Tom Girardi has become a legend for his courtroom victories,
as well as his advocacy for the judiciary and legal profession.
His 30-lawyer firm, Girardi|Keese, boasts more members of the
illustrious American Board of Trial Advocates than any other
firm, and his advice is valued as much by injured consumers as
it is by national political and business leaders.
“These cases, what my firm and I do every day, is the most
THE ADVOCATE FOR THE TOUGHEST BATTLES
important work I know,” says Girardi, who has tallied more
than $11 billion in verdicts and settlements. “There is no higher
calling than to go to court and represent someone who has
been injured to ensure they are compensated.”
Despite all his success, he still loves nothing more than taking
on a corporation that he believes is taking advantage of people.
That’s exactly the case with his battle against Dole Food Co.
on behalf of 1,000 residents of the Carousel division of Carson,
City Council declared an environmental emergency because
benzene levels 100 times more than allowable were found.
“I’ve seen some really bad actors in my time,” says Girardi,
whose fame was made as one of the lawyers in Erin Brockovich.
He won $333 million against PG&E for its devastation of
Hinkley, Calif., and its 650 residents, who were poisoned
by hexavalent chromium. “But this one takes the cake. The
residents of Carousel saved every penny they had for these
He’s particularly saddened that for some Carousel
residents, justice delayed will be justice denied. Royalene
Fernandez was a proud homeowner before she developed
severe health problems, including leukemia and melanoma
in 1992. It took until 2008 for the homeowners to discover
that their homes were built on a former crude oil storage site
that Dole operated from 1922 to 1967 before selling it to a
developer. Fernandez died in 2010.
Dole has acknowledged the site is polluted, but
denies responsibility because so many years have
passed since it developed the land. Despite that,
the Los Angeles Regional Water Quality Control
Board has ordered the site cleaned.
Girardi has asked Dole to buy out the
homeowners in addition to cleaning the site. “It’s
not possible to clean the site without digging out
all the soil,” he says. “These poor people should not
have to live in those homes one more day. Fair is
fair,” he says. “I mean, do you think any of the Dole
executives would let their children play in a yard
where they could get cancer?”
As with Dole and other toxic polluters, Girardi
specializes in holding accountable large and
powerful organizations that deny responsibility
while making huge profits. That was the motivation
that fueled his recent lawsuit against the National
Football League, winning a $765 million settlement
on behalf of former professional football players
who have suffered brain injuries.
That was also his motivation in taking on the
Los Angeles Dodgers and former owner Frank
McCourt for the savage beating of Giants fan Bryan
Stow at opening day in 2011. Stow was attacked by
two Dodgers fans, fueled by alcohol and marijuana
and a lack of security. McCourt had cut back
security and increased alcohol sales, Girardi claims,
in the name of profits.
Girardi, Christopher Aumais and David Lira led the
litigation against the Dodgers, and secured a verdict
of more than $18 million in the much publicized
case. “It’s shameful, really, that the organization that
brought us Jackie Robinson is claiming it doesn’t have
responsibility to a fan who simply came out to enjoy a
day at the ballpark,” says Girardi.
TOM GIRARDI HAS WON BILLIONS TAKING ON THE MOST DIFFICULT ADVERSARIES,
INCLUDING DOLE FOOD FOR ITS ROLE IN A NEIGHBORHOOD DESTROYED IN CARSON.