Over fifty years ago, Tom Girardi opened the doors to his firm in downtown Los Angeles, determined to build a law firm where anyone who had been injured—whether physically or financially—could obtain excellent counsel.
A few years later, Girardi proved the seriousness of his ambition, when he secured a $1.4 million award (the highest medical malpractice verdict at the time in California) for an African-American teenager who was denied hospital care following an assault because the staﬀ assumed he was drunk; the next morning, the teenager woke up paralyzed.
This unprecedented verdict set the tone for Girardi|Keese, which has since built a reputation for its pioneering work on behalf of people who have suﬀered personal injury and financial harm because of the actions of large corporations.
“Representing people who have been injured is the highest calling there is,” Girardi says. “From day one I have been absolutely committed to helping the little guy get justice, and I think that is what has allowed us to build a firm capable of taking on any matter, no matter how challenging or complex.”
Today, Girardi | Keese is one of only a handful of plaintiﬀ s’ firms in the United States that handles cases involving pharmaceutical litigation, product liability, medical malpractice, class actions, intellectual property, antitrust, and business litigation. Indeed, the firm has successfully challenged auto manufacturers for unsafe product design and defective component parts. It has taken retailers and manufacturers to court for selling unsafe toys and children’s products. And the firm’s trial lawyers have regularly gone to court on behalf of people harmed by dangerous drugs or defective medical devices. The firm’s product liability lawyers have even fought airplane and component parts manufacturers over design defects that caused airplane accidents.
Girardi, who is perhaps best known for his work with Erin Brockovich in a case against Pacific Gas & Electric on behalf of the 650 residents of Hinkley, Calif., credits the firm’s success to its deep bench of skilled trial attorneys—half of whom have been admitted to the prestigious American Board of Trial Advocates. “There aren’t many plaintiﬀ s’ firms that have the number of specialists that we do in such a range of practice areas,” he says. “We enjoy great credibility both before the courts and among other law firms because of our talented lawyers, which explains why we receive the landmark cases that we do.”
As a result of their eﬀ orts, the firm’s attorneys have achieved more than $11 billion in verdicts and settlements over the firm’s history, including $4.85 billion against Merck for harm caused by Vioxx; $2.2 billion for California consumers defrauded by Sempra in the California energy crisis; $785 million against Lockheed in the Skunk Works litigation; $633 million for residents of Hinkley, Calif., who were poisoned by PG&E; and $545 million in a class action against Farmers Group and Zurich Financial Services.
The firm’s most recent successes include an $18 million verdict for Bryan Stow, a paramedic who was nearly beaten to death at the opening day of the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2011; and a $765 million settlement for dozens of former pro football players suﬀering from memory loss and other ailments related to concussions. The firm has also represented thousands of individuals injured by defective pharmaceuticals and other medical devices, such as Yaz and Yasmin, Fosamax, and Transvaginal Mesh.
“Our cases may be against some of the biggest companies in the world, but we’ve proven time and again that we are the ultimate warriors for our clients,” observes Girardi, who, in addition to being AV Preeminent® rated by Martindale-Hubbell® (the organization’s highest rating for legal ability and ethical standards), was most recently named “Lawyer of the Decade” by the International Association of Top Professionals.