litigating Navy veteran mesothelioma cases. Highly knowledgeable in various aspects of personal injury law, Mr. Graham offers effective representation for North Carolina work injury victims, toxic exposure and chemical exposure sufferers.
A native of Harnett County, Mr. Graham currently serves on the Catawba College Board of Trustees.
Whitney concentrates her practice on workers' compensation and civil litigation. She and her paralegal, Megan Hinson, love what they do and helping clients through difficult times. Whitney has tried numerous cases before the North Carolina Industrial Commission, including briefs and arguments made in the North Carolina Court of Appeals and Supreme Court. She is proud of her successes on behalf of injured workers. She additionally works on complex civil litigation, personal injury, wrongful death, consumer protection, and environmental litigation.
Whitney is a member of the North Carolina State Bar, Rowan County Bar, Rowan County Bar Association, American Association for Justice (AAJ), North Carolina Advocates for Justice (NCAJ), and the Public Justice Foundation (PJ). Outside of work, Whitney holds leadership roles on three boards in her community and she and her husband Brannon, a veteran, support numerous local and statewide charities that support their values of helping veterans, children, education, access to health care, poverty, Rowan-Salisbury arts history & culture and tourism, and the environment. Whitney is the proud mother of two amazing young daughters, Annie and Ella, who take up the vast majority of her time outside of work. Her hobbies include fitting in friends, fun, exercise, and travel whenever possible.
Daniel concentrates his practice on workers’ compensation, personal injury, and civil litigation. He earned an undergraduate degree from North Carolina State University and a J.D. from the Charlotte School of Law. Daniel’s legal experience began in 2008 and continued through various summer clerkships while in law school. He was admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in 2013 and is a member of American Association for Justice.
Ed joined Wallace & Graham in 1999. He handles workers’ compensation, asbestos litigation, personal injury and civil litigation. Ed has handled hundreds of cases before the North Carolina Industrial Commission and appears frequently in appeals before the Full Commission of the NCIC and the North Carolina Court of Appeals.
Admitted to practice in North Carolina, Kentucky, and West Virginia and before the United States Supreme Court, Ed is a member of the American Bar Association and the North Carolina Academy of Trial Lawyers.
The dedication and extensive experience of Mr. Ed Pauley have allowed him to become renowned as a highly effective work-related injury lawyer and a talented defective medical devices attorney. He employs a variety of litigation, negotiation and mediation strategies to obtain the most favorable outcomes for his clients.
Mr. Pauley is a leading worker’s compensation lawyer who has helped many individuals obtain just remuneration for their work-related injuries.
John Hughes is an attorney licensed to practice law in North Carolina. He has experience representing consumers in the areas of civil litigation, insurance coverage, consumer protection, predatory lending, ERISA claims, truth in lending, fair debt collection, and complex civil litigation.
Since 1995, he has been engaged in the private practice of law in North Carolina, concentrating in civil litigation. His professional affiliations, licenses and memberships include the North Carolina State Bar, American Bar Association, United States District Courts for the Eastern, Middle and Western Districts of North Carolina, and United States Court of Appeals for the Fourth Circuit.
Mr. Hughes is part of the highly regarded law firm of Wallace & Graham. This law practice is home to leading North Carolina injury lawyers individuals and families consult regarding the possibility of obtaining compensation for their physical and psychological suffering. The firm’s lawyers are experts in all aspects of personal injury law. In fact, they are acknowledged as some of the more accomplished North Carolina chemical exposure, defective drugs, mesothelioma and work-related injury attorneys.
Meet John Hughes, a highly skilled North Carolina class action lawyer specializing in personal injury, insurance coverage and predatory lending litigation.
Krystal has been with Wallace and Graham for more than 15 years joining us in 2000 as a recent graduate of Catawba College where she earned a Bachelor’s Degree in Political Science. After serving as a North Carolina Certified Paralegal for years, Krystal made the decision to go to law school. While continuing to meet the needs of our clients, Krystal attended law school at night graduating from Charlotte School of Law in 2015 and passing the North Carolina State Bar in 2016. Krystal continues in her role as attorney focusing on the many Asbestos Bankruptcy Trusts established to settle claims for injured workers exposed to asbestos on the job.
After graduating from high school in Rowan County, Mark earned his Bachelor of Arts degree from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill in 2006 followed by his law degree from Campbell University in 2009. He joined Wallace & Graham shortly after being admitted to the North Carolina State Bar in August 2009.
Since then, he has represented hundreds of workers who have developed a cancer or other illness related to benzene, asbestos, noise, and other toxic exposures at work.
Throughout his decade of practice, he has achieved favorable outcomes for these clients at the North Carolina Industrial Commission, the North Carolina state courts, as well as North Carolina and South Carolina federal courts.
Active in the community, he serves on various committees as well as the Board of Directors for Meals on Wheels of Rowan, regularly delivering meals to its homebound seniors. He also does pro bono work for Partners In Learning in Salisbury and has served with the NC Bar Association's Wills For Heroes committee, drafting free estate planning documents for local first responders.
Mark lives in Salisbury with his wife, two kids and dog. Whenever humanly possible, they all enjoy traveling, attending a Tar Heels sporting event, or most any other outdoor activity.
Laura Handley joined the firm in December 2019. Her primary focus is civil litigation, with particular expertise in Federal courts. She brings nearly 30 years of experience, both in nationally-recognized litigation firms and in-house at three corporations. She is excited to join Wallace & Graham, where she can apply what she has learned over the years to help individuals seek fair treatment and justice.
Laura received a BS degree magna cum laude in Chemistry and Biology in 1985 from St. Lawrence University. She received her law degree cum laude from Harvard Law School in 1991. After law school, she clerked for two years at the Court of Appeals for the Federal Circuit in Washington, DC. She then worked in California for 8 years doing high-stakes intellectual property litigation, followed by two in-house positions with biotechnology companies. Thereafter, Laura moved to Texas and worked for 9 years in a nationally-recognized plaintiffs firm handling a variety of complex cases in Federal court. In North Carolina, she served as the Vice-President of Litigation, Employment, and Compliance for a Fortune 500 company.
Laura is a member of the Massachusetts, California, Utah and Texas bars.
Laura lives in Salisbury, where her husband Kevin is lovingly restoring a 1870s Victorian home. She enjoys hiking in the beautiful North Carolina mountains, and also makes time for early morning horseback rides before work. She and Kevin are working on certifying their Bouviers Fozzie Bear and Cruiser as therapy dogs so that they can bring love and joy to residents of the local VA hospital and residences for the elderly.