Barry Deacon

Barry Deacon is a partner at PHIPPS  DEACON PURNELL PLLC and a courtroom trial lawyer with over 40 years of experience as a civil litigator.  He is widely recognized by his peers as a fierce advocate for his clients with a winning track record in state and federal courts across the country.

Barry has a wide range of experience handling complex business disputes, mass torts, personal injury, multidistrict litigation, products liability and railroad litigation. For the past decade, Barry has predominantly focused his practice on agricultural litigation, battling massive global agribusinesses for damage caused by genetically modified crops.

For more than five years, Barry successfully defended Riceland Foods, Inc., the world’s largest rice miller and marketer, against hundreds of lawsuits brought in state and federal courts by rice farmers and non-producers in response to contamination of the U.S. rice supply by Bayer CropScience’s (Bayer) experimental and unapproved genetically modified Liberty Link rice. See In Re: Genetically Modified Rice Litig., 4:06-MD-01811 (E.D. Mo.).

Riceland was a party in three of the eight bellwether trials that proceeded against Bayer in state court. As lead trial attorney for Riceland, Barry successfully pursued Riceland’s affirmative claims for relief against Bayer. He was also successful in defending Riceland in two jury trials, receiving a defense verdict in one and a directed verdict in another.

The third jury trial proceeded with Riceland as the plaintiff on its affirmative claims against Bayer. The jury returned a verdict in Riceland’s favor for $136.8 million, which included $125 million in punitive damages to Riceland.

This was the largest jury verdict against Bayer in the GM Rice Litigation and was reported as the largest jury verdict in Arkansas history.

As the lead attorney for Riceland, Barry also successfully prosecuted claims for hundreds of Arkansas and Missouri rice farmers. Barry’s experience representing both defendants and plaintiffs in the GM Rice Litigation gave him invaluable insight into all aspects of complex commercial litigation.

Barry is consistently listed in Best Lawyers in America and Super Lawyers for commercial litigation. He has served in leadership positions in various bar organizations, including President of the Arkansas Bar Foundation. In 2005, the Arkansas Defense Association gave Barry the Outstanding Defense Attorney Award for Arkansas.

Barry has also been appointed by the Arkansas Supreme Court to serve on the Arkansas Committee on Professional Conduct, serving as Chair in 2012.  Barry was also appointed by Judge Leon Holmes, the past presiding Senior Judge of the Eastern District of Arkansas, as a member of the Federal Court Practice Committee.

Areas of Practice

  • Complex Commercial Litigation
  • Products Liability
  • Personal Injury
  • Consumer Fraud
  • Agricultural Law


  • Texas (2015)
  • Arkansas (1975)
  • Eastern District of Arkansas
  • Western District of Arkansas
  • Eighth Circuit Court of Appeals


  • University of Arkansas – Robert Leflar School of Law, J.D. (1975)
  • University of Arkansas, B.S. (1972)


  • President, Arkansas Bar Foundation (2005-2006)
  • Member, Arkansas Supreme Court’s Committee on Professional Conduct (past)
  • National Association of Railroad Trial Counsel
  • Member, Federal Court Practice Committee, United States District Court for Eastern District of Arkansas
  • Member, University of Arkansas Law School, Board of Visitors (past)
  • President, Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel (1994-1995)
  • American Bar Association
  • Arkansas Bar Association

Awards and Recognitions

  • In 2011, received the “Exceptional Service” award from Riceland Foods, Inc. for his leadership in the representation of Riceland in the 2006 discovery of genetically engineered rice in the commercial rice supply.
  • Recently for 2015, named one of the Best Lawyers in America in the categories of commercial litigation, product liability litigation, and railroad law. Barry has received this recognition every year over the past ten years.
  • Recognized by Super Lawyers in the practice areas of business litigation and personal injury.
  • Recipient of Martindale-Hubbell AV Rating, the highest rating available to any individual attorney.
  • Outstanding Attorney Award (2007) from the Arkansas Association of Defense Counsel.

Representative Cases

  • Bill SCHWARTZ, et al., Plaintiffs v. BAYER CROPSCIENCE, LP, et al., Defendants.
  • William E. WILLMAN, et al., Plaintiffs v. RICELAND FOODS, INC.; Bayer A.G.; Bayer CropScience; and Bayer Cropscience Arkansas LP, Defendants.
  • William BLANKENSHIP, Jr., Appellant, v. USA TRUCK, INC., Appellee.
  • LIBERTY LIFE INSURANCE COMPANY, Appellant, v. Deborah McQUEEN, Appellee.
  • John LEE v. Ashley MARTIN and Sears, Roebuck & Company.

Contact Us

Call us at 210-340-9877 or fill out the form and we’ll be in touch.